How does Muscle Building Change as We Age
Have you ever seen those ripped “older” dudes on Instagram that look like they could steal your girl any day of the week? Isn’t achieving such a healthy, strong, and muscular physique something worth striving for? Before you go on a rampage here, yes, it’s possible naturally; and no, it’s never too late or too early to begin your lifting journey to transform your physique from dad-bod to Greek god.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t have to adapt your training as the years go by in order to maximize muscle growth and keep the fat from becoming that friend that was supposed to crash for three nights tops and is now your permanent roommate.
Your body changes as you age, it responds differently to training stimuli; your metabolic processes and your diet requirements change; and your sleeping cycles fluctuate as well. This means that rather than being a passive observer, you need to actively work and adapt to reach your goals over time.
Here’s how muscle building changes as you age and how you can maximize your fitness routine to become a beast and ensure a strong and healthy future.
It’s never too early to start
If you’ve caught the early train to Gainzville, say at the age of fourteen or fifteen, then kudos to you! You will definitely have an easier time stacking on muscle and keeping the fat at bay in the future. Regular physical activity boasts a myriad of health benefits, and while kids should refrain from all-out iron pumping until they’ve reached their teens, you shouldn’t wait too long before stepping into the gym either.
Think about it, you’re still young when you’re 25; you’re strong, able and willing. But the guy who began his training journey a decade earlier will inevitably have a significant advantage and will probably have made tremendous gains in the process.
While you should have probably started exercising earlier, don’t worry; it’s never too late to begin your transformation either.
You’re not too old for it!
It’s not about starting at the right age so much as about listening to your body and training according to your needs. After you reach that notorious 30-year old threshold, your body begins to react to certain macronutrients differently, your testosterone levels start to decrease naturally, and your sleep cycles begin to shorten.
If you were a sedentary individual up to this point, now is the time to get up and get your ass moving if you want to reach your silver years with health, strength, and vigor. Strength and physical performance in males and females peaks between the age of 25 and 30, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t ride the gains wave until you’re well in your fifties.
Remember, you’re not too old for it, and yes, six-pack abs are way sexier than a beer belly.
Keep it heavy
In many regards, the key to a healthy body is to be as strong as possible throughout your life. Think of it this way: you’re in your 50s, you’re feeling good, you’ve just been blessed with a grandchild, she’s running into your arms, you bend over to pick her up, and SNAP! Something pops in your lumbar region and you’re destined to spend the rest of your days with various aches and pains.
You don’t want to end up with a herniated or ruptured disk just because you’ve sneezed (it happens more often than you think) or because a 25-lb toddler was too heavy for you. Training for strength is training for a healthy future!
Keep your workouts in the gym rigorous, involving heavy compound movements like squats, deadlifts and various presses, and your body will thank you. Plus, you’ll feel like a superhero, so it’s pretty much a win-win.
Push your cardio limits
Keeping the weights heavy doesn’t mean you should skip cardio altogether, and while cardio training should be a supplementary factor in your routine, you should raise the proverbial bar higher as you age, switching out traditional steady-state routines for more functional HIIT and GPP type training.
HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, increases cardiovascular endurance and raises your stamina through short bursts of intense exertion. Not only is HIIT more beneficial than traditional cardio, it also won’t make you want to kill yourself with a foam roller after jogging 45 minutes on the treadmill.
Likewise, GPP, or General Physical Preparation, is a form of training that combines endurance with strength. The style uses unconventional movements such as sandbag carries, kettlebell work and atlas stones, and combines them with a timer in order to make your life a living hell for 10 minutes or less.
Use these cardio methods at the end of your workout to blast that last layer of fat and put all that new muscle mass to functional use.
Fuel and recover
You may have been able to get away with eating crap when you were in your 20s, but after that, every guilty pleasure will travel directly to your stomach and respective derriere.
Just as a scientific reference here, big ass and gut – no bueno. Big back, arms, and legs – muy bueno.
Make sure you keep your nutrition on point and your sleeping cycles undisturbed, allowing your body plenty of time to recover from training and come back stronger, leaner, and healthier. Incorporate some moderate stretching routines on your off days, and you’ll become as strong as the Incredible Hulk and as flexible as your hot yoga instructor in no time!
Our bodies change as we age. For some, this will be a slow and painful process; but for you, the passing of years is going to spell out nothing less than health, vigor, and strength. It’s never too late to change your life, now get after it!