Secrets to Muscle Growth Past 40

By: Tony Schwartz

When guys that are 40 or older come to me for muscle building advice they are often skeptical whether the advice is solid. After all, I primarily train athletes, and what does some 25 year old pro athlete have to do with a 45 year old business man?

Well, to tell you the truth, there really isn't that much of a difference between the training for these two guys, especially if the focus is on building muscle and strength. There are typically only three things that need to be accounted for when you pass 40:

1. Hormones
Somewhere between the ages of 35 and 40 testosterone levels begin to fall. This drop in levels has been termed "andropause." This has enormous consequences for building muscle, as anabolic hormones are the signal for our body to repair and rebuild. With less of these hormones you cannot repair your muscles as quickly as a 20 year old. This fact should be kept in mind when designing the training program. Options for optimizing hormone levels should also be considered.

2. Injuries
Over time everyone begins to accumulate injuries. Even if it's nothing serious those little aches and pains can prevent you from training as hard or as often as you would like. Because of this a good physical therapist and/or chiropractor are a definite must. If you are serious about gaining muscle then you need to be serious about training hard. And you need to be serious about taking the steps necessary to able to train hard consistently.

3. Mindset
Call it wisdom gained through experience, or cautiousness due to age, either way it is often difficult to get people with long standing habits to try something new. I have talked to more than one guy in his 40s who was still doing the workout he got from his high school football coach! Look, if you are serious about changing your body then you need to be ready to change the way you train and eat. Embrace new training programs and diets. What you've been doing isn't working, so try something new. Remember, the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing and expecting different results!

Keep in mind that I am pointing out the differences here. The basics of a good scientific training and nutrition program still hold true no matter your age. Anyone at any age can make fantastic improvements in their physique. Keep this in mind the next time someone tells you (or you think to yourself) that you're too old to be lifting heavy weights!

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