I can confirm that your principles work. I started lifting heavy at 50. I eat my macros and lost a pound a month for 2 years while making big muscle gains. I lift heavy. Since I have actual back disk issues I avoid dead lifts and squats and anything over head, that hasn't limited my gains. I lift 3 days per week, everything 3 sets,5-7 reps, heavy.lots of protein. Good form, heavy. I now look and feel great. I only spend 40 minutes in the gym by not sitting and resting at the same station but keep movingnon to the next station, almost like HIIT. That way, it is very aerobic and doesn't take a lot of time to get in 3 sets of all exercises. I'm proof that lifting smart and heavy over 50 can result in great gains. Thanks for the confirmation if what I already know works. No flapping your and and legs around with light weights. THANKS!


Lmao - omg, what a great sense of humor, loved it. All right on target.
55, lifting heavy, feeling strong.
Best shape of my life at 49, almost back there. Have a vision, believe it can be done, no excuses, make it happen.



I subscribed to a lot of these email fitness newsletters and blogs and i never write the authors but I am compelled to write you after reading today’s. I don’t know what your background is but let me give you a little about mine so you know where this is coming from.

I am a retired police officer from El Paso, so we are neighbors kinda sorta :). I retired relatively young and went back to school so that i could learn a bit more about my passion, exercise and fitness. Long story short I obtained a Masters in Exercise Science. I dabbled in the personal training field and even taught for a few years at the university level. So basically I know a little bit about the subject.

To get to the point, I really appreciate the way you present your information with some of the science behind it! You don’t over do it but sprinkle in some biomechanics or exercise physiology concepts. I also think you present real world information not the hype so many others put forth.

Anyway for what it is worthy in my personal and “professional” opinion you are doing a great job! Thanks you…

Mark Gelfand

Followed your Old Spartan advise & lost 30 lb. Got back 32 in. waist and can run 8 min mile no sweat. Basically cannot believe what I see in the mirror. All pretty simple: run sprints, do a lot of yoga, resistance training and cut the carbs. I look and perform better at 55 than at 40.

Cheers, Keep it up.

Mike B

This is great advice Mark is giving. The way to stimulate your Testosterone levels & bring them up naturally is to lift heavy & eat properly. What I have found to be the biggest criteria for gaining Mass over 50 is to not worry about rushing back into the gym after your last workout as you can easily overtrain & lose muscle. So I have taken bits & pieces from top bodybuilders over the years like Mike Mentzer who used a 1-2 set to failure system as well as more days in between recovery scenario. Keep the main lifts going as heavy & safe as possible, don't skip workouts, eat very clean (lean proteins, and not after 8pm if possible). I have found ZMA to be a great sleeping aid that can promote better sleep & enhanced recovery.

Tom Temen

Solid advice. I am about to turn 51yrs old. I have had two shoulder surgeries in the past three yrs. No tears just frozen shoulders. I have people at work thinking I am on the juice. I have been active my entire life but my recent gains have people I work with amazed. Benching 315, squatting about 350 for reps. They have asked what my secret is and I say Recovery. We are older and we dont recover like we used to. I work each body part once a week. I do blast the hell out of it that once a week but then it has time to recover the entire week. This has worked for me along with some supplements, mostly whey protein.

Chris Barnhill

I'm happy to say I've successfully accomplished some short term goals using The Over 50 Fat Loss system. Time to stick another stake in the ground and continue toward the long term! My new short term goal is to drop another 12 pounds by June 1st. I'll track inches too because I know as the muscles grow the scale won't move as fast. I can live with that as long as the hip/waist ratio gets better. Progress posts on Monday's. I can do this.

Steve Smith

This is spot on, I'mean a 57 year old masters sprinter who trains 4x per week, in the winter it's 2 weights sessions, 1 sprint and 1 plyometric per week, summer is 1 weights 2 sprint and 1 plyometric session per week, I'm 6ft 2 in, 187lb with 10% body fat. Distance running pals don't believe how little running I do.

Chris Barnhill

The 28 day training session was a success in my opinion. We set a simple goal to hit, focused on that goal, and I was able to meet it. Your simple, yet effective, workout routines as well as your insights to my nutritional needs allowed that success to occur and provided me with a foundation on which I can continue to move toward my long term fitness goals. I especially appreciate your focus on us "older" guys. It's refreshing to know that, given the right tools and knowledge, fitness can be obtained and maintained at an older age without trying to workout like we did when we were in our 20's. I also think that this type of (on-line) coaching still has an element of accountability to it that can keep you on track. Keep up the good work Mark!

Mike Davis

So true. At 48 when I decided enough was enough and I had to get fit for life, I really wondered if weight training would make any difference at my age to my muscular mass. Three and a half years later I have added substantial muscle strength and definition, and as importantly I have made a huge improvement in mobility, flexibility, posture and even mental focus. One result of this is that I have absolutely no fear of getting older. I know I can be at least as physically and mentally capable as I am now for a few decades yet.


I love your approach "Don’t waste your time trying to out-train your crappy diet"
Not what I wanted to hear but probably what I NEEDED to hear.

Chris B

Beautiful day up here in the mitten state. Cooked up some protein in the form of a Brisket....low and slow...yum. While I was monitoring the temp of the beef, I got some yard work done. I found it interesting how I was thinking about the 5 basic movements in everything I did lol.

Here's another testament to this great system: I'm an IT guy and every 8 weeks or so I'm on call to handle system issues 24/7. Yep, this last week I was up. There were a couple of days when I was going on only a couple of hours sleep and lots of pressure to get things done. In days gone by, being a stress eater, I'd have indulged in a bunch of crap to "cope" and by the afternoon I'd have been really struggling to get through the day. This week was noticeably different. Even with little sleep, I was able to power through the bad days with energy to spare. Instead of eating the "comfort food" I continued to consume quality foods, which I attribute a lot to maintaining my energy levels. Though working out, I'm sure, has had an equal impact. Sorry for the long post, but this was such a positive and noticeable difference that I had to share. This system works!

Dan Chabert

Truer words were never spoken. It's really a must now to get off your lazy ass and exercise. You have to will yourself to do it. Otherwise it ain't happening.


I love your stuff man, I finish every workout with 4 or 5 farmer walks about 50 or 60 yards apiece with a 45 pound plate in each hand. I'm 52 and your stuff is changing my life thanks man keep up the good work

Ronnie Poole

Thank you for your help and encouragement. I have lost 25 lbs since Jan 1. I am in better shape now than I've been in 15 years. I have referred you to other 50+ men that need a "tune-up".

Ron Darr

Great workout this morning. Increased the weight that I am lifting, no rest in between moving from one exercise to the other. Feeling stronger and down 2 lbs since last weigh in two weeks ago.

Mixed it up today and did my old workout with machines/cables and was totally blown away by how much strength I have gained doing it the Old Spartan way! Everything has increased 30-50 lbs per exercise, did 3 sets 10X10X8 and just hit it out of the park.

Dennis Tristao

Need to weigh in again tomorrow. Don't believe the scale, it had me losing 7 pounds. That made it 9 for the month. Finally off my plateau. Thanks Mark!!

I have to add, "Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat, and Carry". Hard to believe now that about 27 months ago I was pushing up towards 400 pounds. Still have a lot of weight to lose to make goal, but I'm getting there.

Robert Buchholz

I just stumbled on your site and wanted to say I'm glad I did. At 53 I don't want to read a bunch of crap online about how I need buy all of these supplements to get back into shape. Just some straight talk as I see on your blog.


Great article.. love the straight talk. Heavy is it and rest is it.. I m 51 yrs old. 6 2 240.. I bench 430 for 3 never maxed out and my calves are killer if I say so my self..I can still dunk a basketball and run a 5 second 40 yard dash..I hit every body part twice a week as I did as a kid.. my question is about soreness and injury. I have twice torn all four rotator cuff tendons...I understand muscles heal..I m having no luck healing this rotator cuff and the tendons.. three months since second right shoulder surgery already back to benching 430 but the after pain is brutal.. any wisdom here?


The "Old Spartan" fitness program offered a series of exercise routines and health/wellness advice that fit my 'over 50' life style and provided results! I lost 25 pounds with the program and am on my way to losing more! I liked that I could fit this program into my lifestyle and am confident that I will continue this into the future. I highly recommend this program to my friends and colleagues who need a program to sustain their weight loss and improve their strength.


This was wonderful. I have been a distance runner for a long time and I am starting to notice the aches and pains. I am going to start the sprints this week!

Mike Reckner

I liked the way the coaching program broke the complex down to simple, actionable advice. Mark's approach makes you realize what's attainable with a bit of planning and commitment. I lost 25 lbs pretty quickly. I feel confident that I will sustain and continue to lose weight. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to permanently lose weight particularly if you've been incorrectly attributing the extra weight to aging.

Ron D

I have continued to lose weight and inches off of my waist. My wife actually told me to go get some new jeans this morning.

In December I topped the scale at 298 lbs, this morning the scale was at 267. I can say with confidence the catalyst for losing inches and making me as strong as I have ever been in my life is the Over 50 Fitness program. It taught me a new way to workout and reaffirmed our change in eating to Paleo.

Richard Thomson

Great advice, I totally agree 🙂


Your advice and recommendations are practical, effective and very helpful. I'm turning 50 in a month. For the last 2 months I have been getting in shape to get in shape, strengthening core and stamina. Through excercise and proper diet I've lost 14 lbs, cut inches off my waist and I'm now in a position to lift heavy weights. Next step, building muscle. Thanks for these suggestions!

David watts

Good article which gets it right. However, the essential points raised are also relevant to all age groups. I have always generated my best results by doing high volume sets of 6 reps with as much weight as I can possibly handle in reasonable form. I'm now almost 59 and train exacly the same way as I did in my 20's (though with less intensity). I'm not quite as strong or muscular but not far off. In any case, tue age is biological not chronological. Example - two guys age 60, one has genetic potential to live to age 100, the other to age 75... are they the same age?

Steve Huggins

Thanks Mark for the great advise. I'm thinking about complete heavy weight workouts without using treadmill cardio every other day. I'm 49 and have been working out for 6 months with little results. Cutting out cardio and concentrating on heavy lifting can be a good move. I'm open for any advice. Thanks

Rodger Matthew

This training helped me see and understand the relationship between exercise and nutrition, and has enabled me to drop my Body Fat Percentage from 21.7 on January 7 2015 to 19.0 on February 11, 2015. Overall, Mark's program gave me the skills and knowledge to accomplish that.

update 4/20/15

Hi, Mark...quick update: last "InBody" analysis was 155.2 lbs, 16.7% bodyfat ( down from start of 170 & 21.7% BF ).

5/29 update

BTW, I'm now 150.4 lbs, 13.3% body fat, +0.3 lbs lean muscle.


interesting and informative muscle building techniques for over 50's like me most of my personal techniques and eating habits are similar but I will try yours thanks


Hi Mark

Just wanted to say thanks. My life has seemed to reach rock bottom yet I train like a crazy person every day. I struggle to take a mandatory rest day. I have made lots of progress and am told that I look 10 years younger than I am, but reaching 50 has been radically tough for me. Seeing your "no nonsense", positive approach to training is another motivational tool to add to my toolbox of ideas and philosophies that keep me on the straight and narrow. Thanks man! You make a difference.


Enjoyed reading...I am 54 and still compete in bodybuilding. I agree with your points.


Solid truth spoken here. Simple things with a common sense approach is all that is required. I have been bouncing around from endurance sports (running, adventure racing, mountain biking) to strength training for the last 6 years. Now, at age 50, I have a laser focus on strength and muscle mass. I've always been on the thin side, but can testify that it is possible to get stronger and add muscle at this age. There are disadvantages to getting older, but that doesn't mean one must lay down and give up. Get your mind right, eat well, and grind out some solid workouts with HEAVY stuff and you are on uour way. I have basic barbell equipment in garage and have never worked out in a gym. If your goal is to get strong and increase muscle mass, follow the instructions of the author and keep it simple. It WILL work.

Patti Ann Ridgway

Great progression here...I got really tired watching! You gave a wide variety of moves to choose from so no excuses!

Jeff Hogue

The coaching program helped me understand my eating habits and the changes required to meet my nutritional needs to get healthy and not just go on diet. I lost 16 pounds during the program and 4 inches off my waist alone. The amazing thing was I did this during the Holiday season. I'm confident I can maintain my weight loss and look forward to continuing to not only lose weight but get healthy. I have told several of my friends about the program already and would continue to recommend it. It was a positive experience for me that I would suggest to anyone.