Some Facts About Training After 40


Sarcopenia is real. You will lose muscle as you get older. But how much you lose, and when you start losing it, are very much under your control. The best defense against sarcopenia is to build as much muscle as you can, and then work every day to retain it. The best time to start building that muscle is “long before now.” But if “before now” isn’t an option, “now” is where we’ll start. 

Consistency trumps intensity. Unless you’re new to lifting, you can’t expect to see progress every single workout—to lift more weight, or lift the same weight for more reps, or grind through a higher volume of sets and reps. Think of it like your job: Much of the time, you’re just trying to get through the day without falling farther behind. Same with your workouts. As long as you show up and get some training in, that’s a win. 

Your connective tissues have already started to lose some of their elasticity, which means your joints will be less mobile. That’s why your exercise choices are critical. The wrong ones can damage joints, which matters because… 

There are no easy injuries to bounce back from or work through. The days of gritting your teeth and fighting through aches and pains are behind you. 

Even without injuries, your work capacity is starting to decline, along with your ability to recuperate from the work you put in. Those of us in middle age simply can’t go balls-out every time we walk into the gym and expect to recover like we could 10 or 20 years ago. It makes much more sense to train more frequently, but to inflict less damage on your muscles and joints in those workouts. The workouts we do are only as good as our ability to recover from them. No recovery, no benefit. 

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