Training for Health Rather Than Performance.

A new chapter, a new fitness program. It’s 10 years on from becoming a Global Fit Ambassador for Forever Living Products. I got back in shape, learnt to swim, completed my first triathlon, completed the full Iron Distance triathlon, qualified for Great Britain for my age group and competed at 2 European Championships in Duathlon. In that time I have, like everyone else, also navigated a divisive pandemic which has given everyone pause for thought in terms of how things currently ‘work’ in this world and what I value most. For the last 8 of these years, I have been laser focussed on optimising performance with the intension of winning races. My lifestyle and fitness program has reflected this.

I have been pondering a change in emphasis for a while now and during a Reiki session a couple of months ago, this crystalised in a decision to stop competitive duathlon. If you are in the Yorkshire area, I can’t recommend this practitioner highly enough CLICK HERE. This does not mean I’ll be hanging up the tri suit forever! Instead, my challenge will be to do a duathlon / triathlon for fun, rather than doing it to try and win. Is this laziness, fatigue, boredom, dissolving ego …. or is it a desire to train for optimal health rather than optimal performance (there is a difference)? It’s probably a bit of everything. Triathlon will always be part of my life. If you fancy giving it a whirl, here is a link to training programs for those who want to give it a go for the first time. FIRST TRI.

As a fitness expert, I understand the importance of tailoring a workout program to meet the unique needs of individuals at every stage of life and dovetailing that with their fitness goals. I will share my weekly fitness plan at the end of this blog. I will also share key points of nutritional emphasis that will, from my understanding, promote longevity and health span.


For an over 50 man, it’s essential to prioritize strength training to maintain muscle mass, bone density and overall functional fitness. It’s often quoted that men over the age of 30 will lose 3-5% of muscle mass per decade. You needn’t, however. Incorporating multi joint resistance exercises like squats, deadlifts, chin ups and push-ups can help build strength, increase muscle mass and improve balance and coordination. They can also assist hormonally as testosterone levels drop with male andropause; what some refer to as the ‘male menopause’.

Cardio Vascular

Cardiovascular activities such as walking, cycling, running or swimming can enhance heart health and boost endurance. A combination of easy (zone 2 or MAF intensity) for 80 % of the workout combined with high intensity for 20% of the session can be a productive and time efficient way to use the different energy systems and improve cardiovascular fitness.

Mobility and flexibility

Flexibility work is also crucial for a 50 plus man to prevent injuries, improve range of motion and promote overall mobility. Including stretching exercises and yoga or Pilates sessions can help maintain flexibility and joint health. My recommendation for the uninitiated is to do Pilates. For online workouts CLICK HERE. Gaining mobility with control rather than gaining flexibility without control is key.


Nutrition plays a significant role in supporting fitness goals at any age, but particularly for the over 50 man. I take a food first approach nutrition and where possible a plant based Mediterranean Diet with moderate calorie intake. Supplementation is important but broadly irrelevant unless you get the basics right. Lower calorie intakes are connected with longer lives, but it is important for those under 25 and those over 60 to have more protein making up that calorie intake. 0.75g per kg of body weight per day is a rough rule of thumb but if you are looking to increase muscle mass or, as stated earlier you are at the younger or older end of the age scale, this could be doubled to 1.5g per kg. I do and will begin to increase the amount of animal proteins as the years tick by to help with this. High quality, organic and preferably locally and sustainably sourced meats and fish are best. A balanced diet rich in lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats can fuel workouts, aid in recovery, and support overall health and vitality. Chickpeas (also known in the Mediterranean as garbanzo beans) are cheap and fantastic sources protein and importantly dietary fibre. They are my go-to ingredient drizzled with uncooked olive oil. Do take a look at the work of Dr Longo if you are interested in nutrition and living a long healthy life. A Key addition to this is a conscious effort to increase the amount of fermented food into my diet like Sauerkraut, Kimchi and miso. It’s great for the micro biome and therefore for immune health as well as being rich in K2 which helps with how your body deals with calcium if you supplement with Vitamin D, which I do. Acquiring your own scoby and making your own kombucha is another fun way to increase your intake. In addition, a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds each day will help look after the prostate. Meals are preceded by a dash of apple cider vinegar. When doing the ‘Zoe’ protocol, I found this really helped keep my blood sugars level. Other tips on glucose management from the Glucose Goddess here. Coffee is in but in moderation and usually pre-exercise for its ergogenic properties. Alcohol is also in but again in moderation and restricted to weekends. Red wine, preferably organic, is choice number one for its anti-oxidant content and a tot of whisky now and again because I’m Scottish.


Supplementation shouldn’t be overlooked. I take a variety of supplements. Here is a list of key ones and brief comments why. Quality is key so I have provided links to those I advocate.

Aloe Vera drink with joint supplements to support a healthy gut through its pre-biotic effect, as well as immune, skin and joint health.

Premium fish oils primarily for their ability to manage inflammation.

Bee Pollen for all round vits, mins and trace elements including quercetin that I feel helps my hay fever.

Creatine for mental acuity and healthy muscles.

L’Arginine, a precursor to the formation of nitric oxide ‘the miracle molecule’. Taken to optimize performance and aid recovery.

Vitamin D and B12

Micro dosing a variety of mushrooms is also of interest but as yet, an area I need to explore properly before recommending anything. It’s clear they can help with immune health and mental focus as well as some reports about protecting against dementia.


Fasting is a topic on its own but key is to eat the last meal of the day as early as possible and avoid late night snacking. This will give your gut a good rest overnight. Once a year I will do a 9 day cleanse, INFO HERE and once a year I will do a seven day longevity diet INFO HERE

Mental Health

A healthy mind is as important as a healthy body. Being in nature, grounding with bare feet as well as meditation are all really important to me. My preferred methods are using the science of binaural beats and Hemi – Sync advocated by the Munroe Institute. A good pair of wired over ear headphones rather than Bluetooth ear buds is best. Treasure and foster strong frienships. Get plenty of sleep … at least 8 hours if you can. Ditch the digital gadgets before bed.

Camping with friends at 'Sands' campsite in Gairloch

Lifestyle Plan

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to achieving fitness goals. Incorporating a variety of exercises, staying hydrated, getting enough rest, and listening to your body’s cues are essential components of an effective fitness program for an over 50 man. Embrace the journey towards optimum fitness with dedication, motivation, and a positive mindset, and you’ll reap the rewards of a healthy and active lifestyle. If you have a smart watch, check if it measures your heart rate variability. This can help guide you with training intensities and your ability to recover. If you don’t have a smart watch with this function, check out the HRV4training app. Here is my new road map ….. exercising every day (because we are designed to move) but with flexibility at the weekend to be spontaneous and relax if that feels right too. Sessions will vary every 6 weeks or so but the current emphasis will be on maintaining rather than improving current fitness levels.

Leave a Comment

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

Select Country:

Select Country: