Whether you’re a father or not, you’ll have to face the facts of life – we as human beings grow older. Fortunately, that isn’t a real hindrance to your health and fitness as some would have you believe. In fact, training well into your middle and older years is great for your general wellbeing. With just a few small considerations, you’ll be as strong and healthy as you’ve ever been.
Building muscle after 40 is slightly harder than pre-40, but still more than possible. Naturally, you start to lose 0.5-1% muscle mass per year during your 30s and can come with a diminished ability to recover and a heightened increase to injury. Despite these problems you can plan around them to continue your muscle building regime despite aging.
As you age, so your metabolism slows down. This can be remedied by including cardio into your training regime, helping to counteract any increased weight gain from food. If building muscle is your goal, you’ll automatically benefit from a heightened metabolic rate, as lean muscle helps increase it.
Before or after any heavy lifting workout, try and get some training in on a treadmill or static bike. This will help warm you up or down and also raise your metabolic rate so you can burn off calories if your natural metabolism is slowing down. Try to factor in any injuries you have and keep your level nice and easy. The goal is to get the body working, not to injure yourself.
When it comes time to lift, you may want to consider dropping the upper limit of your lifts and instead increase the amount of reps you do. This is less stressful on the central nervous system as a whole and will still generate good strength and mass.
Nutrition-wise, you should be focusing on a diet that comprises of plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains combined with a lot of protein. The repair element of protein is more important than ever as you age, so make it a leading part of your diet. Healthy carbs such as brown basmati rice eaten a few hours before training may give you the boost you need to work out harder.
Treat resting like your workout
Rest is another hugely important component of building muscle that is sometimes ignored in our youth and becomes even more important as we age. You should include a rest day after each day of heavy lifting. This is not negotiable; rest while your muscles repair. Only then can you train to your fullest potential the following day.
As you’ve aged, you may struggle to accept your limitations. This is true of most gym-goers, even those in their 20’s. Everyone needs rest days and everyone needs to keep up their protein intake to build serious muscle mass.
Don’t be afraid to invest in some sports nutrition supplements such as Maxinutrition’s Promax range. These include a small serving of Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAS) that help your body recover and build size.
Heading into your 40’s and 50’s is nothing to fear. You can still build muscle and be in peak physical shape. Just ensure you get plenty of rest, mix in some cardio to counter your slowing metabolism and know your limits.