No longer a spring chicken? Lots of aches and pains? Too much love in those love handles? Well the, it must be time for you to be rolled up and tossed out.

Poppycock. There’s a lot of life left to live. Having strong muscles is key to enjoying all this world has to offer. Gaining and maintaining muscle is easier than you may think.

Sure, stronger muscles boost metabolism and provide a more toned appearance, but there a far greater benefits than what meets the eye. Extra strength improves posture, give us energy, and easies the treachery of aches and pains. Stronger muscles boost confidence and allow you to do things (like travel) without thinking twice.

Follow the four steps and there is no doubt you will remain strong for many years and decades to come.

1. Protein

Do you know how much protein is enough? In order to gain and keep strength over 50, your body needs 0.6 – 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. For example, a person who weighs 150 lbs. would need to consume:

150 lbs. x 0.6 – 0.9 = 90 – 135 grams of protein/day

That may seem like a daunting figure. How in the world are you going to reach that much protein. Fortunately protein can easily be found.

Poultry, fish, dairy, egg whites, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds are great sources of protein. Protein supplements are a sneaky boost, just be sure your not consuming junk (message me if you’re not sure about supplements).

2. Strength Training

Major multi-joint movements (squats, deadlift, rows, pull-ups, core work) are great for muscle development. It’s important to take your time and do the exercises correctly. Be sure to do enough weight with the right amount of repetitions.

2-3 sets with 8-12 reps is a good number to shoot during strength training exercises. Fatiguing the muscles is necessary. If 12 reps aren’t enough to provide a ‘good burn’ add a more reps until you can feel the proper muscular burn.

3. Weight Bearing Exercises

Walking, hiking, dancing, cycling, tennis, pickleball, golf, etc. are wonderful weight baring activities. During the week, find enjoyable activities that move your body.

It’s not necessary to break a sweat. However, to aid muscle growth and recovery it is critical to get busy moving around. If you sit around all day between strength workouts your muscle growth will be hindered (significantly hindered if you’re also eating bad, greasy, highly processed carby fast foods).

4. Rest, Recovery, & Antioxidants

The body must rest and recover after a hard workout. Plenty of sleep and a day off in-between strength training bouts will set you up for success. That doesn’t mean be a couch potato days after strenuous workouts. Be sure to go for a walk, bike ride, light hike during recovery days.

Antioxidants are key nutrients for muscle recovery, especially after 50. These compounds help to enhance muscle rejuvenation between workouts. Intensely colored fruits and vegetables are often the best sources of antioxidants.

Be sure to work these nutrients into your weekly diet. You will find plenty of crossover between nutrient groups. This makes it rather simple to hit all important nutrients.

  • Beta carotene: carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, mango
  • Vitamin C: citrus fruits, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes
  • Vitamin E: fish, nuts, and seeds
  • Copper: legumes and nuts
  • Magnesium: legumes and green leafy vegetables
  • Selenium: fish, grass fed beef
  • Zinc: poultry, grass fed beef, oysters**notice many of these nutrients are found in sources with a high protein count

Remember, muscle growth occurs post-workout. Make a determined effort to honor a bedtime. During the week keep alcohol to a minimum or at least for only special occasions (read more about booze here).

Make a plan to strength train and have antioxidant and protein sources in your house.

Aim to master one area first, before moving on to another step. One step at a time. This approach will ensure your body is strong and ready for whatever life throws your way.