Aging is inevitable, but taking care through a healthy lifestyle can definitely slow down the process. Building muscle over forty can be more challenging than in your younger years due to a variety of factors, including reduced muscle fibers, decreased skin elasticity, metabolism and energy.
If you have been inactive for a few years and have not made a conscious effort to eat well, you’ll likely have lost a lot of strength (while gaining fat).
So when a guy over forty signs up for personal training, you know he means business. Getting your headspace and schedule ready to kick start a fitness change can take a couple of years of psyching yourself up. But one of the best things about men of this age is that they are usually humbled by the sudden challenge of their expanding waist line, something that was never a problem in their thirties.
Revving up the metabolism is not just about will power. The reason that calories are being stored instead of burnt is lifestyle related, but there are definite ways to overcome this.
Management: between job and family commitments, schedule in a solid hour to exercise, five days a week. Hire a trainer to set you up with a fast, effective muscle building program that works a couple of the muscle groups at the same time. For example, lunge with a medicine ball twists or bicep curl. Train in a place where your kids can join you – low impact exercises using your own body weight are a great way to spend quality family time together.
Injuries: by the time a man hits forty, there’s almost always something that needs to be worked around in his training – an old rotator cuff injury, blown knees. There are lots of ways to get a intensive workout while staying safe: be creative and try new things. Start with a lighter weight and step it up when you get more confident.
Recovery Time: For many exercisers, recovery has the biggest impact in your training as you get older. Recovery takes longer – you can’t just ‘deal with it’ like you may have been able to in your twenties….successful training needs to include a recovery system with walking, icing, stretching and rest.
Diet: Learn about nutrition, and how to cook from home. Single men over forty often find their weight gain from routine eating in cafes and restaurants, which can play havoc with their waist line. “Resting metabolic rate (RMR) decreases about 2%-5% every decade past age 30, which amounts to about 50-100 fewer calories burned per day. Starting at age 40 in women and 60 in men, we lose 6%-8% of our muscle per decade,” says Sheri Barke, MPH, a registered dietitian in private practice in Southern California.
- (C) Cat Smiley, 2012