Age is a great barrier to building muscle mass, but like every barrier, it is surmountable.
When you are over 40, your body starts losing muscle mass. This consequently slows down your metabolism and makes your body hold on to fat.
The fact that folks over 40 have a lot going on in their lives doesn’t help either. Making time for exercise can be hard and trying to build lean mass can be even harder. But nothing is impossible.
There are several strategies you can use to boost muscle growth after 40 whether you’re a man or a woman. That’s right, women over 40 can also use the strategies below to build lean muscle.
Secrets to Building Lean Muscle After 40
1. Start Anyhow
The hardest part of the journey to lean mass is starting. Even if you haven’t exercised in a while, push yourself and start taking action.
The good news is you don’t need a gym membership to get started. You can start doing short bodyweight workouts in your home today.
Whatever you do, start moving and build momentum. Then set incremental milestones for yourself as you progress. Your results might be slow and more difficult, but there will be no gains if you procrastinate.
2. Eat Right
Much has been said about the importance of nutrition in muscle gain. Muscle growth requires nutrients and calories, and your body needs adequate nutrition to power your workouts.
It is important to consume carbs and proteins to build muscle. Eat carbs before your workouts to get the energy you need to push through your workouts. Then include plenty of protein to supply the nutrients the body needs to repair and build muscles.
Also, eliminate processed and refined food products from your diet.
While you need regular workouts, you also need a healthy, well-balanced diet consisting of all the food classes that will help achieve rapid muscle growth.
You won’t have the energy to complete reps if your diet lacks carbohydrates and low protein consumption will make muscle recovery more difficult and longer.
3. Stretch after Exercise
Recent studies show that stretching has been overrated in exercise, but this activity plays an important role in post-workout recovery.
You need to stretch out muscles that feel stiff or tight after workouts. Also, make sure you have the correct flexibility in all the right places. Your glutes, hip flexors, and hamstrings are notorious muscles that can stiffen.
Static stretches can help improve flexibility, especially for people over 40 who are looking to build muscle mass. Make sure to practice stretching for at least 5 minutes after workout sessions to increase flexibility.
If you prefer to stretch before workouts, use dynamic stretches.
4. Perfect Your Form
As you grow older, your body gets weaker and becomes inefficient at making repairs. This means mistakes in your form and technique will be a lot costlier to your body and muscle goals.
Learn how to perform each exercise in your routine properly. And do a full range of motion in each rep.
It’s better to do easier exercises properly than do challenging ones wrongly. Start with easy exercises and then advance to more challenging ones, as you get stronger.
5. Shorter Workouts May Be Better
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym every day. You can increase muscle mass doing short workouts of 10 to 15 minutes.
It’s easier to exercise consistently if your routine has short workouts. They require less time and less willpower. You can do them even when you’re feeling demotivated.
Long workouts, on the other hand, require lots of time and discipline. If you’re a beginner trying to get in shape, I recommend you start with short workouts. You can start doing longer workouts once you become consistent.
The other thing about short workouts is you can do them every day and not suffer burn out.
6. Set Your Own Pace
Your body cannot withstand the same level of challenges it withstood when you were in your 20s.
Regardless of how lofty your goals are, don’t be too hard on yourself. You can start with easy bodyweight exercises before advancing to more challenging ones like pull ups.
You may also want to avoid high impact exercises such as box jumps and sprinting since they have a higher risk of injury.
7. Give Your Lower Body More Attention
Skipping leg day after 40 is a huge mistake. You’ll end up lacking balance and stability, which are vital as we age.
More importantly, your legs and glutes are the biggest muscle groups in your body. This means training them will increase lean muscle faster than training the upper body.
Do lower body workouts 2 to 3 times a week. Frankly, training legs has many other benefits you may not know.
8. Get Enough Rest
For fast muscle growth, your body needs enough rest. Muscle repair and rehabilitation take place during the resting period, and that is one of the most important aspects of building lean muscle after 40.
Avoid training every day, especially if you’re doing long and hard workouts.
Training hard consistently will exhaust your muscles and increase the recovery period. In the end, you will become weaker and unable to train.
However, if you’re doing short workouts, you can train every day and not suffer burn out. With short workouts, you can recover while sleeping so make sure you get enough sleep.
9. Drop the Cardio
Do you need intense cardio workouts while trying to build lean muscle? No, you don’t. Walking, yoga, tai chi, and other low-intensity workouts are better for days you are not strength training.
If you love running, limit to two sessions a week. Focus on strength training if you want to build muscle after 40.
10. Stay Consistent
When you are over 40, muscle growth will be slower. But you will get the right results if you stay consistent with your program. Make sure to perfect your technique and exercise consistently. Over time, the results you want will materialize.
If you prefer to exercise at home, take a keen look at this program. It’s ideal for beginners and it targets every single muscle in your body, which means it will help you build lean muscle fast.