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We all know the importance of keeping fit and well, but when it comes to building muscle, we either want it or don’t.
Those in the gym day in and day out know that building muscle isn’t easy, and it requires plenty of patience, dedication, proper nutrition, and the correct exercises.
Those who do want to bulk up tend to do it properly without messing about it, and the urge can come at various stages of our lives.
The question is, what is the best point in our life to start bodybuilding?
Is it best to start in our teens and early twenties or wait until later?
Let’s check the facts.
Building muscle in your teen years
Our teenage years are a great time to try to build muscle. During these years, we are pretty active anyway, with our bodies growing and hormones in abundance. Those who are particularly active can often look well-toned, even without regular trips to the gym, so those who put in the time and effort are likely to see the benefits in record time. A young body can respond better to a training program than an older one and with less recovery time needed.
It’s important to note that gym training for teenagers has to be tapered to ensure that no damage is done to the body and that a sensible progressive training plan is strictly adhered to avoid injury. Their bodies are still growing, and injury can occur without care. Teenagers tend to be more eager, which is excellent, but it can also be dangerous if the right techniques aren’t learned, and the correct diet is adhered to from the start. A decent mix of cardio and strength training is essential.
Pros: It’s a great age to quickly gain muscle and a muscular physique.
Cons: Can be too eager, not keen on a progressive plan, and sticking to the correct diet.
Building muscle in our 20s
Our twenties are the best age for building muscle. One of the main reasons for this is that our bodies are fully grown, and it can handle intense exercises more readily.
Testosterone levels are high at this time of our lives, and as hormones play a significant role in building muscle, body, and mass, our bodies are more than ready to take the rigors of hard training. This makes progression much quicker as building mass, intense workouts and recovery periods feel much less strenuous.
It’s the time of your life when you can seriously improve your physique and overall health quickly.
Pros: It’s the easiest age to build muscle
Cons: Danger of overtraining
Building muscle in our 30’s
As men reach age 30, testosterone decreases at about 1% every year, and this process continues as we age. Decreases in testosterone are related to low strength, loss of muscle, and growth in fat mass. It’s still a great time to develop strength and mass.
Our training must be adjusted to account for the fact that we are getting older, and a focus on progressive overload training is an excellent place to start. A slight increase in your workouts will include more reps and sets but don’t try to overcompensate. Roughly an extra 10% is a decent adjustment that should allow you to keep pace with your twenties and continue to progress.
It’s also essential to ensure you’re taking in the proper nutrients. A healthy diet and an increase in your protein intake are imperative. It’s also an excellent time to remind yourself of suitable techniques and don’t be afraid to increase your recovery time.
Pros: Still a great time to build muscle
Cons: Testosterone decreasing
Building muscles aged 40+
Building strength and mass over the age of 40 is more challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible. Working harder and cleverer is the key to progression, and though general muscle loss and fat gain tend to come hand-in-hand during this period, the right plan will help to combat this.
Sarcopenia is the scientific name for the muscle loss we experience as we age. It’s a loss of strength and function, a natural by-product of aging, but it’s not inevitable. You can fend off sarcopenia if you look after yourself by following a sensible, healthy diet and a strict exercise routine.
The primary causes of sarcopenia include a sedentary lifestyle and malnutrition, in other words- letting ourselves go. We give in. Around 10% is down to age, but 90% is within our control.
Building muscle in our later years is how we look after our bodies. Keeping ourselves highly active and packing in the proper nutrients is vital.
Pros: It’s harder to build muscle
Cons: Keep at it, and the results will follow.
So, when should you start building muscle
There is no time like the present. No matter what age you are at, you can start building muscle, and if you’ve not yet kicked things off, then now is the time.
Of course, it’s important to follow an age-appropriate training program that allows your body to recover and grow without injury.
Good strength training combined with the proper diet is the way to go, regardless of age. It’s all about adjustments and keep going. It’s never too late to start training, and don't let age become a factor.
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