Movement and exercise are an integral part of your menu if you’re planning to live long, but also live strongly.
When we pass a certain age, it’s as if a slow puncture begins to dissolve our muscles. If nothing is done about this, it’s gonna make you walk like those old people who need help crossing the road. This gradual demise can and should be addressed with resistance training.
Muscles grow through stress, tension, and or damage.
For the muscle to change, something needs to happen to it. Muscles move because the body dumps chemicals on the area you’re “working”. Imagine a bunch of helium balloons of different lengths. The string of the balloon is the muscle fibre. The head of muscle is the balloon, also known as myosin. When you damage the muscle, myosin gets thicker and the balloons literally get bigger, meaning that the muscle grows.
We all have imbalances in how muscles grow. Some people have awesome calves. I could probably model high heels. They’re quite shapely, but could be thicker, thank you very much…
Which muscles can I grow?
There’s a predictor to knowing which muscles you are able to grow more easily – March across your body in your mind’s eye. If you can isolate a muscle in your mind, and contract it to the point of it nearly cramping, then you hold a high potential to change the size of that muscle. If you have neural control over that muscle, you can isolate it enough to elicit a decent amount of hypertrophy to make it grow.
To get bigger you want to generate those hard localized contractions.
This is not always the same as strength training in which you use groups of muscles in concert, to elicit a kind of movement.
Whatever your goals, – if you want to be the grandpa with guns, or you’re determined to not need a Zimmer frame for some years still, I would highly recommend that you seek to grow those balloons, through a combination of strength work, end yes, isolation exercises.
A minimum of 8 sets per muscle group per week are enough to prevent fading away, but up to 30 sets is doable – After this, you hit the point of diminishing returns, also known as overtraining.
How to feed the balloons?
If you’re going to feed those muscles, aim at consuming about a gram of protein per lb of bodyweight. Don’t only eat the proteins, but aim to have a plant source as well, like a salad. Protein is metabolically active and you burn about 30% of the calories consumed from protein, to synthesize this.
Choosing the right workout is almost as contentious as choosing which is the correct diet. Personally, I try to hit a muscle group twice a week, across a push on one day, which covers back and biceps, The next day involves chest and Triceps, (pushing movements), while the third day is for legs and shoulders. Don’t skip legs, – this large muscle group when worked hard, will boost your testosterone.
Slow and steady wins the race
At the end of the day, there are many ways to grow them balloons, but grow, they must. It’s not a sprint. I have seen some of the most amazing physiques that belonged not to teenagers, but to silverbacks, who have tempered the marble slab that is their bodies, into works of art, testimony to the fact that you can in fact get better every day… tiny increments, when stacked one on top of the other, will be the factor that lets you pick up your grandchildren one day, without needing anyone else to do so.
Go for the walks, do your cardio, but recognize the need to hit the weights.
Personally, I’d like to welcome father time with a straight back and square shoulders, yeah, and bigger calves.