I’m 46 and pretty fit. I bike a lot and barely have a paunch. But I’m no athlete and certainly no muscleman. Today it occurred to me that I really could use a little more upper body strength and overall toning. But am I too old to expect any real noticable results? I would not be able to devote much time to the effort, maybe a few sessions a week.
I would say that you can achieve whatever results you’re willing to put the effort into pursuing. I am 46 and have been working out for a while. I went a number of years kind of just “marking time” with my workouts - I would work out, get in a rut, and never really improve my condition so much as maintain it.
I signed up for this deal with my gym and as part of it, I got 4 trainer sessions as part of the deal. And working with a trainer has made a world of difference. I’ve only been working with him for about a year, and have seen huge improvements in the things I was looking for.
I work out 3 times a week, very consistently. I may also do some other activities throughout the week, but I have found that 3 times to the gym is key for me. I used to work out only 2 times a week, and once I started going 3 times it really made a difference. I think the difference between “marking time” and actually improving in whatever (endurance, strength, whatever it is you are after).
It sounds like 1) you haven’t worked out at a gym consistently and 2) don’t have real specific goals (other than toning). Again, I think working with a trainer is a great way to get started. The biggest benefit is that you will learn a number of exercises/routines that you can then do on your own. Second is that if your trainer is a good one, he/she will push you to maximize your workout. I found that even when I pushed myself working out with a buddy, I never pushed myself as hard as the trainer does. It is taxing, but I also know that I am doing good for my body.
I don’t think people’s bodies are as “predetermined” as people think. Sure genetics and whatnot play a big part. But I have also found that working out with specific goals can also have a huge effect. Best of all, though, is the health benefit of staying in good shape. Aside from feeling better and more energetic, as I’ve gotten older, I find that I injure more easily and things take longer to heal. So keeping shape is a protection from injury.
Well, I’m 50 and didn’t even start working out until I was about 45. I still weigh almost the same but managed to make it migrate from my belly to my shoulders, arms and chest. I still have a bit of a paunch but a lot less than I used to and feel much better to boot. My own guess would be that you could experience great benefits.
I’m 47 and have been working out fairly regularly since May of this year. I have a fairly muscular frame, but I had let it get quite out of shape. I started lifting again and all the muscle started firming up nicely. The one thing I have noticed is that some joints (elbows specifically) are more susceptible to aching when curling 120 jobs or more and you need to be careful how you lift for initial movements that involve your back.
My 3-4 times a week weight routine is short and I alternate it with 2-4 mile walks ever other day.
bar curls: 120 lbs x 10 to 15 reps
leg lifts: 120 lbs on set of 60 reps
bench presses: 4 reps with 260 lbs
dumbbell curls: 50 reps, then 40 reps then 30 reps on each arm with 50 lb dumbbells
50-100 sit ups
If you don’t have a lot of muscle to begin with, I’m not sure how much you’re going to really be able to build in your 40’s. I made most of mine weightlifting in my teens and college years. My muscles are getting larger and stronger with the 3X a week workouts, but I feel as if I’m just toning and defining what was there already and not building more muscle.
Building muscle in your 40’s is obviously possible in looking at the 40 something ballplayers whose careers took off in their late 30’s and early 40’s, but this involved steroids of various types.
One thing that has been helpful and fun is www.gripboard.com the Captains of Crush hand gripper exercisers are lots of fun and quite a challenge. Improving hand strength is something you can do at home or at the office
The older you get, the tougher it is to build muscle mass, but you can absolutely see results at any age, I believe. I’m 44, and my buddies and I work out twice a week (about 1.5 hours each workout). We’ve been at it for 2-plus years, although I did lift for years a long time aqo.
Every single one of us has seen obvious results–you just have to work hard and stay with it. If you’re already toned and want strength / muscle mass, keep it simple: lift heavy weights. Period. We pyramid up within a muscle group, doing eight reps a set, or until failure. About once a month we try to single out at a maximum weight.
Our rule of thumb: 4 is a magic number for reps in a set for us. If you consistently can’t get 4, try a lower weight. Better to get 5 at 245 than 2 at 265. This might seem to contradict the “lift heavy weights” rule, but the key is lift LOTS of heavy weight–as much as you can anyway, if your goal is to get stronger.
Hang in there! I bet you’ll be surprised at how much progress you make in just a couple of months.