Reclaiming Fitness: How Do I Get Back Into Shape After 40?

Reaching the age of 40 often comes with a desire to regain fitness, vitality, and overall well-being. If you’ve been away from regular exercise or have let your fitness routine slide, it’s natural to wonder how to get back into shape after 40.

The good news is that it’s never too late to prioritize your health and embark on a journey towards improved fitness and vitality.

However, it’s important to approach it with the right mindset, strategies, and understanding of the unique considerations that come with being in your 40s.

What Happens To Muscles After 40? 

As we age, our bodies undergo natural changes, and muscle loss is one of them. After 40, the gradual decline in muscle mass and strength becomes more noticeable.

This process, known as sarcopenia, can lead to decreased functional abilities, slower metabolism, and an increased risk of injuries. However, it’s important to recognize that with the right approach, you can mitigate the effects of muscle loss and even rebuild strength.

Strength training becomes increasingly important as we age. It helps stimulate muscle growth, improve bone density, and enhance overall strength and functional abilities.

Focus on incorporating resistance exercises into your routine, such as weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, or resistance band workouts. Aim for two to three strength training sessions per week, targeting all major muscle groups.

Gradually increase the intensity and challenge yourself to promote muscle growth and strength development.

Additionally, prioritize recovery and allow sufficient rest between workouts. As we age, our bodies may require longer recovery periods, so listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly.

Prioritize sleep, as it plays a crucial role in muscle repair and growth. Nourishing your body with a balanced diet that includes adequate protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and a variety of fruits and vegetables is also essential.

What Exercises Should Not Be Done After 40?

How Do I Get Back Into Shape After 40 - man doing a deadlift

While staying active is crucial, there are certain exercises that may carry a higher risk of injury or strain as we age.

As you enter your 40s, it’s important to prioritize exercises that promote joint stability, flexibility, and overall strength, while minimizing the risk of overexertion or joint stress.

High-impact activities, such as intense jumping or heavy weightlifting, may put excessive stress on joints and increase the risk of injury. It’s best to avoid exercises that may strain your body or exacerbate existing joint issues.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to eliminate challenging exercises altogether. Instead, modify them to suit your current fitness level and capabilities.

Opt for low-impact exercises that are gentle on the joints, such as swimming, cycling, brisk walking, or yoga. These activities provide cardiovascular benefits, improve flexibility, and help maintain overall fitness without placing unnecessary strain on your body.

Consider working with a fitness professional or trainer who can design a personalized exercise plan that suits your age, fitness level, and specific goals.

What Should I Eat To Build Muscle After 40? 

Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in building and maintaining muscle mass, regardless of age. After 40, it becomes even more important to focus on a balanced diet that includes essential nutrients to support muscle growth and recovery.

Prioritize lean sources of protein in each meal, such as chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, or legumes. Protein is essential for muscle synthesis and repair.

Aim for a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Include healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil to support overall health and well-being.

Additionally, staying hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day is essential for optimal bodily functions, including muscle performance.

Consider incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your diet that support muscle health and recovery. For example, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel) or chia seeds, can help reduce inflammation and support joint health.

Calcium-rich foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified plant-based milks are essential for maintaining strong bones and reducing the risk of fractures.

Is It Harder To Build Muscle After 40? 

How Do I Get Back Into Shape After 40 - man doing a turkish get up

While it’s true that building muscle becomes more challenging as we age, it’s certainly not impossible. Our bodies naturally undergo changes that can affect muscle growth and recovery.

Hormonal changes, decreased metabolic rate, and the effects of sarcopenia can all contribute to the perception that it’s harder to build muscle after 40.

However, with the right approach and consistency, you can still achieve significant improvements in muscle strength, size, and overall fitness.

It’s important to focus on progressive overload during strength training. Gradually increase the intensity, weights, or resistance to challenge your muscles and stimulate growth.

Incorporating a variety of training methods, including resistance training, cardiovascular exercise, and flexibility work, is beneficial for overall fitness and maintaining a balanced physique.

Engage in activities that you enjoy and that align with your goals, whether it’s weightlifting, yoga, swimming, or cycling. The key is to find a routine that suits your preferences, capabilities, and lifestyle.

Stay consistent with your workouts, prioritize recovery, and listen to your body. Pay attention to proper form and technique to minimize the risk of injury.

It’s also important to manage stress levels and prioritize quality sleep, as they play a vital role in muscle recovery and overall well-being.

Is It Too Late To Get Ripped At 40?

No, it’s never too late to pursue your fitness goals and achieve a ripped physique, even at 40 or beyond.

While it may require a bit more effort, patience, and strategic planning compared to when you were younger, age should not be a limiting factor in your fitness journey.

Getting ripped involves a combination of strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and proper nutrition.

Focus on resistance training to build and maintain muscle mass while incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or other forms of cardiovascular exercise to burn excess fat and improve cardiovascular health.

To optimize your results, pay attention to your nutrition. Ensure you’re consuming enough protein to support muscle growth and recovery, while also consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Consider working with a nutritionist or dietitian who can provide personalized guidance based on your goals and specific needs.

Incorporate stress management techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga, to support overall well-being and minimize the negative effects of chronic stress.

Remember, the path to getting ripped is not just about physical transformation but also about fostering a healthy mindset and a sustainable lifestyle.


Regaining fitness and improving strength after 40 is a journey that requires dedication, consistency, and a balanced approach.

By understanding the changes that occur in our bodies, adopting appropriate exercise routines, nourishing ourselves with proper nutrition, and maintaining a positive mindset, we can achieve remarkable results.

If you’re ready to take the next step and embark on a personalized fitness journey, I invite you to book a free fitness evaluation call.

This call will allow us to discuss your specific goals, assess your current fitness level, and create a tailored plan to help you regain your strength, improve your fitness, and enhance your overall well-being.

Don’t let age be a barrier to your success—start your transformation today and unlock your full potential.

Remember, it’s never too late to invest in your health and prioritize self-care. Take the first step towards a stronger, fitter, and healthier version of yourself by booking your free consultation call now.