Fat Loss for Folks Over 50

fat loss over 50Q: Do you have any fat loss programs for men and women in their 50’s?


Yes, the same workouts I use with every age group.

A workout doesn’t need to be changed based on the age of the person. It needs to be changed based on the individual needs of the person.

For example, I’ve trained some folks who at 51 were fitter than 75% of people I knew under 25. On the other hand, I’ve trained 19 year old guys who had more body fat and health problems than the average 45 year old man.

Look at how fit Martiene is in the photo above…and she’s 74 years young, and still getting fit everyday. abs over 50

And check out Kerry, getting abs at age 51!

So there really isn’t any difference in what I recommend to people age 50 plus. Of course, the Turbulence Training workouts are flexible, and can be easily modified for every strength and fitness level. Heck, we’ve had folks from 18-81 use Turbulence Training. The same exact programs.

After all, I developed the Turbulence Training system while working hands on during thousands of training hours with everyone from 18 year old “stud” rugby players up to 77 year old cardiac rehabilitation patients.

I’ve also trained 18 year old high school girls and 65 year old women who had never exercised a day in their life. On the internet, one woman used Turbulence Training at 81 years young!

Let’s take a look at the Turbulence Training workouts to see why they can be used at every age group. First, bodyweight exercises are important for everyone. You need to be able to control your bodyweight getting in and out of bed, up and down from the floor, and on one leg at a time.

So in the beginner Turbulence Training program, we start everyone down on the ground and I shock them with how hard a “lying down” workout can be. It doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 50, if you are overweight you are going to be challenged by the planks, 1-leg hip extensions, side planks, ball leg curls, and kneeling push-ups. Turbulence Training ebook

Here’s just one of the Introductory workouts from Turbulence Training. What would you possibly make different for someone who overweight at 50 vs. someone is overweight at 35?

1A) Lying Hip Extension (8 reps)

1B) Plank (15 seconds)

2A) Bodyweight Squat (10 reps)

2B) Bird Dog (5 reps)

3A) Kneeling Pushup (8 reps)

3B) Side Plank (5 seconds)

4A) Stick-ups (10 reps)

4B) Ab Curl-up (6 reps)

Beginner Interval Workout A

But what about the injuries we get as we get older, you might ask? Well, anyone can be injured. You can have knee problems at 13 or 35, and so we adjust the program and work together as a team with physical therapists and chiropractors to make sure you get the best personal care to overcome your injuries.

It’s not age related. It’s individual specific.

I also believe that strength training is the most important aspect of any structured workout program. And I also believe, and this is controversial but I don’t care, that strength is more important for long-term quality of life than cardiovascular endurance.

I think over the years too much emphasis has been placed on cardiovascular endurance as a being a predictor of long term health.

As a result, not enough focus has been on getting men and women (but particularly women) strong. And when you are old and weak, you fall down and break your bones. And for most folks, that is a path they never recover from.

Of course, both are important, but you don’t need to be able to run a marathon to live a long life. (Of course, you don’t need to be able to squat 400 pounds to live a long life either, but in general, strength training needs more emphasis in fitness programs).

Okay, back to fat loss programs for folks over 50.

I can’t let a blog post finish without me repeating myself and saying, “Diet is more important than exercise for fat loss”. nutrition for fat loss

Hopefully you are getting that by now.

After that, folks over 50 need to focus on strength and burning a few more calories. A total body resistance training program, just like that for any other age group, will work best. If individual modifications are necessary, then we’ll make them, but the population of 50+ folks is so diverse, I can’t say that certain exercises are specific to that age group.

On the flexibility and mobility front, that might be a different story, but again, I’d still be telling you to use the same exercises I give someone at age 25 (stick-ups, etc.).

Frankly, the only “real” difference, in general, between a fat loss workout for someone under 30 and someone over 50 would be the music they listen to while training.

Agree or disagree? Let me know below!

And did I mention, diet is the most important aspect in a successful fat loss program?

Train hard but safe,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Click here to get started with Turbulence Training

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  • As usual, you’re right on the money. I’ll be 61 in June and I’ve stayed in great shape all my life by following the basic principles of healthy diet, strength training and effective cardio (high intensity intervals, NOT long slow distance!) I do strictly bodyweight exercise that I can do anywhere with no equipment, and my results speak for themselves.

    Thanks for the ongoing great information!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Nice work Robert!

    • Steve T

      Recovery time will be extended as we age. Otherwise, IMHO, we (as older folks) can work just as (relatively) hard as a 20 or 30-something. …We just need another day to get over the soreness, to ensure full tissue repair especially if we are just getting back into exercise.

  • Wazzup

    I think people over 50 need more time to recover from strenuous workouts over people under 20. That might be an issue (especially when they need more exercise)

  • I’m still a young guy, but understand the value of bodyweight training. Free weights are important as well, but I feel it’s a lot more easier to get someone to workout when they’re afraid of weights. You can start them with bodyweight training and then ease them into weight training. Another great post Mr. Ballantyne!

  • Alan

    Quite right. As a youngster in High School I lifted weights and and had a respectable physique. The intervening 36 years were spent eating and drinking whatever I wanted. I must have good genetics because the damage wasn’t too bad. When I restarted weight training at 50 my progress was fairly rapid. I only wish I had kept up the training all along. Thanks for the great posts.

  • jcarlos

    Great blog. As much of a follower of Rick Kaselg and Dan Ritchie among others that I am of your work, I have to interject as a therapeutic trainer specializing in bay boomer fitness. Folks over 50 tend to need more guidance in proper periodization that not only includes strength but also power and stability. The example I often use is the one of my 87 yr. old guy sprinting on the crosswalk before the stop light changes green. He may have strong legs to sprint but if he beef” the curb due to the lack of power component, then we are calling Rick K for DVD on Fix My Hip…lol
    Your thoughts?

    • This article was not written for the 87 year old, but for the person between 50-65. Thanks.