7 Things No One Tells You About Building Muscle After 40 (2023)


As we get older, building and maintaining muscle mass can become more challenging. The same strategies that worked when you were 20 may not produce the same results when you’re a bit older.

With that said, there are several things you can do to help speed up the process, and continue making progress well into your 40s, 50s, and beyond.

In this video, I share 7 things no one tells you about building muscle after 40, so that you can continue building muscle optimally, despite getting older.







1. doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2021.615849
2. doi.org/10.1017/S0007114511007422
3. doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2015-0550
4. doi.org/10.1123/japa.2020-0201
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6. doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00475.2016
7. www.physio-pedia.com/Effects_of_Ageing_on_Joints
8. doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S44112


As we get older building and maintaining muscle mass can become more challenging.

You see the same strategies that worked when you were 20 may not produce the same results.

When you're a bit older with that said, there are several things you can do to help speed up the process and continue making progress well into your 40s, 50s and Beyond in this video I want to share seven things.

No one tells you about building muscle after 40 so that you can continue building muscle optimally despite getting older so without further Ado, let's, Jump, Right, In.

Number one, you need more protein as we age, our bodies become more resistant to the muscle, building effects of protein a phenomenon known as anabolic resistance.

One study published in the British Journal of nutrition shows that older adults require a higher protein intake than younger people to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

This is maximally.

This means that you may need to consume more protein in order to support muscle growth, which is why I recommend you aim for a minimum of one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day, according to a systematic review from the Journal of Applied physiology, nutrition and Metabolism.

There is a growing body of research indicating that protein intakes.

Well above the current recommended dietary allowance help to promote healthy, aging appetite regulation, weight management and goals aligned with athletic performance.

So while we're not suggesting that you double your protein intake, overnight, adding one extra scoop of protein powder to your daily intake can make a huge difference in your ability to build new muscle.

Number two, you have to rest more research on age-related.

Muscle Recovery after resistance training is unclear Some studies show a slowing of recovery capacity as you get older While.

Others found no significant differences that said, our focus is not just on your age group.

But rather on you as an individual one of the things we do know is that aging is associated with a drop in testosterone levels.

And with decreased testosterone, comes a decline in anabolic capacity, meaning a decreased rate of Muscle Recovery.

Aging has also been associated with impaired neuromuscular function.

In other words, it's harder to recover between sets to combat this.

We recommend that you increase rest between sets and also between workouts in order to allow for adequate muscle and nervous system recovery.

So if you're currently training six days per week, it may be a good idea to knock that down to just five days.

And if you're only resting one to two minutes between sets increasing that to three to five minutes will help to manage fatigue to put it simply.

The overall goal here is to reduce training volume and frequency maintain intensity and increase time for Recovery.

Number three, your joints are more sensitive due to a decrease in synovial fluid and stiffening of connective tissue.

Your joints become more sensitive making you more susceptible to injury to minimize joint strain.

Consider limiting repetitions and making every rep count by using proper form and technique.

You may also want to modify your exercise selection to favor exercises that are more biomechanically sound such as the following using a hyperextension machine over a deadlift to load the posterior chain, a dumbbell bench press over a barbell bench press for a better range of motion.

A chest supported row over a bent over row to alleviate stress on the hip and low back and a leg press over a squat to avoid loading your spine.

The push pull squat engine.

Lunge are found foundational movements that should be incorporated into every workout program, considering the possible age-related risk they may pose.

However, it may be a good idea to be more strategic with how you incorporate them in order to minimize strain on your joints and nervous system.

Number four, you need more Mobility work, incorporating Mobility work into your routine can help improve your overall performance and reduce the risk of injury, especially as you age and experience decreased muscle, strength and flexibility to optimize your Mobility training.

Consider including exercises, such as dynamic stretches foam, rolling and muscle activation drills in your warm-up and static stretches and self, myofascial release techniques during cool down.

And although you may need to spend more time on these activities doing so can help to ensure that you're ready to train safely effectively and recover optimally number five, you need need to do more cardio.

If your goal is to optimize your health, then incorporating cardio into your routine can help to improve blood flow to your muscles, bringing essential nutrients and oxygen that can contribute to muscle growth.

However, as you age it's important to choose forms of cardio that are less impactful on the joints, such as indoor cycling or swimming.

These low impact options can help to keep your heart healthy while reducing strain on your joints.

In addition to considering joint impact selecting forms of cardio that you enjoy.

And that fit your fitness goals is also important by finding activities that you enjoy you'll, be more likely to stick with them long term and see the benefits of cardio on your muscle growth.

And overall health number six consistency is more important while the muscle building process may slow down this.

Doesn't mean, that progress is impossible with consistency and dedication.

You can still will see improvements in your muscle mass and strength, well into your 40s, 50s, 60s and Beyond.

Remember, one of the main reasons we were able to build muscle faster in our 20s is because we made Fitness a priority as we got older responsibilities increased.

And our schedules became busier making it harder to prioritize our fitness.

But if you're serious about building muscle staying healthy and living longer, then you must make time for regular exercise, even if it means making adjustments to your schedule or finding ways to fit exercise into your daily routine.

And number seven nutrition is more important in your 20s you could eat fast food seven times per week yet walk around with visible ABS.


You can't even look at a burger without putting on extra pounds, or at least that's how it seems the truth.

However, is that older adults generally have lower calorie needs due to less physical activity changes in metabolism, or age-related loss of bone and muscle mass.

That said, while our calorie needs may be lower, our nutrient needs compared to younger.

Adults may be higher.

So while total calorie intake is most important for older and younger individuals.

The older you get the more important, it becomes to consider the quality of those calories.

And while consuming a diet rich in protein complex carbs and healthy fats is a great start.

We must also aim to consume more fruits and vegetables as well as keep a pulse on our fiber intake.

So there you have it seven things.

No one tells you about building muscle after 40.

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7 Things No One Tells You About Building Muscle After 40? ›

Yes, you can build muscle after 40. It's not like the ability of your muscles to adapt and grow suddenly stops once you hit 40. In fact, if you're currently out of shape and unfit, you'll see relatively rapid gains in lean muscle mass when you start lifting weights.

Is it true you cant build muscle after 40? ›

Yes, you can build muscle after 40. It's not like the ability of your muscles to adapt and grow suddenly stops once you hit 40. In fact, if you're currently out of shape and unfit, you'll see relatively rapid gains in lean muscle mass when you start lifting weights.

What is the #1 reason why you're not building muscle? ›

You're not eating enough – one of the main causes of not being able to build muscle is not eating enough and more importantly, not eating enough of the right food. Everyone bangs on about the importance of protein, but carbs and fats are just as important when it comes to growing muscle.

What foods build muscle after 40? ›

Eat more fish, eggs, poultry, and lean red meat, and consider adding a protein supplement, like our TB12 Plant-Based Protein to your regular diet. Next, focus on strength training. A combination of increased protein and strength training will increase muscle mass and strength more than either therapy alone.

Why is it hard to build muscle after 40? ›

Building Muscle After 40: Tips and Ideas to Get Strong at Any Age. As we age, our muscles start to decline, making it harder to build and maintain muscle mass. But the good news is that there is always time to start building muscle, regardless of age.

What is the hardest age to build muscle? ›

Typically, muscle mass and strength increase steadily from birth and reach their peak at around 30 to 35 years of age. After that, muscle power and performance decline slowly and linearly at first, and then faster after age 65 for women and 70 for men.

Is 42 too old to start bodybuilding? ›

You ask yourself, "Is it possible for me to regain the body I once had and put on some muscle at my age?" The simple answer is yes! You can put on muscle after 40, but you will have to take a completely different approach than when you weight trained and dieted as a youth.

What is the most important muscle to build? ›

What Are the 5 Most Important Muscles Groups?
  1. Shoulder and back muscles. Slouching over our screens and sitting too much makes it crucial to work your shoulder and back muscles. ...
  2. Chest and arm muscles. ...
  3. Abdominal muscles. ...
  4. Leg muscles. ...
  5. Calves muscles.

What is the most important thing to build muscle? ›

Protein is the most important and essential component of nutrition and the foundation of muscle gain,” he says. If you're wondering how much protein you need to build muscle, Dr. Graham recommends 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Can muscle build without exercise? ›

Building a lean body is often associated with high-intensity training. However, the truth is that even when you cannot hit the gym or undergo strenuous training, you can still build lean muscles. All you need to do is some dietary and lifestyle changes to get in good shape.

What is the best protein for over 40? ›

A good example of a protein-rich meal for someone over 40 years old would include lean meats, eggs, fish, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, Greek yogurt, quinoa or brown rice, and leafy greens. This type of meal would provide a balanced combination of proteins that are beneficial for overall health.

How to get ripped at age 40? ›

“To achieve a six-pack, you'll need a low-calorie, high-protein diet coupled with a training program that includes core strength exercises at least three times a week,” says Stone. “To make the body leaner, a low-calorie diet coupled with regular general exercise is a must.

What vitamin stops age related muscle loss? ›

Vitamin D may be protective for muscle loss; a more alkalinogenic diet and diets higher in the anti-oxidant nutrients vitamin C and vitamin E may also prevent muscle loss.

How do I stop losing muscle after 40? ›

Five Ways to Maintain Muscle Mass as You Age
  1. Eat protein. The body breaks down protein-rich foods into amino acids, which it uses to build muscle. ...
  2. Resistance train. A consistent strength training routine builds muscle mass. ...
  3. Increase Your Omega-3s. ...
  4. Check your vitamin D levels. ...
  5. Walk.
May 29, 2020

Is 45 too old to build muscle? ›

It's never too late to build muscle and strength. You can build muscle no matter your age. A proven strength training program for building muscle after 50 is to lift two or three days per week, doing 10 sets per muscle and week, with about 8–15 reps per set.

How much protein do I need to build muscle at 40? ›

Based on averages from evidence-backed recommendations, a general rule of thumb is to eat about 1.2g protein per kg of body weight to maintain muscle. This may increase to 1.2-1.6g/kg of body weight when looking to add lean mass or if you're a woman in midlife.

What is the difficult muscle to grow? ›

Calf muscles are also considered as one of the most difficult to grow in the gym, to the point where many people give up trying. It turns out that the lower leg muscles are not that significantly different from other skeletal muscles.

What makes muscles grow faster? ›

To Grow Muscle, Eat More Protein

Strength training breaks down your muscles, and protein builds them back up. The more difficult your lifting workouts are, the more important muscle-building foods become when weighing protein intake to solidify recovery, Fitzgerald explains.

What age are you physically strongest? ›

Your muscles are their strongest at age 25. At 25, your physical strength is at its peak, and stays this way for the following 10 to 15 years.

What age should a man stop bodybuilding? ›

If you are currently in your 50s or 60s and have been lifting weights for many years, then it is likely that you will be able to continue doing so for many years to come. However, if you are in your 70s or older or have not been lifting weights for very long, you may need to start considering stopping.

How to get super fit at 40? ›

How to get fit after 40
  1. Walk more, and walk faster. It's hard to overstate the benefits of walking. ...
  2. Get on your bike – but don't overfuel. Could you cycle to work? ...
  3. Don't take it too easy. ...
  4. One habit at a time – and find a sport you love. ...
  5. Don't give up if it hurts.
Mar 7, 2016

What is the prime age for muscle growth? ›

Late teens and early twenties are the perfect age to start bodybuilding. Puberty and bodybuilding are closely related because this is the fastest time for muscle growth. Between, 17-25, you will experience testosterone driven growth burst in your muscles.

What's the easiest muscle to build? ›

Here are three specific examples of muscles considered the easiest to build.
  • Biceps and Triceps. The biceps and triceps are the main muscles in your upper arm, with the triceps being the arm's largest muscle. ...
  • Latissimus Dorsi. ...
  • Quadriceps. ...
  • Calves and Forearms. ...
  • Abdominal Muscles. ...
  • Hamstrings.
May 8, 2023

Which body muscle grows fastest? ›

What muscles develop the fastest? Phasic muscles like the pectorals, rhomboid muscles, glutes, and the trapezius muscles.

What are the three main things for muscle growth? ›

According to the exercise physiologist Brad Schoenfeld, there are three primary mechanisms of muscle growth: Muscle tension, metabolic stress and muscle damage. Oftentimes all of these factors are correlated with the amount of weight you lift.

What foods do bodybuilders avoid? ›

Avoid or limit alcohol, foods with added sugars and deep-fried foods. In addition to your diet, whey protein, creatine and caffeine can be useful supplements.

Do you need to lift heavy to build muscle? ›

Depending on your goals, muscle growth does not depend on the amount of weight you lift. It is a myth that one must lift more weight to bulk up. If you're regular and patient with lighter weights, you can achieve similar results.

What happens if you workout but don't gain muscle? ›

If you're lifting weights but not gaining muscle, you might not be doing enough accessory work. “When we're talking about building muscles, specifically in hypertrophy, you really want to target more isolation exercises,” says Rodonis.

How long does it take to build muscle? ›

Most beginners will see noticeable muscle growth within eight weeks, while more experienced lifters will see changes in three to four weeks. Most individuals gain one to two pounds of lean muscle per month with the right strength training and nutrition plan.

What is the best protein for anti aging? ›

Whey protein isn't just for athletes and bodybuilders. Whey supplementation has now been shown to help prevent several common effects of aging, including loss of lean muscle mass and excessive weight gain. It also lowers cardiovascular risk and blood pressure.

Should you eat more or less protein as you get older? ›

As you age, your body requires roughly 50% more protein than a younger adult to better preserve muscle mass and strength to maintain a certain quality of life. Having sufficient protein also helps to increase the body's immune functions and reduce recovery time from illness.

Should I eat more protein in my 40s? ›

Once you reach ages 40–50, sarcopenia, or losing muscle mass as you age, begins to set in. To prevent this and to maintain independence and quality of life, your protein needs increase to about 1–1.2 grams per kilogram or 75–90 grams per day for a 75-kilogram person.

Can I get a six-pack at 40? ›

If you're over 40, you may think you have no shot at six-pack abs. But the truth is you still do—but a rippling washboard stomach should only be one part of your goal. There are more important factors for you to think about when it comes to your core training.

Can you get a six-pack at 45? ›

Yes, it is possible, you can get a six-pack even if you're over 45 and have never had one. It means that your overall body fat percentage must go down and make you look lean enough. “Of course, always do a clinical assessment of your body and set the limits that it can take with medical advice.

Am I too old to get toned? ›

No matter what your age, you can improve your fitness.

If it's been a long time since you've exercised and you're feeling less than fit, you might think that it's too late to make a change. But you're wrong. You can improve your fitness at any age.

What vitamin preserves muscle mass? ›

A high whey protein, vitamin D and E supplement preserves muscle mass, strength, and quality of life in sarcopenic older adults: A double-blind randomized controlled trial.

What vitamin is muscle wasting? ›

Vitamin D deficiency is also known to lead to muscle atrophy both in animals and humans (8, 16–18). Muscle wasting results because of an altered balance in the protein degradation and synthesis rates (19).

What vitamin is good for rebuilding muscle? ›

Vitamin B6, folate and B12 are arguably the most important B vitamins when it comes to muscle growth and recovery! Both vitamins B6 and B12 have a direct role in protein metabolism.

What foods build muscle in seniors? ›

10 Power Foods that Help Seniors Build Strong Muscles
  • Meat: Rich in protein, animal meat is an ideal dietary option for seniors. ...
  • Fatty Fish: In case one is a non-vegetarian, seniors also have the option of consuming fatty fish, which features a significant amount of protein. ...
  • Tofu: ...
  • Eggs: ...
  • Milk: ...
  • Cheese: ...
  • Beans: ...
  • Nuts:
May 2, 2022

What are signs of muscle loss? ›

What are the symptoms of muscle atrophy?
  • One arm or one leg is smaller than the other.
  • Weakness in one arm and or one leg.
  • Numbness or tingling in your arms and legs.
  • Trouble walking or balancing.
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking.
  • Facial weakness.
  • Gradual memory loss.
Jan 21, 2022

Does walking build muscle? ›

While walking builds some muscle, it isn't the big, bulky muscle mass that comes from spending a lot of time in the gym. Rather, walking creates a leaner muscle tone throughout one's body, particularly in lower muscle groups. Muscles grow after being stressed enough to break down in the first place.

How often should a 45 year old lift weights? ›

Weight Train Three To Four Times A Week Max

Regardless of whether you're new to weight lifting or are already quite experienced, as someone who is over 40 you really want to consider the total number of days you're hitting the gym for weight training.

How many rest days a week to build muscle? ›

Taking two to three days off from intense exercise each week while engaging in some form of active recovery will allow you to get your blood flowing to help facilitate muscle repair.

What happens if you lift weights but don t eat enough protein? ›

Your body needs protein to build and repair tissues, so if you aren't eating enough, your muscles won't have the material they need to grow. You could feel “punch drunk” after working out, your arms and other muscles might ache more than usual, and your body may even feel generally weaker.

What is realistic muscle gain after 40? ›

A 40-year newbie (i.e. someone who hasn't lifted weights before) with good genetics can expect to gain upwards of 20 pounds of muscle mass after several years of hard, consistent training. How often should a 45 year old lift weights? As a general rule, somewhere between 2-5 days a week is about right.

How can a 40 year old build muscle? ›

In one study, high reps and light weights (3 sets of 30 to 40 reps) stimulated just as much muscle growth as heavy weights and lower reps (3 sets of 10 to 12 reps). Doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions to failure promotes similar gains in muscle size as 7 sets of 3 repetitions with a much heavier weight.

How can I prevent muscle loss after 40? ›

Five Ways to Maintain Muscle Mass as You Age
  1. Eat protein. The body breaks down protein-rich foods into amino acids, which it uses to build muscle. ...
  2. Resistance train. A consistent strength training routine builds muscle mass. ...
  3. Increase Your Omega-3s. ...
  4. Check your vitamin D levels. ...
  5. Walk.
May 29, 2020

Do we lose muscle every year at age 40? ›

One of the most striking effects of age is the involuntary loss of muscle mass, strength, and function, termed sarcopenia [1–3]. Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60 [4,5].

How much muscle can a 40 year old gain in a month? ›

While the number will be unique for you, many people can expect to gain between 0.5 to 2 pounds of muscle in a month. To do so, you will need a targeted resistance training program and correct nutrition, usually including a surplus of calories.

What are muscle building foods? ›

Muscle building foods for gaining lean muscle
  • Eggs. Eggs contain high quality protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients like B vitamins and choline ( 1 ). ...
  • Salmon. Salmon is a great choice for muscle building and overall health. ...
  • Chicken breast. ...
  • Greek yogurt. ...
  • Tuna. ...
  • Lean beef. ...
  • Shrimp. ...
  • Soybeans.

What deficiency causes muscle loss? ›

Recent studies show that vitamin D deficiency may be responsible for muscle atrophy.

At what age does the body start to decline? ›

After age 30, people tend to lose lean tissue. Your muscles, liver, kidney, and other organs may lose some of their cells. This process of muscle loss is called atrophy. Bones may lose some of their minerals and become less dense (a condition called osteopenia in the early stages and osteoporosis in the later stages).

At what age do muscles start to atrophy? ›

You gradually begin losing muscle mass and strength sometime in your 30s or 40s. This process picks up between the ages of 65 and 80. Rates vary, but you may lose as much as 8% of your muscle mass each decade. Everyone loses muscle mass over time, but people with sarcopenia lose it more quickly.

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