How to Build Muscle After 45

Overview

Building muscle after 45 can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Aging men and women can experience muscle wasting, the opposite of our goal. Also, metabolism slows with age, making fat gain a potentially serious issue. The equation for muscle building remains the same: Create a growth stimulus in the gym; then intake adequate nutrients to rebuild muscles. However, after the age of 45, you must pay special attention to preventing injury and targeting your nutrition. There are guidelines you can follow to build muscle after 45 and stay in shape for life.

Step 1

Perform resistance-training exercise three to five days per week for 60 minutes or less. Training longer causes the stress hormone cortisol to catabolize muscle. Keep workouts short by focusing on compound movements, which engage the most muscle fibers, according to fitness experts Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson. Examples of compound movements include the barbell squat and bench press.

Step 2

Use a repetition range of nine to 12 reps on every set. This hypertrophy rep range encourages the enlarging of muscle fibers, according to fitness authors Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman. The muscles of the calves and forearms are an exception, requiring higher repetitions (12 to 20 reps).

Step 3

Do “x-reps” at the end of your last set of each exercise. Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman use x-reps to extend the tension on muscles for more growth stimulus with fewer sets. X-reps are 6- to 8-inch partial reps at the midpoint of the range of motion. Have a partner or trainer spot you to prevent injury. This powerful technique can maximize your training results.

Step 4

Add 30 minutes of cardio three days per week. According to the Jeff Anderson, cardio after weight training burns fat almost exclusively. He recommends low-intensity cardio, such as walking on an incline on the treadmill. Adding cardio will help you to prevent the accumulation of unwanted body fat.

Step 5

Drink a protein shake after your workouts. Best-selling fitness author Jeff Anderson recommends 50 g whey protein, 100 g carbohydrates (dextrose or fruit juice) and 30 g healthy fats, such as flaxseed oil or medium-chain triglycerides. This nutrient-timed meal begins repairing damaged muscle immediately, rather than being stored as fat. (For women or men under 150 lb., try 35 g protein/60 g carbs/15 g fat).

Step 6

Eat clean to keep your metabolic rate high. Select lean proteins like fish, turkey, chicken and lean cuts of beef. Carbohydrate choices include oatmeal, whole-grain pasta or bread, sweet potatoes, quinoa or brown rice. Clean fats are flaxseed oil, fish oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Step 7

Have about 1 g of protein per pound of your body weight. Subtract protein in your post-workout shake from your daily total; then divide the remaining figure between five or six meals, two or three hours apart. This strategy keeps your body in an anabolic mode, keeping cortisol from breaking down hard-earned muscle tissue. It also prevents undue body fat storage and food cravings.

About this Author

Andrew Bennett enjoys exploring health and fitness through his personal workouts, as well as researching the latest about the subject. As a natural body builder, Bennett enjoys the ongoing pursuit of health and wellness in all aspects of life. He writes articles, blogs, copy, and even award-winning screenplays.