Staying Lean Into Your 40’s

The below article has been contributed by my friend and Thai-boxing training buddy CR.

I asked him to share his personal approach, training and dietary strategies to stay lean and strong. Enjoy the read!

Let me start by admitting that I have an easier time staying lean than most people: I’m an ectomorph and both my parents are lean. So even if I eat like a pig and don’t exercise, I don’t get fat – I just get a bit soft and round near my middle. However, I’ve recently become leaner than I’ve been since my teenage years – I’d even call myself cut – and I’m happy to report that it hasn’t been particularly difficult. Indeed, at the age of 46, I’d say I’m much leaner than most people in their teens or twenties.


The catalyst for this came when I moved to Bangkok from Japan about a year ago. Here in Bangkok, I live in an apartment with an excellent 25-meter pool and a good gym. Also, in hot climates I find that I have less of an appetite, so I naturally eat less. Now, I work out six days a week and skip lunch almost every day. This simple combination has yielded remarkable results. Indeed, when I recently returned home, old friends kept commenting that I had lost a lot of weight and asked if I was okay. More than okay, I feel great and have more energy than I’ve had in a long time.


The basics of my diet and exercise routine are simple. I start my day with a workout. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, I swim in the pool, usually about one kilometer. I’m a former competitive swimmer, so this is my natural and preferred workout. On Mondays, I usually swim two easy 500s, combining freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke. On Wednesdays, I swim about 1 kilometer of continuous individual medleys of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Needless to say, the butterfly is the killer here. On Fridays, I’ll usually swim a set of five 200s of freestyle, which is also a killer workout, both aerobically, and for the arm, chest and shoulder muscles. Despite having been a swimmer for most of my life, this set really leaves me panting, especially if I push it.


On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I do a workout in the gym. I normally do about eight minutes on the treadmill, with a few incline sprints at speed, interspersed with a slower pace. Then, I’ll switch to the stationary bike for about five minutes of pedaling, again, alternating fast bursts and slower rest periods. Then, I’ll do about 50 sit-ups on the incline board, about 50 pushups, broken into five sets, and a variety of low-weight/high-rep exercises on the machines. I avoid weight training like the plague and don’t like machines much, but I do a bit of work on the machines in hopes of building strength for swimming. But basically my time in the gym is to work on my legs, since swimming doesn’t do much for the legs.


After either swimming or working out in the gym, I jump in the sauna for 10 minutes and sweat it out. I find that this relaxes my muscles and I think it’s good to keep cycling a lot of water through the system.


On Saturday afternoons, I do a muay Thai workout in Lumpini Park with Thomas, which is a killer workout, both aerobically and anaerobically. I find that the sets of high kicks bring me to my aerobic max, and I think this has a huge effect in terms of burning fat. Also, the kicks and punches work core muscles that are missed in my other workouts.


On Sundays and a few other days of the week, I do a short five-minute routine of stretches, which is basically the same stretching routine I learned when I ran track in high school. Staying flexible is essential for preventing injury and I believe it also keeps one from becoming brittle, a condition that is very common in middle aged and elderly people.


My morning workout usually leaves me in a very good mental state. I then return to my apartment, shower, and then eat breakfast. I eat a simple breakfast of muesli with pieces of a banana on top of it. I drink orange juice cut at least 50% with water (I find that most commercially available juices are so thick and sweet that they may as well by syrup). I also have a cup of tea. After breakfast, I tend to drink several glasses of water as well, to replace fluids lost during the workout and in the sauna. In Bangkok, I find that I have to drink almost continuously just to “break even.”


I then go to work, usually at a coffee shop with wifi (I’m a freelance writer and editor). I’ll drink a café latte or two while I work. I don’t worry about the calories in the sugar or milk. But, I don’t eat lunch and I don’t find that hunger is an issue. If I do get hungry, I might eat some crackers or nuts when I get home in the afternoon. I find that if I do eat lunch, I almost always have to take a siesta and the afternoon is basically a write-off.

My wife, who is Japanese, usually cooks dinner and this means that my main starch is usually rice, which suits me just fine. I find that a rice-based diet is far superior to most Western diets, because rice does not contain fat and is prepared without the addition of fat. Also, the Japanese diet tends to contain a lot of fish and vegetables, both of which are healthy and delicious. We end the meal with some fresh fruit, of which Thailand has the world’s greatest selection. In the evening, I snack if I feel like it, usually crackers or nuts, but occasionally potato chips, which I eat without feeling any guilt whatsoever.

In closing, I’d like to emphasize how easy this routine is: I exercise six days a week and I find every workout enjoyable. The workouts set the tone for a positive and constructive day. I never feel hungry and I don’t spend much time thinking about what I eat. The two keys are simple and easy for anyone to adopt: merely get one workout in a day, skip lunch, and eat a rice-based diet. Not only will you get lean, you’ll feel better and be more productive.


Weekly Routine

Monday: Swim 2 x 500m medleys (minus butterfly)

Tuesday: Workout in gym, focusing on legs and cardio (bike and treadmill)

Wednesday: Swim 10 x 100m medleys (including butterfly)

Thursday: Workout in gym, focusing on legs and cardio (bike and treadmill)

Friday: Swim 5 x 200m freestyle

Saturday: Muay Thai workout

Sunday: Stretching

by CR

Walking to Washboard Abs

A couple of years ago I conducted yet another one of my little experiments. I set out to see how effective walking workouts are in terms of fat loss.

Now, I was already pretty lean at that time. I guess, I must have been around 12% body fat but the “ripped” or “cut” look still eluded me.

My dietary approach was pretty good but not as good as my fat loss diet course in EBU ( and O2E (

For many years, I have used and tried out lots of different diet & exercise approaches. I’ve never taken someone`s word for it but always made a point of trying out certain exercises and diet plans for myself. This allowed me to accumulate heaps of useful hands-on data.

So, here I was, putting early morning walking workouts on an empty stomach to the test. I walked on a daily basis. Every morning, after a cup of black coffee or tea and on an otherwise empty stomach, I went for a 45 minute walk around my neighborhood. It was pretty early, so the city was still sleeping and there was hardly any traffic in this part of town.

While I did not walk slowly for sure (I am naturally quite a fast walker…), I did not especially push the speed during these morning walking sessions either. I just walked at a steady, relatively fast pace, trying to be disturbed as little as possible by the few traffic lights that were on my route.

After only 5 of 6 workouts, the fat loss I experienced around my midsection was quite astonishing. The external oblique, which are abdominal muscles to both sides of your trunk, became pretty visible after only a week`s training.

External Obliques

As I mentioned before I was already quite lean at that time, but the direct effect of daily walking workouts on an empty stomach were astounding, nevertheless. I must have dropped 1 or 2% body fat in a week.

Walking (or even hiking) is often ridiculed by “real” athletes and sports people. Unnecessarily, in my opinion. I am a big fan of walking (and hiking) and go for longer walks whenever I can.

Below is an excerpt of the “O2E” Audio Class Step 2, which explains a little about the muscles and joints involved when walking:

“Walking is fundamental to our physical, mental and emotional well-being. To walk is a very basic movement of man. The walking movement recruits the strongest joints and the strongest and largest muscles of the human skeleton as the prime movers.

The hip joint and the surrounding muscles of the hip, the gluteus maximus, often called the glutes, which are the muscles of the backside, the hamstring muscles on the back of the upper leg, the quadriceps, the muscles on the front of the upper leg and the muscles of the lower leg all work together when taking a step and moving forward.

The secondary movers are the muscles of the back along the spine and around the shoulder joints. As the arms move rhythmically to the movement of the legs and the muscles of the shoulders and neck as well as all the small muscles along the spine receive a gentle workout.”

Walking workouts make perfect sense at every level of fitness. And, as I found out in my little experiment, walking workouts done on an empty stomach in connection with a smart dietary approach promote definite fat loss.

They can be done at almost every weather and almost everywhere. Everyone can adjust the pace to their individual needs. Everyone can start at a length they can easily handle and increase gradually as they get healthier, fitter and lighter.

Obesity Pains & Solutions – Part 2

Made for Moving

Also, the majority of sedentary people do not seem to comprehend that our wonderful body is meant to move. We are physically designed to be active. We live in a highly adaptive organism (our body) that is constantly striving to change and accommodate for physical stress we place upon it.

Continue reading

From Fat guy to Hot guy in 12 easy Steps!

From Fat guy to Hot guy in 12 easy Steps!

When I browse through “b4” pictures, I am amazed…How could this happen so fast? How could this be so painless? It was actually easy…Who would ever believe that losing over 72 lbs (33 kg) in 8 months could be easy…

I don`t really recognize myself anymore on these “old” pictures.
Mind you, these pictures aren`t actually so old…

Just over a year ago, I was at a wobbly 240+ pounds (110+ kg) at a height of 5.83 feet (1.78 cm). My pants size was 46 and the pants were getting tighter. My Body Mass Index (BMI) – as I found out later – indicated that I was at Obesity Level II. And I was even gaining! Continue reading