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Kindest regards, mature bodybuilders, Vinnie.

Sleep is one of our most valuable tools for growth.  The average person needs abpout 8 hours of sleep per night to stay healthy in mind and body - but recent research suggests that people engaging in hard physical exercise - such as bodybuilders and athletes - may need more than this.  Rest is one of the major factors in building and maintaining quality muscle, but is often overlooked.  What we do in the gym is only part of the story - as the actual muscle building process occurs during the recovery period after and between workouts.  So, the name of the game is: train hard and rest even harder!

A healthy and balanced diet is possibly the most consideration for bodybuilders of any age.  However, mature bodybuilders have several other basic principles to observe in relation to diet.  Firstly, as our metabolism slows as we age it makes sense for the mature bodybuilder to obtain as much protein as possible from 'lean' sources - such as whey protein.  It also makes sense to use whey protein when you consider the importance of keeping cholesterol levels low to reduce the risk of heart disease.  Mature bodybuilders need to keep thier protein intake high and research suggests that it may be beneficial to take slightly more than our younger counterparts - at around 1.25 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.  It may also be useful to supplement calcium into the mature bodybuilder's diet - to help strengthen and protect bones.  Finally, and as for younger bodybuilders, taking protein before and/or after a workout can help to maximise muscle gowth.

Once you have been training for several months - concentrating on compound movements to stimulate large muscle groups - you should really be seeing some major improvements in your physique, not to mention your strength.  Now is the time to pay some attention to lagging body parts, such as shoulders, biceps, triceps, forearms and calves.  Remember, nothing is written in stone - so experiment and find out what works best for you.

If You've been out of the gym for a while it's wise to use a low weight to begin with and concentrate on completing movements with good form.  Use a weight that will allow you to comfortably complete 8-10 reps.  It's also a good idea not to train to complete muscular failure, or attempt one rep maximums until you've been training for several months.

It's a good idea to concentrate on compound movements that work several muscles at the same time - for example bench presses, bent over rows, deadlifts or squats.  Remember also that it is beneficial for men to incorporate into their routines exercises that work the pelvic region - to naturally boost testosterone levels.  After several months of training you might like to add some exercises to stimulate lagging body parts - such as shoulder, biceps, triceps, forearm or calf exercises.

If you've had a lay-off for a number of years then don't expect to be straight back in the gym squatting or bench-pressing your all time personal best.  It may well take a number of months before you equal or exceed what you were doing in the gym pre-lay-off.  It might be wise to start with some cardiovascular work for a number of weeks before progressing onto the free weights.  Once you are handling the free weights comfortably it's a good idea to train at least three times per week, with each workout lasting no more than 1 hour.

It's true that beyond 40 a man's testosterone levelsbegin to decrease - but all is not lost!  Research suggests that there are ways to naturally increase and maintain those testosterone levels - via bodybuilding - by engaging in compound movements that especially work the pelvic area.  this would include exercises such as squats and deadlifts.  Research also suggests that anyone at any age can build muscle and increase bone density by regularly working out with weights.  so don't be put off by ideas that you are too old to build and maintain an impressive muscular physique, because your best years may still lie before you.

Bodybuilding has at its core seven very simple principles.  The most fundamental of these are: lift heavy weights regularly, manage your diet appropriately and get plenty of rest in between workouts - and you will, if you maintain this over an extended period of time, make great gains in terms of muscle, strength and fitness.  This applies, although not equally, to younger bodybuilders (teenagers), seasoned and experiences bodybuilders (20's and 30's - both male and female), as well as older / mature bodybuilders (40+).  The seven core principles in more detail are as follows:-

1). Straighten Out Your Mind Set

3). Work Large Muscle Groups

4). Use A Weight That You Can Comfortably Handle To Begin With

5). Master The Compound Movements Then Add Some Polish

7). Rest

6). Diet

2). Have A Plan 

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Mature Bodybuilding