When talking about gaining muscle easily as you get older and why it’s generally seen as more difficult, I could talk about a condition called sarcopenia. Which is responsible for the shrinking of muscle tissue and an overall decrease in strength and stamina.
I could talk about falling metabolic rates and hormone changes as we age. I could talk about lowering production of systemic enzymes meaning we don’t recover as fast after exercise or a host of other things.
And the truth is all that stuff matters…
But the real reason IMHO, the real reason it’s difficult to build muscle as we get older is…
Most of us stop doing it properly!
Stick with me, I’m going somewhere here.
By 40 most of us live fairly sedentary lives simply because we have more stuff going on. Families, jobs, mortgages etc, so we move less in general.
To make up for this sedentary lifestyle and the constant voice in our ear telling us we’re now in the age bracket where we are losing muscle naturally, when we do hit the gym…we hit it hard.
Often the workouts we do haven’t changed since we were 20.
At 20 we can do pretty much any workout and see results. So even if we’re doing the wrong workouts our bodies are able to bounce back and we keep seeing gains. We thus believe, the way we used to workout is the correct way, and do this same workout when we’re 40.
Now we’ve a bit older, doing the wrong workout leads to increased recovery times, decreased gains and inevitably injury. Injury which then stops us working out entirely for a period of time. A period of time in which we are losing muscle mass.
Once we’re back up and running we either go even harder to make up for lost time. Resulting in more probability of re injury and the cycle continuing, or we get disheartened at how much we’ve lost and simply give up.
It doesn’t have to be like this and is, in reality, much easier and much less effort. You see…
Your muscles work on a use it or lose it principle.
As you become more sedentary your body literally says, “look…maintaining these muscles requires a huge metabolic cost. It means I’ve got to take in a lot more calories every day just to keep them. So as you’re not using them you obviously don’t need them. I’ll just get rid of them and save myself some work.”
Now I’ve written an entire book about how you can prevent this from happening and build muscle easily without getting injured whatever your age. Which you can grab here >>
But to get started it’s really as simple as reminding your body it needs muscle by using it on a regular basis.
Ok, still really obvious Sam…
An easy way of doing this? Every few hours go and do 10 press up or 10 squats or 10 lunges. Something simple and certainly not anything which is really pushing you, risking injury or long recovery periods. (you should not ache the next day from this). Heck you can do 10 squats on your regular bathroom break at work and not even break a sweat (and that’s exactly the idea).
As an added bonus getting up and going to the bathroom every hour will lower inflammatory markers caused by sitting all day.
All we’re really trying to do is signal to your body, “look I need these muscles so keep hold of them.”