In the post entitled Can You Add Muscle After 40, we’ve established that anyone can gain muscle and enjoy all the benefits of having more muscle and less fat.
So now that we know you can. Where do you start?
In this post, we’re going to map out a basic routine for you to use to get started on your path to gain more muscle, lose fat and get in better overall shape, all leading to feeling and looking better.
Working out can have social benefits as well as physical and mental ones. You may meet some like-minded people at the gym, and you also will connect with other people who work out. You can compare notes. It’s a great icebreaker.
Do I Join a Gym?
This is a gym workout. There will be future blogs that will detail home workouts.
I find that going to a gym works for me. I have tried working out at home, and it doesn’t work for me because I won’t stick to a regular routine and won’t work out as hard,
If I go to the gym, I feel more committed to completing a workout, and somehow I feel like my fellow gym goers are “watching” me to see if I’m putting a good effort into it. It’s also not as easy to be distracted by any home chores that are staring you in the face when you’re at home.
Going to the gym does not work for everyone so future posts will be for those of you who want to work out at home. The reasons you might not want to go to a gym are:
- the time spent traveling to and from the gym.
- exercising in “public” if you’re not comfortable doing that
- feeling like you don’t fit into a gym culture.
- are self-conscious about your body if you’re not in the best of shape
A Good Alternative to the Gym.
I’ve known several friends who found that the local YMCA or the local city athletic club was their choice for working out. These are both great alternatives and probably less expensive than joining a gym. These are usually subsidized by the municipality.
Often, these facilities may not be as well equipped as a commercial gym. They may not have the variety of free weights and more serious weight machines that you and I might like to have, but sometimes they’re wonderful places because they are more laid back and have related exercise programs, such as yoga, wellness classes, Zumba, etc.
There is a nice city athletic club near me that would be a wonderful alternative to a gym. Their hours don’t suit me. Many of these local clubs are designed for day participants and don’t stay open as late as I would like.
What Do I Wear?
Shorts and a T-Shirt. It should be that simple. If you’re more modest, you can wear long pants, but don’t wear jeans or anything that will encumber your movement. Don’t wear one of those ridiculous plastic sweat suits that you see some overweight guys wear. Silly.
There are lots of ways to spend a bunch of money on “gym” clothes, but you don’t need to. It won’t make your exercise any better. All you need is something comfortable that won’t restrict your movements.
Compression Wear – I think some compression shorts are sometimes desirable. It keeps everything in place 🙂 and gives some mild support to your midsection when you’re doing squats and leg exercises.
Shoes – Basic tennis shoes of any sort will do. You don’t need anything fancy, just something that will give you a good grip. You don’t need Air Jordans or any expensive running/performance shoe. With those, you’re not getting better performance, just fashion. You probably already have some tennis shoes in your closet that will work just fine.
How Long Will It Take To See Results?
It all depends. You knew that was the answer, didn’t you? 🙂
It really does.
- Some of us are very motivated to look and feel good. Others of us are not as motivated.
- Some of us gain muscle more easily than others. Some of us can push ourselves harder than others.
- Some of us put a higher priority on working out than others.
- Some of us have better technique and form than others.
- Some of us combine our workouts with proper eating and some of us don’t. So, it all depends.
If you commit to working out 3-4 times a week and do the exercises spelled out in the next post, you will start to see results in 4 weeks, and you’ll see noticeable results in 12 weeks, This only applies to us men. Women are a different story.
Why Will You Succeed?
Because you showed up and started this program. The old cliche is true. A big reason you’ll succeed is if you schedule your workouts and go do them! Once you’re at the gym, you’ll be more motivated to actually work out and achieve the results you’re looking for.
Many times I just won’t feel like going to the gym. I can come up with the lamest reasons, and if I can force myself to go, I often will have a great workout.
Now, I don’t work out with a workout partner, but it can be good for those that need a little extra motivation. Meeting your friend there or having him pick you up is a way to make sure you do your workout.
This really works for some people. It also gives you someone to talk to and spot you on exercises that you might want to push yourself on.
Having a buddy really works for a lot of people.
BIG SECRET TO SUCCESS
Put your workout on your schedule, on your calendar. It is as important as any business meeting you have, and probably more important than many of your social engagements. Commit to scheduling your workouts.
You must prioritize this part of your life. This will determine the quality of your life going forward, for the rest of your life. How active and full a life you have.
Schedule your workouts for the week on Sunday. You should know what important meetings and events you are scheduled for a week in advance, so add your workouts a week at a time. The more regular you are with your workouts, the more they will become an integral part of your life. Once that happens, you’ll see more progress than you’ve ever seen before.
Want To Be Motivated? Here’s a Way?
Commit with money. Make a deal with a friend that if you don’t go to the gym at least three times a week for a month, that you’ll contribute $100 to his favorite charity or give it to a cause you totally hate. If you’ve got more money, make the commitment with 3 friends. There’s some motivation.
One More Secret?
Did you know that how you perform each exercise will determine how much good you get out of it?
Have you seen a gym meathead trying to impress everyone by swinging a big weight around? He’s not gaining much, and he’s not impressing anyone who understands the importance of good form. Besides, no one cares how much weight you lift.
DO EVERY EXERCISE with CORRECT FORM
Do Not be intimidated into thinking the heavier the weight, the more good you’re doing. NOT!
The better form you have, the more results you will get! That’s the secret.
Take notice around the gym. Sometimes, the guy with the best body and most refined musculature uses lighter weights than you, and you wonder how that can be. FORM and CONCENTRATION!
OK, Even One More SECRET
This is a secret you don’t want to hear. You must start to eat right. I know, I know. I hate it too.
You can gain muscle and lose fat all at the same time, but you will have to make sure you’re eating correctly. In upcoming articles/blogs, I will layout a diet for gaining muscle and losing weight.
Of course, you can start by cutting out all junk food and sugar and drinking lots of water. If you did that, you’d well be on your way to a good diet. Start there as a simple step to a full healthy diet.
A FEW TIPS FOR THE GYM
- Take a bottle of water – staying hydrated is important while you work out. Having a bottle with you will keep you concentrated on your workout, instead of trudging over to the water fountain every few minutes. I add a BCCA powdered supplement to my workout water.
Take a towel – If you’re doing everything correctly and pushing yourself enough, you’ll work up a sweat and having a small hand towel will be a welcome accessory.
Don’t Use Too Heavy a Weight – Again, I emphasize that heavy weights don’t equal better results. Better form and persistence are the key. If the weight is too heavy to perform your exercise with good form, you will not achieve your desired results and you’re asking for injury.
No Chit Chat – During your visits to the gym, you will make gym friends, but limit your conversations when you’re working out. Save your longer chit-chat to the lobby before your workout or to the locker room after your workout. You don’t want to be distracted from the reason you are there – gain muscle and look and feel better.
Use Free Weights As Your Default – Machines are OK, but you will not get the results you want unless you use dumbbells and barbells. It’s just the way it is. More of your muscles are engaged with free weights. You’re forced to balance a dumbbell and thus engage more muscles during your exercise.
Start Slow – Don’t try to look like Arnold in the first month. You’re the tortoise, not the hare. This should be a lifetime commitment, so there is no rush.
What Exercises Should I Do?
Subsequent posts on this site will detail workouts designed to give you some noticeable results in one month and great results in 3 months. The Catch: You gotta stick with it.
- Good Form – It’s so important to maintain good form during each exercise. Good form is the key to your success in gaining muscle and not injuring yourself.
- Do Not Rest – More Than a minute to a minute and a half between each repetition. I have an app on my phone that is a workout app that I use. I schedule 40 seconds for each set and 75 seconds for the rest in between. That works for me.
- Do Not Rest More than two minutes between each exercise.
- Ask For Help from a fellow gym-goer if you need a spot or you want clarification about an exercise that you’ve never done. Everyone is happy to help you. Gym guys are usually friendly, if you are.
- Concentrate on the muscles that you are engaging. Think about the muscle you’re working and make sure what you’re doing is putting stress on that muscle or muscle group.
- Don’t Do Less than is required by your workout schedule. This will require mental dedication.
- Make No Excuses as to why you have to leave early, why you can’t up the weight from your last gym visit, why you can’t go to the gym, why, why, why. It’ll kill your progress.
POWER TRIANGLE TECHNIQUE
The Power Triangle Technique is a technique that I have developed over the years as I’ve tried different techniques to try and get bigger and stronger.
This is based on years of real experience and what works for hard-to-gain guys, like me. Easy-to-gain guys can do almost anything and gain muscle.
Those of us with more challenging body types have to use methods that break through the normal advice of gym trainers and muscle magazines.
There will be a full post on this technique, but for now, the basics are as follows:
Progressively Lighter Weight
This is a technique that I have used that works for me and will probably work for you.
It uses a different weight for every repetition and starts with a heavier weight and works down to a lighter weight.
For instance, if you were going to do a set of barbell arm curls, you might start with 40 lbs. for the first repetition. Then for the second repetition, you’d take 5 lbs off and do the curl with 35 lbs. Then for the third repetition, you’d take off another 5 lbs and do a rep with 30 lbs. That’s exactly my routine right now.
More Exercises, Fewer Repetitions
I believe that the more variety you give your muscles, the better they respond to growth.
Based on this principle, with The Power Triangle Technique, you will do more exercises and only three (3) repetitions of each exercise. Most exercise programs will have you do four (4) or more repetitions for each exercise.
I find that the more variety your muscles get, the stronger and bigger they get.
All of your workouts will be using The Power Triangle Technique.
This post is designed to get you going, to get you organized and motivated to start the actual exercises and workout.
This is how you can start to gain muscle after 50.
The real workouts will be detailed in the next posts.
See you at the gym.