Is It Harder To Get Lean & Stay Muscular As You Age?

lean muscular age

How to tackle those muscle building and leaning out problems as we age.

Do you ever sit and wonder how hard it will be to stay lean and muscular as we age? We’ve all been in the gym, lifting, doing our own thing, when that older gentleman walks over to the dumbbell rack and picks up those 45 or 50 lbs. dumbbells. What’s he do next? Starts freakin’ curling them. It’s quite the sight as we look down at our 30-35 lbs. dumbbells, quietly put them away, and go do something else. All we can hope is that we look and lift like that guy down the line.

But staying lean and muscular as we age can be challenging. Our bodies start to change, and as we age, we may notice certain things we could do when we were younger start becoming more and more difficult. Is it harder to get lean as you age? It can be but knowing the right steps and how best to do it can make all the difference when it comes to seeing those gains take off.

It can be a bit demoralizing, watching our strength and physique start to wither away. Looking into the future, though not something to do often, can also be a scary thought. We start having more and more responsibilities, maybe a family, increased obligations, more stress at work. And what starts to fade away. That awesome workout routine we had when we were younger.

But fear not, because we’re here to help you figure out just how to stay lean and keep on that muscle as you age. With the right approach to all things health and fitness, you can challenge your body, stay healthier overall, and really work to give yourself the best benefits so as you age, that lean physique stays something to envy.

lean muscular age

Best Ways To Stay Lean & Build Muscle As You Age

Let’s get into the best ways to stay lean and muscular as you age. For those older readers, these tips can help get you stay lean or get back on track. For our younger readers, tuck this away for later and keep it as a refresher.

Health & Fitness As Part Of Your Lifestyle

This goes for everyone. Staying lean and muscular requires you to make health and fitness part of your overall lifestyle. Structuring out a good training plan requires you to put an emphasis on prioritizing working out and having a stable and healthy diet. As life takes you in all sorts of different directions, staying on track and sticking to a good routine is imperative and will serve you well in the long run (1).

Ditch Some Weights For Other Lifting Accessories

Lifting super heavy weight may cause unwanted soreness and will prove to do more harm than good. Although you may have lifted some serious weight back in the day, stop trying to force your body to keep doing so. Switching to resistance bands is not something to be ashamed off.

We’ve put together a great list of the best resistance bands which can increase muscle growth, keep time under tension as a priority, improve range of motion and mobility, and give you a great workout without the need to lift that massive weight. Plus, they can help with rehab and alleviating pain (2).

Real Focus On Diet

Dieting is half the battle of staying lean and sticking to whole foods is absolutely necessary. Regardless of where you are in life, making sure you get a great balance of macronutrients and micronutrients is imperative and will prove to be highly effective in the long run (3). With a real focus on your diet, you will see change in your body composition, and when paired with a good training routine, those gains will soar, even as you age.

Of course, enjoying meals and having a sweet treat here or there isn’t going to kill your gains, in moderation. But with an emphasis on what matters, and what matters is good food, you can better tackle those goals to only see the best gains.

lean muscular age

Changes In Cardio

Those days of hitting the road and pumping out a six-mile run may be over, but you can still get an amazing cardio-based workout in those older years with a quality treadmill. Focus on the bike or elliptical, for these put less stress on those joints that may start to hurt from running. Also, incline walking is the perfect way to start or end your workout and is a great tip for those younger bodybuilders and athletes as well (4).

Putting cardio into your routine will keep your heart and lungs healthy by working them regularly so you continue to see amazing gains to not just your fitness and endurance, but also health in general.

Consider Great Supplements

Supplements are designed to help you and a good supplement shelf to pull from can make or break those gains for the better. Maybe you don’t need a pre-workout anymore but looking to others are still viable options.

A protein powder is always a great choice for continuing to pump you with protein so you see the best gains to muscle growth and recovery. A testosterone booster can elevate those potentially low T levels so you don’t suffer from a deficiency. Lastly, a natural fat burner as well to keep you shedding calories and staying lean with great ingredients is a powerful formula.

But one supplement may be important as we age and that is a joint support supplement. Focusing on keep your joints supported and stable will only enhance your workouts, but also keep you moving efficiently when it comes to everyday life (5).

Wrap Up

Staying lean and muscular as we age can seem like a daunting task, but it is not impossible. With the right approach, you will see the best gains and those gains will only help you in the long run. Sticking to a good routine and focusing on what matters is imperative. Whether that is through dieting, training, or supplementation, it is possible to stay lean and muscular in your older years.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Clark, J. (2015). “Diet, exercise or diet with exercise: comparing the effectiveness of treatment options for weight-loss and change in fitness for adults (18-65 years old) who are overfat, or obese; systematic review and meta-analysis”. (source)
  2. Iversen, V.; et al. (2018). “Resistance band training or general exercise in multidisciplinary rehabilitation of low back pain? A randomized trial”. (source)
  3. Savarino, G.; et al. (2021). “Macronutrient balance and micronutrient amounts through growth and development”. (source)
  4. Haggerty, M.; et al. (2014). “The influence of incline walking on joint mechanics”. (source)
  5. Nieman, D.; et al. (2013). “A commercialized dietary supplement alleviates joint pain in community adults: a double-blind, placebo-controlled community trial”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.