At first thought, you may dismiss the idea of beginning bodybuilding over 40. Perhaps you have recently decided to focus on health and fitness, but getting the sculpted physique of a body builder seems out of reach.
Yes, it is an ambitious goal. However, with focus and a good exercise plan you can join the scores of men and women bodybuilders over 40 who have shaped their bodies into perfect specimens of strength, power, and most importantly, health.
Bodybuilding, or weight training, has very serious health and lifestyle benefits that someone over the age of 40 should not ignore. As you grow older, your risks of age-related illnesses such as heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes increase steadily.
If left unchecked, these symptoms can quickly lead to more critical ailments, loss of independence, and even death.
On the other hand, the people who practice over 40 bodybuilding have been given a new lease on life.
In contrast to their sedentary counterparts, studies have found that bodybuilders heal more quickly and are less injury prone. What may surprise you more is that they traditionally have lower cholesterol, fewer doctor visits, significantly cheaper prescription costs, and can remain independent for almost a decade longer than non-bodybuilders.
Bodybuilders into their late 70s all insist that their workouts keep their bones stronger and relieve arthritis pain. There are even cases of bodybuilders who firmly believe their exercise abated serious ailments like multiple sclerosis, congestive heart failure, and cancer.
How To Start
If you are ready to see how you can benefit from weight training over 40, then there are a couple of things you should do before you begin.
First, always consult your doctor before you begin any new fitness routine. You doctor can tell you if you are ready to take on this kind of activity.
The next thing you should do is find a partner. Whether or not you end up with a personal trainer, most bodybuilders recommend using a partner.
Partners keep an eye on one another to prevent over training and motivate each other. Your ideal partner should be at the same or slightly higher experience level as you are.
Also, you will probably benefit more if you find another person who is also looking to build muscle over 40. Then, you can work together to get over any obstacles you encounter.
Keep in mind, no one exercise regiment works for every person. While you should train on the same cycle, the individual exercises and sets will need to vary for your unique body style in order to get the best results.
Don’t be jealous if your training partner gets better results using a dumbbell, you may have the better results on the benchpress.
Finally, to get started you need to develop a weight training program. You need to understand that there is no single right way of weight lifting over 40.
There are many different weight training programs with many different variations. You need to find the one that is best for your body.
There are many men and women out there who have had outstanding success by creating a program that meets their individual needs. Study as many of these cases as you can.
Educate yourself about their cycles, number of sets, how they trained specific body parts, hurdles they faced, and other things they did to support their fitness goals. Take their methods that best fit your goals and include them in your own program.
While there are various types of programs for weight training over 40. The most commonly used is “Split” training and typically people have the most success using a variation of this training method.
Split refers to breaking the body into different muscle groups. Then, each muscle group is trained individually, or in conjunction with one other group, as one day of a cycle that repeats once every muscle group has been trained.
Most people believe this is more effective than training every muscle group each day of the cycle. Most experts train for one to two hours each day, focusing on one body part to break down the muscle, prepare it for growth, and then begin to increase mass.
This process takes time. Therefore, to do an entire body in one day would take many hours and you would be at greater risk of injury.
Once again, there is no set way to train but some of the more common training cycles are 3 day, 4 day, 5 day, and 10 day splits.
As you can probably imagine, the shorter cycles focus on more muscle groups each day. For example, a common 4 Day split focuses on chest and triceps on day 1, shoulders and biceps on day 2, back and legs on day 3, and rest on day 4.
The longer cycles focus on one muscle group each day. There is at least one day of rest included in every cycle. There are bodybuilders who swear by 3 day splits, but just as many swear by 10 day splits.
After you learn which split cycles worked for others, you should choose a split cycle that best suits your fitness goals and schedule. You can always change your training cycle later, but remember it will take some time to see how effective your program is.
Also, you may have noticed the example above does not include abs. This is because many bodybuilders work on their abdomen every day, as extra training using crunches and sit ups.
Ensure Your Success
If you want to have the “ripped” physique of a bodybuilder, you will need to do more than just train.
People who have been most successful at weight training over 40 made changes throughout their life. Many added a cardio routine to supplement their training and to burn any extra fat caused by overeating.
Every bodybuilder will tell you that you need to practice excellent nutrition. While nutritional needs vary for each person, typically bodybuilders eat several small meals throughout the day that are protein rich and include complex carbohydrates.
Just as you should develop your training program based on the winning programs others use, you should base your nutrition plan on the eating habits of your bodybuilding role models.
Finally, most body builders insist that keeping a positive attitude in all aspects of their lives helped them achieve amazing physical results.
If you want to master your body, study the examples set by your personal role models and use their experiences to shape your own unique program. They can teach you to overcome obstacles you may encounter on your journey to health and fitness.
An excellent resource for bodybuilding over 40 is the e-book Fit Over 40.
The author of the book has interviewed 52 men and women from the ages of 40 to over 70 and chronicled their training program, nutritional habits, and fitness background.
Each person’s story is unique and you can use their stories to create your story of fitness for the rest of your life. Click here to learn more…