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Can You Build Muscle After 40 and 30? (What Does the Science Say?)

Building Muscle in Your 30/40s

It’s a pretty well-known fact that, as we age, we lose muscle mass and strength. The scientific name for this weakening with age is sarcopenia. 

This sucks, but it affects all of us, so you’re probably interested in what you can expect as you get older. At what age does sarcopenia set in and how bad is it? Is it inevitable or is there something you can do to prevent or at least slow it down?

I’ve dug into the research to get all the answers for you.

It’s common to hear that after you turn 30, everything goes downhill. This belief is supported by the fact that, most top athletes of popular sports are in their 20s [1]. You’ve probably also heard things like  testosterone drops by 1-2%  each year after the age of 30 [2].

While these stats are alarming, you shouldn’t give up hope. I’ve got some good news for you. The age of peak physical performance varies substantially from one sport to another. The range is pretty wide with some sports favouring athletes in their early 20s and others athletes in their early 40s are in their prime.

The great news is that in many sports that are heavily dependent upon strength and muscle mass athletes tend to peak later. Powerlifters reach their prime on average at age 35 [3]. In bodybuilding, many of the all-time greats weren’t at their best until they were in at least their 30s. Ronnie Coleman was still winning Olympia titles in his 40s, Phil Heath is still at the top of the sport in his 40s and many athletes like Jay Cutler, Dorian Yates, Lee Haney, and Arnold Schwarzenegger were winning Olympia titles in their 30s.

Tom Brady is an obvious example of someone who has continued to improve physically past their 40th birthday. Meanwhile in soccer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are two of two most impressive physical specimens aged 36 and 39 respectively. 

These examples fit closely with the scientific research [4], which shows no relation between age and the rate of muscle growth or strength development between 18 and 39 year olds. This suggests that age is not a limiting factor in your response to training in any practical way up to the age of 40.

But what about after the age of 40? 

Is 40 the end of the line for the gains train?

While 40 seems to be something of a barrier to elite level sports performance. It might not be the death sentence for your strength and muscle mass gains. In fact, there is a vast array of research indicating you can stay strong, lean, and muscular past the age of 40.

To get a more detailed analysis of when muscle and strength loss is a real concern you can use sarcopenia research as an indicator. This shows that, muscle loss in the general population shows a linear decline starting at the age of… just 20!

The available data [5] actually shows muscle mass steadily declines as we age. There is no inflection point. Muscle mass doesn’t suddenly start falling off at an alarming rate. Instead it tends to be a slow but steady decay over time.

Hang on a minute, if we start losing muscle mass in our 20s, how is it possible powerlifters peak at 35, bodybuilders win shows in their 40s, and Tom Brady is a super-bowl MVP at 43?

It’s because age is not the primary determinant of muscle loss and strength loss. Let that sink in.

Sarcopenia is not primarily a problem of age. Some fascinating research, involving muscle biopsies, suggest that muscle tissue does not suffer from age at all [6].

Instead, a scientific review [7] placed the blame for our decline in athletic capacity firmly with our lifestyle choices. The authors stating that, “The primary causes of sarcopenia include a sedentary lifestyle and malnutrition.” 

We get fat and weak as we age because we let ourselves. We are guilty of becoming inactive. Sitting on the sofa, stuffing ourselves with junk food, rather than nourishing our bodies and exercising often. These lifestyle choices are more likely the reason for muscle loss than our age. 

That’s great news! You can stay fit, healthy, lean, muscular, and strong well past your 40s if you commit to doing what it takes.

Losing muscle and strength as you age is not inevitable. Being strong for life is in your control.

Research in elite masters athletes found no significant loss of lean body mass or strength from 40 to 81 years of age in people that kept exercising [8]. 

Most people are dead by the age of 81, let alone alive and kicking, lifting weights, and retaining their muscle and strength levels. 

Which one do you want?

Weak and feeble or strong and powerful?

To be clear on how much of this depends on your choices and actions consider this quote for the the authors of this study, “These findings contradict the common observation that muscle mass and strength decline as a function of aging alone. Instead, these declines may signal the effect of chronic disuse rather than muscle aging.”

The old ‘use it or lose it’ truism at its finest.

Now you might be thinking I’ve cherry-picked the data and found one study to say what I want. You’d be wrong!

Multiple scientific studies support that age per is not the major cause of frailty in the elderly and does not limit our physical capacity nearly as much as most people think.

Here’s proof:

A 2000, research paper established no difference in muscle growth rates between trainees in their 20s and trainees up to age 70 [9]. In 2001, Roth et al.  studied elderly men and women aged 65-75 years and found they gained just as much muscle as men and women in their 20s during 6 months of strength training [10]. A study conducted in 2009 found a group in their mid-60s gained just as much muscle and strength as a group in their mid-20s during 4 months of strength training [11]. More recently, research conducted in 2017, found no difference in the rate of muscle and strength development during strength training in 18-25 and 50-65-year-old women [12]. Even in your 90s your muscles remain responsive to strength training [13].

Before we get carried away and you think you can just keep growing muscle and gaining strength until you hit 100, I do have some bad news.

2020 meta-analysis . [14] concluded that when we look at all available studies, muscle growth from strength training does diminish after age 60. However, age only explained about 10% of the variance in muscle growth. 90% of the results were due to other factors which are in your control. So, if you might not make the best gains of your life aged 60 plus, but you can still see results and you should make excellent progress well past the age of 40.

Good strength training combined with the proper diet is the fountain of youth. The moral of the story is, it’s never too late to start training but it is always too early to stop! 

While you may not be an elite level athlete past your 40th birthday you can always stay strong, muscular and lean for decades to come. Give your body what it needs, stay lean and fit, and it will serve you for many decades for a long and muscular life.

One way to help fuel your body is to take Man Greens.

Man Greens is a powerful, natural blend of adaptogens, superfoods, and anabolic agents that provides your body with all the nutrients it needs to help keep you looking and feeling young, and allows you to thrive as you age.

Adding Man Greens to you training and diet regimen can help you to build strength, gain muscle mass, boost your sex drive, energy levels, vitality, and overall health. This is especially important as we age and find the stresses, strains, and responsibilities of life start to accumulate.

Remember that multiple research studies have found that you can build muscle and lose fat in your 50s and 60s just as fast as an 18 year-old can, if you follow a good training program, a quality high protein diet, and support it with adequate micronutrition [15].

Man Greens provides all the quality micronutrition you need!

Many other greens powders on the market use ineffective filler ingredients. Even the useful ingredients they include are cut to ineffective doses and hidden behind shady proprietary blends so the supplement company sneakily gets more cash out of your wallet.

But Man Greens is fully transparent so we reveal every drop in the formula.

To put it simply, Man Greens is the only greens powder on the market that’s made specifically for men to improve their recovery from training, energy levels, health, and vitality. Even better it can help increase testosterone, which in turn aids muscle mass and fat loss.

You can grab Man Greens at the most affordable price available using this link.

Alright, that was the video on gaining muscle mass in your 30s, 40s and beyond. Don’t forget to grab Man Greens by visiting the link down below, and I’ll see you in the next video.

References:

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-015-0354-3?wt_mc=alerts.TOCjournals
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11158037/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30958059/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19749605/
  5. https://agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2000.tb04719.x?sid=nlm%3Apubmed
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25965867/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19800212/
  8. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3810/psm.2011.09.1933
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11078093/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11890579/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2777794/
  12. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ggi.13010/abstract
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2342214/
  14. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/japplphysiol.00170.2020?cookieSet=1
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19387379/
  • Jun 10, 2021
  • Category: Blog
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