Muscle Past Midlife

1977-2007Is it possible to gain muscle mass after age 40? The answer is yes – but you must go about it correctly with realistic expectations. Set goals for yourself that are attainable. You may ask, “How do I know what’s attainable?” That’s a good question because you don’t really know exactly what’s possible, so be reasonable. You may surprise yourself and if you do, good. Surprise is delightful and better than disappointment.

To start with, take photos, outdoors, weather permitting. You can use a decent digital camera and store your photos in a file on your computer. It’s important to get an idea of where you are starting so you have something to compare your later photos to. So don’t try to look good, just be natural. If you stomach wants to hang out, let it. Take shots in a bathing suit against a plain background and your body full frame. The sun should be 45 to 60 degrees with the horizon, i.e.; it should be early morning or late afternoon (depending on the time of year). You don’t want to take photos with the sun directly overhead because there will be too much shadow. 

I always suggest that clients take the initial set of photos and don’t get them developed until they take another set one month later. That way there’s something to compare, which is the whole point of taking the photos in the first place. People are rarely pleased with the first set, so take my advice, wait, train hard for a month, and then see what gains you’ve made. It’s important to duplicate the photographic conditions as closely as possible each photo session: same film, time of day, same poses (standing relaxed front, back, and side, and the 7 compulsory poses, or whatever poses you like, just do the same ones each time). 

Photos will enable you to see yourself as others see you. This is important. Study the photos and pick out your weak points. Give these areas priority in your workouts by training them first in your sessions or on a separate day. If you need to lose fat, and most people do, work on dropping 5 pounds a month until you get to your best weight. It’s not about how much weight you lose, but how you look, so let the photos be the judges. 

Dropping body fat is the first step before you can develop lean muscle mass that looks impressive. Gaining 5 pounds of muscle per YEAR is a reasonable goal. This is a lot of muscle. You’d look totally different. So forget about gaining a lot of weight in short periods of time. If you do it’s not going to be solid muscle.

It’s challenging to get this concept across especially to younger bodybuilders who want to get bigger yesterday. If you take photos on a regular basis you will be able to see how your body is growing over time and from this you can learn how to adjust your growth.

It’s always best to take your time. Photos can tell you what you need to pay attention to in order to develop a complete body. Bodybuilding is a lifetime activity and you should grow as you mature not only in physical ways but mentally and emotionally as well. This is how the bodybuilding spirit grows, as a dedication to lifelong bodybuilding. How much muscle you develop depends upon how you train, eat, and recuperate. It also depends upon your hormonal balance. 

Your natural hormones slow down as you age, and I think for most healthy men in their 40s the levels are still adequate to build muscle. But as you get older and into your 50s, 60s, and beyond, this likelihood diminishes. Levels of thyroid, testosterone, growth hormone, DHEA, melatonin become a fraction of what they were at a younger age. The big difference I notice in my workouts in my 70s compared to when I was younger is that it takes longer to recuperate. 

Shortening my workout by doing fewer sets with greater intensity, slower negatives and lighter weights has helped me to continue productive training in spite of the hormonal slow down. Also boosting my nutrient density with amino acids and the natural hormone boosting substances along with recuperation and energy conservation techniques and use of my meditation machine allow me to continue to grow.   

I recommend my 91 Day Wonder Body book as good template for your success.  

It gives you the day-by-day and step-by-step workouts, diet tips, and mental techniques to get you in the absolute best shape of your life. It also provides space for you to log your workout and record your progress each and every day. 

I also have a 91 Day Wonder Body Bundle that includes the 91 Day Wonder Body book and my Train with Zane Training DVD which shows you the exact form of all the exercise movements and stretches that I use in my own workouts and that I teach in my Zane Experience private training program. It’s the next best thing to being there.

If you are in the San Diego CA area or planning a visit soon you can jumpstart your 91 Day Wonder Body Training program by ordering the book and then scheduling a private training session with me at my private training studio in the San Diego Area. Check it out right here and book your session today frankzane.com/train.

4 replies
  1. MENSUD MUHAREMOVIC
    MENSUD MUHAREMOVIC says:

    Whoever is looking for body transformation, losing fat, gaining lean muscles and life improvement in general, the book 91 Day Wonder Body is the best starting point. Clear day-by-day instructions and nutrition advices will leed you where you want to be. Thank you very much Mr Frank Zane!

  2. Steve
    Steve says:

    Frank, what is your opinion on hormone replacement therapy, or HRT? My doc says I am low and she wants to give me some in a cream to apply every night. What do you think?

    • Tom Radai
      Tom Radai says:

      Frank – I am type 2 diabetic with some Neuropathy in my left ankle and calf. I am very weak in both calves but more so in the left. I can not do standing calf raises or donkeys. I can only do seated calf raises where I can get a good range of motion. What supplements would be good for my diabetes and neuropathy. I look forward to your comments.
      Tom Radai

Comments are closed.