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TOPIC: For women over 40...Can we build muscle?

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August 31, 2009 9:13 AM
I have just started a strength and cardio program at the gym. I'm only overweight by about 15 pounds (size 6) but have never really lifted weights. I need to firm up... I REALLY want some awesome looking arms. Are there any 40 something women out there who have recently gained a good muscle tone and how long did it take you? IS it even possible to start this late in life and gain sculpted arms? My routine is 6 days of cardio (45 mins walk/run), 3 days of upper build strength trainging and 3 days of lower. F
August 31, 2009 9:17 AM
I'm not over 40 lol, I actually haven't even hit 20 yet. But, there's this lady at my gym, who's gotta be at least 40 ( I'd say closer to 50) who only started going about a year and a half ago. And just from watching her transformation, I'd say it is TOTALLY possible, you just have to be reaaaaallly dedicated :) But yeah, she's got a killer body now, and muscle definition even the boys wouldn't mess with! tongue
  132059
August 31, 2009 9:21 AM
I'm 42 - I say we can definitely build muscle. I don't go to the gym, but have been working on strength this summer, just using Jillian Michaels DVD workouts. they are defintely nothing too major, but do work on repetitions using lower weights. I am amazed by the definition I am beginning to get in my arms, i can feel the muscles and they are beginning to look great. I'm sure if you focus on lifting you will see results.
  240419
August 31, 2009 9:22 AM
Anyone can build muscle! It takes a caloric excess though. There are about 1800 calories stored in a lb of muscle (like there are 3500 in a lb of fat). You can't expect to gain more than about 1/4-1/2 lb of muscle in a week (NOT like .5-2 lbs of fat you can lose). So you only need about 100-200 extra calories per day when you're in a muscle-building phase. You also need to train HARD. It takes a lot of energy to build muscle, so your body will only do it if you constantly overload the muscles you have now and force it to adapt to that overload. That means training to failure, either through moderately high reps with moderately high weight, or fairly low reps with really high weight. Super low reps (<5) will primarily train the nervous systems and super high reps (>20) will train energy systems rather than cause muscle growth. Either direction will have to result in failure (inability to produce another rep with fair form), which indicates that you've recruited and exhausted all available muscle fibers.

That said, if you need to lose 15 lbs, lose the 15 lbs first with a modest caloric deficit (nothing like 1,000 calories a day or you'll lose what muscle you have). Then concentrate on building. You can't pedal both ways on a bike, know what I mean?
  312
August 31, 2009 9:25 AM
Obviously I'm not an over 40 female tongue

BUT

My wife is 40 and female, and all of her friends are 40 and over (or very close)

and I know from experience that you can definitely build good firm muscle tone in your 40's.
My wife is a body pump instructor, and one of her best friends is a 45 year old trainer that is in remarkable shape. It doesn't take hours and hours in the gym either, It's not so much about how long you work out for, it's about how well you work when you do (obviously, you need at least 3 times a week working out to build muscle, but other than that...). Best way to firm up and tone all over is to perform non-isolating routines. By that I mean doing exercises that don't isolate a specific muscle, but instead force you to perform a more complex move that encompasses many muscle groups. A good example of an isolation routine would be a Bicep curl. A good example of a compound exercise would be a squat thrust or a clean and press. With these compound routines you are getting an aspect of cardio, working multiple muscle groups, and strengthening antagonistic muscles that may not get the right amount or training with isolation routines.
August 31, 2009 9:28 AM
QUOTE:

You can't pedal both ways on a bike, know what I mean?



Good quote SB, Mind if I steal that?
August 31, 2009 9:31 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

You can't pedal both ways on a bike, know what I mean?



Good quote SB, Mind if I steal that?


Haha of course not! flowerforyou
  312
August 31, 2009 9:31 AM
QUOTE:

Obviously I'm not an over 40 female tongue

BUT

My wife is 40 and female, and all of her friends are 40 and over (or very close)

and I know from experience that you can definitely build good firm muscle tone in your 40's.
My wife is a body pump instructor, and one of her best friends is a 45 year old trainer that is in remarkable shape. It doesn't take hours and hours in the gym either, It's not so much about how long you work out for, it's about how well you work when you do (obviously, you need at least 3 times a week working out to build muscle, but other than that...). Best way to firm up and tone all over is to perform non-isolating routines. By that I mean doing exercises that don't isolate a specific muscle, but instead force you to perform a more complex move that encompasses many muscle groups. A good example of an isolation routine would be a Bicep curl. A good example of a compound exercise would be a squat thrust or a clean and press. With these compound routines you are getting an aspect of cardio, working multiple muscle groups, and strengthening antagonistic muscles that may not get the right amount or training with isolation routines.

GREAT information. Thanks for your reply!!! smile GO RAYS!!!!!
August 31, 2009 9:40 AM
I'm not quite 40 yet - next year tongue . I've found that since I started exercising I have built quite a bit of muscle, without even weight training yet. Other then the strength training on the Biggest Loser video I have. I am positive that you will have good success - enjoy!
  129430
August 31, 2009 9:51 AM
Well, I'm 54 and I started working out seriously at 53 and I certainly have developed lots of muscle. It's really never too late! flowerforyou
  188913
August 31, 2009 9:52 AM
Absolutely! I am 44 and was Jello in May, but by July, my husband could see muscle cuts in my arms. I now have the curvy bumps in my (thinnner) thighs and do not jiggle. You will see results if you keep at it! I recommend Beachbody.com videos. They've helped me tremendously -- I am even starting to see the beginnings of six-pack abs -- I've never had that!

Good luck and go for the best shape of your life in your 40s!!
August 31, 2009 9:53 AM
QUOTE:

Absolutely! I am 44 and was Jello in May, but by July, my husband could see muscle cuts in my arms. I now have the curvy bumps in my (thinnner) thighs and do not jiggle. You will see results if you keep at it! I recommend Beachbody.com videos. They've helped me tremendously -- I am even starting to see the beginnings of six-pack abs -- I've never had that!

Good luck and go for the best shape of your life in your 40s!!


YES! That's what I wanted to hear. I often do you work out?
August 31, 2009 10:46 AM
I am 44 and I strength train 5-6 days per week. I have toned up considerably since May--I started a new weight training program then, even though I've strength trained for 5 years or more. May was when I put a real effort into it- by that I mean, watching what I eat, eating good for me foods, eating enough and concentrating more on my workouts, I have gone down almost a full size-- I was a size 6 and really almost a size 8-- now I am closer to a size 4, my size 6's are big on me. I've lost 12 lbs since April and 10 lbs since May, which isn't a lot of weight to lose, but I lost it slowly and effectively I think, not to mention the inches. I've really toned my arms, stomach and upper legs. It's amazing how much better I feel also. I've always worked out, but now I'm listening to my the guy at the gym (he is an excercise physiologist) and training more effectively. Hey, we can look darn good in our 40's -don't let anyone tell you different--- good luck!!!! happy
  63175
August 31, 2009 11:42 AM
I'm 41 and started in April/June. I started out all jiggly too....but I can tell you now that I have better, more muscular legs than the majority of the college girls walking around on campus (and I bet you can bounce a quarter off my butt, too lol).

Now I've been working on my upper body (most of my cardio is outside running) so I've started working out at the gym. I can already see some muscle definition. It's just taking longer because I think I have the genetic make up for excellent legs but not so much the upper body (so that will just take more work). I run 3 days a week, work out at the gym with weights and elliptical 3 days a week, have one rest day.

So...yes, it can happen to us women after 40...thank goodness for that or I would be wasting my time!

It's that middle part of me that I have the most trouble with (cardio cardio and more cardio lol).

Good luck! flowerforyou
August 31, 2009 5:12 PM
Hi- I am almost 44 and I have been doing body pump 3X per week since the end of May. Since I have quite a bot of weight to lose I don't see a lot of defintion but I can feel it in my arms, legs, shoulders etc. So yes you can build muscle. I've also lost about 18lbs. But that is from diet and exercise.

Good luck!
  118541
August 31, 2009 5:59 PM
great info!! I'm in the same boat--42 y.o. with 15 lbs to lose. I am meeting a personal trainer for the first time this week to set up a plan--I'm so excited!! happy
  40364
August 31, 2009 6:24 PM
QUOTE:

great info!! I'm in the same boat--42 y.o. with 15 lbs to lose. I am meeting a personal trainer for the first time this week to set up a plan--I'm so excited!! happy
[/q

GREAT! Keep us posted on how it goes for you.
September 1, 2009 12:09 AM
My personal train has BIG muscles and she is 47 yrs old.
I have more muscle but I don't know how much.
I can do 20 full body push up before I could event do 2.
  248329
May 25, 2010 2:01 PM
I'd suggest researching Tosca Reno. She had 70 lbs. to lose and started when she was 40. She is now 50 and looks amazing. She is the author of The Eat Clean Diet.
  1130723
February 2, 2013 12:11 PM
I need to lose weight and I have read that building muscles helps since it efficiently burns calories. But, I heard you say that building muscle and losing fat are two different processes that should be done apart from each other. Perhaps you are talking about building A LOT of muscle as a part of the process of refining body shape and focusing on advanced muscle building?

QUOTE:

Anyone can build muscle! It takes a caloric excess though. There are about 1800 calories stored in a lb of muscle (like there are 3500 in a lb of fat). You can't expect to gain more than about 1/4-1/2 lb of muscle in a week (NOT like .5-2 lbs of fat you can lose). So you only need about 100-200 extra calories per day when you're in a muscle-building phase. You also need to train HARD. It takes a lot of energy to build muscle, so your body will only do it if you constantly overload the muscles you have now and force it to adapt to that overload. That means training to failure, either through moderately high reps with moderately high weight, or fairly low reps with really high weight. Super low reps (<5) will primarily train the nervous systems and super high reps (>20) will train energy systems rather than cause muscle growth. Either direction will have to result in failure (inability to produce another rep with fair form), which indicates that you've recruited and exhausted all available muscle fibers.

That said, if you need to lose 15 lbs, lose the 15 lbs first with a modest caloric deficit (nothing like 1,000 calories a day or you'll lose what muscle you have). Then concentrate on building. You can't pedal both ways on a bike, know what I mean?
February 2, 2013 12:15 PM
I'm 50 and started working out in earnest a year and 3 months ago. My arms are looking effin' awesome. I lost weight and looked more overall toned all around about 8 months in. It's in the last 3 months or so that I'm really seeing ever more definition and looks like increased muscle size (at least in my arms). So yes, love, it is possible. And I've got a few years on you.
Edited by LadyIntrepid On February 2, 2013 12:16 PM
February 2, 2013 12:16 PM
where is California girl when you need her :D
February 2, 2013 12:19 PM
Well, I am almost 62 and need a hip replacement. Can I gain muscle?
  10993897
February 2, 2013 12:20 PM
Yes.

Google "Ernestine Shepherd". Here's her website: http://ernestineshepherd.net/
February 2, 2013 12:22 PM
QUOTE:

where is California girl when you need her :D


She got banned from posting on the forums from too many people stalking her posts and reporting her for posting too long posts and pics. :-(

She is an awesome example of getting a rock hard muscular body at 50 tho! Her posts are a big reason I stuck with this after the first couple of weeks. If I had the success that she did, I would be posting my story all over here as well! Haters gotta hate.

Here is her blog-

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/californiagirl2012
Edited by DebbieLyn63 On February 2, 2013 12:24 PM
  28586799

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