How to gain muscle after 45

If you’re a man over 45 years old, you might be wondering how difficult it is to build muscle at your age?

Well, the truth is if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything! – Said a wise man in the film back to the future…😊

The truth is building muscle after age 45 is even more important now more than ever and you can read as many articles, watch as many videos and look over as many forums as you want, nothing will happen until you put together a plan of action and start today!

Quick motivational story

Firstly, I have a well-respected friend who was told his weight was getting out of hand in his early fifties, the doctor said he needed to lose weight if he was to continue his love of flying light aircraft.

This man had never lifted weights and wasn’t particularly interested in building muscle.

So, he began his weight loss journey eating less calories than what his body burned and doing a lot of cardio and for sure he lost a lot of weight, but he also lost a lot of muscle too!

After his weight loss he was motived to build some muscle and after hooking up with a personal trainer in LA on his holiday, he started his muscle building journey.

A few years later and he had completely transformed his physique!

At age 54 he won the over 50’s muscle model competition at an event here in the UK, managed to get on the front of a cover and started his own YouTube channel.

Why am I telling you this?

Because if an overweight man in his fifties who’s never lifted weights can lose fat and build muscle you can too!

My personal story is I was always the “skinny guy” and found it hard to build muscle and get ripped.

By learning and overhauling my training, I finally built a respectable physique with ripped abs at age 41.

Now at age 46 I’m continuing my muscle and fat loss journey, whilst helping men over 40 do the same.

Will I ever win a contest? Who knows?

But I’ll keep trying that’s for sure.

Ok let me give you some great tips for how to build muscle at 45 years old and beyond.

Start off slow

This isn’t talked about a lot but don’t go from doing nothing to lifting weights, doing cardio, and changing your diet overnight.

If you’ve never trained do one thing at a time to build confidence, here’s an example of what I mean:

Week 1 – clean up your diet

The first week don’t even start lifting weights, just cut out the junk food and start eating three solid meals of protein, carbs, and fat per day. Nutrient dense, healthy meals.

Get your body used to baseline calories again.

Week 2 – build activity slowly

Get into the gym 2 x per week to begin with to build activity levels. There’s no need to go crazy at this stage, the idea is to get into the gym and get moving.

Start to develop new habits, this coupled with your new eating plan will get you off to a great start.

Perform 30-40 minutes of cardio on one day and a full body resistance training program for the other day.

Week 3 & 4 – add in another weight’s workout

Carry on with your nutrition plan but add in another resistance training workout so you are performing 2 x weights workouts each week and one cardio training session.

Week 5 onwards

Now you have developed new habits, eating better and training better, here are some muscle building tips to help you.
Let’s expand on things a bit…

Eat testosterone boosting foods

As men over 45, we need all the advantages we can get whilst staying completely natural.

Unfortunately, our testosterone levels are already taking a hit by age 45, but we’re not old yet. By incorporating testosterone boosting foods into our diet, we can build lean muscle and burn more fat.

Testosterone is the hormone in our body that’s responsible for building muscle and burning fat so keeping it at optimum levels is essential.

The following foods have been shown to boost testosterone in men:

Fatty fish i.e., salmon
Whole eggs (including the yolks)
Ground Beef
Leafy green vegetables

While there are other foods you can include, look to include the above foods in your diet each day in different combinations.

For example, you could get your eggs with oats in the morning and avocado with a big tuna / pasta salad in the afternoon.

Get enough calories

Being over 45 years old we need to cut out the junk and make sure we’re eating enough calories each day. Stick to whole natural foods, plenty of lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats.

Gradually increase your calories to baseline (the amount you need to sustain weight).

Measure your body fat percentage each week and add 200-300 calories extra to your baseline. The key here is to keep tabs on your body fat percentage as you want to keep it roughly the same as you gain weight.

Gain weight gradually and as you do so make sure your body fat never creeps above 15% so that you always look like a muscle man, not a fat man.

For this to happen, ensure you are following a sound training program.

From those calories, aim to get 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight per day, 40-50% of calories from carbohydrates and the remainder 20% from fat.

Break up the calories into 2-3 bigger meals a few snacks per day, whatever it takes to hit your macros.

If you find it difficult to eat enough protein, add in some protein shakes.

Personally, I prefer to eat solid food, but they can come in handy if you’re finding solid nutrition hard to hit your macros.

Overhaul your muscle building plan

Once you have been training on a full body routine for 4-6 week, look to use an upper, lower training split or a push, pull, legs routine 3 times per week works very well.

Personally, I prefer the upper, lower training split as it minimises overlap (the same muscle being trained again before it’s recovered).

But I will use the 3 day per week, push-pull-legs training split for variety. Here’s an example:

Monday – push day

Chest, shoulders & triceps

Wednesday – pull day

Back & biceps

Friday – legs

Quads & hamstrings

Don’t completely ignore cardio but you don’t want to be going crazy with cardio either. I find that 2 x cardio training sessions of low impact for 30-40 minutes i.e., the stationary cycle works very well.

Putting it all together

Well, I hope this article has cleared up the fact that you CAN build muscle at any age and 45 is no excuse not to build muscle.

Remember building muscle becomes even more important as we age. If you would like a complete step by step plan to building muscle over 40, check out my brand-new course, muscle over 40.

To your success!

Recent Posts