Losing Fat and Building Muscle at Age 55 and over
Weight lifting itself needs to be a very important aspect in your health plan. In general, most people perform cardiovascular exercises such as running and bike riding when trying to improve their health.
Why is Weight Training Important?
Even though cardiovascular training is important, weight lifting is absolutely crucial to your long term health, especially if you’re 55 and over. This is because there are numerous things working against you in your body:
1 – Decreased Muscle Mass
After the age of 25, an untrained individual will start to lose muscle mass. You will continue to lose muscle mass as you grow older.
Why is muscle mass important?
For one thing, it makes you stronger. For men, strength is absolutely important for daily living. Carrying heavy boxes, pushing carts, pulling items out of your trunk, etc.
These things take a minimal amount of strength. And as you age, you become weaker. Just look at your own father. Is he weaker than you? Chances are he is.
For women, strength may not be that big of a concern. But mobility is a concern. Your body works in a very simple manner: you either use it or lose it.
My grandmother’s inability to walk up a flight of stairs comes with sitting around all day. Her body said, “Ok, she just sits around all day, so it’s obvious she doesn’t need her legs. We don’t need to work as hard anymore to maintain those muscles.”
Notice I stated “work hard.” Your body is constantly trying to stay in a state of homeostasis. It doesn’t like change. To your body, it’s like Hershey’s (Change is Bad) as opposed to Barack Obama (Change we Need).
You’re reading this because you’ve realized that you need to change. But trust me, your body’s going to do everything possible to keep you the way you are.
It’s lazy like that.
2 – No More New Bones
As individuals get older, they not only lose muscle mass, but their bones become frail and weak. After a certain age, you stop growing new bones. So you’re stuck with the bones you have.
You’re only option is to make them stronger. If you don’t make them stronger, then you put yourself at risk of conditions such as Osteoporosis. According to Dr. Mitchell and Carol Krucoff, authors of Healing Moves, “Age-related declines in muscle and bone mass…can lead to frailty and fracture – the primary reason older adults wind up in nursing homes.”
Trust me when I say it’s annoying to constantly drive down to the drugstore, grocery store, and laundromat to perform chores for my grandparents that they would be able to do if they took care of themselves better. (Don’t get me wrong, I love my grandparents. And don’t mind helping them out. But sometimes it gets to you, especially when you’re super busy).
I’ve mentioned many times on this site – the number one motivating factor for me is that I do not want to grow old and weak. I want to be just as independent when I get older, as I am right now.
Osteoporosis is seen in higher cases in women than men. To prevent osteoporosis, women of this age begin to take calcium supplements. This is only the first step.
Your body also need strength training to retain calcium. Numerous studies have concluded that strength training increases bone density. This means that they get stronger, and reduces your risk of osteoporosis.
Best of all, it makes you more independent, as you can walk, drive, run, and enjoy life just as anyone else younger than you.
3 – Reduction in Metabolic Rate
Muscle loss is associated with a reduction in your metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is a measure of the rate your body burns calories at rest. Hence, if you want to increase your overall caloric expenditure and make it easier to lose fat, then you need to increase your metabolic rate.
How do you do that?
Good question. One of the most important things is to increase your lean muscle mass. Muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat. Hence, the more muscle you put on, the more calories you will have to consume to maintain that muscle mass.
So now you have 3 really great reasons on why it’s important to use weight training to gain muscle mass.
How to Gain Muscle Mass with Full Body Dumbbell Workouts
Most people would expect to see some type of split-routine here to build muscle. However, I believe full body workouts are best for building the type of athletically muscular body most people want. To build an athletic body, don’t train like a bodybuilder.
Use the heaviest dumbbells you can and perform compound exercise that use as many big muscle groups as possible. Choose your exercise based on movement patterns, and not the specific muscles they work. This is the way to build a strong, muscular body using dumbbells. And remember, don’t sacrifice your fitness and fat loss goals while building muscle.
Strength and Size go hand in hand. One of the best program I have come across for building lean muscle mass is the Extreme Dumbbell Fitness Strength and Size Workout. Here is a sample routine:
Perform 2 rounds of:
- Dumbbell Front Squat x 12 repetitions, rest 60 seconds
- Dumbbell Floor Press x 12 repetitions, rest 60 seconds
- Dumbbell Hanging Power Clean x 12 repetitions, rest 60 seconds
Rest 2 minutes, then:
Perform 1-3 rounds of:
- Dumbbell Good Morning x 10 repetitions, no rest
- Dumbbell Roll Up x 10 repetitions, no rest
- Dumbbell Saxon Side Bend x 10 repetitions, no rest
Finish off with optional high intensity intervals
There you have it, a short, but intense strength and muscle building workout that targets the entire body. You can perform this program with just a pair of dumbbells and in the comfort of your own home!