Building muscles after 40

Who doesn’t like to be fit and muscular? However, there is a common misconception that you can only build muscles when you’re young. While it’s true that your body starts putting on more fat as you age, it’s also true that nothing is impossible. Therefore, if you’re wondering that you can build muscles after 40, then the answer to this question is YES!

You just need to give a little time and effort, and you will very easily attain your goal of bulking up. Just because you’re a dad doesn’t mean that you have to live with a dad bod. Therefore, if you’re wondering how to build muscles after 40, then keep reading our extensive guide on muscle building to learn all you need to know.

How to Build Muscles after 40?

Figuring out how to build muscles after 40 can come across as quite a daunting experience. Most people think that they won’t have the energy to go through with all the requirements, and they usually give up mid-way. However, the best way is to stay focused and consistent with your routine. Furthermore, we have rounded up some of the simplest and most convenient ways to help to gain muscle mass despite your age.

Work Smart, Not Hard

If you want to build muscles, then working out is extremely important, and there is no better exercise than weight lifting that will help you build muscles. However, most people in their 40s find it a bit difficult to spend hours at the gym every day. Furthermore, not everyone is used to lifting weights, and they should begin slowly with this exercise.

Therefore, we will recommend you lift less for greater muscle gain, which is where you need to be smart about your workout. You can’t push your body as you did in your 20s, which is why you should choose moderate weights and use them moderately throughout the entire week. This way, you will notice effective results without completely exhausting yourself.

Play Safe

You might have the drive and enthusiasm of a teen, but you must be aware of your natural effect that aging has on your body. This means that you are more prone to injuries at this age while working out. Therefore, you should try your best to play it safe and focus on a moderate routine that gives good results.

You should find a safe workout routine that works well for you and stick with it. If you keep trying different and more complex routines, then you will be doing more harm than good. It’s nice to challenge yourself but remember that trying to build muscles at this age is a challenge in its own right. Therefore, you must be careful.

Dietary Modifications

Your diet plays the main role in muscle mass development. You heard it right! While exercise is extremely helpful for muscle building, your diet constitutes up to 70% muscle development. Therefore, you need to be mindful of what you eat. It’s always encouraged to have a well-balanced diet with a special focus on proteins.

Protein is a macronutrient just like carbohydrates and fat; however, protein is the most helpful in muscle building because muscles are made of protein as well. Therefore, it promotes the development of muscle mass. It is also responsible for improving your overall metabolism, which leads to greater calorie loss and promotes fat burning as well.

Furthermore, muscle building comes in two phases. The first one is the bulking phase, where you consume a high-calorie diet in order to gain weight. The next stage is the shedding phase, where you then work on toning your body. However, you should be careful about what you eat in the bulking phase since consuming calorie-dense food such as fizzy drinks, burgers, and cakes will lead to greater fat mass accumulation.

It will also become harder to burn this fat in the shedding phase because excessive fat burning will burn more calories as well, and it will ruin your muscle-building progress. Therefore, you need to ensure that you consume a healthy diet from the very beginning. If you have a nutrient-dense diet with proteins, complex carbs, and good fats, you will gain a healthy weight to build muscle mass instead of fat mass.

how to build muscles over 40

Get Ample Rest

It’s extremely important to work hard at the gym and take extra care of what you eat. However, you need to take a break every now and then as well. If you don’t take proper rest, then you will end up becoming exhausted and fatigued. For instance, you need to weight train on alternate days since it’s important to have at least one day’s break between your regular weight lifting sessions.

You need to have ample recovery and rest periods as well that will allow your muscles to heal and recover as well. If your muscles are fatigued and your body is burned out, then it will lead to muscle wasting instead of muscle building.

Frequent and Short Training Cycles

Just like your meals, your training cycles should be frequent and short for muscle building as well. This means that you should start slow and slowly build up the momentum of your workout routines. You should also make sure that your training session doesn’t exceed more than half an hour to forty-five minutes because it will make you exhausted and cause muscle fatigue.

Instead of working out for 3 hours a week, where you work out three days a week with one hour each day, you should work out five to six days a week for half an hour every day. This is the perfect example of frequent and short training cycles.

8 Things to Avoid If You’re Trying Building Muscles After 40

You should avoid the following eight things at all costs if you’re trying building muscles after 40.


As mentioned before, you need to be mindful of your workout routine, and you should work out in small and frequent routines to prevent excessive exhaustion or fatigue. If your body is completely burnt out or fatigued, you will end up losing muscle mass instead of building it.

Poor Diet

Consuming a diet that is high in sugar, refined carbs, and bad fats will lead to excessive fat mass accumulation. This means that you would have to first burn the accumulated fat mass, which is why it’s always recommended to keep your dietary intake in check so that you don’t end up gaining the wrong kind of weight during the bulking season. Burning the fat mass will also hinder muscle building since the exercises that burn fat can also end up retarding your muscle growth.


It’s important for everyone to consume at least six glasses of water every day. However, when you’re working out, your water requirement increases, and you should try to consume at least ten to twelve glasses of water per day.

It is also ideal to have a few glasses of water before your workout session because it keeps you hydrated enough to prevent muscle cramping. Furthermore, working out makes you sweat, and sweating is a form of water loss. Therefore, you need to replenish this water loss by having ample water throughout the day.

Poor Protein Intake

Protein is the main macronutrient that helps in muscle building; therefore, you must have a healthy protein intake throughout your journey of muscle building. There are different forms of protein. For instance, you can get protein from chicken, mutton, fish, beef, eggs, tofu, yogurt, cheese, milk, beans, and legumes.

Improper Meal Timing

You need to manage your meals smartly if you really want to gain weight. This means that you will have to eat carbs before working out because carbs are the main source of energy in your body. Having carbs before working out will give you ample energy to perform well.

Furthermore, proteins should ideally be consumed after your workout session before your muscles go through intensive wear and tear while working out, and having a protein-rich meal after your training session will help in muscle repair, and it will also lead to stronger and more well-defined muscles.

Cardio Before Weight Training

While cardio is the best way to warm up before any workout, it’s suggested to avoid all sorts of intense cardio routines before weight training. This is because cardio ends up exhausting you, and it leads to increased calorie burning. If you perform cardio with weight training, then you will end up losing weight, and this will hinder your muscle mass development.

Furthermore, if you want to do cardio, you must sure have a minimum six-hour gap between your weight training and cardio routine as this will give your body ample time to recover.

Avoiding Carbs and Fat

Protein is the most endorsed macronutrient when it comes to muscle building, but this does not mean that you should stop having carbs or fat. Carbs and fat are also assumed to be weight gain culprits, which is kind of true. However, you need to realize that there are both good and bad carbs and fat.

Good carbs are the complex carbs that prevent unhealthy weight gain, and bad carbs are refined carbs. Similarly, good fats improve your HDL levels, and bad fats increase your fat mass and increase LDL levels. Therefore, you need to have good carbs such as oats and avoid refined carbs such as processed cereals. Good fat such as avocados must be consumed as well, and sources of bad fat such as fried food must be avoided at all costs.

Excessive Supplement Usage

Supplements are extremely helpful for building muscles because they are a concentrated blend of all the ingredients that promote muscle building. However, you should be careful about the ingredients in your supplements, and you should always opt for protein supplements that contain whey protein since it is the finest form of supplemental protein.

If you are Trying Bodybuilding After 40 – What are the Routines?
There are different routines that you can follow for effective bodybuilding after 40, and we have mentioned a few of them below:


The first step is to warm up, and you can perform jumping jacks or run the treadmill for this one. However, remember not to go overboard as cardio leads to excessive weight loss.

Muscle Building Exercises

It’s best to have a set day for different body parts. For instance, you can do weight training for your legs, arms, core on separate days. Some of the most common exercises include:

  • Pushups
  • Planks
  • Squats
  • Crunches
  • Lunges
  • Glute bridges
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers

Weight Training Exercises

These exercises are done using weights, and they include:

  • Deadlifts
  • Bench-presses
  • Dumbbell Split Squat
  • Leg presses
  • Barbell rows
  • Overhead press

Building Big Arms After 40

Muscular gains after 40 can be quite challenging. However, our following guidelines will help you build muscular arms in no time:

Eating More

You need to consume more calories than you burn. The ideal calorie range for anyone who wants to increase arm muscles lies between 2500 to 3000 calories every day.

Steady Increase in Weights

You should slowly and gradually increase the number of weights you add to your workout routine. However, you should increase the volume of the weights after every week to increase your stamina and build muscular arms. Some exercises such as barbell rows and overhead presses do wonders for building stronger muscles.

Staying Clear of Curls

Performing squats and deadlifts is much better than curls and extensions if you really want to build muscular arms.

Building Muscles Over 40 Supplements

Your supplements must contain creatine and whey protein in order to help you build strong muscles. Beta-Alanine and Branched Chain Amino Acids are also very helpful.

Final Word

It’s possible to build muscles even after 40, and all you need to do is stay consistent and follow our advice and you will get good results in no time. Do let us know in the comment section below how your muscle building journey is going!

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