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Building muscle as an older adult

As you age, you’ll begin to notice that your gains are slowing down. This isn’t anything you’re doing wrong – it’s just the result of genetics. Sadly, building muscle after 40 years of age becomes more difficult as your testosterone production levels decrease and your ability to recover slows down.

It’s estimated that you begin to lose between 0.5-1% of your muscle mass after the age of 30 – so you’ll need to work hard to maintain your muscles and physical frame. Thankfully, all you’ll need is good nutrition and good training principles to keep your gains coming.

All about metabolism

The older you get, the more your metabolism slows down. This means it’s easier to hold on to fat and weight gain, thanks to a decreased ability to burn excess calories. However, you’ll want to increase your cardio so that you can drop fat and maintain lean muscle. As a bonus, having lean muscle helps increase your metabolic rate – so once you’re lean it’s easier to stay that way.

To add cardio into a regime, start any workout by slowly warming up on a treadmill or static bike. You’ll be able to burn off calories and get your body working. Don’t go too hard on the cardio though, as you don’t want to harm your body.

When you’re lifting weights, you’ll want to avoid the heaviest sets and instead focus on the amount of reps you do. As you age, your capacity for extreme muscular duress is lowered, so you’ll need to be less ambitious with the heaviest loads or risk injury.

Nutrition should remain the same as a younger lifter, with a focus on plenty of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and an abundance of protein. Supplementing with protein drinks can help you meet your increased demand for protein.

Treat resting like your workout

Because your body weakens as you age, you’ll need to start planning your rest periods like you would a workout. Rest is vital to help your muscles repair, which means getting an inadequate amount can be disastrous. A lack of sleep and rest causes a buildup of the stress hormone cortisol, which is catabolic and can impede your ability to grow muscle.

Achieving a good quality of rest is important, which means potentially exploring products like ZMA’s, which contain magnesium to help aid your rest and Zinc, which increases your testosterone. As previously stated, testosterone is a vital element of muscle building as it puts your body into an anabolic state, which is needed for muscle growth. Working out and resting up helps naturally raise testosterone levels.

What’s most important is that you don’t get scared of aging. As long as you keep your nutrition up to standard, train hard and rest enough, you’ll be able to build muscle well into your 40’s and 50’s.

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