In a previous post, we’ve established that anyone can gain muscle and enjoy all the benefits of having more muscle and less fat.

For the details, read the post entitled “Can You Build Muscle After 40?”

So now that we know you can. Where do you start?

In this post, we’re going to map out the basics of what you need to know before you start a weight lifting routine.   You can use this to get started on your path to gaining more muscle, losing fat and getting in better overall shape,…… all leading to you feeling and looking TERRIFIC.

Working out can have social benefits as well as physical and mental ones.  You may meet some like-minded people at the gym and develop some friendships.

You will definitely connect with other people who work out. You’ll have something in common to discuss. Gym friendships can be a bonus.  At least you’ve got one thing in common – the gym.

Do I Join a Gym?

This is a gym workout.  Other blogs will be about home workouts.

I find that going to a gym works for me. I have tried working out at home, and I can’t stick to a regular routine. If I make going to the gym an “event,” I will work out harder and be more consistent in my workouts than if I’m at home.  This is strictly a personal choice.  It works for me.

If I go to the gym, I feel more committed to completing a workout (I mean, I made an effort to come here, so why not stay), and somehow I feel like my fellow gym goers are “watching” me to see if I’m putting in a good effort.

If you’re at home, it’s easy to be distracted by undone chores that are staring at you, distracted by what there may be to eat in the refrigerator and by lots of other distractions.

Going to the gym does not work for everyone so other posts will be for those of you who want to work out at home.

The reasons you might NOT want to go to a gym are:

  • the time spent traveling to and from the gym.
  • exercising in “public,” if you’re not comfortable doing that
  • feeling like you don’t fit into a gym culture.
  • you’re self-conscious about your body if you’re not in the best of shape.

All these are understandable. They can be reasons to start your new workout routine at home.


A Good Alternative to the Gym.

I’ve known several friends who found that the local YMCA or city athletic club was their choice for working out.  These are both great alternatives and probably less expensive than a big commercial gym.

Often, these facilities may not be as well equipped as a commercial gym, but sometimes they’re wonderful places because they are more laid back and have related programs, such as Zumba, yoga, wellness classes, etc.  Sometimes they’re geared more toward the person who can go during the day and on weekdays.

There is a nice city athletic club near me that would be a wonderful alternative to a gym.  It’s run by the small town I live in.

What Do I Wear?

Clothes  (DUHHH).  I wear shorts and a t-shirt.  It can be that simple.  If you’re more modest, you can wear long pants, but don’t wear jeans or anything that will encumber your movement. NO street clothes.  

Some guys like compression shorts and even compression tops.  They are useful for many guys. They’re just not essential for a good workout.

There are lots of ways to spend a bunch of money on “gym” clothes, but you don’t need to.  It won’t make your workout any better.  All you need is something comfortable that won’t restrict your movements.

Shoes – Basic tennis shoes of ANY sort will do.  You don’t need anything fancy, just something that will give you a good grip.  You don’t need an expensive running/performance shoe.  I’m sure you already have something in your closet that will work. Almost any athletic shoe will do.


How Long Will It Take To See Results?

It all depends.  You knew that was the answer, didn’t you? 🙂

It really does depend on a lot of things.

Some of us are very motivated to look and feel good.  Others are not as motivated.

Some of us gain muscle more easily than others.

Some of us can push ourselves harder than others.

Some of us put a higher priority on working out than others.

Some of us have better genes and are not ectomorphs. Most of us are either endomorphs or mesomorphs, not ectomorphs. If you don’t know what you are, go here.

Some of us combine our workouts with proper eating and some of us don’t.

So, it all depends.

If you commit to working out 3-4 times a week and do the exercises spelled out at Workouts for Men Over 40 – Exercise Guide, you will start to see results in 4 weeks, and you’ll see noticeable results in 8-12 weeks,  This only applies to us men.  Women are different.

Why will You Succeed?

You will because you showed up and started this program.  The old cliche is true. One step at a time. Success starts by taking the first step. It’s a cliche, but true. That’s all you have to commit to….the first step.


Put your workout on your schedule,….. on your calendar.

It is as important as any business meeting you have, and probably more important than many of your social engagements.

Commit to scheduling your workouts.

You must prioritize this part of your life. This will determine the quality of your life going forward.

Schedule your workouts for the week on Sunday when you plan your upcoming week.  You should know what important meetings and events you are scheduled for a week in advance, so add your workouts a week at a time.

The more regular you are with your workouts, the more they will become an integral part of your life.  Once that happens, you’ll see more progress than you’ve ever seen before.

Want To Be Motivated?  Here’s a Way? 

Commit with money.  Make a deal with a friend that if you don’t go to the gym at least three times a week for a month, that you’ll contribute $100 to his favorite charity.  If you’ve got more money, make the commitment with 3 friends.   There’s some motivation!

Another technique I’ve read about is to pledge a $100-$500 to an organization that is diametrically the opposite of your beliefs.  If you’re pro-life, pledge $500 to Planned Parenthood, and if you don’t go to the gym 3 times a week you must contribute your pledged amount to that organization.

Now, there’s motivation!

One More Secret? 

Did you know that how you perform each exercise will determine how quickly you’ll gain muscle?

Have you seen a gym meathead trying to impress everyone by swinging a big weight around?  He’s not gaining much, and he’s not impressing anyone who understands the importance of good form.

It is easy to want to impress the guy or girl next to you with how much weight you can lift compared to them.  They probably haven’t even noticed you, so don’t be a show-off.


Do Not be intimidated into thinking the heavier the weight, the more good you’re doing.  NOT!

The better form you have, the more results you will get!  That’s the secret.

OK, Just One More SECRET

This is a secret you don’t want to hear.

You must start to eat right.  I know, I know.  I hate it too.

You can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, but you will have to make sure you’re eating correctly.

In a separate article/blog, I will lay out a diet for gaining muscle and losing weight.

Of course, you can start by cutting out all junk food and sugar.  If you did that, you’d be well on your way to a good diet. Start there as a simple step to a healthy diet.


Take a bottle of water – staying hydrated is important while you’re working out.  Having a bottle with you will keep you concentrated on your workout,  instead of trudging over to the water fountain every few minutes.

Take a towel – If you’re doing everything correctly and pushing yourself enough, you’ll work up a sweat so having a small hand towel will be a welcome accessory.


Don’t Use Too Heavy a Weight – Again, I emphasize that heavy weights don’t equal better results.  Better form and persistence are the key.

If the weight is too heavy to perform your exercise with good form, you are asking for injury.

No Chit Chat – During your visits to the gym, you will make gym friends, but limit your conversation to before or after your workout.  You don’t want to be distracted from the reason you are there – gaining muscle so you’ll look and feel FANTASTIC.  

A BIGGIENO cell phones during your workout.  Using your cell phone while you workout is a very BIG distraction that will kill any intensity in your workout.  I know, I know.  We must have our cell phones with us at all times.  Having it with you when you work out is a BAD IDEA.  Try to refrain.


Use Free Weights As Your Default – Machines are fine, but you will not get the results as quickly as you want unless you use dumbbells and barbells.  It’s just the way it is.

Your muscles are much more engaged with free weights.  You’re forced to balance a dumbbell and thus engage more muscles during your exercise.

Start Slow – Don’t try to look like Arnold in the first month.  You’re the tortoise, not the hare. This should be a lifetime commitment.

What Exercises Should I Do?

You’re going to find the actual exercises at Workouts for Men Over 40 – Exercise Guide. 


  • Good Form – Yes, I’m mentioning this again.   You need to understand how important this is – to your success in gaining muscle and not injuring yourself.
  • Do Not Rest More Than A minute to a minute and a half between each repetition
  • Do Not Rest More than three minutes between each exercise.  The quicker you go through your routine, the more cardio benefits you’ll get.
  • Ask For Help from a fellow gym goer if you need a spot or you want clarification about an exercise that you’re doing.  Everyone is happy to help you.
  • Concentrate on the muscles that you are engaging. Think about the muscle you’re working and make sure what you’re doing is putting stress on that muscle or muscle group.
  • Don’t Do Less than is required by your workout schedule. This will require mental dedication. In other words, don’t quit early or do less than you’re planning to do.



The Triangle Technique is a technique that has developed over the years as I’ve tried different exercises to try and get bigger and stronger. This is based on years of real experience and what works for hard-to-gain guys, like me.

Easy-to-gain guys can do almost anything and gain muscle.  Those of us with more challenging body types have to use methods that break through the normal advice of gym trainers and muscle magazines.

Here is the link for this technique, but for now, the basics are as follows:


Progressively Lighter Weight

This is a technique that I have used that works for me and will probably work for you.

It uses a different weight for every repetition and starts with a heavier weight and works down to a lighter weight.

For instance, if you were going to do a set of barbell arm curls, you might start with 30 lbs. for the first repetition.  Then for the second repetition, you’d take 5 lbs off and do the curl with 25 lbs.  Then for the third repetition, you’d take off another 5 lbs and do a rep with 20 lbs. 


More Exercises, Fewer Repetitions

I believe that the more variety you give your muscles, the better they respond to growth.

Based on this principle, The Triangle Technique will have you do more exercises and only three (3) sets of each exercise.

Most exercise programs will have you do four (4) or more sets for each exercise.  I find that the more variety your muscles get, the stronger and bigger they get.

All of your workouts will be using The Triangle Technique.


Here is all you need to know before you can start your actual workout.  Go to Workouts for Men Over 40 – Exercise Guide for the actual workouts.

See you at the gym.

Published by "W" Tucker

I've been a fitness enthusiast for many years and want to encourage guys over 40 to get and stay in shape. It makes life better, and makes you look and feel better.

Join the Conversation


  1. I am 46 years old, and it gives me laziness to go back to the gym.
    But you are right with friends is much better and more fun, if you can help a charity association is a good cause to stay in shape.
    I’ve heard that to stay fit, food is 70%, and the other 30% is cardio is that true?

    1. I think that’s close to what is true. Food and eating right is definitely a major portion of your success in getting in shape and staying fit.

      You could actually do no cardio and get in great shape by having a weight lifting routine that helped you gain muscle. Cardio is important and can definitely help, but just walking on a treadmill is not good cardio.

      Thanks for the comments.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *