Muscle and Fitness

Gaining Muscle is a vital part of a fitness program for men as we age. A program of muscle and fitness is even more important as we grow older than it was when we were young bucks. There are MANY BENEFITS OF GAINING MUSCLE as we age. If you wish to pursue fitness you must include resistance training for muscle growth and strength.

Benefits of Developing Muscle and Fitness

  • Feel better
  • Improves bone density
  • Increased metabolic rate (you burn more calories even when at rest)

    Strong and Fit
  • Better cardiovascular health (less likely to suffer from heart disease)
  • Improves tendons and ligaments
  • Improves sense of well being, confidence and mood
  • Improves flexibility and balance
  • Enables activities that other aging men can’t do because they lack the strength and flexibility
  • Improves brain function
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Reduces likelihood of diseases associated with aging such as obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s
  • Better quality of life

So, imagine someone offers to magically endow you with the list of benefits above in your 60s and beyond. Are there any of those benefits to which you would say, “Nah. I don’t want that. I’m good.”?

Reasons for Muscle Loss as we Age

It is estimated that for each decade after 30 years old, we lose 3 – 5% of muscle. There are things that can contribute to and even accelerate that loss:

  • Aging – As I mentioned above 3 – 5% muscle loss every 10 year

    old-man-jumping-rope
    Need resistance training or we start losing muscle as we age
  • Sarcopenia – It is a syndrome characterized by progressive and generalized loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength with a risk of adverse outcomes such as physical disability, poor quality of life and death. The onset of the syndrome is primarily among the elderly, older than 65 years of age.
  • Inflammation – It is what happens in the body in response to injury, infections or toxins. When those things occur in the body, the immune system triggers a response to heal the malady. As the healing takes place the inflammation diminishes.
    • Chronic inflammation increases as we age. It may be caused by obesity, unhealthy diet, smoking, excessive alcohol, excessive stress or other types of toxins. It causes aches and pains in joints and other parts of the body. Additionally, chronic inflammation can lead to the onset of various diseases such as diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease and asthma.
  • Couch Potato Lifestyle – If one wishes to gain, rather than lose muscle they will have to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. It requires activity and resistance training.
  • Inadequate nutrition due to poor diet
  • Extreme Stress

Never Too Late

The March 13, 2020, publication of Men’s Health includes an article titled, “You can Still Build New Muscle in Your 60s and 70s, Says Science.”

The article sights a study published in “Frontiers in Physiology”. The study compared the muscle building ability in two groups of men in their 70s and 80s.

One group was referred to as “master athletes”. They were life-long exercisers. The other group was made up of men who had never exercised seriously.

The scientists thought the “master athletes” would have a greater capacity for building new muscle. They were wrong.

The study proved that the men who had never exercised with any seriousness “had an equal capacity to make gains, proving that it really is never too late to feel great. You just need to train smart.”

Old-Man-84-deadlifts-405
Old Man 84 deadlifts 405

 

Strength Training Seniors

OK. Have you decided to begin, or further, a journey into fitness which will include resistance training? Whether you have resolved to become part of a growing number of strength training seniors, or whether you are still in the “thinking about it” stage, I’ll share some important steps to take to help your journey be successful in every way. Don’t just go down to your local health club and start using some various exercise equipment. You’ll likely fail two ways: quickly and permanently.

There are 3 key pillars, if you will, to getting the most progress toward becoming wonderfully fit, feeling and looking great.

old-man-doling-lat-pull-downs
Old Man doing lat pulldowns
  1. Fitness Goals
  2. Meal plans & Supplements
  3. Workout Plan

If you don’t have these 3 you won’t come close to achieving what you’re capable of. For every hour of time you invest, you will get a much greater return on your investment. I’ll show you and provide the guidance to make getting the 3 pillars in place, much easier than you might think.

Fitness Goals

What is it you want to aim for? You will achieve WAY more if you have some measurable goals. Following are some examples:

  • Your body’s percentage of muscle
  • Your body’s percentage of fat
  • Goals for lifting specific amounts of weight
    Set-Goals-and-Plan
    Set Goals and Plan
    • # of pounds for bench press
    • # of pounds for dead lift
    • # of pounds for leg press
    • Etc.
  • Pounds of total body weight
    • (Be careful with this one. Muscle weighs more than fat. So, when you weigh yourself on the scale, you may not think you’re losing the weight you were hoping to. If you’ve lost fat and gained muscle your total body weight may not reflect your advances in fitness.)
  • Waist size
  • Able to fit into certain clothes you can’t wear anymore

Goals must be written down and charted regularly. There are apps today you can download on your phone that make this super easy, even fun.  I use “BodyFit” from bodybuilding. com.  You can click the following link if you’d like to check it out and take advantage of a free trial:        BODYBUILDING.COM 

This effort is rewarding and it is a necessary part of a successful fitness program.

Meal Plan and Supplements Made Simple

There are several ways to go with this, determined by your personal needs and preferences.

What’s important to know, that being truly successful in reaching your fitness goals is you need a structured plan. Do you know the saying, “If you fail to plan you plan to fail”? That’s how it is with the 3 key pillars of a fitness plan.

What I do to make this as simple as I can for myself is, go to the website that is the internet’s go-to resource for all things fitness. They have countless meal plans, meticulously developed to help you reach your fitness goals. Find the plan that’s best for you and follow it. They even provide shopping lists and anything else to help make it as simple and do-able as possible. I pay $3.99 per month for upgraded access to most things on the site. I get the very best of everything I need to help me reach my fitness goals. All the major brand supplements with a guaranteed price match. The site is bodybuilding.com. If you click on the following link it will take you to the correct page:  BODYBUILDING.COM 

Affiliate disclosure:  Any/all of the links on www.fitness-for-men-over-60.com are affiliate links of which I receive a small compensation from sales of certain items which means that I may earn a commission if you click on the link or make a purchase using the link.  Prices are exactly the same for you if your purchase is through an affiliate link or a non-affiliate link. You will not pay more by clicking through to the link.

Workout Plans

  BODYBUILDING.COM is also where I get workout plans. There are countless plans, categorized to help you meet your fitness goals. The following link will take you to the right page to find out more:

In a recent post I explained the kinds of workout equipment that would be both effective and safe for seniors. You can see that by clicking on this link: Exercise Equipment for Seniors. Some equipment can be used at home. It takes up very little room, is portable, safe and effective. The other equipment will be found in your local gym or health club.

training-with-resistance-bands-2
Training with Resistance Bands

 

Final Thoughts

The topic for this article has been the incorporation of resistance training. Muscle and Fitness go together like peanut butter and jelly.  If you have one without the other, it’s good but not nearly as good as having them together.

In a future post, I’ll address the importance of cardio. To look at workout plans on bodybuilding.com just click on this icon below:

I recommend you look for a plan that has one of the following approaches:

  1. Weights 3 days per week/Cardio 3 days per week
  2. Weights 4 days per week/Cardio 2 days per week

Remember:

  1. Set goal(s)
  2. Have a plan for meals and supplements
  3. Have a structured workout plan that can work with your weekly schedule.

Please share any comments or questions in the Comments section below.  If you have questions I’ll do my best to get back to you within 24 hours..

Glenn
Glenn

 

18 thoughts on “Muscle and Fitness

  1. Alyse says:

    Great article on Muscle and Fitness and very helpful especially for seniors!!! I enjoy resistance training and find the bands most useful. Do you know where to get the resistance bands?
    Thank you for this great information!!

    • Glenn says:

      Thank you for the comments, Alyse. I’m glad you liked the article. In the last few months, available resistance bands have been hard to find because all the ‘gym rats’ had to start training at home. “Fitness Insanity Resistance Bands” is a brand that produces a good product and has seemed to be able to keep them in stock. You can find them on Amazon. I just checked and it appears that all 5 of their packages are “in stock”. With thousands of reviews for each sku they score 5 star or darn close.

      Have a great weekend!
      Glenn

  2. C.N. says:

    Thank you so much for another great article, Glenn! Three of my elderly (male) neighbors, ranging from ages 65-82, all continue to workout on a regular basis-I constantly see them jogging around the block, doing push-ups/pull-ups/sit-ups in their front lawns (it’s quite entertaining to watch. Haha), as well as doing cardio/strength training in our local Gold’s Gym (my “home” gym. Haha).

    As we get older, we certainly begin to lose muscle mass, and it’s up to us to maintain a healthy lifestyle-eating right, getting plenty of exercise, reducing stress, getting plenty of rest, etc. Not only will be feel better, but we’ll prolong the time that we’re physically able to engage in various activities (as the saying goes, “use it or lose it!”). Though I am a 28 year old female, I always encourage the men in my family to take care of themselves-the elliptical and dumbbells await you! Haha We’ll thank ourselves for it later! Great read! God bless you!

    • Glenn says:

      Thanks so much for the comments! As a Christian, my motivation to be fit is a stewardship issue. Maintaining fitness for however many years God has me on this earth will enable me to do things to serve Him that I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

      A famous quote: “I’m willing to do things today that others aren’t willing to do so that tomorrow I can do things others aren’t able to do.”

      God bless you too!
      Glenn

  3. Jason says:

    A good Post Glenn. I’m in my fifties now so continue to look for ways to keep the weight off and build muscle. It’s pleasing to see some focus here on resistance training as apart from general floor (body weight) exercises I’m a big fan of resistance bands. I was never a gym junkie in my younger days but the resistance bands are working just nicely for be at the moment. Look forward to more updates.

    Thanks – Jason.

    • Glenn says:

      Thanks so much for the comments, Jason. I’m glad you liked the post. Resistance bands are great. You can achieve most of what you would using weights, but choosing the alternative in resistance bands. Plus, they are inexpensive, light weight and portable. If you’re interested, I wrote a recent post explaining the different types of equipment that are both effective and safe for guys that are aging. Some of the equipment would be found in the gym, others are good for home-training.

      Thanks again!
      Glenn

  4. Dan says:

    I can’t hear about scientifically backed fitness facts enough. I find it interesting that people that have never exercised before in their life will get more gains after starting a fitness routine than people that have had regular exercise routines. One thing I can say from experience is that it’s a lot harder to develop brand new habits, ie someone starting out later in life and hitting the gym as opposed to someone who has been a gym rat for most of their lives. I grew up from an early age training to become a top notch athlete playing basketball, football, baseball, wrestling, you name it and I played it. Once I started lifting weights as an adolescent I could feel the tremendous benefits. As I got older and stopped competing, I stopped training as well and really fell out of shape and neglected my body. Once I hit a “rock bottom” phase in my life and felt as terrible as it gets, I started exercising again and making fitness a priority…the benefits and strength in mind and body came back really fast. I think the benefit for people that have experience with fitness routines is that even if they fall out and lose it, the muscle memory of exercising gets stored in our DNA…just a feeling I have. Thanks for writing and sharing…lots of great info here.

    • Glenn says:

      Thanks so much for the engaging comments, Dan. You’re right about muscle memory. There has been ample research to prove that. In regards to the two groups in the study, the life-long exercisers and the never serious exercisers: The group that had never exercised seriously were able to make AS MUCH progress as the life-long exercisers, not MORE.

      I applaud you for climbing out of ‘rock bottom’. Some of my favorite friends I’ve known in life are people that hit rock bottom. I’ve seen that the journey to health and restoration results in people who are especially authentic and empathetic. I offer you my sincere congratulations!!!

      Glenn

  5. Mick says:

    This is an area that is pretty much neglected so it’s nice to see someone take an active interest.

    When we talk about the gym we usually get an image of men and women in their 20s and 30s.

    Gyms I have tried in the past and failed miserably with them, but the wife goes, well she is looking forward to it after this lockdown.

    I guess with me I felt I had to go rather than wanted to go. Like everything in life, you have to want it!

    Thank you for sharing

    • Glenn says:

      Thanks for the comments, Mick. Through my posts I am aiming to add value to peoples’ lives by providing information and inspiration that helps them to engage in a lifestyle of fitness. Maybe through some other articles I can provide some inspiration for you to improve the length and quality of your life as you age.

      Thanks again!
      Glenn

  6. Hannie says:

    Although I am not exactly you target audience, being a woman 🙂 I can only agree with you that we need strength training when we are aging. I don’t lift a lot of kilos, but I do train with weights. Staying fit and healthy is our responsibility, isn’t it?
    Thanks for your explanation, Gelnn.

    • Glenn says:

      Thanks so much for the comments, Hannie. I agree with you. It is our responsibility. My aim is to provide inspiration and information to help people take action toward becoming fit, or, more fit.

      Also, you’re right that you are not my target audience. However, I’ve had many comments on my posts by people who said they would forward it to a loved one.

      Thanks again,
      Glenn

  7. Sharon says:

    Hi there,

    Great post, it’s not often you get to see articles for people over 60 on fitness, it’s often targeted towards the younger population. The people in the photos look ridiculously healthy! I can only pray that I’m in that good of shape in my 50s, not to mind my 80s!

    Looking forward to seeing what you write next.

    Sharon

  8. Catherine says:

    Hi Glen, great article. I think you are right that it is never too late to do this. I struggle to get myself motivated working out most days. I am living a green life so do not like the idea of consuming pre-workout drinks

    Do you have any suggestions for me?

    • Glenn says:

      Thanks for the comments and the question. To provide the very best answer that will help you get the most out of your workouts, I’ll need to know a few things:

      1) What is your goal(s) over the next 90 days?
      2) What type and frequency of training are you doing now?
      3) Would you prefer to workout at a health club or and home?

      I’ll be able to give you some recommendations that fit with your goals and your green lifestyle>

      Glenn

  9. Tracy says:

    Hi Glenn,
    What a great informative article. I love the study that proves it’s never too late to start building muscle for men. You’ve provided some great tips and strategies for seniors wanting to stay fit and feel great.

    All the best on your success

    Tracy

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