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7 Things Nobody Tells You About Gaining Muscle After 40

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Learn 7 things nobody tells you about gaining muscle after 40. If you are above 40 years old or are getting close to it, you should definitely keep scrolling to see what Max Posternak has to say about it.

Max Posternak is the founder of Gravity Transformation, a website focused on giving tips and training guidance for people looking to improve their fitness and lose weight. His YouTube channel has over 5 million subscribers.

See below for more details.

7 Things Nobody Tells You About Gaining Muscle After 40

As individuals progress from their 20s to 30s and beyond, the process of building muscle undergoes certain changes. Opinions vary regarding the ideal age to start building muscle, with some believing that starting at a younger age yields a more malleable body, while others argue that full muscle-building potential is not reached until the 30s. Regardless, as individuals age, adjustments in protein intake, exercise selection, rep range, and potentially hormones may be necessary. Unfortunately, there are numerous misconceptions, and most people lack knowledge on how to optimize their results as they age beyond their 30s and 40s. Max Posternak shared a video aiming to provide guidance on the ideal steps to take as you grow older.

Source: Barbara Olsen on Pexels

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First and foremost, it is crucial to understand that gaining and maintaining muscle is definitely achievable well after your 30s. Sarcopenia, the age-related weakening of muscles, was traditionally believed to start in the 30s. However, research indicates that most individuals only begin losing lean muscle mass around the age of 50, at an average rate of 0.4 pounds per year. It is important to note that muscle loss with age is primarily a result of inactivity and an unhealthy lifestyle, rather than simply the process of aging itself.

By maintaining a lean physique, an active lifestyle, and a healthy diet, individuals can delay muscle loss for many years. In fact, studies have shown that age does not significantly impact muscle growth resulting from strength training in individuals aged 18 to 39. Furthermore, even elderly individuals between the ages of 65 to 75 can experience comparable muscle gains to those in their 20s through strength training. Interestingly, research conducted on high-level older athletes revealed no significant loss of lean body mass or strength between the ages of 40 and 81.

These findings challenge the common belief that muscle loss is inevitable as we age, emphasizing the importance of an active lifestyle at all ages instead of using age as an excuse.

Another misconception is that older individuals require longer recovery periods between workouts. Contrary to popular belief, this is mostly untrue even as individuals age well beyond their 30s and 40s. Most people can still train with the same frequency as before.

While recovery capacity may decline slightly with age, the decrease is far less significant than commonly believed. Research has shown that there is often no significant difference in recovery capacity between young and elderly groups. For instance, studies have indicated that individuals in their 60s may take longer to regain muscle force compared to those in their 20s, but the older group experiences less muscle soreness.

Additionally, a study found that individuals over 70 years old recover at a similar rate to those aged 18 to 30, within the 72 hours following a strenuous eccentric training workout. The study observed no differences in recovery time for force production, hormone levels, and inflammatory markers. Similar findings have been observed in other studies, suggesting that individuals around 50 years old recover as rapidly as those in their 20s within the 48 hours following a high-volume isokinetic workout.

Therefore, age alone does not dictate the need to train less frequently. From a recovery and performance standpoint, regular training can still be maintained as individuals age.

Front Squat by Masters Athlete Benefits of Front SquatsSource: Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc

However, one aspect that may need consideration to maximize muscle growth as you age is the rep range, especially if joint discomfort arises. Research indicates that individuals aged 30 and above can achieve comparable muscle growth with both low and high-intensity training. In other words, similar results can be obtained whether using heavy or light weights. Nevertheless, as individuals progress from their 30s to their 40s and beyond, it may be more beneficial to focus on higher rep training rather than lower rep training with very heavy weights, particularly if joint issues arise.

Max Posternak talked about much more. In a nutshell, these are the 7 things nobody tells you about gaining muscle after 40 according to Posternak.

  1. You can gain muscle well after your 30s
  2. It is a myth that you will need more recovery time between workouts
  3. You may need to consider changing your rep range to maximise muscle growth (especially if your joints start bothering you) – higher rep range with lower weights is great
  4. Increase your protein intake
  5. You get more prone to injuries as you get older
  6. Focus on more controlled reps to avoid injury and due to the losses in motor efficiency
  7. Work on doing more training volume

See his video below for a full explanation of each of the points mentioned above.

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When it comes to working out safely for individuals above 40, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you exercise safely and effectively:

  1. Consult with a healthcare professional: Before starting any new exercise program, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or concerns. They can provide personalized advice and guidance based on your specific needs.
  2. Warm up and cool down: Prior to each workout session, engage in a proper warm-up routine to prepare your muscles and joints for exercise. This may include light cardiovascular activity, dynamic stretches, and mobility exercises. Similarly, incorporate a cool-down phase at the end of your workout to gradually bring your heart rate down and stretch your muscles.
  3. Focus on proper form and technique: Pay close attention to your form and technique during exercises to avoid unnecessary strain or injury. Consider working with a qualified personal trainer or fitness professional who can guide you and ensure you’re performing exercises correctly.
  4. Gradually increase intensity and volume: Start with lower intensity and gradually increase the difficulty and volume of your workouts over time. This progressive approach allows your body to adapt and reduces the risk of overexertion or injury.
  5. Incorporate strength training: Strength training is particularly beneficial for individuals above 40 as it helps maintain muscle mass, bone density, and overall strength. Include exercises that target major muscle groups, using a variety of equipment such as free weights, resistance bands, or weight machines. Begin with lighter weights and focus on proper form before gradually increasing the resistance.
  6. Include cardiovascular exercise: Engaging in cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or aerobic classes, helps improve cardiovascular health, endurance, and overall fitness. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week, spread across multiple sessions.
  7. Prioritize flexibility and mobility: Stretching exercises and activities that promote flexibility and mobility are essential for maintaining joint range of motion and reducing the risk of injuries. Incorporate static stretches and dynamic movements that target major muscle groups.
  8. Listen to your body: Pay attention to how your body feels during and after exercise. If you experience pain, discomfort, or unusual fatigue, modify or stop the activity. Rest and allow your body to recover before resuming exercise.
  9. Allow for proper recovery: Adequate rest and recovery are vital for the body to repair and adapt to exercise. Ensure you have rest days incorporated into your workout schedule and prioritize sleep to support overall recovery and well-being.
  10. Stay hydrated and fuel your body: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workouts to stay hydrated. Additionally, maintain a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods to support your energy levels and overall health.

Remember, individual fitness levels and abilities vary, so it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your workout routine accordingly. If you’re uncertain about the best exercises or techniques for your specific needs, consider working with a qualified fitness professional who can provide personalized guidance.

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Big muscles can be important for a variety of reasons, depending on the context. Here are a few possible reasons why someone might value having big muscles:

  1. Athletic performance: In certain sports or athletic competitions, having large muscles can give you an advantage. For example, bodybuilders, powerlifters, and weightlifters often prioritize building muscle mass in order to improve their performance in their respective sports.
  2. Physical strength: Having bigger muscles can generally mean that you are stronger and able to lift heavier weights. This can be important in professions that require physical labour, such as construction or manual labour.
  3. Aesthetics: For some people, having big muscles is simply a matter of personal preference or aesthetic appeal. They may enjoy the way they look with more muscle mass and feel more confident in their appearance.
  4. Health and longevity: Building and maintaining muscle mass is important for overall health and longevity. Muscle tissue is metabolically active and can help to improve your metabolism and reduce your risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

However, it’s worth noting that having big muscles isn’t necessarily important or desirable for everyone. It’s important to prioritize your own health and fitness goals, rather than feeling pressure to conform to societal expectations or ideals.

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