Hit the big 40? It’s easy to think that time has passed you by and it’s too late to start bodybuilding, but you’d be wrong. Actually, this is the perfect time to get yourself into shape and improve your overall health with a brand new muscle building lifestyle.
Muscle building is a fantastic health-focused hobby to take up at any age. But for men worried about losing their masculine physique and youthful libido, there’s really nothing better for you to do than get lifting.
1 – Don’t Let Your Age Define You
You probably think you’ll be the only one in the gym over the age of 40, but you’d be wrong. In fact, it’s quite likely you’ll find 70% of the men pumping iron in your local gym are 40+. Why? Because it’s quite simply the best way to keep yourself feeling young.
T-levels may naturally decrease as a man ages; leading to muscle wastage, an increase in body fat and even a flagging libido – but guess what counteracts this issue? Bodybuilding.
The more you lift, the higher your Testosterone levels will be. And because a muscle-building diet also contributes towards higher t-levels, you’ll be on the road to eternal youth if you work hard and eat for a bodybuilding lifestyle.
As if that wasn’t enough, lifting is great for improving your flexibility and joint health. Plus, unlike some sports, done properly it’s unlikely to cause injuries, strains or ligament damage. Done well, it will actually increase the strength of those areas most people begin to develop issues with as they age.
2 – Don’t Be Afraid to Lift Heavy
Muscle is only built when you lift heavy – so if you’re playing around with 5kg weights here and there, give up now.
Just because you’re over 40, that’s no reason to lift light. Weight-bearing exercises are great for the bones and even prevent osteoarthritis.
Challenge yourself on a daily basis. So long as you’re using proper form and lifting weights which you can physically handle safely, you really don’t need to hold back.
3 – Be Mindful of What You Consume
No matter what age you are when you begin muscle building, you’ll only see the results you want if you sort out your diet. Use a fitness tracking app to ensure you’re eating the right proportion of macronutrients to support your training.
On top of this, supplement naturally. Don’t be tempted to cheat the system and take steroids like the young-ens at the gym. After all, steroids have lots of side effects and aren’t worth the damage to your health. If you’re building muscle at any age you should keep it natural. But if you’re slightly older, steroids can cause even more complications and react with other medications. It’s just not worth the risk.
4 – Eat Healthy Fats
The fat you eat can either kill or cure you. Especially as we age, we should all make sure the fat we eat is of the healthy kind. Avocados, nuts, olive oils, and eggs are all great sources.
This is important for cardiovascular health of course, but when it comes to muscle building, it has an extra purpose. Healthy fats promote the production of Testosterone and other muscle-building hormones. So omitting them will make it harder than necessary to get the results you desire.
5 – Cut Back on Cardio
Sure, cardio is great for your overall health. But if muscle building is your end-goal, you really don’t want to be training for half marathons at the same time. As strange as it may sound, too much cardio can actually lead to your body turning to muscle fiber for fuel.
Stick to a brisk 30-minute walk 5 times a week, but the rest of your exercise should come from lifting. Remember, lifting in itself can be pretty taxing on energy levels and the body in general.
6 – Work Out Regularly
When it comes to frequency, working out on a regular basis is far more important than working out for longer.
It’s easy to overthink this. But as a rule, you should be working out around 5 days per week, for a minimum of 20 minutes at a time. Don’t ever work out for longer than an hour – it won’t make your muscles grow any faster. What is important is that you firstly arrive at the gym, and secondly work hard while you’re there.
If you have a rest day today, tomorrow should be your workout day. Try not to ever take more than one rest day off at a time. This only serves to stop progress and can even lead to you losing the muscle-building mindset. Not what you want at all.
7 – Don’t Expect to See Muscle under Layers of Fat
Make no mistake – the minute you begin eating for muscle growth, you will begin to cut fat – especially if your previous diet was planned around the McDonald’s menu.
But still, this will take time. If it took you 20 years to gain all this fat, it’s not unreasonable to allow your body a few months to lose it. That doesn’t mean you can’t be building muscle in the meantime. And the best part? The more muscle you gain, the higher your metabolism will be and the sooner that fat will melt away.
8 – Don’t Feel Intimidated
As an older guy, it can be all too easy to feel intimidated by the younger guys flexing their muscles in the gym. True, they will find it much easier to achieve that sleek physique than you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get there.
They may all be harping on about bodybuilding competitions they’re entering and bragging about their bench press, but don’t let it get to you. Remember why you’re doing this in the first place – for you.
You don’t need to impress anyone, and you don’t need to feel like your efforts aren’t worth it in comparison. Every day you spend in the gym extends your life, allows you to feel younger and improves your mental health too. Plus, women really do love to see a more mature guy working out at the gym.
9 – Don’t Rest Too Much
Just because you’re not in your 20’s anymore, that doesn’t mean you’re ready for a retirement home after every gym session. Yes, we all need to rest, but don’t go overboard or you’ll slow your progress. One day on, one day off is a great system to use.
Even on rest days, you can do a brisk walk. Your body should be moving each and every day to maintain good overall health.
Over to You
You’re never too old to start weight training. Some guys don’t even begin until they’re in their 70’s – so really, you’re still a spring chicken. In fact, bodybuilding could be the start of a brand new you.
Weight training offers so much more than just extra muscle. For people of all ages, there are many more health benefits associated with the sport. From the many benefits of eating a healthier diet to the fact that you generally have to move more than you did before to get the desired results, you’ll be fitter than ever.
As a man with heightened Testosterone levels and a new-found sense of energy, you’ll likely feel younger. Not only will you feel better in yourself, but your libido will also improve and your love life may just take a turn for the better too.
With so many good reasons to begin building muscle after 40, what are you waiting for? Get down to the gym and get lifting!