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Online Personal Training, Online Dietary Consultations, Online Bio-Mechanically Corrected Bodybuilding and Weight Training Programs, Anti-aging Technology, Fitness, Health and Healing with Paul Burke, M.Ed."

Every day, I am overwhelmed with questions from readers of Exercise For Men Only. Many of these seem to center on supplements — especially the ones that purport to facilitate muscle growth. Because of this, I am going to continue writing what I believe helps men stay young and fit, along with some basic tips for you to follow. Most men seem to believe there is a magic bullet for keeping them young and fit into their later years. Believe me, it's really about dedication, smart training, scientifically proven nutrition and knowing your body.



First of all, I will reveal what I personally use for supplements, followed by how I eat and train. These things aren't anything exotic, because I believe the more simple you keep food and supplement intake and your training, the more you can control growth factors, the aging process and your outer appearance. Simple is better here.

1.) I do supplement protein, because I feel as though most days I don't get enough. When I am getting ready for a photo shoot or a contest, I mix one scoop of pure whey powder (no flavor) with equal portions water and apple juice three times a day — in conjunction with or between meals. This seems to work best for me when I want to get ripped. During the offseason, I might use straight apple juice or Gatorade and throw in a banana. Calories are not all the same, but I will get into that more in-depth shortly.

2.) Even in the "offseason," I try to eat as Dr. Barry Sears has studied and written about. For those of you who aren't familiar with his theories, he calls this type of eating being in "The Zone." This means that if I weigh 220 lbs. and have 10 percent bodyfat, I should take in about 200 grams of lean protein a day spread over 4-5 meals. I also eat .25 times that amount in the form of low-glycemic carbohydrates. This basically consists of vegetables, low-sugar fruits and rice.

I try to ingest only monounsaturated fats — these should only make up about 10-20 percent of your caloric intake, depending on whether you're building up to a photo shoot or a contest or just staying fit. Monounsaturated fat sources include avocados, macadamia nuts, olives, olive oil and canola oil. Do not forget, however, that it doesn't take much fat to add up to 20 percent of your diet, so use small amounts at each meal. Try to stay away from saturated fats, as they contribute to insulin resistance.

3.) I try to eat and train at the same time each day. This gets my body into a rhythm. The more you can do this, the better your body will function. Not only metabolically — you will have a better psychological perspective about all your daily activities. The body seems to thrive on such consistency.

4.) I also take all the antioxidants. These include vitamins A, E and C, alpha lipoic acid and selenium. Along with these, I take magnesium, coral calcium, fish oils, coenzyme Q-10, a multivitamin and mineral, and a B-complex. If I need extra roughage, I use psyllium husks. There are various other remedy-type vitamins I use if I am coming down with a cold or flu. As I have mentioned in the past, I never use anything that will enhance muscle growth through raising testosterone levels. Men over 40 should be warned that these supplements can and will raise PSA levels, which can lead to prostate cancer.

5.) Before a workout, I usually mix Gatorade or water with protein powder and a banana. I try not to drink the sugar-based carbo drinks, for this forces the hypothalamus to send a message to the pancreas to raise insulin and drop blood sugar levels. It also sends a message to the pituitary, which then sends a message to all the various hormonal glands involved to not release growth hormone. This would not be good, for you will have basically worked out for nothing. The workout may help your cardiovascular system, but your body will not release growth hormone if high levels of insulin are present. The way I make the pre-workout shake basically balances the glucagon/insulin axis, and I rarely feel tired; I always seem to pump my muscles to their fullest potential.

6.) Now let's look at my workout, in brief, so you can understand how and why I train the way that I do. First and foremost, I reserve all my stored glycogen and the glucose that is bursting from my muscles for weight training. I do not warm up on the aerobic machines and I don't do many warm-up sets before getting right to business. This has come through years of training and knowing my body. The one thing I will do first is stretch my muscles very carefully from head to toe. Once that is done, I am on to the weights, and I may do one or two warm-up sets for the muscle group I am about to attack. Once I feel blood is in that area, I go for a weight that is moderately heavy, but not so heavy that I can't use perfect form, and do rep after rep until the muscle is fatigued.

7.) In the past, I have tried to point out that you should find the most biomechanically powerful exercises for your own body for each muscle group. Do not listen to anyone but your own body. Try all the exercises and machines and find out where you feel the most powerful — where the form is perfect without shaking. Finally, choose weights that allow you to do at least 6-10 reps with the upper body and at least 15-20 for the lower. No cheating, no squirming, no yelling — just one smooth beautiful repetition after another.

8.) Do not do a lot of sets for each muscle group. Find the perfect two exercises for the upper body and the perfect three for the lower, and find weight that you can handle smoothly without any help or stoppage. When you can reach a point in your training where your form is perfect, then you can apply greater velocity and force to move larger and larger amounts of weight.

9.) Do not work out too often. The most I work out is three days over an eight-day period. Usually, I work upper body on day one and lower body day three or four, depending on how I feel (i.e. muscle soreness, general energy level, etc.). After the lower body workout, I give myself at least four days of rest. Then I work my back and arms on day eight, nine or 10, depending on how the week went. Remember, if any muscle is sore on your body, you shouldn't work out, because your body is still in a recovery mode. On my days off, I do brisk walking and/or swim for 30-minutes.

I have tried to give you an overall view of how I work out and carry on with a now-46-year-old body. Just remember, everyone is different, and one person may need more or less rest between training days, more or less weight and so on. I believe some people go to the gym far too often and do little but break muscle down. If you are smart, you will listen to your body.

If you have questions, go to exercisegroup.com and click on "Fitness Over 40,". Good luck with your training, and continue investigating your body's full potential.

- Taken from Exercise For Men Only (Paul Burke's Over-40 Fitness Column)