With bodybuilding and fitness magazines mostly plastered full with pictures of younger people in excellent shape, bodybuilding can unnecessarily be pigeonholed as a young person’s game.
But when you look at the absolute crap the average person believes about health and fitness (including the myth that muscle turns into fat as you get older) it’s no surprise people are deterred.
Let me assure you, building muscle is possible at any age – and 40 is certainly young enough to achieve a very respectable body – without touching any kind of steroids.
True, it may not happen as quickly as it would for a 20 year old, because recovery times and hormone production is slower, but really, who cares?
Bodybuilding – like any form of fitness – is a lifetime commitment. It really doesn’t matter if it takes you 5 years to achieve what some may be able to do in a year, because if you want to stay in shape, you’ve got to keep it going… so time really shouldn’t be a factor.
You may even surprise yourself. 40 is certainly not over the hill, not even close.
What must a person do to achieve a good, well muscled body in their 40’s?
It’s simple really… the same as a person of any age. A good bodybuilding program tailored and adjusted (which only yourself or a coach can do) to your specific needs and capabilities, a good diet of sufficient calories and macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats) to help you gain muscle at optimum rates without gaining fat, and, sufficient rest for the nutrients to do their work.
The older a person gets, the slower their metabolism becomes, and although weight training can help speed up a slow metabolism, one should be aware that what a 20 year old eats to gain muscle will likely be quite a bit more than a 40 year old would need.
Overtraining and recovery times are probably the biggest factors, though. When we get older, it becomes more difficult to recover from training, so we need to strike up a balance where we train enough to grow, but not so much that we can’t recover in time for our next training session.
Listening to your body is the single most important aspect of training. If you find you can’t recover in time – which we all find sometimes – but this becomes a recurring thing, then you are likely doing too much volume in the way of reps, sets or exercises, or training too frequently and not getting enough rest or food to enable growth.
Being an older trainee, it’s important to make sure that every calorie you eat counts towards something positive. Cutting out junk food and sugary (simple carb) foods and replacing them with good nutritious wholesome foods is the way to ensure you are giving the muscles what they need, which will keep the muscle growing, and help keep fat gains low.
And that’s it. There’s no magic to it – just get started!