For people over the age of 40, building muscle can be a difficult task. With age, comes decreased strength and increased fragility, which makes it difficult to perform at a high level when engaging in physical activities.
However, with the right techniques and approaches, you can defy nature and build muscle even after 40. In this article, we will discuss seven common mistakes made by many over 40 who are trying to gain muscle, and what steps you can take to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Not Taking Time to Warm-Up Properly
When you are over 40, it's especially important that you warm up before any strenuous physical activity. Muscles are more vulnerable to injury as we age, and taking five minutes or so to properly stretch and prepare for exercise can make all the difference in your safety and success.
If possible, try to use dynamic stretching exercises instead of simply performing static stretches. Dynamic stretching involves moving while stretching, rather than just holding a position. This helps to increase flexibility and range of motion, both of which are essential to working out safely.
Mistake 2: Ignoring Form
Many people over 40 often focus too much on the number of reps they can complete without paying enough attention to their form. While it's great to push yourself to do more, sacrificing form to do extra reps can lead to injury and decreased performance overall.
Taking time to practice proper form during each workout is essential when building muscle. Pay attention to how your body feels during each exercise, and if something doesn't feel quite right, adjust your movements accordingly. It may help to have someone watch you to give you feedback on your form, or you can film yourself so you can review it later.
Mistake 3: Working Out Too Much
It's easy to go overboard when trying to build muscle. You're feeling motivated and want to get results quickly, so it's tempting to work out several times a day, but this can actually hinder your progress.
Try to stick to two or three days of working out per week, and no more than an hour per session. Allow yourself rest days to recover, and make sure you listen to your body. If you are feeling overly fatigued after workouts, try reducing the intensity or duration until you find the balance that works best for you.
Mistake 4: Not Eating Enough Protein
Protein is one of the most important components of any diet, and this is especially true when it comes to building muscle. Make sure you get enough protein in every meal, such as lean meats, dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, and legumes.
It can also be beneficial to supplement your diet with a protein shake immediately after working out. This gives your body the nutrients it needs to repair itself and build new muscle tissue more effectively.
Mistake 5: Not Drinking Enough Water
Staying hydrated is essential to building muscle, regardless of age. When you don't drink enough water, your body can become dehydrated, leading to fatigue, decreased performance, and even dizziness and nausea. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to keep your body functioning at its peak.
Mistake 6: Neglecting Rest Days
Rest days are just as important as working out. Your muscles need time to recover, and rest days allow them to rebuild themselves stronger than before. Aim for at least one full day of rest per week, and make sure you get plenty of sleep as well.
Mistake 7: Not Keeping Track of Progress
It's easy to get lost in the excitement of building muscle, but it's important to take a step back and measure your progress. Whether it's keeping track of how many reps you can do each week or tracking your weight lifting performance over the course of months, having numbers to compare can be immensely helpful.
You can also use pictures and videos to document your progress, which can be motivating when you feel like you aren't seeing the results you hoped for. Seeing yourself progress from week to week can be encouraging and remind you to stay consistent.
Building muscle after 40 may seem daunting, but it can be done with the proper approach. By avoiding these seven critical mistakes, you can set yourself up for success and start seeing real results.
Remember to warm up and practice good form, strike the right balance between working out and resting, eat a balanced diet and supplement with protein shakes, drink plenty of water, and track your progress. And don't forget to have fun! Building muscle should be enjoyable, not something you dread.