Getting back in shape in your 40’s and 50’s

By Ivan Nikolov

I’ve been of normal weight, I’ve been fat. And, now I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m 44 years old at the time of this writing. I’d like to take a swing at this from the perspective of my experience.

Instead of pointing out the “conventional” biggest struggles to getting back in shape in your 40’s or 50’s I’d like to do is dig deeper. I believe that getting to the root causes is the path that offers a way out.

So, let’s examine the deepest problems...


By “acceptance” I mean acceptance of “what is”… and making peace with it. That’s the biggest danger that I see when we find ourselves in our 40’s and 50’s.

Acceptance of “what is” simply takes our power away. And, from that place of powerlessness not only is it hard to turn the ship back around but the intent, the desire to do so isn’t there anymore.

The bigger issue, related to “acceptance of what is” is CHANGE. The only certain thing in the Universe is change. Remember this: If it’s not getting better it’s getting worse. NOTHING stays the same!

Limiting Beliefs

Here are some big ones that a lot of us in our 40’s and 50’s accept and allow to become our default scripts:

  • It’s too late for me. I’m too old.
  • I have the wrong genes.
  • My metabolism is working against me.
  • It’s too hard. I can never do that.
  • I don’t have what it takes to get in great shape.
  • I’ve failed to get in shape so many times before. I’ll fail again.
  • It won’t work. What’s the point of even trying.

A word on beliefs. It doesn’t matter whether any belief you hold is true or not. If you believe it it’s true for you - it’s your truth.


After the age of 35, 95 percent of what we do is driven by unconscious scripts.  We don’t stop to think about what we do, we simply execute.

That’s called a habit. Beliefs turn into habits - we are running on autopilot. We keep being in ways and doing things that are not serving us, that keep us out of shape and miserable.

And, we aren’t even aware. The unconscious programs (habits) keep running, the outcome stays the same. Nothing changes. Or, rather, it gets worse (remember “change” from above?).

So, now the big question is: “What can I do about it so that I can get back in shape even in my 40’s and 50’s?”

How to get back - and stay - in shape

Reconnect with Your WHY

Your big “Why” will be the source of your change. It is the fuel that will keep propelling you forward. It is your purpose behind why you want what you say that you want - to get back in shape.

Why do you want to be back in shape? Why is it important to you?

More importantly, what is going to happen if you don’t get back in shape? Who else is this situation going to affect? How is it going to affect them? How will they suffer if you don’t get back in shape?

My sincere advice is that you sit down and take the time to answer these questions. Keep in mind that we will do more for other people than we will do for ourselves.

A huge source for your drive to get your health and fitness back in your own hands will be doing it for the people that are closest to you in your life - the people that love you dearly and deeply care for you.

If not for yourself, what would you do for them? How far are you willing to go for them?

Change Your Beliefs

We, humans, are the only animal on the planet that is gifted with the virtue of CHOICE. In that sense, we can choose to keep the beliefs that aren’t serving us, or we can choose to challenge them.

The choice is obvious for me - challenge them. It’s not an easy task - scripts that have been running sometimes for decades tend to have well-established pathways in the brain.

But it’s totally doable. And, it must be done!

There are many ways to displace old beliefs with new ones. The one I like is the simple questioning process that Byron Katie outlines in her book “The Work”.

Simply examine what you believe in and ask: “Is this true? Is this really true? How do I feel/react when I think that thought? Who would I be without that though?” And then find references/evidence that the exact opposite can be true or truer.

Interrupt and Change Your Current Behavior

Changing your current behavior requires Awareness. It requires that you become the subject being aware and observing the object.

This step alone removes you from your automatic scripts and habits - as Joe Dispenza says, “You are no longer the program.” You can now become the programmer writing an entirely new program.

Here’s how interrupting and changing your behavior can look like: When you wake up in the morning, instead of getting out of bed on the same side you get out of every morning (habitually) get out from the opposite side.

Instead of making coffee the same way and drinking it from the same mug, make tea instead and drink it from a different mug.

Instead of taking the same (unconscious, habitual) route to work, challenge yourself to find a new route to get to work.

Keep doing that every day. Keep being aware of what you habitually do. Interrupt, disrupt, and keep altering.

Over time, the things that you’ve always done habitually will start to shift. Your old choices and habits that weren’t supporting you in your health and fitness will gradually be challenged, re-examined, and altered with new ones that are supporting you in getting back - and staying - in shape.

A word of caution: Keep in mind that whatever you focus on expands!

If you stay focused on your biggest struggles that’s what you are going to be experiencing more of. The human mind works that way.

My advice would be to focus on the biggest opportunities instead. For example, you are now in your 40’s or 50’s - you have wisdom that you didn’t have when you were in your 20’s. You can work smarter, not harder.

Or, you can take a strategic approach and adopt a growth mindset (as Carol Dweck teaches in her book “Mindset”), which will then unlock the next levels that are available to your in your health and functional fitness.

And, believe me, no matter where you are at right now, no matter where you are starting from, there are always - ALWAYS - next levels waiting to be unlocked.

And, the only limit is the limit we set in our minds.


I help you get rock solid abs first then learn to defy gravity second, even if you believe that it's hard or impossible. My Tribe: "BODY MASTERY PROJECT"

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