Fat Loss and Muscle Gain for Baby Boomers

Who’s going to take up the banner for the baby boomers and exercise for older adults?
This is sent in a positive tone, not mad.
When are one you famous internet fitness folks going to get smart and start a page just for fat loss and muscle gain for us baby boomers? We have our own special needs that are not the same as a 20 something. Like starting to take care of ourselves after being long time office rats. Our kids are going, we have money and time and are active.
*  how to progressively lift without hurting ourselves
*  how to build muscle even with hormone deficient bodies
*  nutrition for the over 50, including supplements beyond multivitamins
*  health conditions like diabetes to consider when lifting and changing your eating
(I’m a type 2 diabetic an needed to lose weight first before concentrating on muscle gain)

I changed my life by using protein power and weight training but it has been a laborious task sifting through all the available information to get what  fits my needs at 51.
How should my workouts be different if I’m 40+?
While struggling with this concept, not quite being 40 years of age myself, I decided what better way to answer this then to ask the experts in the gym that I’m always talking about and who show up faithfully every day.  These guys won competitions at 40+ and are in the gym now at 62 years of age, deadlifting 375 lbs. for reps. So what’s their big secret?  Do you think that if you are over 40 or 50 you are just too old to start lifting?  Do your friends tell you that you are too old to be doing that and you’ll just end up hurting yourself?
Should you warm-up because you are older?
Should you do fewer sets because you are older?
Should you do less weight?
Should you train less intensely because you are over 40?
If I said NO to all of the above, would you believe me?  I guess it doesn’t matter because guess what, I’m about to say NO.
Warming up.  You should be warming up regardless of your age.  That’s just a good gym lesson and will keep you healthy.  It might be true that a younger body can take more pounding then an older body, and maybe if you skip warming up at 18 it won’t matter as much.  But regardless of the debates on that, young and old should warm up.  So there’s no reason to start warming up at 40+ years of age and skip it when you are 14.
Fewer sets.  So if you are 20 years old you can and should do 30 sets of benching but the older guys should stick to maybe 6 sets max?  I think not.  There are many programs out there that work and preach fewer sets, Max-OT being one of them.  I’ve received more benefit out of heavier, fewer sets then I ever did at 18 doing endless sets nowhere near my potential.  Doing a lot of sets doesn’t necessarily build muscle at any age for some.  There are some programs like German Volume Training that can be beneficial to both a 20 year old and a 50 year old.  Because you are 40 years of age or older has no bearing on the training program you should or can choose.  If that were the case, then the training programs published would need age ranges.
Intensity.  While this term might have various meanings depending on who you are and what program you are following, every time you pick up a weight, the intent should be to build muscle or make it stronger.  This isn’t age specific either.  There is no talk of actual weight, only the force you exert.  If a person at 40 is bench pressing and she exerts 100%, that is the same amount of intensity as a man who is bench-pressing whatever weight and giving 100% as well.  If you are 40 years old, should you only give 60%?  No.
Honestly, after actually speaking with many people of various ages, there’s no real difference.  These men and women at 40+ come into the gym with the same goals and intensity as any younger person would.  Age does not play a part in training.  There is no magic number that you reach and suddenly you have to take it easy now.  Is it 40?  Or 42?  Maybe 36?  Or maybe as long as you warm-up, train hard, keep pushing yourself past your own limits, you can keep the pace going indefinitely.
The only consideration age plays a part in is actual muscle growth.  A younger person may not need to actually workout as hard to gain muscle.  It is scientifically known that the older you get, the harder it will be to build muscle.  That just means that older people have to push themselves harder than a younger person.  So maybe training at 40+ can actually be more intense?
If you still need more inspiration and proof, check out the FitOver40 website.  I think you will find plenty of exceptions to the rules.
Be Fit, Stay Strong!
Marc David – CPT
PS. – Other than your current physical limitations, age is simply not a factor.  There’s no special workouts for an 18 year old vs. a 51 year old.
PS. – Scott “Old Navy” Hults started bodybuilding in his 50’s.  He’s now winning bodybuilding competitions.  His training is just as hard if not harder than most younger people I know.  He’s more consistent and dedicated.  Visit Scott Hults over at BodybuildingSenior.com

3 Replies to “Fat Loss and Muscle Gain for Baby Boomers”

  1. Is a protein that is slow digesting and therefore better suited for those who have planned out their every day intake

  2. “Age” is the same non-issue as “female”; add the two (“older female”) and I’m in deep trouble – IF that is, I listen to the general comments from people around me.
    But I don’t. I listen to … my body!
    If it tells me to squat heavy and to go to failure, I do.
    If let’s say one knee says “stop, this hurts” then guess what: I stop!
    Nothing to do with age or gender, just basic, common sense (a rare commodity these days it seems – too much googling instead of thinking)

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