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This question can be best answered with another
popular question: When is the best time to plant a tree? –
Answer: Last Year – because you would have already had
one year of growth!
The same applies to building muscle, it is best to
start early. It is safe to lift weights for muscle building in your mid to late
teens, as long as you add a good nutrition plan and don’t overload your joints.
You’ve got to accept that your body is still growing so a lot of your energy
still goes into that.
When you are in your teens and tweens it almost seems
as if you just have to look at weights and your muscles grow. At least to me it
looks that way – when I look at all the dedicated young guys and girls in my
gym training and putting on lean muscle, losing fat and getting ripped in no
For us guys in our 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond it
seems unfair that we have to work so much harder in the gym just to simply
maintain our muscle-mass, and doubly hard to put on any muscle.
As our metabolisms slow down, so does our ability to
lose fat and grow muscle fast. Everything takes much longer and requires more
effort than when we were young.
An additional hurdle is our recovery rate. We need to
allow our bodies more time for the all-important recovery time between workouts
– because this is where the muscles grow and damaged tissue is repaired. This
delay in recovery also applies to injuries, which are more likely to happen and
take twice as long to heal. So we need to be extra careful in our workouts.
This means proper warm-up routines, functional
stretches and an additional good static stretch after your workout are a must.
You may have gotten away with just walking into the gym, pumping iron and
leaving straight after, in your youth – think twice about it now.
Without an active plan of injury prevention as part of
your workout routine you are guaranteed a muscle injury sooner or later. And
that can easily put you back 3 – 6 months if it turns out to be more serious.
If you’re more mature in years and feeling a bit
disheartened by now reading this, see your discomfort as a wake-up call.
Be aware your body reacts slower, and requires more
effort and more focus on the exercises you do. Here are some pointers for any
guy who wants to stay fit and lean in their 40’s, 50’s and beyond:
1. Set Realistic Goals. If you’re re-starting after a long absence from the gym or have never
lifted up a barbell give your body time to get used to resistance training.
Your fitness is not a race; it should be a lifestyle that you’ll enjoy for many
years to come.
2. Keep Injury Prevention on your
mind all the time.
3. Include Functional Stretches
in your warm-up routine.
4. Weight-Lifting-Machines allow less errors of form. Switch from Free Weights to Machines to exercise more safely.
5. Concentrate on proper form and Take Your Time
with each repetition.
6. “Time under Load” is one of
the Golden Rules for muscle growth, use it to your advantage. This means:
Switch to lighter weights and slow down the time of each rep, concentrating
fully on each part of the pump.
7. Allow a minimum of 24 hours Recovery
Time between workouts.
8. As we age our need for Protein
increases as well. As a rule of thumb – if you train hard to add lean muscle
mass and lose fat you should have 1.5 grams Protein per pound of FFM (Fat Free
Mass) per day.
9. Hydrate with 10 - 12 glasses of water per day. As we age our hydration
levels drop, and an increase in protein consumption may put pressure on the
kidneys. Therefore, you should drink more than the recommended 8 glasses of
10. Consider adding supplements that support joint-health. Over time, the
flexibility of your joints may suffer, and Chondroitin, Glucosamine and Fish
Oil are known to protect your joints.
11. If you love using Free Weights (like me) and simply don’t want to give
up on them (like me…), team up with a Buddy at the gym and ask him or her to
“spot” you. You’ll be safer and may enjoy the added camaraderie and competition
that comes from training with a partner.
12. Most importantly – never allow your age or an existing injury/disability
to prevent you pursuing your fitness goals.
Science shows us that we naturally start to lose up
to 8% of muscle each decade starting at about 40 years old, which speeds up to
15% at age 70 - if we stay sedentary.
We owe it to ourselves to lift weights and stay fit.
It is no longer a matter of just looking younger and being more attractive in a
toned body. It is a matter of living a fulfilled, active and independent life
in our mature years.
You can ensure improved health and vitality by keeping
your body at optimal performance for many years to come.
Never stop training, never stop improving, and embrace
that the best age to build muscle is right now.
Michael Bannert is a “Grandmaster” Bodybuilder over
50. The pursuit of Personal Fitness and Well-Being lead him to create his
where he teaches how to get fit, lose fat, build muscle and achieve that
attractive male body for your mature years.
Disclaimer: This website is an educational service that provides general health information. The materials are provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind either express or implied. The website's content is not a substitute for direct, personal, professional medical care and diagnosis. None of the suggestions (including exercise, diet, products or services) mentioned should be performed or otherwise used without clearance from your physician or health care provider. The information contained within is not intended to provide specific health advice, or any other advice whatsoever, for any individual or company and should not be relied upon in that regard. We are not medical professionals and nothing on this website should be misconstrued to mean otherwise.