After the age of 30, women's bone density and muscle mass starts to decrease if we don't do something about it. This is where 'use it or lose it' really does apply. We experience a decline of approximately 15% per decade after this age (reaching 30% after 70) - affecting our strength, power and endurance.
The most challenging part of bodybuilding after 30 is that it gets harder to build muscle as you age. A 2015 article in Ageing Research Reviews showed that you can lose the balance between muscle building and muscle breakdown during aging.
As we reach our 30's, our bodies usually need less energy, meaning we may not be able to eat the way we did in our 20's. Then, as you move past 40 and head to middle age, changes in muscle, hormones and metabolism all make it harder to stay trim.
If regular exercise hasn't been a priority up until now, or if you've fallen out of the habit, your thirties are a great time to get into fitness. Paying attention to your fitness in your thirties can improve both your physical and mental health.
Older Guys Can Still Make Gains
They found that guys between 35 and 50 years old built just as much muscle as those between 18 and 22 years old. DEXA (duel-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scans showed that the college-aged men gained around two pounds of muscle, while the middle-aged men put on 2.5 pounds of muscle.
“It's absolutely never too late to start,” Masiello said. “People who begin exercising later in life can't believe how much better they look and feel. Especially when chronic pains they've had for years disappear. Exercise is medicine.”
And while it's tough to get six-pack abs at any age, that challenge becomes exponentially more difficult once you pass 30. Thankfully, if you're already reasonably fit, just a few tweaks to your routine here, a few modifications to your diet there, and you'll be well on your way to shredded stomach glory.
After age 30, people tend to lose lean tissue. Your muscles, liver, kidney, and other organs may lose some of their cells. This process of muscle loss is called atrophy. Bones may lose some of their minerals and become less dense (a condition called osteopenia in the early stages and osteoporosis in the later stages).
“Yes, it's definitely more difficult to lose weight as you get older,” says Kim Larson, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. “There are so many physiological changes as you age, through your 30s, 40s, and 50s.
Do at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity or 1¼ hours of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity a week. Include strength training using all of the major muscle groups two days a week or more. For additional health benefits, increase moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 5 hours a week.
But scientists have studied a range of physical and mental traits and found peaks from childhood straight through to old age. And there's good news: It's not all downhill after 30.
In one large study from the Brookings Institute, for example, scientists found happiness was high for 18- to 21-year-olds and then dropped steadily until about age 40. But past middle age, the pattern began to reverse—gradually climbing back up to its highest point at age 98!
As far as the female or male aging timeline, the biggest changes typically occur when people are in their 40s and 50s. However, it's not unlikely to notice changes in your mid to late-30s, as well. Some of the first signs of aging are droopy skin, smile lines, and wrinkles. These changes can be jarring, but natural.
In a (not-so-surprising) study conducted by Western Illinois University, women rated abs as the sexiest muscle on a man's body, ThePostGame.com reports.
Helps to Build Core Strength
And for runners who don't have time to hop on a treadmill or to head outside for a run, simply running in place while activating your core muscles can be effective for strengthening all of your postural muscles, including the abs, according to studies.
For men, if you're around six to 17 percent body fat, your abs should be noticeably visible. For women, the range is 14 to 24 percent body fat. Definition will start to show on the higher end (17 percent for men, 24 percent for women), and your abs will become more sculpted as that number lowers.
We've all seen transformation stories online and in magazines and we have some incredible transformation stories here within our own community that proves that no matter the age, no matter the gender, no matter your current condition, you CAN achieve a good physique and muscle mass.
Bean's point: it's never too late. That said, there are some limits to how much you can progress. "Workouts aren't going to turn someone in their 80s, 90s or 100s into someone who is 40 or 50 years old, but most people can get stronger and improve their endurance," says Dr. Bean.
Both men and women start losing muscle mass as they age. Most people see their muscle mass diminish around 3% to 5% per decade after turning 30. Unfortunately, as your muscle mass diminishes, you also become more prone to breaking a bone if you fall. That risk increases for people diagnosed with sarcopenia.
With a little patience and dedication, you can work on getting ripped after 40. Get started with some body-weight exercises at a gym or with dumbbells at home. Try some squats, lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, and weight curls. When you first start working out, stick with 6 to 12 repetitions of 5 to 15 pound dumbbells.
Weight training as we age can help fight the loss of muscle mass and mobility, as well as improve psychological well-being. So even if you've never done any kind of weight training before — it's never too late to start!
Throughout this time period the increase in muscle mass in both sexes is due to the hypertrophy of individual muscle fibers and not hyperplasia. Peak muscle mass occurs between the ages of 16 and 20 years in females and between 18 and 25 years in males unless affected by resistance exercise, diet, or both.
If you measure your life this way, in "perceived" time rather than actual time, half of your "perceived life" is over by age 7. If you factor in the fact that you don't remember much of your first three years, then half of your perceived life is over by the time you turn 18, Kiener writes.
A new survey finds most Americans believe the “sweet spot” in life is right in the mid-30s. A poll of 2,000 people finds four in 10 would not go back to their 20s.