Tom Phillips, an author, and journalist, once wrote: 

Person A tells person B something wrong and then tells person C too. Person C is skeptical, but then person B tells it to them as well, and person C interprets that as a second source and is now convinced. Person C runs to tell person D the exciting news, whereupon person D tells person A, who takes it as evidence that they were right all along. Meanwhile, people E, F, G, H, and I have also heard the same thing from multiple people, and it’s become accepted as common knowledge.

In the same way, I’m sure this is where the myth of age-related metabolism slowdown originated from. Person A said: 

I’m 60. Getting old sucks balls. On a suckiness scale of 0 to 10, I would call that an 11...

Person B added: 

Crap… I can’t lose weight.

Then person C went: 

My metabolism is probably broken as fuck. On a suckiness scale of 0 to 10, I would call that a 12.

And person D wrapped it all up with: 

I’m 60 and I can’t lose weight. I’m sure it’s cos’ my damn metabolism. On a suckiness scale of 0 to 10, I would call that a 12 multiplied by ten.

Listen, age is not what’s holding you back from losing weight and getting fitter (I’m not talking about serious disease states). Your metabolism is probably as good as it has ever been even if you’re 60.

It’s because we don’t really have a slowdown of our metabolism as we age. A recent study (Pontzer et al., 2021) found that our metabolism is extremely stable over the years 20-60

Daily energy expenditure through the human life course

Even after age 60, metabolism starts to decline only by 0.68% per year. About 7% decline in 10 years. That equates to 140 calories if you consume 2,000 calories. Or a large banana.

You see, your metabolism isn’t affected by age. It’s affected by inactivity and the loss of fat-free mass. Notably muscle mass: 

Daily energy expenditure through the human life course
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So you’re not broken. It’s not too late to lose weight and change your body composition. There’s nothing holding you back except your mindset (again, injuries and diseases aside).

Fat loss fundamentals are the same whether you’re 30 or 60: 

This article should empower you because YOU CAN lose weight even if you reached the point in life where your idea of cool time is to sit in a rocking chair for half a day drinking green tea and reading a newspaper. 

Not only that but you can also build muscle all the way into your 80s (study 1,2,3,4). 

So don’t blame your age for your weight loss struggles. There’s time and place for this story. And it’s never and nowhere.

You might not become Mr. Olympia in your 50s. By “might” I mean absolutely 100% most definitely not.

But if you live in the same solar system as I do, you can both lose weight and build muscle pretty much until the day you become worm food. 

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Originally published by me on Medium on October 15, 2021

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