Today’s Ask Lee question comes from Bob Hager of Jacksonville.
QUESTION: “I’m a 65 year old male. I’m fairly active, and I’m thinking about joining a gym. Can I start training at this age and will I be able to build my muscles?””
Watch The Video To See Lee’s Answer
Bob, thank you for writing in, and the answer to your question is a re-sounding “yes!”
Weight training can help you improve virtually at any age. Now that being said, let’s see what you can expect from a good weight training program.
Weight training increases muscle volume and density, which is a biomarker of aging. Typically as we get older, we experience muscle loss, and this is especially true of people who are sedentary. As we age, we also experience loss of bone density.
Weight training has been shown to improve bone density in individuals also.
Last but not least, because muscle tissue is a metabolically intensive tissue, it will help you to lower your body fat levels, making you leaner and healthier.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you embark on a weight training program. First and foremost, visit with your doctor to make sure that you don’t have any pre-existing conditions that would preclude you from engaging in a strenuous exercise program.
Once you get the greenlight, then it’s time to go to the gym. Remember to ease into your weight training program, allowing your body to slowly adapt to the increase loads and activity. Make sure that you learn the proper form for lifting, and that you live safely to avoid injuries. Your muscles are less elastic at your age, so you have to take care to warm up properly and stretch. You can find an excellent training program in my book The Lean Body Promise, which you will find on my store here. You can also find free how- to exercise and nutrition videos on my website that can help you get started.
Your nutrition program is going to be really important, and determining how much muscle you’re able to gain. You want to eat a balanced diet that is high in lean proteins such as chicken, fish, egg whites, low-fat cottage cheese, and protein shakes; AND includes moderate amount of natural complex carbohydrates such a sweet potatoes, whole-grain rice, oatmeal, and beans. Add fruits and vegetables, and you are off to the races. A diet of this type naturally takes a little getting used to, especially if you eat like most Americans to do, which is to say high in sugar and fat. But I can’t emphasize enough the importance of nutrition in your program.
Along with your nutrition program you may find certain supplements and vitamins helpful. I always recommend a good high protein shake such as the Lean Body Ready to Drink Shake, as it gives you lots of protein with zero sugar.
You may also want to supplement with a good multivitamin, a tablespoon of fish oil each day, and some added creatine. Creatine is a naturally occurring substance that your body makes, and can help increase your strength and endurance naturally. Creatine studies done in the elderly show benefits from daily creating use. A good BCAA or in other words, a branched-chain amino acid supplement is a good addition right after your workout.
One more thing you should know… as we get older, testosterone levels decline. Because testosterone is a significant factor in the ability to build muscle, you may want to have your testosterone levels checked by your doctor, and if they are low, you may want to do some research into whether testosterone replacement therapy is right for you.
Just remember that there is no substitute for doing the work you do in the gym, and following a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition and rest. I want to congratulate you on starting your program, and embarking on your lifelong journey towards better health and a leaner body.
Bob, I hope that this helps point you in the right direction.
I’m Lee Labrada, your lean body coach.
Yours for a Lean Body,
Your Lean Body Coach™
About the Author: One of the world’s most well-known and celebrated bodybuilding legends, Lee Labrada holds 22 professional bodybuilding titles, including the IFBB Mr. Universe. He is one of few pro bodybuilders in history to consistently place in the top four at the Mr. Olympia competition (the “Super Bowl” of bodybuilding) for seven consecutive years—a feat he shares with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He has appeared on the covers of more than 100 bodybuilding and fitness magazines and has been featured on CNBC, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and ESPN as a fitness and nutrition expert.
Lee was also inducted into the Bodybuilding Hall of Fame, is an Internationally known best selling fitness authos and holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. For more about Lee please visit his page here: Lee Labrada’s page.