Simple 3 Step Fat Loss Strategy for the 40 plus

In a months time I am going on holiday. There is a pool. I will spend a lot of time in my shorts as the kids love to swim. A month or so after the xmas festivities I am not exactly shredded!

I have about 30 days to combat this and get a little more pool ready so have put together a simple strategy to shed some of that unwanted timber. I am a big fan of simple so complex strategies will not work for me. I can’t weigh and measure etc (nor would I want to).

This strategy builds on my Paleo inspired diet that cuts out processed carbs and sugars whilst being highly nutrient dense so I have a good base. However this should work for anyone but diet will undermine

I am also being sensible with booze. I know from historical efforts that no matter what I do that drinking will undermine it. So, drinking is kept to weekends and only zero sugar, super low calorie drinks – basically vodka, lime juice and soda. Refreshing and does not have that sugar hit that pushes up calories but also has you reaching for another (and another (and another)).

Three Steps to Easy Fat Loss

I don’t want to over-complicate this so the basics are as follows

  1. 300 Kettlebell swings per day
  2. Cold Shower in the morning
  3. Reduce my eating window to 8 hours

Okay, that’s the basics for you TL/DR folks but those of you that want more information dive in below.

300 Kettlebell Swings Per day

The idea here is that this burns about 1000 calories per day but also builds strength, endurance and muscle – all good things for someone trying to look good with their top off.

There is a program out there that focuses on just this one change and folks get great results. Improves strength, lose weight, improve cardio – it’s a big win and very doable. I tend to think to get the best from any exercise or weight loss regime you have to further stack the deck in your favour thought with diet leading that charge.

It took me a while to get up to 300 but I know just tackle this in 10 sets of 30 swings. When I am tired I will start with a 10, then a 20 and then a 30 to get me going.

I usually aim to get around 90 to 120 done before I leave the house in the morning. The rest are just spread throughout the day. I am lucky here that I have a kettlebell at work that I can swing but you can aim to do five sets in the morning and five in the evening. It’s doable. It will take a bit of time and mental toughness but hey, that’s all good stuff.

I like to get a bunch done in the morning and then spread them out through the day. I have a sedentary job so I look at this as reestablishing a baseline level of activity throughout the day and not as my exercise regime. I also like to keep them going in sets spread over the day to keep my metabolism ticking over – rather than just letting my body adapt to sitting.

Men tend to use a 16kg bell for starters and the ladies can start at 12kg. I am a week or so in and looking at moving to my 24kg bell by the end of this week so results come pretty quick.

A tip is to keep your kettlebell in the most high traffic area of your house – typically the kitchen. For me where I cook, have coffee and just hang the kitchen is perfect.

Best advice I can give here is get your technique down (it’s a hinge and not a squat). Pavel is the KB master but there are loads of good videos out there so get a watching.

Cold shower in the morning

After I have had my coffee and done 90-120 swings I have a shower before I set off for work. I tend to have a standard warm shower and then go cold for two minutes.

There are many benefits to cold showers but the one we care about here is for fat loss. So, getting your metabolic engine running with some swings and then jumping in the shower and going cold for two mins all helps to get things going in the right direction.

Reduced Eating Window (Intermittent Fasting)

The 8/16 split is a common intermittent fasting technique made popular by Martin Berkhan at The general idea is you reduce your eating window to eight hours so you are fasted for 18 hours rather than the typical 10 hours or so between your evening meal and breakfast.

You can split this however works best but most folks find skipping breakfast is easiest. Certainly, in the context of stoking the metabolic furnace with swings and a cold shower in the morning you then have a good fat loss window till your first meal at 1 pm.

I am swinging at about 6 am whilst hanging out and drinking coffee at home and tend to have my cold shower at about 6:30 am and then jump in the car to head to work about 6:45 am. I am then fasted till 1 pm so my body has plenty of time to tap into those fleshy energy reserves.


30 days & 9000 swings

So, I head off on this short holiday on the 17th Feb. I am a week or so in. I will report back on how this hack has helped and whether I managed to stay sensible enough with my diet (read as drinking) to get the results I am hoping for.

Hit me up in the comments if you are willing to give this a go. 🙂

Cold Showers for the 40 plus

Cold showers. Brrrrr… cold. Seems like something that can’t be good for us right? But, if recent studies can be …

Granted the science is all pretty new but there are seemingly many benefits from punctuated exposure to cold water – the shower being the easiest way for most of us to do this.

It’s important to realise that these improvements are always incremental – they won’t fix a bad diet and lifestyle but if the science and chatter is to be believed cold showers can help with:

  • Fat loss
  • strengthening of the immune system
  • improvements in cardiovascular health
  • improved sleep quality
  • improved mood and alertness
  • depression (possibly better than any of the drugs!)
  • improves emotional resilience
  • Improved exercise recovery *
  • improved insulin sensitivity
  • raises testosterone levels
  • improvements in blood sugar
  • decrease inflammation in the body
  • increased pain tolerance
  • great for your skin and hair

That’s quite the list there. Just fat loss and an improved mood should be good enough for most folks. If this whole laundry list of benefits can be gleaned by this one simple life hack then is that not worth a shot?

* note – it may be worth waiting a few hours if you are looking to build muscle 

Stress – good and bad

To get your head around this we have to understand stress. Good and bad. Stress is generally only thought of as a negative thing. However, short, punctuated stress like we see after lifting weights, going for a jog or better still, sprint or HIIT training can be positive.

Our body adapts to this stress and improves. We get stronger, fitter, faster, leaner, can run further and can get more air into our blood more quickly. Positive adaptions to short bursts of physical stress.

Punctuated exposure to cold water is likely much the same – it’s brief and our body adapts. We have a hormonal response that benefits our health and mood in many ways.


I have been taking cold showers now for around six months. Daily. Pretty much. Few blips over holidays or Christmas etc but generally if I shower I do the necessary and then turn the tap to cold for the last few minutes.

During this time period, I have been under immense stress at work and with a house renovation so it is hard to say if I have seen all of these benefits. Certainly, I still have weight to lose but any diet hack is only a hack and booze + food will undo the benefits there (guilty).

I have not had any colds during this time, though. We have lived with relatives for a month who were just hacking and spewing out cold and flu germs. I have three kids who all bring home and kindly share germs they are exposed to at school. Usually, in the good old UK we can expect a couple of colds, possibly a flu and sickness bug if you have kids who kindly share their ills.

With all the general stress (business + house renovation) I would have been a candidate for one of these colds or flu bugs but… I have been rock solid. Few times I have felt a tickle in the back of my throat, others around me (wife, kids, family, staff) have got ill but I have always shook it off.

From what I understand the science seems to indicate that daily cold showers do indeed improve your immunity to viruses. The cold water shocks the body into warming itself up and raising the core temperature – this then destroys cold and flu viruses before they take hold. Given that most cold and flu’s take three days to incubate it seems to make sense (but what do I know other than I have had no colds). The same study also indicated that cold showers can shorten the effects of a cold if you do get stung so… I will keep turning the tap to cold.

Hardly science or a huge study but my experience over the last six months or so has been a positive one.

The real reason I take cold showers

I take cold showers to boost my productivity and to improve my mental toughness. We are all just so damn comfortable.

It is hard to turn the shower to cold. It is harder still to get into the cold water. It is tough to stay under that freezing water. To do this you have to be tough. You have to be prepared to be uncomfortable. You have to maintain the willpower to do this daily and quiten the voices that suggest otherwise.

A successful life needs a degree of discomfort. You have to do the things that are outside your comfort zone. Cold water is outside of most people’s comfort zone. So I take a cold shower every day knowing I come out of stronger and more prepared on the other side. Ready to face the day ahead and the myriad things I need to do to succeed (but probably would rather not if I took the easy route).

You come out of that shower and you are breathing hard, awake, alert and ready for the day. You are certainly no longer tired! You are ready to face the challenges and myriad other discomforts of a productive day.

And, hopefully, I benefit from all the other health and fitness benefits. But, if not, I would still take cold showers as they kick start my day and keep my willpower strong.

Cold showers – how to get started

There are a couple of approaches here:

  • 8 x 20 seconds cold & 10 seconds warm (4 mins total)
  • 2 minutes cold after a warm shower
  • 5 minute cold shower

The general thinking is the punctuated 20 cold / 10 warm is best for fat burning. Also, that 5 minutes is the max you should do. Personally, I sit in the middle and just do a two-minute blast of cold at the end of my normal shower.

When not to take cold showers

There is a study that shows cold water exposure after weight lifting can impact hypertrophy. So, if you are looking to put on size in your weight lifting routine then… don’t jump directly in the cold shower. I am no expert here but do your showers in the mornings before you train or leave it a few hours so you don’t blunt the effects of your workout. I would not throw the baby out with the (cold) bath water here though as cold water exposure improves testosterone so there are positives to be had if gaining muscle mass is your goal.

We cool?

Hopefully, I have got you interested here. Ultimately with anything health and fitness related I always suggest you give it a shot. Try it for a month. Keep notes. See how you feel. You can spend months going down the internet research rabbit hole so just give it a shot and see if it works for you.

Don’t expect miracles after a few cold showers. Determine some sensible measurements (cold, weight, body fat, sleep quality, skin and hair – whatever matters most to you) and review at the begining and end of the process. Take photos if needs be.

Drop a comment with any questions or to let me know how you get on.

Designing an Exercise Plan

I have two very specific goals for this coming year with regards to my exercise:

  1. Lose weight (and maintain it)
  2. Improve overall fitness (strength & endurance)

There is a third element here that is really a subset of #2 in that I want to improve on my mountain bike. This is the benchmark by which all of this will be measured.

To do this I want to really prioritise my exercise and design a plan that covers all of these bases. This, of course, has to build upon my ideas around creating a regular schedule and routine and ultimately cutting out all the sugar, alcohol and processed crap that has crept in to my diet.

Lose Weight

Assuming everything else is dialled in this one should be easy enough.

  • Drop all alcohol, sugar and processed carbs
  • Stick to my exercise schedule
  • Utilise a reduced eating window (8 hour on, 16 hours off IF style)
  • Eat a high nutrient density diet
  • Keep all carbs in the post workout window (evening)


I need to do a couple of things here:

  1. Lose weight – so burn some calories
  2. Get stronger – so lift some weights
  3. Improve my endurance – do some cardio
  4. Improve my anaerobic (high intensity) fitness – do some high intensity interval training

With the weights I want to improve raw strength and strength endurance so I need two different workouts in there. My high end cardio (anaerobic) is merged with my strength workouts + one short but high intensity dedicated session. My endurance is tackled by a ride to work and back on Tuesday + my Saturday bike ride.

As I am 41 I also need to allow for some recovery in there somewhere so there are two days when I only walk the dog!

Weekly Plan

My goal here is to improve on the mountain biking I do on a Saturday morning so I top load the week and reduce volume and training frequency to recover for the ride.

Version 1.0 of my plan looks like this:

  • Monday – high volume strength & HITT training at the gym (90 mins)
  • Tuesday – bike to work (1 hour each way)
  • Wednesday – pure strength workout (5 x 5 style) + bike tabata
  • Thursday – 12 minute metcon + stretches and recovery work
  • Friday – rest: 60 minute dog walk
  • Saturday – big bike ride at trail centre (measure results)
  • Sunday – rest: 60 minute dog walk

Getting started

I am starting this program on the 9th January 2017 so will keep you posted on my progress and tweak the program as needed.