Weightlifting is an excellent exercise for individuals with goals of becoming lean and muscular. Despite the benefits, only 9 percent of adults in the United States use strength training to stay fit and gain muscle mass. Time waits for no one, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue building muscle after 40.
If you have fitness goals, sticking to them and finding the best diet and workout plan for building muscle is the best way to reach them. You don’t need to let your age prohibit you from enjoying the body, health, and life you deserve.
The good news is that you’ve come to the perfect guide to learn tips you can use to continue building muscle as you age. Continue reading to take your weight training and nutrition to new heights today!
Exercising and Building Muscle After 40
No matter how hard you try to avoid it, aging will eventually occur. It’s best to be realistic with yourself and your capabilities as you age to make the most of your strength training without causing new issues.
Odds are you’ve noticed exercises you need to avoid for your body’s wellness. Achy joints are a telltale sign to decrease the weight you’re lifting with specific exercises. The mileage from the previous 40 years will catch up with you, and it’s essential to know how to handle it and discover new ways to continue building muscle after 40.
Ask yourself about your progress with strength training and fitness over the past few years and use that as a benchmark on your journey. It’s also vital to assess how your body feels after completing a workout. Most of all, look at your motivations for going to the gym.
Knowing where you stand is the first step toward building muscle mass as you age. You can combine that knowledge with setting goals and taking the steps needed to reach them. Here’s a closer look at the top strategies to employ when building muscle as you age.
Be Clear With Your Goals
The most vital part of your strength training journey after 40 is to be clear with your goals. Reflect on what you’re attempting to achieve with your time at the gym. You can set realistic expectations and begin making plans to reach them.
If you’ve wanted to build larger and leaner biceps for the past 20 years and have yet to achieve that goal, it’s time to reevaluate. Set your goals and make the necessary changes to your diet and workout plan to make them your reality.
Make the Commitment
Committing to your fitness journey is easier said than done, and it will only get more challenging as you age. After 40, you will likely have a thriving career and a growing family. Finding the time to visit the gym and prepare nutritious meals is a significant hurdle you’ll need to overcome to gain muscle mass.
Building muscle after 40 requires consistent exercise. You can’t take extended breaks from your fitness routine and expect to see the gains you crave. You’ll lose significant power, mass, and strength if you take a four-week hiatus from strength training.
A commitment to exercise for two to four days each week will provide your desired results. Commit to consistency when you want to begin building muscle.
Eat More Protein
High-protein meals are essential if you’re on a journey to increase your muscle mass. Protein provides the nutrients for muscle growth your body needs, and it’s more critical after you surpass the 40-year mark. Animal and fish proteins are the best options for building muscle after 40.
After an intense workout session, you’ll enjoy the amino acids to help your muscles repair themselves. You can find other protein sources, but they only offer a portion of the benefits your body receives when eating animal proteins.
Combine your high-protein diet with food options that make you feel full. You’re less likely to make poor food choices when you feel full. You’ll leave that bag of empty carbohydrates in the pantry and find a nutritious snack to enjoy.
Use Light Weights and High Reps
It’s tempting to load the bar with tons of weight at the gym, but there are better methods for your body and muscle mass as you age. Lighter weights paired with high repetitions will help you get the desired results. Lifting heavy with each gym session is a one-way ticket to chronic aches and pains that hold you back from living an active lifestyle.
Pushing forward with heavy weight will cause the aches and pains to linger and could cause you to begin taking extended breaks from your gym sessions. Listen to your body and stick to lighter weights if you notice body pain after workouts.
Lifting light weights is an effective way to build muscle at any age. Learn to listen to your body and find effective methods to build muscle mass without causing damage and unnecessary pain.
Many weightlifters have a fear of cardio due to the idea it will shrink the muscle mass they’ve worked so hard to gain. Cardio in moderation is an excellent supplement to your weight training sessions. The boost your cardiovascular system enjoys will help you enjoy more impressive gains than if you avoided cardio altogether.
Your body’s capillaries will deliver more oxygen to your muscles during cardio. It helps clear out metabolites that build up during strength training sessions. You can recover quicker when pairing Wilson Supplements with cardio exercises.
Learn to Warmup
Stretching and using a proper warmup is crucial to protect your body and muscles. Stretching may have been optional when you were younger, but it’s one of the few defenses you have to prevent injuries when staying in shape as you age.
You’ll suffer an avoidable injury sooner or later, and building a warmup routine will ensure your muscles and joints are ready to tackle the strength training you’ve planned for the day. Design a warmup based on the exercises you’ll do for the best results.
Stretching and foam rolling will get your body moving before you move on to the more challenging tasks. Avoid following the crowd and find a warmup routine that suits your goals.
Provide Time for Recovery
Less is more when you’re building muscle after 40. You must provide your body and mind time to recover after a grueling workout. It’s a vital step for muscle growth and healing; skipping it will prevent you from achieving your muscle mass goals.
Space your strength training sessions to provide the maximum time for your muscles to repair and recover. It’s best to leave 48 hours between training sessions for the best results.
It’s also beneficial to invest in quality sleep. A good rule of thumb is to target eight hours of sleep nightly to ensure the energy you’ll need for the following day.
Incorporate relaxing practices for the days between your weightlifting sessions. Yoga and meditation will help you relieve stress and enjoy a flexible body. They’ll also spur muscle growth when you’re taking a break from the weights.
Listening to your body and taking breaks is essential on your fitness journey, but you should never be afraid to challenge or push yourself at the gym. Pushing yourself is the only way to push forward and reach your muscle mass goals.
Your age isn’t an excuse to reach for the lightest dumbbells or reduce repetitions. Your body can still handle a challenging workout, and you’ll only know what you can do if you push yourself to discover your limits.
Set goals for reps and sets, and stick to them. Consider lifting with a friend to hold you accountable during the early stages of your fitness journey.
Record Your Results
It’s an extra step many weightlifters refuse to make, but you must record your results at the gym. A training log will help you track your exercises, the weights you used, and your progress since Day One.
Write any information you find critical and relevant to building muscle mass. You wouldn’t build a home without tracking the progress, so don’t make that mistake with your body.
Eliminate any exercises in your fitness plan that aren’t providing value or benefits for muscle mass. Look for exercises you can eliminate to free more time to focus on practical exercises and stretching. You’ll get more from your time at the gym and make more progress toward reaching your goals.
Start Building Muscle Mass Today
Your age isn’t an excuse to quit strength training and let your body dwindle, and there are several things you can do to continue building muscle mass after 40. Eating a nutritious diet and getting quality sleep will provide the foundation for building muscle and living an active lifestyle. Use light weights with high repetitions, and take time to stretch when arriving at the gym.
Investing in your health is one of the best things you can do as you age. Explore our Health content to learn the tips and tricks you can use to live an active and happy life!