People often ask me about my training – usually folks in my own age group (50+), and on the basis that if I if have a found a route that works for me at this age, then it could be of use to them if they have the same fit-up and fat-down goals that I have.

So here it is!

This system is working great for me, and also produces results for my personal training clients. Please feel free to use any or all of the ideas and principles below, but always refer to a qualified Doctor if you have any concerns on whether any point below is ideal or recommended for you.

I was inactive, overworked and obese at 50 years of age. I decided to turn things round. At 55 I was a fitness model and a physique champion. And now in my later 50’s I have never felt fitter or stronger. This works, I promise you!


I try to work out twice on most days as follows


Cardio, abs and stretching. 

The cardio alternates HIIT and MISS – that is High Intensity Interval Training and between Medium Intensity Steady State.

So in each week I will do either 3 x HIIT and 2 x MISS, or the other way round (in the following week). 

HIIT is 20 minutes on treadmill with 2 minutes at a fast pace (gradually growing but currently 15.3kph) followed by sufficient time to reduce my heart rate to 110bpm, then repeat until 20 minutes is up.

 MISS is 40 minutes on cross-trainer, keeping heart rate at 130bpm


The HIIT or MISS is followed by 5 minutes of my ABS:100 – that is 30 reps of upper abs, 30 reps of lower abs then 20 reps each side of obliques. And that is followed by 10 minutes upper and lower body stretching.

I eat nothing before these sessions apart from either a RIPPED ft-burner from True Performance Nutrition or a couple of black coffees. Once the session is complete, I come home to an oats-based breakfast with fruit, nuts and protein shake on the side.


Depending on the day, this can start anytime between 12:00 and 21:00. Each workout taking between 50 and 60 minutes in-gym time, including some warm up time and rest between sets.

There is always a protein shake (with some fast carbs) to follow – I want around 40g-50g of protein and 40g-50g of fast carbs within 15 minutes of ending the workout – an amount of up to 400 calories.

I call my system ABC7, as it’s based on both the alphabet and the number 7. It cycles around the following five body part-based workouts. Each workout has seven exercises, focusing on all angles and movements of the body part.

• Arms

• Back

• Chest

• Delts

• Elevators

Elevators are Legs by the way – I just like the alphabet a lot!

strength training for older adults_2I perform 3 sets per exercise, therefore a total of 21 sets.

Each set I do 10 reps or failure, whichever comes first. I choose the weight based solely on previous performance:

• The first set is done at the weight used in the last set on the previous occasion I did that exercise and achieved 10 reps.

• For the second and third sets, I base this on the number of reps achieved in the previous set as follows:

10 achieved in the last set, then the weight goes up, 
6-9 achieved in the last set to reach failure, then the weight stays the same, 
5 or less achieved, then the weight comes down.

The specific exercises I do are listed on a spreadsheet. For example, for chest flat bench presses I vary between dumbbells, Smith Machine and a barbell.

To make all this work it is important to record the date, exercise, weight and reps. This ensures I vary the exercises within my exercise alternatives, and also records the final set weight per exercise so I know what the weight is for the first next time I perform that exercise.

If you want to see how the exercises are performed, or see some additional alternative exercises, I recommend looking at my YouTube channel – Chris Videos where I have all the exercises shown.

Finally, I usually don’t train on Saturdays or Sundays – keeping those for ‘life balance’. But if I’ve missed a workout in the week – either cardio or resistance – then I’ll pop that into the weekend if I can.

I hope that helps and can guide you in the creation of your own programme – whether you are over 50+ or not!

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans