Call it what you want, bodybuilding, strength training, lifting weights, it all amounts to improving every your body and your wellbeing, if you have reached this page wondering if you should consider lifting weights in your 40’s, you should.
I had always performed some sort of strength training up until my late twenties, I eventually got married raised a couple of kids and became sidetracked, what happened after that was not so good, after a 15-year lapse of no exercise I got fat, was out of shape and became depressed and irritable.
When I turned 46 I decided to return to the gym, initially it was a painful return, every day seemed eternal, but I continued to push myself, I kept on telling myself that if I could keep it up for three months I would have it made, now 4 years later I feel in better shape now than when I was in my twenties.
Some of the benefits I noticed after 6 months of strength training were
- Improved sleep patterns
- Better mood
- Improved sex drive
- Better dexterity and flexibility
- More energy
- Better appetite “craving healthier foods”
- Increased metabolism
- Improved self-esteem
- Increased strength and more energy
This is just a personal recount of my experience but when I rejoined the gym after 15 years I would observe men in the 40’s not lifting very heavy and spending most of their time on stationary bikes and treadmills, in the past I had always lifted heavy and thrived on it, I have always felt you should be as strong as you look and vice versa, but you won't get there with lifting light weight.
Below are a few myths I believe are untrue about weight lifting as you get older, be it in your 40’s or 50’s or older
Reduce the frequency of heavy lifting to one time per week
Personally I think this is B.S I train one body part per week intensely, I have trained back and legs back to back, sure it may take a lot out of you but it can be done, after a heavy back or leg day I try to make sure I get plenty of rest that evening and I am usually charged up ready to go the next day, in some cases I have actually trained legs twice in the same week.
Limit your pressing exercises to one time per week “NOT”
A good looking chest will improve the overall look of your body, if you are overweight and you have developed man boobs its time to do something about it, you don’t need to bench press heavy loads as it can take a toll on the shoulders and rotator cuffs.
Performing moderate to heavy presses with dumbbells will help you increase muscle and it won't have the same damaging effect as the normal barbell bench press. I normally perform several sets of incline, flat and decline dumbbell exercises including flyes, at the end of the workout I will do some light barbell bench press to finish off my workout.
I normally perform several sets of incline, flat and decline dumbbell exercises and at the end of the workout I will do some light barbell bench press to finish off my workout. The key here is to begin and build up muscle under the fat which will improve the look of your chest, at least until you burn off the rest of that fat from your pectoral area.
Don't lift heavy you'll get hurt, Yeah Right!
In your twenties it's easy to walk into the gym and warm up with 50% of your max weight, as you get older warming up is important.
I lift just as heavy today in my 40's as I did in my twenties, the difference is I will perform two or three warm up sets and then begin to gradually increase the weight until I have reached 80% of my one rep max.
Don't get me wrong proper form is very important but work up slowly with the weight gradually going up in weight 5 to 10 pounds every week.
You won't gain much muscle in your 40's
This is a false statement, there are some physiological changes that the body goes through as we get older, our body produces less HGH and testosterone but intense weight training can have a positive impact in boosting hormone levels, more testosterone means more muscle in my twenties I had 22″ inch arms and they dwindled down to about 18″ after 4 years of training they have gradually come back to what they were in my 20's so regardless of your age, if you train hard you can pack on muscle.
Diet and supplementation
Diet is very important, when you star training my recommendation is to listen to your body carefully, one of my biggest mistakes when I began training again was to completely change my diet, what a mistake, I gave up everything I liked and the first couple of weeks I became weak as hell. I then went back to my old eating habits and gradually as my training improved so did my diet.
I now eat pretty clean during the week, my diet consists of lots of white or brown rice, chicken, fish and beef with dark green veggies. I only stick to that 4 to 5 days a week, on the weekends I splurge with the things I like, even a few beers but come Monday I am back to the routine.
When it comes to supplements I do take creatine and sometimes when I feel weak I will take and HGH booster for a couple of weeks until I regain my full energy level, I have also taken the occasional pre workout supplement but many times a cup of coffee before my workout is all I need to get the juices flowing.
Lack of energy in your 40's
One thing affected me more than anything else was lack of energy, and that is part of aging, you can't always be at 100%, just know and expect that some days will better than others, some weeks you will be strong as an ox other weeks not so much, work through it be patient and try to focus on the long-term picture of being stronger and aging gracefully, if you stay consistent and pace yourself you should have no problem working out way into your 60's and 70's.