Motivation is key to reach your goal. So, to keep you motivated and focussed, here is a list of SIXTY motivational photos and training tips. Now warrior, go and MAKE IT HAPPEN…
TRAINING TIP #1
– Prevent workout injuries by warming up for approximately 8 min before weight training (make sure the muscle you are training has sufficient blood flow and is warmed up). During workout, stretch the muscles just trained for 20 sec counts while resting between sets. Stretching has an important effect on increasing aesthetic look of muscles.
TRAINING TIP #2
– Water is a critical factor which plays an important role to create the optimal environment for muscle growth. Too little water and strain is placed on kidneys, muscles will struggle to grow and you will find it difficult to lose fat. Drink 2 glasses at waking up and 1 glass every hour while waking (filtered water).
TRAINING TIP #3
– Prepare all your food for the next day the night before and put it in ready to use containers in fridge. This way you are prepared an do not deviate from your diet plan. It plays a massive role keeping your diet on track.
TRAINING TIP #4
– Outdoor training is fun. But, be careful to make your training dependent on an outdoor training environment. It is a quick way to find excuses to not train (“oh, it’s raining”, “oh, it’s too cold”, “oh, the wind is blowing too strong”). Your training should be done in an environment which is always available and sheltered from weather to allow you to be consistent.
TRAINING TIP #5
– Vitamin D is crucial for overall health, especially lung health. Minimum of 20min sun per day on skin to activate Vitamin D. If your work is such that you cannot get sun exposure during the day, then use a Vit D3 supplement which is already in the converted form ready for absorption.
TRAINING TIP #6
– You cannot continuously punish the body with heavy weights and training to muscle failure. For the older guy this means injuries (tendons, joints, muscle tears). The older body need regular intervals of heavy (Building Phase) and light training (Cutting Phase) to allow for growth and repair/strengthening of joints and tendons.
TRAINING TIP #7
– To place the body in optimal growth territory eat a fruit like a banana or apple after training and drink 20g – 40g protein WHEY with water. This must be done within the first 10 minutes after training. The whey is to provide quick release protein to your system and the fruit is to provide a small insulin spike to help with repair and growth after training.
TRAINING TIP #8
– Muscle soreness for the same muscle group extending beyond 3 days is counterproductive. Then you need to lighten the load and intensity. When too much muscle fiber damage (muscle soreness) has occurred the repair-cycle is too long leaving virtually no time for the growth cycle of the muscle before you hit it again. This could result in no growth or even moving backwards in size and eventually injury. Target should be 2 days muscle soreness after a muscle group was trained in the Building Phase.
TRAINING TIP #9
– Allow one day per week to only focus on the lacking muscle groups. On that day, ONLY train the lacking groups. Example: If the left bicep is smaller than the right one, then ONLY train the left and not the right. Bringing all muscle groups to the same level will have a dramatic impact on your overall aesthetic look.
TRAINING TIP #10
– Your training “attack plan” must be changed regularly (monthly) in order to keep your muscle growth from stagnating. Sticking to the same attack plan will result in muscle growth eventually coming to a halt. Your muscles must be in “guessing mode” and do not know what is coming next. That results in optimal growth response. An easy way to do this is by cycling through the 16 different training techniques.
TRAINING TIP #11
– A “WOW” transformation does not happen in a few weeks or months. Anyone telling you that, is lying. Aim for consistent small visible progress on a monthly basis and a “WOW” change on a yearly basis. Your body has grown into your current shape over many years of bad lifestyle choices and unless you have “muscle memory” to bounce back on, it WILL take time to correct. Set your goals and timeframes accordingly for your transformation and be realistic.
TRAINING TIP #12
– Your energy, effort and time should go where it makes the biggest difference. Your diet contributes roughly 80% to your transformation success. Training roughly 15% and supplements less than 5%. Thus 80% of your time and effort should go into managing and tracking your calories and adjust diet to force results. 15%-20% of your total time and effort should go into the training and only very little effort should go into taking supplements. Also consider this breakdown when deciding how much you should pay for supplements.
TRAINING TIP #13
– No diet will ever be correctly tuned for your body. Each of us have unique circumstances and base metabolic rates unlike what mainstream fitness like to tell you. The diet you follow needs to be manually “aligned” for your body regularly (as the body changes it can quickly go “out of tune”). Your tools are a weighing scale, tape measurement and body fat caliper. You need to determine what changes there was during previous period in fat and muscle size. ALWAYS prevent a “famine mode” – this is where the body lose more muscle than fat. Whenever muscle has been lost, the daily calories must be increased slightly to get out of the “famine mode”. Your target is finding the “sweet spot” where the body start losing fat but not any muscle”.
TRAINING TIP #14
– Coffee is a great pick-me-up and can even help with fatloss. But more than 4 strong cups a day and you start to lose all benefits of caffeine and the negatives start outweighing the positives. Especially when older, to get the body to respond optimally one need to find the perfect balance. Even one serious misstep and the older body will fail to respond optimally.
TRAINING TIP #15
– Cardio kills muscle size. The bodies auto response to cardio is to limit muscle growth severely. The more cardio the more muscle growth will be limited. Even moderate cardio will have an effect. For the older guy this becomes a major problem as muscle building is already challenging. Thus the older guy should refrain completely from cardio until such time that he reached his desire muscle size and then slowly introduce cardio to the mix.
TRAINING TIP #16
– Steer clear from carbonated drinks or sodas. It has been shown to slow fat loss down. It makes getting rid of the “grey fat” (difficult to lose fat areas like “love handles”, lower tummy fat, etc.) even more difficult. Liquids consumed should only be clear filtered water. Bottled water is also a no-no, it contains too much sodium which makes fat loss difficult.
TRAINING TIP #17
– Optimal training frequency for the older guy is min 4 times a week and max 5 times a week. Anything less than 4 times a week and the body will struggle to grow effectively (It is considered maintenance frequency). Anything more than 5 times a week and the window left for muscle repair and growth is too short and growth will slowly grind to a halt. Remember, muscle do NOT grow in gym. It grows when you rest!
TRAINING TIP #18
– Although some guys have the necessary focus to train on their own, be beware! If you lack some motivation, then a training partner can help a lot with accountability in training. He can also assist with spotting on dangerous moves. But do choose your training partner VERY carefully. Ensure he has no alterior motives and that the mindset and goal is the same as yours, otherwise he can easily derail your training.
TRAINING TIP #19
– Be weary to incorporate too many machines into your weight training. Machines bypass most stabilisation muscles (all the smaller muscle groups supporting the move) and this results in uneven development which result in a less pleasing aesthetic shape body. The best shape always come with free weights with activate all supporting muscles with each exercise.
TRAINING TIP #20
– Do NOT exclude good fats (olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, peanut butter) from your diet. Fats are critical for your hormonal system to function optimally. Many a guy cutting, found out their testosterone levels are dropping like a stone due to all the fat they are cutting out of their diet. Fat should account 20-30% of your daily calories.
TRAINING TIP #21
– Never adjust your diet in a 14 day period with more than 10% caloric value. If you do, the body will take too long to stabilise due to the large change and your next 14 day body monitoring will be skewed and unreliable and most probably show fat was gained. Always make small changes to the diet.
TRAINING TIP #22
– Keep training sessions short and intense. The older body very easily goes catabolic (body starts using fuel from muscles = bad) during long training sessions and literally can result in muscles getting smaller or at best results in no growth. Preferably not longer than 50 min in gym, but definitely not longer than 90min (Mesomorph and Endomorph). (For Ectomorphs the absolute max time is 50 min in gym.)
TRAINING TIP #23
– As an older guy you ran a higher risk of training injuries. Warm up (light exercises for 5-8 min) before training and stretches (5-8min) after training becomes crucial to prevent injuries. A muscle cannot be trained if it has not been warmed up sufficiently (breaking a light sweat). The stretches after wards help on various levels, from creating a better aesthetic look, to prevent injuries to help lesson with the training induced muscle soreness the next day.
TRAINING TIP #24
– Although Creatine is considered the most potent bodybuilding supplements this side of anabolic steroids and with good science behind it, the older guy needs to monitor his kidney function when taking it. It has the potential to place strain on kidneys. Also note that without an “activator” the creatine will be worthless. An “activator” is something like Vitargo or grape juice which must be taken with Creatine to activate absorption. A lot of the weight when on Creatine will be water weight but it will help muscle growth and will also slightly increase Testosterone levels. The water weight will drop again when you stop with creatine.
TRAINING TIP #25
– MUSCLES DO NOT GROW IN THE GYM! BURN that into your mind. In the gym you only stimulate the muscle for growth but at the same time also do a lot of fibre damage as result of the heavy training. While resting (not training), the muscles start repairing themselves and only after this is finished does the growth process start. Too long and too frequent gym sessions interrupts this process too often and literally will result in no growth or even smaller muscles. Best approach is 50 min in gym per training session and 4-5 days training per week.
TRAINING TIP #26
– You should accept that getting sick is part of the equation of your transformation journey. No one escapes it. So, allow for it and accept it when it happen. Do NOT let it derail your journey, but do take sufficient time off to recover. Most serious trainers find that a 1-2 week rest due to sickness recovery actually resulted in a better looking physique than before due to the much needed rest the body had. A strong multi vitamin is highly recommended as part of your supplement regime to keep the body in tip top condition.
TRAINING TIP #27
– Squats is the no.1 leg builder exercise. Never go lower than a 90 degree angle with upper and lower legs otherwise too much strain is placed on the lower back. Vary your stances for max results. Narrow stance with feet (less than shoulder width) focus on inner thighs, shoulder width focus on whole upper leg, wider than shoulder width focus on glutes (butt) development.
TRAINING TIP #28
– No matter how much you change your routine around, the 4 compound moves that must ALWAYS be part of your training regime must be SQUATS, BENCH PRESS, WIDE GRIP BACK PULL-UPS and DEADLIFT. Those are key to whole body muscle development. Science has shown that keeping them in your regular routine result in higher levels of HGH and Testosterone being released than normal.
TRAINING TIP #29
– ABS and CALVES is of a different muscle fibre type that responds to more frequent heavy training than all other muscle groups. Thus, unlike all the other muscles groups which responds optimal for the older guy when trained to failure once a week, ABS and CALVES should be trained 2-3 times intensely per week for best results. Strong them behind normal workouts.
TRAINING TIP #30
– You should spend extra time and effort to slightly overdevelop the shoulders and traps muscles. These are the muscles that “frame” the male body and instantly provide a stronger look, in and out of a shirt.
TRAINING TIP #31
– Guys over 40 who are on a muscle journey should get bloodwork every 2 years on blood testosterone levels. Low T levels will make muscle building and fat loss very (!) challenging. They should aim to get blood T levels in the upper 20% of what is considered normal for optimal results. When low levels are detected, start the T-Manage plan (https://gertlouw.com/2020/04/13/the-testosterone-management-bible-for-men-over-40/) to systematically raise T to desired level.
TRAINING TIP #32
– The negative part of an rep must be at the same controlled speed as the positive part. Both lifting the weight and lowering the weight should be equal in speed and control. Both are of the same importance to stimulate muscle for growth and by maintaining this principle will result not just in optimal growth, but also an aesthetic look.
TRAINING TIP #33
– Forget about all the fancy pre workout and energy drinks. Apart from that they are very unhealthy, untested and can place in some cases severe strain on kidneys and liver, they also add in unwanted calories. The best pre workout for focus that also helps with fat loss while also healthy (if used correctly) is good old caffeine. But don’t drink the coffee version, get potent caffeine pills you can use 10 to 20min before training.
TRAINING TIP #34
– Over 40 guys should never start TRT unless you do not first get bloodwork done to verify your current levels. TRT is only necessary when levels are below what is considered normal, otherwise there is MUCH that can be done to raise blood T-levels through the T-Manage action plan [https://gertlouw.com/2020/04/13/the-testosterone-management-bible-for-men-over-40/]
TRAINING TIP #35
– When training alone do not underestimate the power of good tunes to focus and motivate you. You will catch very few of the top physiques without their headphones and pumping tunes when training. There is a reason for it. It can lift your training to a new level.
TRAINING TIP #36
– Cardio kills muscle size. But if you HAVE to do cardio while on a muscle building journey, then your best choices is cardio which have a large resistance training component. This include cardio like wrestling, Jiu Jitso, Martial Arts, Boxing, Swimming, Cross fit Training and Gymnastics. Cardio (with no resistance training component) to be avoided at all costs while on muscle journey includes cycling, running, aerobic and spinning classes and the likes. This holds true for all ages but even more so for guys over 40.
TRAINING TIP #37
– For great shape and also to ignite muscle growth, keep the weight for 1 sec at the apex (top position) of the move and squeeze the muscle being trained extra hard before lowering the weight. This is applicable to nearly all exercises and can have a great impact on overall shape and look.
TRAINING TIP #38
– Ensure you stay hydrated optimally during training. Keep a water bottle with you and keep sipping on it after each set. Aim is to drink just under 1L water during training. Even mild dehydration will result in a drop in strength and ultimately in slow gains. Dehydration also influence your weighing scale, body fat and tape measure readings which make your progress difficult to monitor effectively and lastly it also places strain on your kidneys.
TRAINING TIP #39
– You should make time after training to go and flex in the mirror (locker room or empty aerobic circuits). Flex and concentrate on each muscle group an hold the pose for 5 sec. This strengthens the “mind-muscle” connection and help tremendously to isolate and focus on a muscle when lifting. This “mind-muscle” connection must not be underestimated on your muscle building journey.
TRAINING TIP #40
– Rest is as critical to your grow as training is. Without sufficient rest, there will be little to no growth, the immune system will dive and you will get regularly sick, and injury will become frequent. ONLY the steroid junkies can bypass this principle. For us natural seekers balance is all important. At least 2 days completely off from gym a week and not spending more than an hour per training session in gym helps keep this balance.
TRAINING TIP #41
– If you struggle with hunger pains with your diet, then consider splitting up your 2 or 3 daily meals into smaller more frequent meals (6-7). This allow you to keep the blood sugar level more even and can go a long way in fighting the hunger pains. Since there are very little insulin spikes due to the smaller meals it might even contribute to your overall fat loss goal.
TRAINING TIP #42
– A body transformation journey based purely upon superficial reasons will always have a very high risk of failure. When your goal is more than just skin deep, but also about changing the “whole” you, then the journey is a worthwhile one that carries much more weight and thus the success rate increased drastically. You need to like the guy looking back at you in the mirror, the inside and the outside. The more weight your journey carries the bigger the change of success, it is as simple as that.
TRAINING TIP #43
– Oats is considered the perfect breakfast for the older guy. It contains Avena Sativa as active ingredient which is one of the most potent ingredients to stimulate man’s natural testosterone levels. With the older guy’s testosterone levels dropping year by year this makes is a “must-have” breakfast. The energy release matrix (slow) for oats is also perfectly suited for a strict and focussed diet. Nuts, honey, berries and cinnamon tastes great with oats.
TRAINING TIP #44
– The storms will come. You will have to deal with a training related injury some time in future and that will look like it will keep you out of action for months at a time. NOT SO! Whatever your injury, there will be other muscle groups that you can focus on. If your shoulder tendon is hurt, you train abs, lower back and legs. If knee is hurt you train upper body and so on. DO NOT STOP COMPLETELY – train what you still can. Your training will only be derailed when you stop completely. But be wise and train accordingly to allow healing to occur and consult a sports doctor not normal house GP.
TRAINING TIP #45
– Re-invent your “look” while on your muscle transformation. That means clean up your nails, nose and ear hairs. Grow a beard or do a fancy trim. Change that hairstyle (if u have any!). But, be sure to spend time on creating yourself a new clean look that show people you are on a journey of re-inventing yourself. This investment in yourself go a long way to keep your journey on track and keep you focussed. The simple rule is, the more that is riding on your journey (physical changes, muscles, your “look” and becoming a man of integrity) the better your chances of pushing through and reaching success.
TRAINING TIP #46
– BALANCE is a key principal to reach success with any life journey. You cannot eat, think and sleep just gym and muscles the whole time. You need to find a balance between all that is important to you; private time, fun time, family, friends, faith, wife/kids, work and gym. Award the time slices to each and continuously strive to adhere to the balance. Without finding this balance, your journey WILL derail sooner or later. No balance means your journey is not sustainable in the medium to long term.
TRAINING TIP #47
– Every 6 months do STOCKTAKE of your current vs 6 month prior stats. Did you add significant quality muscle? Did you lose significant body fat? If the stats are dismal, your approach is flawed or not dedicated enough. Something needs to change. Do NOT go year in year out with a flawed approach. Either tighten the screw or adjust your approach. FORCE RESULTS!
TRAINING TIP #48
– So you think this was going to be easy? NOTHING in life worth having comes easy. It will take some blood, MUCH sweat and maybe even a tear or so to get the body you want. The journey is long and quite painful but the rewards are plentiful (understatement). If you do this right you will be a completely new person, an attractive fit looking guy with a rock solid character and a man of integrity. People will look up to you with respect. There can be no better dividends in life…
TRAINING TIP #49
– Ensure that through the whole range of motion of lifting the weight, that your hand and wrist stays in a perfect straight line with your forearm. The moment you bend your hand/wrist at any point during the exercise, you place undue strain on the tendons in the elbow that may result in tennis/golfer’s elbow. This is especially important to the older guy.
TRAINING TIP #50
– The older guy should be mindful about his “fun” hobbies. Extreme is nice and exhilarating but injury downtime for the older guy can have a massive impact on his body transformation journey. The older body takes easily twice as long to heal and up to 3 times as long to get the same muscle growth response than that of a younger guy. The odds are against you so limit your exposure to unnecessary potential for injuries. This is especially true when over 50.
TRAINING TIP #51
– Most guys think it is just about the weight lifted that result in growth. In fact, MUCH more important is the focus (mind-muscle-connection) on the target muscle while forcing perfect form and technique. The moment you cannot keep perfect form is the moment you are not training the target muscle anymore and are risking injury. Doing the exercise right is MUCH more important than the actual weight that you lift. You should lift the maximum weight that allows you to adhere to this concept.
TRAINING TIP #52
– Older guys muscles are less pliable. This is one of the main reasons why older people have more training related injuries. An important weapon in your arsenal to avoid these injuries as you age, is to stretch for longer periods the older you get to help the muscle stay flexible. For example, hold stretches for 60 secs when over 40 and when over 50 for 90 secs. Guys older than 60 should consider holding muscle stretches in excess of 2 min. This stretching keep the muscles flexible and pliable and goes a long way to prevent tendon injuries especially for older guys.
TRAINING TIP #53
– Gym time target is 50 min of dedicated training (not socialising!). Apart from the risk of going catabolic when training longer than an hour, what also happens after 60 min of training is that the body starts producing significant more stress hormone (cortisol), which for the older guy is BAD news! Excess cortisol results in drastic lower testosterone levels and since the older guy is already fighting against dropping testosterone levels, it is something which needs to be avoided at all costs.
TRAINING TIP #54
– When your one arm is out of action, do not stop training with the other arm. With the available arm, train biceps/triceps/shoulders while holding the injured arm still. The good news is that a study by the university of Oklahoma found that the injured arm (bicep, tricep & shoulder) muscles increased strength with up to 10% even though the arm was not trained at all. By just training the one-arm, the brain still sends growth and strength gain signals to both arms simply by exercising just the other non-injured arm. A fair deduction is that this holds true for legs as well although that did not form part of the study.
TRAINING TIP #55
– Apart from that stretching after each set helps prevent injuries in older people and also can aid to a more aesthetic look, Boston researches found that stretching between sets actually INCREASE strength levels in muscles by a 20% factor. Now that (!) is big news and it means stretching the trained muscle after each set has just become critical.
TRAINING TIP #56
– Keep the pills far away after training. Anti-Oxidants/vitamins have shown through science to limit fat loss when taken in close proximity to the training window. Minimum 6 hours or further after training. Also avoid any anti-inflammatory or pain killer after training. A study by University of Kansas Medical Science has sown that they help zero for post exercise soreness (when taken straight after exercise) and they furthermore concluded that it might even suppress muscle growth when taken after exercise!
TRAINING TIP #57
– Dips work different muscles depending on where the elbows are. If elbows are tucked in (close as possible to each other) then the focus is on the tricep muscle. When the elbows are flared out (far as possible from each other), then the focus is on the upper chest muscle. So be mindful about your elbows when doing dips.
TRAINING TIP #58
– Apart from all the previous tips dealing with stretching, be sure to stretch your tight muscles (most of the time the shoulders, lower back and hamstrings) roughly twice as long as you stretch your other muscles that are already flexible. The problem is with the tight muscles thus focus on the problem and bring them to the same level as the other flexible muscles. This will go a long way to provide muscle or tendon injury for the older guy and as stated previously it helps increasing strength and aesthetic appearance of the muscle.
TRAINING TIP #59
– When you perform your squats and go too low, lower back problems will eventually be the result. A simply way to get perfect form to prevent back pain is to put a bench behind your butt. When going down with the squat, the moment that your butt touch the bench you should return to start position. Do this first with light weights before going straight to the heavy stuff. This way the squat will no longer contribute to back pain.
TRAINING TIP #60
– Injury is and always will be a major concern for the older muscle seeking guy. A basic safety protocol for the older guy when lifting any weights over and above the head is to squeeze the butt muscles tight just before the lift starts and also during the move until weight fully lowered. This squeezing of the butt muscles force the body to stabilise and protect the spine during the move. Overhead exercises generally brings a higher risk of injury.
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Happy training guys – stay motivated and grow!