Something I hear all the time as a trainer is “Phill, it’s so easy for you to get a six pack since you’re only in your 20s. When you get to your 30s, things will go downhill!” So, I decided to make a post about how, even in your 30s, you can still get an awesome six pack physique.
For both men and women who are aged 30 or older, the two most important factors that get you a yoga six pack or a flat stomach is your Calorie Intake and How Much Resistance Training you currently do.
Although eating healthy foods is great, none of that matters unless you are aware of how many calories you are eating. Depending on your body type you may need to eat more or less calories but, regardless, everyone looking to get a nice lean physique needs to start lifting some weights. Here are four steps to get a six pack in your 30s.
Step 1: Figure Out Your Calorie Intake
Calories are what provide us energy and allow us to function properly. There’s a concept called energy balance which determines how much energy we store vs. how much energy we expend in our body. Basically put, there are three states you can put your body into which is in a surplus of calories (excess energy), a maintenance of calories (balanced energy), and a deficit of calories (lack of energy).
A surplus of calories means that the excess amount of energy we consume will most likely be stored as fat. A maintenance of calories means that we will stay the same as we burned just enough to not gain or lose. A deficit of calories means that we are at a loss of energy so your body must take away energy from stored fat, muscle, and other things.
Basically we can control the shape of our bodies if we just understand how many calories you need to eat. If you want to gain, then eat more than your maintenance calories. If you want to shed some fat, then make sure to eat less than your maintenance calories.
There are so many diets that try to help with allowing you to eat a deficit of calories but they do so by restricting foods and even Cardiologist Lifestyle times to eat. If you figure out your allotted calories for each day, however, you can just make sure not to go over that amount and make sure to fill those foods with a balance of the three macronutrients.
We will go over macronutrients in another part of the article and you’ll definitely need a calculator for that section so make sure you have it ready!
Regardless of what your body type is, if you don’t have a six pack, your body fat percentage is too high. Most of us need to shed some fat for our abs to be visible so here I created a list of calorie ranges needed to lose that weight.
Remember, however, that you absolutely need to be doing some resistance training while you are losing weight since we need to build and retain muscle.
The first method is to simply multiply your body weight by 12 and see what that number gets you. For example, if you are a male that weighs 180 pounds, then you should expect your caloric deficit allowance at 2,160 kcals (180×12).
Just like in the other step, this is a very rough estimate as it is not specific to the individual and does not account for how active you are or how much muscle you currently carry.
Trial & error will be necessary if you want to find that perfect range of calories so adjust accordingly until you find a range that allows you to lose 1-2 pounds a week.
For example, if you eat 2,160 kcals for the week but did not see any change, try to go for 2,000-2,100 kcals instead. You’ll find that you can quickly find your calorie range after some adjustments.
This works for all weight so just do the same concept with the weight you got from the original Bodyweight x 12 formula that we mentioned above.
Method 2 revolves around using an online TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) calculator that you can find online. It’s basically a questionnaire that you fill out which will lead you to how many calories you should eat in a day.
Just like the other methods on this list, you want to make sure that you adjust accordingly to your lifestyle and see if the calorie range actually gives you some progress.
Slow and steady is the key here so make sure that you don’t drop your calories too fast. Let’s say, for example, that the TDEE calculator gives you a calorie range of 2,000 kcals per day with a certain macronutrient ratio.
If you follow everything exactly to the point and still have not seen any weight loss then it’s time to drop your calories by 100-200 for the next following week. You’ll be eating anywhere between 1800-1900 calories and will most likely see some pretty substantial results.
There will be a point where you hit a plateau and, when you hit that point, take a break from dieting and make sure to drop your calories once again by 100-200 till you see a change.
This is where it gets a little complicated so let’s figure out what we can do to eat more while we shed pounds of fat. There’s still 4 more sections of this article so let’s see what we can do now that we know how many calories you should be consuming.
Step 2: Figure Out Your Macronutrient Ratios
Macronutrients are what make up the bulk of our calories. The three macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Each of these macronutrients have a role in your diet and plays a vital role in keeping us functioning.
Let’s first learn about what each of these macronutrients do so we can go on to learning about how many of these macronutrients we should consume in a day.
Protein is the building block of muscles and allows us to repair and build muscle as long as we are actively seeking to workout regularly. It allows us to function and is in charge for the creation of tissue, bone structure, cartilage, etc. (1)
You always hear about bodybuilders who always aim to get more protein in which is due to the importance of building quality muscle. Muscle is what allows us to burn calories at rest which means we can eat more and still shed fat. This is why we want to workout on a regular basis because it allows us to build muscle.
Protein is directly related to how much muscle you will build and, getting that protein in while building muscle, is crucial in order to see some substantial results. Most of the American diet comes from carbs and fats which means protein is often neglected.
Experts recommend that we get 1-1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight which is the optimal ratio that has been tested from credible sources (2). Understanding how many calories you need to eat in a day is the first step in getting to your goals. The second has to be understanding a ratio of where your calories come from.
Let’s do some math to figure out how many calories you need to eat in a day. Let’s say you weigh 120 pounds. It’s pretty simple, you need to eat around 120-144 grams of protein in a day if you want to build some muscle. (This will not get you bulky it will just get you leaner)
This is, however, the optimal range for those who actively workout and seek a consistent training schedule. Pubmed states that the optimal protein requirement for someone with minimal activity is 0.8 grams per KG of bodyweight.
So if you don’t plan on working out while losing weight (which we really do not recommend), then that is the calculation you need to make in order to find out how much protein you need to eat.