Have you ever wondered if you can still build muscle after 50? Naturally, a lot of men have this question, especially when they reach the half-century milestone. The good news is yes! You certain can. This is your three-step guide to building muscle after 50.
Step one: Lift heavy and often
Regardless of age, building muscle is driven by forcing your body to adapt. Lifting weights is a time-tested way of doing this, which doesn’t have to stop now you’re older.
In fact, a lot of studies out there show that lifting weights regularly helps to keep you healthier, stronger, and happier past middle age. So long as you’re working within your ability and keeping good form, the gains are there to be made.
For the over fifties, the recommendation is lift heavy and often. Now, when we say heavy, we mean using a challenging weight that doesn’t break your form. Good technique is paramount, as what you shrugged off during your 20s can become more dangerous when you get older. Your discipline will be your key to success.
The reason you should keep lifting more than once a week is two things; those previously mentioned challenges and adaptions, as well as protein synthesis. Scientists say that whenever you lift, you get a spike of protein turnover and muscle building in your body. So, by lifting, taking a day off, and lifting again, you theoretically get two spikes of protein synthesis for the muscles you worked.
With this in mind we recommend full body workouts, three times a week. Take a day off in between to rest up and eat nutritious, healthy foods. This is your first step.
Step two: Fix your nutrition and eat enough
When you were younger and in our athletic prime, it might have been easy to build muscle while eating whatever you wanted. However, as time ticks on, our metabolism begins to slow and we’re naturally less anabolic. The result? Slower muscle building and faster fat gain.
Even if you’ve never had an eye on nutrition, you can always start now. To build muscle you’re going to want to make sure you’re eating a portion of protein with every meal – even better if you can add it to snacks too. Start with lean portions of meat, fish, eggs, and depending on how you handle it, dairy.
The older we get, the more protein we need as our muscles become less responsive to growth signals. Therefore, it’s a smart move to never skip your protein, as it can help protect the muscle mass you have, as well as your hair, skin, and bones.
Next, you should be aiming to eat a fist size portion of carbohydrates and a thumb sized serving of fats with every main meal. This will keep you energized, while also providing essential nutrients to benefit your hormones and muscle building.
Finally, liven up your plate with fresh and colorful vegetables, as well as juicy fruit. The vitamins and minerals inside these all help to keep you strong, energized, and most importantly, healthy.
Always try to remember how important a healthy diet is to your testosterone and other muscle building hormones. To shore up their nutrition habits and fill any gaps, many men over 50 turn toward dietary supplements.
According to fitness site Greatest Physiques, Creatine Monohydrate, Zinc, Omega-3s and Testosterone Boosters are all great options for 50+ men. You can see their full, specialized list here: https://www.greatestphysiques.com/supplements/best-supplements-for-men-over-50/.
Step three: Reduce your stress
Believe it or not, one of the best ways to boost your muscle building is to reduce stress. You can be working hard in the gym and eating well, but if there’s tension and turmoil in your life, your progress can be seriously halted.
Of course, it’s very easy to say just relax more. But as a person over 50, you’re likely to have a lot of life obligations on your mind, not to mention work commitments. Most people in the 50s are at the height of their career, which is accompanied by a lot of responsibility.
However, to build muscle after 50, you must try to reduce and limit the stress in your life. That might mean taking on less responsibilities at work, or simply setting some time aside to wind down and get an extra hour sleep at night.
Research tells us that there’s a close link between being stressed and an inability to build muscle.
That’s because stress triggers your fight or flight response, which is exactly the same now as it was thousands of years ago, when you were more likely to face a wild animal than an encroaching deadline or payment. On a base level it causes your pupils to dilate, your breathing and heart rate to race, release of epinephrine and cortisol from the adrenal glands, tense muscles, and slowing of the digestive system.
Excessive stress can cause even more ongoing symptoms dangerous for anyone over 50. These include; high blood pressure, heart disease, high testosterone-halting cortisol levels, increased belly fat, depression and anxiety, and erectile issues. Not only that, but research has revealed that high stress has the ability to limit strength and muscle mass.
Why? One reason is because stress ramps up cortisol levels, which inhibits how well testosterone can flow and work in your body.
As testosterone is the most anabolic steroid, which is responsible for lean muscle building and fat maintenance, your potential to build muscle is restricted. As a result, stress holds back the important masculine hormone that’s integral to your wellbeing, health, and happiness.
To give your testosterone the room it needs to flow freely and take full anabolic effect, remove as much stress from your life as possible. If you can, cut it out at the source, as this is a lot better for your health than trying to treat the symptoms. What if you can’t? Do what you can to unwind and reduce the impact. Take a walk, meditate, unwind with a book, play sports, and spend time with loved ones as a release. Doing so will create a tranquil, grounded environment for your muscle building journey after 50.
Take these three steps and work them into your existing lifestyle. While they might not be new and groundbreaking pieces of info, they are tried and tested. Try them today and see how your ability to build muscle increases. There’s no reason why you can’t live your happiest, healthiest life after 50 – it’s certainly possible for those willing to try! Good luck.