Advising the Mature Bodybuilder by Vince Gironda

I am often asked about the age factor. How important is it? Are muscle gains impossible after age 40? To tell you the truth, I never think of age much. I do not acknowledge my own age as being anything unusual. I personally see an advantage in every year I gain chronologically. What you lose on the swings you gain on the merry-go-round. For example, I find that definition is easier to maintain as you grow older.

In an era when promoters were holding “over 35” contests, because bodybuilders over that age were considered too old to compete successfully with the younger set, I was entering the Mr. Universe contest in England at the age of 46. All the other contestants were around half my age but I felt like a kid. I have always trained as though I were young, and if anyone asks my age I just glare at them. If I told them, it would be like offering an excuse.

I have been active in bodybuilding since my youth. I still love working out. I thrill at strenuous exercise, pulling, pushing, curling – the very thought of it, even after all these years, gives me a flush of excitement.

But if you haven’t been involved in formal exercise for a while, it goes without saying that you should get your physician’s endorsement. And however frisky you feel, please start into your workouts slowly. Keep the weights light and allow your body to adapt to the workload in its own time.

The first thing to accept, once you are really into your training, is that you do not need to take a maximum workout every day. Your biorhythm (energy) levels differ from day to day, and you may have abundant energy during a particular workout. Do not train endlessly even if you feel fresh and bursting with vitality. A long workout, even if you feel you just do not want it to end, is counterproductive. Conversely, two individual, short workouts can be very productive.

It is most important that the older bodybuilder endeavor to keep his or her training on schedule. Regularity in living habits will help you to maintain maximum energy. Eat at the same times each day, work out at the same time, relax at the same hour each day. Your body will set its internal clock after a short time, and as you pass from phase to phase your mind and body will be prepared to meet its obligations.

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