Building muscle after 50 seems like an impossible task. However, there is a lot of myth in our culture that can cloud the reality.
So if you, or you’re over 50 friends, are inclined to say, “Well I’m kinda fat, but that’s what happens when you get older!” Take that old crutch and throw it out the window. It’s an easy excuse to make us feel better, but you can get lean at 50 just like you were at 30.
Everywhere you look, yet another person tells you why doing that can’t happen. And even if it is possible, you can only build a smidge of muscle, which would mean that it’s not worth even trying.
Well, this is far from the truth, and meaningful muscle growth is entirely possible well after the age of 50. (1)
Today, we’ll go over everything you need to know to pull it off effectively.
Some Things Never Change
Despite what you might have been told, the fundamentals of muscle growth don’t change. Whether you’re 23 or 53, muscle growth depends on a few fundamentals.
Most of the advice that applies to younger people also works for folks after 50. The biggest issue is that we tend to harbor more stubborn fat at 50 than we do while younger. So we need to modify our diet slightly, but it’s not an overhaul!
To build muscle effectively and achieve a fantastic physique, we need to watch our nutrition and caloric intake more vigilantly at 50.
How Your Approach Might Change For Building Muscle After 50
Despite relying on the same physiological laws and processes, we need a slightly modified approach for building muscle after 50.
- We should do resistance training two to three days a week and work on the major muscle groups: the chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Click to see a simple blueprint for building lean muscle.
- We should push our muscles to near failure on most workout days, and only leave a couple of repetitions in the tank at most.
- We should consume more protein and consistently throughout each day. That will provide the body with a steady stream of amino acids for muscle repair and muscle growth. (2)
- We should consume many veggies as they provide the body with much-needed fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- We should watch our carb intake and avoid going overboard. Most people need a lower-carb diet after 50 to get and stay lean, as it’s easier to pack on pounds as you get older. Click to learn more about metabolic age.
- We should do consistent cardio – at least four times per week. This is fantastic for weight control and overall health. And it’s really best to do cardio daily as it becomes infused in your life – like waking up, or brushing your teeth!
- We should get plenty of rest: program your training in a smart way, make sure to have rest days each week, utilize deload weeks, and make sure to get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
- We should see a physician every year after 50 for some necessary medical tests. Most people neglect this rule, but it is vital for your health and longevity.
Lesser-Known Benefits of Building Muscle After 50
We are all aware of the many benefits of building muscle. We feel and look better, and our performance improves. But, having more muscles boasts other benefits.
And these benefits are amplified as we get older. So in other words, on a scale 1 to 10 they have a benefit of 3 at the age of 30, a benefit of 6 at 50, and a benefit of 10+ at age 70!
Specifically, here are some of the main benefits of building and maintaining lean muscle as we get older:
- Resistance training is also incredibly beneficial for bone mineral density as we get older
- Having more muscle improves our insulin sensitivity and overall metabolic health
- Having more muscle allows us to maintain our testosterone levels better, which delivers numerous benefits
But most importantly, resistance training and having more muscle on our frames improves the quality of our lives and makes us more independent and better able to tackle challenges.
Click to learn about how to avoid losing muscle with age.
1. Dellitt, J. (2021). Can You Regain Muscle Mass After Age 50? Aaptiv. https://aaptiv.com/magazine/regain-muscle-mass-after-age-50.
2. Protein for Fitness: Age Demands Greater Protein Needs. Today’s Dietitian. (2015). https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/040715p16.shtml.