I can remember not too long ago in my early 20's when I used to think to myself "well, if I am ever going to take bodybuilding and my training seriously I had better start now before I get too old to lift weights". At that time I thought surely that time was running out, and that when I hit the big 4-0, that it would be the end of my chance for getting into bodybuilding and developing the physique that I had always dreamed of. I was a skinny kid, and I had grown up to be a skinny adult and I thought that I was at a turning point in my life.
Fast Forward To Today
Now I am 44 years old, and I am much more muscular than I've ever been and am in the best shape of my life! And guess what? Turning 40 was not the "Death Sentence" to my bodybuilding that I thought it would be. On the contrary, it is quite the opposite!
Not only have I managed to keep getting in regular consistent workouts without serious injury (knock on wood!), but I am also planning on making some good gains in the future. And it feels so good when I am approached by younger guys in the gym and am asked about my routine, if I compete or have ever competed. And I love to see their expressions when I tell them how old I am.
Yes, there is life after 40 for Bodybuilding! One of my main motivators in writing this article is to show that there is bodybuilding after 40, and also to tell what has worked and is still working for me. Hopefully my article will help to inspire and motivate others whether they are contemplating a workout routine or have been training for years (and no, it is never too late!)
Funny, I have been training for close to 15 years and it seems like time has flown by. Has it affected my training routines? In some ways, yes it has. As far as focus and intensity, my workouts that has remained the same. However I have learned to train smarter. My training has become "intense but brief". I make sure that a body part has fully recovered before I pound it again at the next weight session. Instead of cheating through a set, I make sure that my movements are slow, deliberate and I still make sure that I work that muscle to failure. Do I go to failure on every session? No. I go to failure depending on how my body "feels". It is very instinctive, deliberate and logged!
I write down everything... always have! In the beginning I used to go into the gym, lift the weights and leave in the hopes of remember what I did to plan for the next session. Not good! I learned that the best thing to do in the beginning is to keep a log.
If you're serious about your training you will log everything you do in the gym. Not just what you lifted, but how you felt in the gym that day... fatigued, energized, was it a good day or a bad day, whatever the case it should be logged. It does make a big difference to be able to look back on a particular training day and see how you had performed on that day. To this day I keep a log because I seem to have so much more to remember (and forget!) that the log is a lifesaver.
My diet has remained about the same, except that I have noticed that it is easier for me to gain weight and size. With age my metabolism has slowed down a little. Not a tremendous change as I feel that through my bodybuilding my body is more efficient than the average guy in processing food. So, to me the advantage of my slower metabolism is that I find that I can maintain and gain muscle size easier than when I was younger with my ultra fast metabolism.
Today I am focusing on putting on some more size so I will increase my caloric intake to make that happen. I will watch the fat intake to keep my waist in check, but on the whole I will just eat and get those carbs for energy and protein for muscle growth. In short, eat and grow. I keep it simple, and I count more on the mirror than I do the scale. And it seems to work for me!
I have gotten a lot of emails from readers that have asked me about "what is your diet like?" And I always have to answer that there is no mystery to my diet. I eat quality food, and a lot of it! I tell them that the eating is almost like a job in itself. You have to pre-prepare a lot of food, and schedule your eating like you would schedule your training. A missed meal is just as bad as a missed workout.
So you simply must eat! And yes, supplements such as protein powders and weight gainers are a necessity and are the easiest way to get those much-needed calories that food alone simply will not supply. And let's not forget creatine. I know that it has worked for some and not for others, but you should definitely give it a try. It has worked wonders for me, so it is definitely part of my daily nutrition.
Now, here is the ingredient that makes the difference between a terrific physique and "I wish I could've..." Motivation and mindset! It is the mind that will make you or break you in the gym. I found out for me that it is all about focus, both in and out of the gym! When I'm in the gym, my focus is on my workout. The person that I am competing with is myself. I do not focus on the bodybuilder on the next bench, nor do I think of what the other guy next to me is lifting. He is going for his best, and I am going for mine. And that is the way it should be.
"He is going for his best, and I am going for mine. And that is the way it should be."
I never concern myself with what other people may think about the poundages I lift. All I know that the only concern I have in the gym is with myself. You see, when you get into the external, that is your mind playing against youâ€¦your mind telling you "hey, that guy next to me just benched 500 pounds and what will people think of me when I am struggling with 150 pounds?" This mind game plays out in a lot of people's heads and hinders progress in the gym.
I'll admit in the beginning I used to think that too, and I let my mind play games with me. It was when I started to say to myself that I am going to be the best that I can be for ME, that things started to happen. I knew that my competition wasn't anyone else in the gym. It was the weights and myself! I needed to conquer the weights! And I would do it a pound at a time. And I still conquer them... every single day!
That motivation must also follow you outside of the gym. You have to keep thinking big, and growing big. To this day I still think of being big and growing big, even at 240 pounds I still want to grow! And I think the biggest motivator is that I have surrounded myself with positive people. My family and friends are supportive of my efforts and I am so grateful for their encouragement and compliments. And yes, it does make a difference. I have heard stories of people that want to really get started in bodybuilding and weight training to change their bodies, just to be met with negativity and criticism.
I have received emails and have had conversations with people who have heard remarks like, "well, it may be too late for you to think about going to a gym", "training may be dangerous for you at your age", "you could drop dead of a heart attack", "you'll never look like those guys in the mags!" Well, to that I say, "BULL!" You've got to give it a shot. Why look back with regrets? That was one of the things that I had thought when I was in my 20's and as skinny as a rail, and had thoughts of giving up on my training.
I knew that if I had not continued with my bodybuilding that I would be here today, at the age of 44 asking myself, "what if I had kept going? How would I have looked, would I have had the muscularity and physique I had dreamed of?" And every time I saw someone with that muscular physique the insecurities would go into orbit. But I chose the path of bodybuilding and health, and when I look in the mirror and see where it has taken me, I KNOW I took the right path.
And with that, it is time for me to grab my gym bag and off to the gym! Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments that you may have, and by all means keep pumping!
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