5 Ways Building Muscle Differs in Men Over 50
Should men over 50 wanting to build muscle take the same approach as younger guys?
If you’re a man over 50 wanting to build muscle mass, some might tell you it’s the same approach for everyone, and that what goes for a 30-year-old man also goes for a man over 50.
While many common fundamentals to muscle gain between age groups exist, many important differences also exist.
Hare are 5 important ways that building muscle for men over 50 is different than for younger guys:
1) You don’t need as many calories
As men age, their metabolism slows and their bodies require fewer calories to maintain body weight and body composition. Many men become overweight simply because they continue eating the same amounts as when they were younger.
Most accepted doctrines states that, to gain muscle mass In conjunction with lifting weights, men must eat more calories to support muscle synthesis and a higher level of muscle mass.
Be careful with this.
For men over 50 gaining muscle mass, making every calorie count for maximum nutritional benefit is most important, and if you have a dual goal of body fat loss, eating fewer calories rather than more calories could be most important.
2) You need more joint protection
As men age, joints can become less flexible from weakened muscles, less tendon elasticity, and loss of important lubrication within the joint.
While building muscle mass will contribute to overall joint health, men over 50 should be careful during the muscle building process to not over stress the joint.
Performing stretches after workouts when the muscles are warmed up will increase flexibility by increasing muscle and tendon length and range of motion.
3) You need more rest days
For men over 50, everything metabolically runs slower, including the healing process. Resistance training to build muscle mass causes microscopic stress to muscles, to tendons, and to the central nervous system.
A big part of the muscle building process takes place during the healing process from the workout stress, and senior men need more time for this process to take place.
Also, maximizing workout benefits requires going at the workouts family hard, and being rested is the best way to attack a workout.
So while many younger men can get by with as little as one rest day per week, older men need longer, for example a cycle of two days on, one day off works well to allow senior men sufficient rest and recuperation.
4) Supplementation is a higher requirement
Men over 50 don’t digest and metabolize food and nutrients as well. Since muscle gain goals are also usually associated with body fat loss goals, making every calorie count becomes even more critical.
Operating on a calorie budget of, say 2,000 calories per day, getting essential proteins, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and healthy fats becomes a challenge. By taking macro-nutrient supplements like whey protein powder and micro-nutrient supplements like multivitamins ensures your body gets what it needs while keeping calories low.
5) Lifting heavier becomes riskier
To be sure, lifting heavy provides many important benefits for men over 50, including muscle mass gain and bone density increases, and should be part of the resistance training cycle.
However, given muscle atrophy and joint health degradation typical in senior men, slow and steady is important. Cycling in heavier weights should be a slow progression to limit injury risk, and at least initially, heavy sets should only be performed under the supervision of a qualified personal trainer.
For more information about being in the best shape of your life after age 50, check out BestFit50.