As we age, it’s true that we start to lose muscle and our metabolism will start to slow, however this is only a very small percentage each year. People often blame their slowing metabolism for weight gain, loss of muscle and reduced strength and fitness levels.
Our metabolism isn’t only determined by our age, but also by our lifestyle
With age only being one contributing factor towards a loss in muscle & fitness, taking a closer look at lifestyle factors that could be hindering our bodies ability to transform is the first place to start.
Check out our simple guide to restoring muscle and fitness in your senior years.
As we transition to adulthood, due to the daily demands of work, family and general responsibility we tend to become less and less active.
It all starts from childhood
As a child we play sport and run around all day with friends, we are hugely active and tend to have endless amounts of energy. We are energy burning machines.
Then we go to University or get a full time job and become sedentary.
The typical 9-5 job has us sedentary for hours on end, resulting in decreased activity levels and often associated with an increase in calorie consumption.
We start drinking and partying, consuming alcohol calories which we didn’t consume as children and the weight starts to creep on.
As we become less active, we naturally start to lose lean muscle tissue – resulting in a decreased metabolism
As humans, we only develop and hold enough lean muscle to cope with the demands we ask of our body. As children, we climb trees, play sports, play fight and don’t stop moving. Even this type of activity requires a certain level of muscle and strength to perform the tasks necessary.
Muscle is very metabolically active, meaning muscle needs a lot of energy (calories) to sustain it, or build it. The amount of muscle we have, is a huge factor towards how fast or slow our metabolisms will work. Generally, the more muscle we have, the leaner and stronger we will be.
As we become more and more sedentary, not applying the same demand on our body, we will start to lose muscle mass, simply because we no longer need it.
As the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Simple ways to start building your metabolism and increasing lean muscle
- How many steps are you doing each day?
Hitting the minimum of 10k steps each day is the very first place to start. Get yourself an activity tracker such as the FitBit.
- How many hours do you sit down for each day?
Stand rather than sit. If you can walk around at work, do so! It will make a huge difference. Get up every hour and walk around for five minutes. Go for a walk on your lunch break.
Start lifting weights
If you’re already a regular gym goer, you’re more than likely doing too much cardio. Cardio is a fantastic way to help burn off calories and should be a part of your routine. However, cardio alone will not help you increase lean muscle mass.
Where to start
- Join a class that involves lifting weights.
Body pump or Circuits
- Start by using the machines rather than free weights
Learning how to use machines is much easier than trying to master technique with free weights. This is a great, safe place to start if you’re new to lifting.
- Follow a program
Rather than just going through the motions, do some research and find a program to follow. Alternatively ask for a free gym induction and program from your local fitness centre.
- Find yourself a personal trainer
Investing in a good personal trainer will accelerate your results. Find one with a track record of results before making the financial commitment.
Look here for information on our Manchester personal trainers at FORM.
- Join a group training facility
Semi private group personal training is a great option for those on a budget but require an individualised approach, and to fast track progress. For information on our REFORM camps follow the link.
It goes without saying, that nutrition plays a major role in supporting muscle gain, weight loss, performance and general wellbeing.
If your goal is to improve your metabolism and build muscle, then consuming a diet that supports this is essential if you want to progress. You can get active, and start lifting but your diet is not lined up with your goals then you will undoubtedly fail to progress.
Key diet considerations
- Ensure calories aren’t too low
If calories are too low, and your goal is to build lean muscle, you will struggle to make progress. Muscle can only be developed in a calorie surplus; it cannot be built if the materials to make it are not present.
- Ensure calories aren’t too high
Building muscle only requires a small surplus of calories, if you find you’re starting to gain fat weight then this suggests calorie consumption is too high
- Consume enough good quality protein
Protein is the building blocks of muscle, without this macronutrient present, building muscle will be hindered. Shoot for a palm sized portion of lean protein with every meal as a starting point.
- Meals must be well balanced
Carbohydrates, fats and fibre are also essential components of a well-balanced diet. We shouldn’t be eradicating any of these food groups unless advised by a practitioner. A balanced approach to meal planning is essential to build lean muscle. For simple, easy to follow, muscle building recipes, check out the FORMULA Ebook.
Now you know that building muscle and losing body fat can be achieved as we age, it time to make a start.
You now have the base foundations of where to start, the next step is to take action and stop procrastinating.
- Make a plan of action
- Get active
- Join a gym
- Train with a friend
- Find a personal trainer
- Join a training group
- Set yourself a goal