Kevin Kearns posing in front of a boxing bag.

Burn with Kearns: “50, the new 30”. Train smarter, not harder, maximize your gym time – Kevin Kearns

By Kevin Kearns, contributing writer on fitness and exercise

Let’s face some facts here, just like death and taxes, we are all getting older. I like to say more seasoned, like a good stew, or a fine wine. But the fact is that we are all getting older every day. And we know that lovely mother nature (the b______) wants you to kick the bucket to make way for the next generation. Facts are facts, but you can’t dispute them.

However, as exercise scientists we can manipulate many variables so we can slow down the aging process. Now, before you go off half-cocked and say, “this is about steroids and HGH”, it’s actually not. There are other ways to play with the aging card, while we train hard and stay healthy. Or should I say, train smarter not harder. How do I know? Because I live it every day.

The big 5-0!

As of the summer this year I personally turned the age of 50!  Yes, the big 50! I’m half a century old, as they say. To put that into prospective my father passed at age 48. When I was kid, I thought 50 was old. Now you see actors like Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon approaching the same age. Times have changed because people, in general, are more health conscious. To add more to the perspective, I have been working out faithfully for 38 years and been personally training people since 1987!  So, you could say I have some knowledge, flight time, and it’s not my first rodeo.

Let’s discuss the variables you can manipulate with your workouts. Seven years ago, one of my top clients passed away due to cancer. He made it to 80 years old and would have reached 100, I believe. David A. was a great client, mentor, and friend. I started training him when he was 70 and stopped when he was 77, due to his disease. The one concept he used to say to me is “it’s all about moderation, Kevin. What is moderation at 30, is different than 40, and so on”. At 70 years old he would train 3 times a week with me, singles tennis 2 x a week, and walk 2 x a week for 1 hour. He could hit pads for 5 3’s after doing a Burn With Kearns workout.

Variable 1- Everything in moderation

The principle is simple. You are not 20 years old anymore. You need to treat your body like a temple and what you put in is what you get out. When you were 20 years old you had the time, energy, and hormone levels to spend 3 hours doing a chest workout. You blink and you are my age, and you have kids, a mortgage, and retirement (though I personally don’t believe in this). So, when you hit the gym, you need to be realistic. My workouts tend to be 30 minutes to 60 minutes or more. They include a moving warm up (5 to 10  minutes), interval HIT style training, functional strength and a 5 to 10 minute cool down. The great part about this style of training is you can hit more muscles than you knew you had, increase muscle endurance, increase cardiovascular conditioning, all while intensity goes up and time goes down. My best time has been 30 exercises in less than 30 minutes, and I’m whipped but can still work.

Variable 2- Change is good – Mix it up.

The 2 phrases I absolutely loathe in fitness is “I usually” and “I always” to do this work out. How can you expect results? Try something new. I started doing yoga in 2008 due to planter fasciitis  in both my feet. How did I get that? From running 340 concrete stairs 3 to 4 x a week for 1 hour. Yoga fixed it and I was able to run on trails within 1 year. It was the best decision I have ever made for my overall health and wellness. Over time I realized that yoga was a great workout not only for my body but for my mind. The other added benefits are:

  • increased flexibility
  • increased range on motion
  • increased mobility
  • increase mental toughness (trust me when it’s 105 degrees for 90 minutes you’ll understand
  • new exercises and moves that you can bring into the gym

Variable 3- it’s not necessary to kill it every day.

This is a tough one for us trainers and athletes. We think we all need to crush ourselves during our workouts. The fact that you are working out should be enough. Every time you train it’s a deposit in your Fitness IRA. If you don’t have an hour to train, train for 30 – it’s better than zero. This is a concept that really has to sink in. I have a client who’s my age and 200 lbs. He has lost 40 lbs. and is now about 200 lbs., he has a shoulder injury that we have rehabbed as well. It’s taken over a year to perform 8 pull ups. This is amazing to me giving where we started. He unfortunately has it in his head that he should be able to do 10 easily. Seriously think about it. How many 51-year olds at 200 lbs. that run a 30 million dollar company with over 100 employees can do even a single pull up? Take the small victories. The fact you can train daily is a gift. It’s not possible to crush every workout. Just shut up and train.

Variable 4 – Teach and old dog new tricks.

Joseph Pilates was ahead of his time and could have competed in multiple athletic endeavors. In the 70’s American Footballers were taking ballet to help with their balance, agility, and flexibility.  In my business, in work with hockey players, baseball players, football players, and lacrosse or combat fitness – it’s MMA drills and skills as well as striking pads to develop endurance, spatial awareness, balance, agility, and mental toughness. Your next question may be “why”’?  To prevent staleness, and to shock your body. What will you try today? Dance, surfing, kite boarding, kayaking – the sky is the limit, and these activities not only stimulate the body but the mind as well.

Variable 5 – Yin Yang, you must have soft with hard.

I like using steel and iron as well, but I also get a great workout from resistance bands. Try using a band workout for “unloading the muscles” after a heavy weights day the next day. We call it our “Rubber and Steel workout”.  Years ago, I thought bands were for little old ladies. Then  I realized that you can get a full body workout and mimic the same exercises in the gym with a simple resistance band. My bands have traveled with me from Alaska to Okinawa and everywhere in between. One particular time I was in the UK teaching a certification for Yarm Martial arts.  While in between sessions I went to a park with my band and strapped it to a pole. As I’m working out someone’s dog ran between me. He apologized and then looked at me and said, “Is that you, Coach Kearns?”  He was one of my readers from Fighters Only. The reason why when you go to China, they are all doing Tai Chi (Big hint here!!!)

Variable 6 – Listen to your joints.

When in doubt, listen to what your body tells you. If running on hard surface hurts, try trail running, or hiking.  Like box jumps? Swap out the box for a high quality fitness trampoline like JumpSport or try them on sand at the beach. This is a real “Uh HUH” moment. When I first was introduced to fitness trampolines, I immediately saw the benefit. I love plyometrics but man it does a number on your joints. I can get the same explosive power with these lovely gems without feeling I went 5 rounds with a UFC champion. The other added benefit is the recovery and regeneration properties. After training, lactic acid builds up into the muscles and that’s why you feel sore. Bouncing on a quality trampoline helps flush that out as well as stimulate the lymphatic system to stave off illness.

Variable 7 – Eat a Rainbow

There’s a reason why foods are different colors. They have different vitamins and nutrients. The Asian diet is to eat with the seasons. People in the Mediterranean will eat a salad with every meal. We as modern humans fall into a pattern of eating the same thing, day in and day out.  My exercise physiology professor once said, “As you age you either have decreased calories and maintain activity or increase activity and maintain calories”. What he was referring to was losing muscle mass as we age. Mix up your foods and eat differently each day. You need to keep your metabolism on its toes, too.

The good news is you can still build muscle mass at any age and stave off the B—-, Mother


Workout Alternatives

Box Jumps Hard box vs switch to Fitness Trampoline

Stair running vs switch to Trail running

Heavy dumbbell work vs resistance bands

Sprints Vs Yoga

Running vs swimming

Barbells vs Bodyweight

Wrestling vs Muay Thai

Cycling vs Pilates


Happy 57th Birthday to me – and  2 gifts for you ! 

As gifts to you, I’m giving you these 2 discount codes for all your support over the years!

The first code is for $50 off our new Burn With Kearns MMA conditioning basement tapes 

Vault!  – Launches on 7/15/23 – 30 hours of programming and lots of extras !

Normal price is $341 

Your price – today – for next 48 hours is only $99 !!!!!  

That’s a $200 savings ! 

Go to

Enter code – BWK57BDAY – for your savings!! 

Second gift is $350 off our Master coach MMA fitness trainer course 

Normally $1000 Yours for $649 

Plus take an additional $153 off with this promo code below 


With this code – it’s yours for 48 hours for $497!!

That’s a $500 savings!

Join our Burn With Kearns Eagle warrior nation – and commit to get fit!

Be relentless in your pursuit of your healthspan! 

For more information visit our new website – and

Coach Kevin Kearns 

P.S. This is a pre-sale offer for our launch date of 7/15/23 

After that date there will be no discounts like these !


Coach Kearns – Direct: 508 404 8503

Both of Coach Kearns’ books may be purchased on For more information about Coach Kevin Kearns, including scheduling speaking engagements and classes (both online and in person), please contact him at 508-404-8503 or [email protected].

Author of “There’s Light In The Tunnel” How to Survive and Thrive with Depression  – “Always Picked Last“ A guide to navigating bullies on Amazon and Audible

Coach Kevin Kearns has been coaching in the world of fitness, nutrition, and tactical self defense for over 3 decades. As the former conditioning coach to 15 UFC Pro Fighters, and ranked in the Top 5 in the UFC , he is no stranger to the the importance of proper nutrition and proper mindset programming. He has long advocated to all his clients – athletes or the general population – about the importance of programming mind, body and spirit. 

Coach Kevin Kearns BS FMS CPT – Former conditioning coach to 15 UFC Pros Ranked in Top 5 by the UFC Personal Fitness Coach, Author, Columnist, Motivational Speaker, Corporate Wellness Consultant, Youth Wellness Program Provider, Certification Specialist, Personal Self Defense, and Law Enforcement Defensive Tactics Specialist