How to build muscle mass after 40

Written by lisa musser
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How to build muscle mass after 40
Building muscles over 40 can be challenging. (vector illustration of muscle man image by Suto Norbert from

Who says you can't build muscle mass after 40? Plenty of over-40 bodybuilders have proved that you can build muscles even at an advanced age. But, as the body ages, the slowing of the metabolic rate makes it easier to gain weight. This slowing requires changes in diet and exercise to get metabolism working at a good rate. If you are over 40 and want to lose fat and build muscle, you will have to work a little harder than someone in his 20s.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Eating the right food is of paramount importance for building muscle mass if you are over 40. Protein helps build muscle and tissue. You will need to eat four to six meals a day balanced with a majority of your calories from protein. Include lean chicken, beef, eggs and fish into your diet along with some omega 3 fish oils and vitamin B6. Mackerel, salmon and herring contain the essential fatty acids that are healthy for your heart. The food you eat helps your body grow muscle.

  2. 2

    Supplement with vitamins and protein shakes. A protein shake makes a great midmorning snack to give you a boost of energy and it keeps you feeling full and satisfied. Protein shakes are made with a powdered form of whey protein that comes in flavours like chocolate and vanilla. Mix the powder with skimmed milk, a banana and a few ice cubes for a tasty treat. Vitamins are Vitamin B6, B12, Niacin, Biotin and other vital nutrients needed for mature bodies to stay healthy.

  3. 3

    Purchase a weight set or join a gym. Weightlifting helps build muscle by using weight and resistance. Start slowly with and gradually increase the weight and number of repetitions. Standard repetitions are usually 10 repetitions and sets are how many times the activity is repeated. An example would be three sets of 10 repetitions. Cardiovascular exercise will help you to burn fat and tone the muscle. Running, cycling and aerobics are all types of cardio exercise. Do cardio exercises on alternate days from weight training days. For example, you could do weight training Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and cardio on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Being over 40, you should give your body days off to recover. And always stretch and warm-up before beginning an exercise session.

  4. 4

    Get expert advice from professional bodybuilders. Buy some weightlifting or bodybuilding magazines or DVDs to see how the exercise is performed and to be sure you are doing it correctly. Muscle and Fitness, Flex and Iron Man magazines have information on diet and nutrition for building muscle. Being over 40, it's extremely important to start with a warm-up exercise before lifting any weights to prevent injuries.

  5. 5

    Watch online videos of weight-training techniques for those over 40. has articles and videos made by professional bodybuilders about nutrition, dieting, weight training and contest preparation. This is an excellent source of information for those wanting to know more about changing their bodies through nutrition and exercise.

Tips and warnings

  • Getting in shape takes dedication and perseverance. Give yourself time to adapt to a new routine because nothing happens overnight. Learn all you can about nutrition and exercise and follow the examples of men and women over 40 who have transformed their bodies through food and exercise.

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