Turning 40 Doesn’t Have to Mean the End of Building Muscle

April 17, 2014 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug, The Food Bug


Forty is a big milestone for just about all men. While some men are actually excited about reaching this point, there are plenty who wake up on the morning of their 40th birthday and wish they could turn the clock back 10 or even 15 years. Although things like making fewer really dumb decisions and a stable career are examples of the positive attributes that often go along with reaching this age, there are also stereotypes about this age that plenty of men fear.

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One of the biggest concerns men have about this age is that it means their body is basically going to go to crap. For men who never really put a lot of effort into working out, this thought can make them feel like they missed out on their opportunity to ever build a great body. And for those who did take working out seriously, believing that turning 40 is going to tank their physique can make it feel like all that hard work is going down the drain.

While it’s definitely easier to build muscle in your twenties than it is in your forties, that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain and even improve after the age of 40. If you want to minimize fat and maximize muscle, you definitely can. In addition to using the right supplement like the one discussed here, here’s exactly what else you need to do in order to make that happen:

Train Smart

Plenty of younger guys make significant gains not because of their approach to training, but in spite of it. The most common mistake men of all ages make is overtraining. While someone in their twenties can get away with this, for those who are forty or older, working out too much can hold them back from ever making progress. You may want to consider deloading for a week every 8 weeks to allow your body to fully recover and continue to grow without injury.

Because overtraining is a real problem, it’s crucial to take a smart approach to working out. The first step towards smart training is always warming up. Although going fairly slow on a cardio machine for 15 minutes may seem boring, this activity plays a key role in preventing injuries. The next step is to use moderate weights. While you want to challenge yourself, you don’t want to absolutely kill yourself.

In terms of finding the right amount of weight, the best approach is to base it on rep range. For upper body, that means 8 to 12 reps. And for lower, it’s 12 to 20. Based on the range, determine the amount of weight you can handle while always maintaining good form. Finally, take a day off between each lifting session. For most guys, that means they’ll hit their entire body over the course of a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

In addition to lifting weights, cardio is also important. Not only does it help in terms of staying lean, but those over forty can really benefit from the positive effects cardio can have on health. Three or four cardio sessions a week is ideal. They should last for twenty to thirty minutes, and should consist of a low intensity exercise.

Eat Well

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Just as younger guys can get away with overtraining, they can also stay in really good shape despite nutrition habits that are far from ideal. The two big things to keep in mind are metabolism and cholesterol. In regards to the former, you’re going to want to avoid excess carbs and calories that will just end up as fat. And for the latter, you want to make choices that will help keep you healthy.

While you’re obviously free to experiment with the approach to eating that works best for you, many guys find that 4-6 smaller meals works better for them than three larger ones. In terms of what these meals may consist of, egg whites, oatmeal, protein powder, chicken breasts, brown rice and fish are all good staples to integrate throughout the day.

Anyone who says that approaching fitness at 40 should be the same as it is at 20 is either completely misinformed or delusional. But even though there definitely are challenges that go along with working out after 40, they’re not insurmountable. As long as you take the right approach, a great body at 40 and beyond is definitely within your reach!

Bryan Lester is a freelance fitness writer. After virtually giving up on exercise for several years, he fully recommitted himself to fitness at the age of 41. And now at the ripe young age of 47, he’s happy to say that he feels the best he has his entire life.

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