Build Muscle & Change Your Body At ANY AGE!

by Mike Clancy, Warren, RI

Many individuals assume an increase in age equates to a decline in health and wellness. Contrary to popular belief, building lean tissue and improving health is possible at any age. The human body adapts to its environment and can always be improved. A well-structured diet and exercise routine can significantly reduce muscle loss and risk of diseases. Many gym communities are growing as the older population (+55 years old) understands the importance of increased physical activity.

Changes in Metabolism

The human body is built upon simultaneous internal functions that work together to keep the body alive and adapted to its environment. These system functions require energy (measured as calories) to operate.  The total amount of energy required for each of our physiological actions is referred to as the metabolism. The metabolism is categorized by five metabolic components:

1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

The minimum level of energy expenditure needed to maintain vital functions of the body while awake.

2. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

The minimum level of energy expenditure needed to maintain vital functions of the body while at rest. 

3. Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF)

The energy required for digestion, absorption and assimilation of ingested food/nutrients.

4. Exercise Activity

The energy used to perform purposeful exercise.

5. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

The energy used for unplanned, low intensity physical activity that takes place everyday.

Research shows that on average, individuals experience an average of a 5% decline in their resting metabolic rate (RMR) with each passing decade after the age of 25.


At age 25, you have an RMR of 1500 calories

At age 35, you will have an RMR of 1425 calories

At age 45, you will have an RMR of 1353 calories

At age 55, you will have an RMR of 1286 calories

At age 65, you will have an RMR of 1221 calories

At age 75, you will have an RMR of 1161 calories

Because your RMR decreases every decade past age 25, your food intake should also decrease to keep your body at an ideal weight, shape, and condition.

Muscle Loss

Metabolic loss also causes muscle loss. On average, people lose about 5 lbs of lean mass (muscle) per decade between the ages of 25 and 65. So, in addition to losing around 300 calories of metabolic activity by the age of 65, people tend to lose about 20 lbs of lean mass as they age.  Because muscle is so metabolically active, this muscle loss is probably directly responsible for much of the metabolic losses. This correlation suggests that metabolic decline is not age-related; it’s caused by lifestyle choices (specifically, reduction in activity that stimulates muscle growth). What people think as “normal” aging may, in fact, be an outcome of inactivity. If people take steps to preserve their muscle mass with age, they’ll also preserve their RMR to a large extent. This is why muscle contraction and intensity are such important factors for the preservation of the human body.

Formula for Muscle Loss and Metabolic Decline:

Less Activity » Loss of Lean Mass » Reduction of RMR » Weight Gain » Declining Health Profile


Formula for Muscle and Metabolic Preservation:

Increased/Continued Activity » Increase Lean Mass » High RMR » Weight Maintenance » Ideal Health Profile

So How Do You Prevent Muscle Loss?


Follow this simple rule: Challenge your body a little more each workout. Try increasing the resistance, number of sets or repetitions, the distance traveled, the time spent, or the overall amount of activity to stimulate lean muscle mass.

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