Forty Plus Muscle

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forty plus muscle

They say life begins at Forty. I would definitely agree on that. By forty most of your delusions of saving the world are gone and you realize that rather than impressing the world around you, it would be better if you focus your energies on self development. This is also the best time to build lean muscle and get in shape-what? Yes you heard me right (oops, read me right!)

Of course forties are not the best time for your hormones, especially the big T or Testosterone. But I would say in spite of the declining T levels, one can safely build lean muscle and get in the best shape of their lives at Forty. All you need is some thoughtful workout programming and mindful eating. Think Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez; they are safely over forty!

Some pointers in the pursuit for the forty plus physique-

  1. Short, Intense sessions– Keeping your workout sessions short and intense is the holy grail of training beyond the forties. Long workout sessions would release cortisol and that’s not something we want. Cortisol, for the uninitiated is the catabolic or stress hormone. While cortisol is not without its own uses, we don’t want too much of it around our workouts. Aim to spend no more than 60 minutes at a stretch, in the gym room.  Ideally we would also like to keep the weight and cardio training sessions separately. High Intensity Interval Training is already in vogue; it’s short and effective and extremely crucial if you want to burn fat while minimizing muscle loss. And since lean muscle is at a premium for these particular demographics, it would be prudent to focus on intermittent cardio rather than the low intensity ones. It’s fun, effective and can be customized to suit the fitness and medical conditions of every individual.
  2. Selecting the right beverage– Ditch the beer, grab proteins shake instead. You have to limit alcohol. Ideally you would want to cut it out altogether. Since you would need quality proteins to fuel your muscles, adding a protein shake to your routine won’t harm. Instead of the sugar filled mocktail, grab hold of a vegetable fruit juice instead. Getting in the right micronutrients can go a long way in fulfilling any shortcomings on that front.
  3. Up your greens– We are so used to telling our children to eat their veggies; we sometimes tend to ignore it ourselves. When I advise my clients to eat vegetables some of them say they are not safe anymore- what is safe anyways?! Chemicals and genetically modified food has become a part of life now. I would love you to have fresh organic vegetables and if you are in a position to do that, you should absolutely do it. If not make do with the best of what you got. But you need to eat at least 3 large servings of fibrous vegetables- it will go a long way in improving the way you act, think, function and look. Trust me!
  4. Increase your NEAT– Urban life is mostly sedentary. In order to rev up your metabolism (which slows down with age), we need to keep the “motor” running literally for as long as possible. So walking, climbing up the stairs, carrying the grocery bags all help to improve your Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT.
  5. Lift heavy– The general tendency in gyms is to give light weights to the 40 plus crowd, assuming that it is the sensible thing to do. However in order to boost the muscle building hormones you need to lift heavy. By heavy I do not in any way mean that you should compromise on form or technique. Lift as heavy as possible and keep adding the resistance every session, no matter how small the increments might be.
  6. Supplements-Ashvagandha (Withania Somnifera) is a good addition to your daily diet. Besides that Fish Oil, Vitamin D3 and Leucine should help with the process. Along with that I would recommend taking a collagen supplement. It is a crucial addition in your diet at this juncture; will help with your skin, nails, hair and most importantly your joints. Try to go for a marine form as it is the best used and absorbed by the body.

The writer Angshuman Dutta is the CEO/Founder of Transformers Fitness Academy. You can follow him on Facebook and on Instagram at

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