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526: Muscle After 40: 7 Mistakes That Are Stopping You from Building Muscle in Your 40s with Ted Ryce

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526: Muscle After 40: 7 Mistakes That Are Stopping You from Building Muscle in Your 40s with Ted Ryce

From your social skills to your financial stability, personal objectives, career goals, and priorities, life changes when you are over 40.

These changes affect not only how you see and move through life but also modify your body structure and composition, making it more challenging to build and maintain muscle mass.

Does that mean that it is impossible to build muscle because of your age? Absolutely not! You just need a different approach.

In this episode, Ted reveals the 7 mistakes you must avoid at all costs if you are over 40 and want to build muscle and set the foundations for a healthy future life.

He explains why building muscle is crucial if you’re over forty. He explains why warm-ups are a must after 40, why you should prioritize “quality of reps” over “quantity of plates,” and the benefits of mobility training.

Plus, Ted explains the importance of improving your sleep, optimizing your nutrition, and managing your stress to create a lean, energetic, muscular body. Also, he talks about the power of coaching to speed up your results. Listen Now!


You’ll learn:

  • The connection between building muscle and quality of life.
  • Do mobility exercises improve your overall health?
  • How much weight should you lift to grow muscle?
  • What is stopping you from building muscle
  • How good is lifting weights to release stress?
  • How overeating and undereating affect your gains
  • What is something that can make a huge difference in muscle building?
  • And much more…


Related Episodes:  

520: 5 Ways to Force Your Body To Build Muscle Faster with Ted Ryce 

Ted Talk 153: 4 Reasons Every Man Over 40 Should Get into The Best Shape of Their Life 

453: Training Secrets That Will Help You Build Muscle After 40 with Ted Ryce 


Links Mentioned: 

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If you’re ready to have the body you deserve, look and feel younger, and say goodbye to time-consuming workouts and crazy diets, we can help you.  

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Or go to to watch my FREE Body Breakthrough Masterclass. 


Podcast Transcription: Muscle After 40: 7 Mistakes That Are Stopping You from Building Muscle in Your 40s with Ted Ryce

Ted Ryce: Are you over 40 and struggling to get results in the gym? And do you blame your lack of results on your age? And if you answered yes to either of those questions, today's episode is for you. Because we're going to get into the seven mistakes to avoid if you're over 40 and want to build muscle.  

And if you find that you are doing any of these mistakes, I want to challenge you to change your program, to see if you don't get better results, because I'll tell you something: almost all of my clients are over 40, they're all losing body fat, they're all building muscle. You can do it too. There's nothing wrong with you.  

But what I found is this, so many people are unclear about what to do, and it's not even your fault, it's because there's so many people saying so much conflicting information. So, if you resonate with that, you're in the right place. What is up, my friend? And welcome back to the Legendary Life podcast. 

I'm your host, Ted Ryce, coach to entrepreneurs, executives, and other high-performing professionals. I want to tell you, back in 1999, when I first started coaching clients on health and fitness, I was 22 years old. Now I'm 45, and let me tell you, my views have changed, and I've realized some important truths about health and maintaining it over the course of your life. 

One, and probably the most important truth is that building muscle now is an investment for your future health. If you see what destroys the ability to enjoy your life, it's people lose their mobility, they can't get around, they can no longer do things that they could do before, and it makes life suck. So, building muscle is an investment for your future health. 

The next thing is that keeping muscle as we age is about one crucial idea, you must train consistently, and we'll talk about why that's important. But the short of it is, if you're doing exercises or workout routines that hurt you, and that lead to you having to stop exercise, because you're injured, you're going to go backwards. So, the goal is not hard workouts, it's consistency. 

And the last important truth before we get into the seven mistakes, is that maintaining muscle goes way beyond exercise and nutrition. That's something I really didn't appreciate when I was younger, and now I look at health as a holistic thing. I know that's kind of a—holistic thing, are your chakras rotating in the right direction? I don't mean it like that, I mean holistic meaning goes beyond just the superficial, what workouts we do, and what food we eat. 

So, let's get into it. Number one is ignoring mobility, and while I think mobility is a little bit difficult to talk about, I'd say it like this: do you feel like you are exercising regularly, but you're a bit stiff and achy in your joints? For example, you might have trouble touching your toes, but you're exercising regularly, or do you find that getting in and out of your car difficult? 

For example, I had a client who was in his 60s, and he was saying he drove a Porsche, a 911, and he was having trouble getting in and out of his car. Even though he was exercising every single day. So, if you're noticing that you're not quite as mobile, you don't have the range of motion, you can't do things and move as freely as you used to, then what you've been doing is you've been ignoring mobility exercises. 

It's a little bit hard to describe mobility exercises, the best thing you can do is go to my website,, and sign up for my newsletter there, where I'll be sharing with you some of the videos on mobility exercise. And in fact, I just got another idea about putting together a little something for you, so that you can download it if you want. 

But the short of it is, there's these exercises—I do mobility exercises every single day now. And what they are, are they're actually strength training exercises, they could be labeled as such, but you're not trying to work to failure or to build muscle with them, per se. What you're trying to do is you're trying to target specific muscles and joints, to make sure that the health of your joints and your muscles is what it needs to be for you to move more freely. 

And I know that's maybe a little difficult to picture, to envision if you are listening to this instead of watching it, at least it's easier for me to explain via video, instead of audio. But it's basically this: if you're losing mobility, if you're losing your ability to move freely and easily, then you're missing out on mobility exercises. 

So, let's move into number two, because I'm realizing I really have to put something together and explain mobility a bit better and give you some mobility exercises so you can see what I mean. 

Number two is lifting too heavy—and I wish I could go back and do things differently. I injured my back, I remember one time I was doing…I injured my back several times, as you probably know, if you've been listening to this podcast. And that's why I'm here, I'm trying to save you from making those mistakes. 

But I remember one time where I was in my 20s, and I was doing deadlifts, and at the time the gurus said, you need to lift heavy weights to build muscle. Now, we know that's not true. But that's what I believed, “You got to lift heavy to build muscle,” and you damn well better believe I was like okay, well I'm going to lift heavy then. 

I desperately wanted to become big and strong, I knew it was good for business, it made me feel good about myself. And I remember one day I was lifting heavier weight on the deadlift and something went ping in my back, and I had to go home and cancel my personal training clients. I was a personal trainer then in Miami Beach. I cancel all my clients for the day, and just go and rest in bed. 

And the next day I was okay, but I look back on doing that, not just with the deadlift, but with other exercises. And what I want to tell you is this: it's not about the heavy weight, It's about…Pay attention here, and go and try it. It's about number one, working a muscle until muscular exhaustion, so, until you can't do more. There's some nuance here, because even if you're doing a deadlift or a heavy squat, then you need to be extra careful, and you have to stop before you get to that failure point, because you may hurt yourself. 

But if you're doing bicep curls, or deltoid raises for your shoulders, or exercises where you can really push and not worry about what will happen if your muscles get too tired, you want to work them until that exhaustion point, you want to push them to that point, that's the number one thing.  

And it doesn't matter if you do that in five reps or 30 reps. You can do 20 or 15 reps, or 12 reps, but what matters is this, you're focusing on the quality of your form, and also taking that set you're doing to exhaustion. 

So, forget lifting heavy, it's not that important, unless you're trying to build strength, but these aren't the seven mistakes about building strength, right? It's about building muscle. So, the weight that you're lifting is not relevant to how much muscle you're building, unless you're using extremely light weights. How do you know if you're lifting too light? Well, are you doing more than 30 reps? Time to go up on weight then. 

So, the next mistake is skimping on sleep. Here's what we know about sleep right now. Well, we know that most people think it's okay to go without it. There's one thing we know, because America in particular is in an epidemic of sleep issues. People don't sleep enough, people have chronic insomnia, some people have temporary insomnia, and what we know is this: if you're getting less than seven hours of sleep, it's going to affect a variety of things, and one of which is your ability to maintain muscle. 

So, if you're a person getting by on six or less hours of sleep, know that you're in a situation where you’re putting yourself in a position where it's more likely for you to lose muscle. Less than seven hours of sleep equals muscle loss. You can think about it like that. And you might say, “Well, Ted, I sleep six and a half hours, I can't sleep seven.” You're probably okay, but if you're sleeping six or less, you want to bump that up. 

The next one is skipping warmups. And one thing I'll tell you is that in my 20s, I would skip warmups, and I would just jump in, I would do a couple warm up sets for a specific exercise I was doing, for example, I would never just jump into heavy deadlifts, I would do some warm up sets. 

Just in case you don't know what I mean by that. Let's say I was going to deadlift 300 pounds, and I wouldn't start off with that, I would do 100 pounds, and then I would do 150, and then I would do 200, and then do 250. And then probably on the, I would do a work set, not a warmup set, but a work set on like the fourth or fifth, after the fourth or fifth warmup set. But now I do something even different, I do a general warmup, and I do much less specific warmups. 

So, a general warmup is just making sure that your body is warm—as simple as that. Could be doing cardio for a few minutes, what I personally like to do is mobility exercises. And again, I know I'm talking about this, this was the first mistake in today's session, and I realize, I may not be explaining it well, so I'm going to come back and offer… 

I'm going to put something together about mobility so you know exactly what I'm talking about, and you have some videos. I already have videos up on YouTube that I can put together and share with you. 

So, be on the lookout for that. I just came up with this idea right now. But I like to do mobility exercises as warmups. But I do want to give you something here. An example of this would be, like I'll use an example that I'm using with some of my clients right now. What I have them do, is I have them do glute bridges, 10 to 20 reps, and then I have them do a front plank for 30 to 60 seconds. 

And I have them do one or two sets, and that really warms up their body, it warms up their hips, their low back, their knees, with the glute bridges. And then it warms up also their knees, their hips, their core, and their upper body with the front plank. Those are better exercises to do than to walk on the treadmill for 5 or 10 minutes, as an example. 

So, the next one is disregarding stress, I see this a lot, especially with high performance professionals, entrepreneurs. So, what they'll do, and I used to be guilty of this too, is they're really stressed with work, high stress levels, and then what do you do? You go into the gym, and you try to lift as heavy as possible, and push yourself as hard as possible, and it feels like you're really pushing yourself. 

But the reality is this, if you're under a lot of stress, we know, based on studies as well as just personal experience from doing this for 23 years—I'm talking about myself now—is when you're stressed, you're not going to perform well, but it's going to feel very hard. For example, if I think about it like this, you actually want your workouts to feel not that hard. What do I mean by that? 

Imagine this, you're on vacation, and you're not drinking alcohol, and you're sleeping 8 hours, but it's like a workout vacation. You sleep 8 hours, your stress is super low, the only thing that you have to do, the big thing that you have to do is just go and work out in the gym.  

Now, compare that to being at home, where you're only sleeping 5 or 6 hours, you're very stressed, and probably most of it is good stress, meaning you're growing your business, and crushing your deadlines.  But it's stressful to do that. Running a business is stressful, or working in a business at a C-suite level is stressful. 

So, imagine having to cross your workouts after sleeping 5 or 6 hours and having all those deadlines on your mind. You're going to go into the gym on the workout vacation, and you're going to do much better. You're going to get better results, you're going to lift more weight for more repetitions, build more muscle, and is going to feel easier.  

Conversely, the other example where you're only sleeping 5 or 6 hours, and you're rushing—and we didn't even talk about nutrition, you're rushing around in nutrition, probably overeating too. And you're going into the gym and training, and it can feel exhausting. If you're already stressed and then pushing yourself in the gym, it can feel exhausting.  

But the actual, if we look at the numbers, you're performing much better when you're on vacation, right? You're making a lot more progress. So, one of the keys that I have my clients do, and this is something I do personally, is I make sure they're doing something every week to lower their stress. 

And one of the best things to do is to get a massage, or to do a float tank, because both of those will cause your muscles to relax. And a good massage can even help you perform better in the gym. You feel more loose after the massage. Oh, I'm thinking about getting a massage right now, even talking about this. 

So, scheduling something for stress reduction every week, and especially if you're training a lot, a massage is the way to do it. Also, a float tank is worth experimenting with, because when you're in the float tank, you got to relax. Well, actually, you don't have to, you can stress out the entire time in the float tank, but if you do it right, you can relax yourself and your muscles will relax too. 

In fact, there's even some research showing that there's no need to do flexibility training or stretching, you can focus on relaxing your muscles, and it works just as well. So, don't disregard your stress, make sure you schedule something every single week to reduce your stress. And if you're lifting heavy weights, something that addresses the muscle specifically will even, I believe, at least, lead to better results. 

Number six, neglecting nutrition. So, one thing that people do, or a mistake people make is, it's all about the training, all about the training, all about the training. But if you're overeating, in other words, if you got way too much fat, you can't even see the outline of your abs, and that goes for whether you're a man or a woman, then you're neglecting your nutrition. 

And if you're undereating—I have some clients, in this case it was women, but I've also worked with men who've had this problem, they're not eating enough. And so, their weight is staying the same, they're not building muscle. So, if you're overeating, you got too much fat, you’ve got to focus on losing the fat first before you start building muscle. And you'll be able to see the muscle much better. 

On the other hand, if you are on the skinny side, like I have an example, a client right now, actually a couple clients, where they're maintaining their weight, because they're afraid, every time they get on the scale and the scale goes up, they're like, “Oh my gosh, the weigh!” 

But letting the scale go up when you're skinny, and you're eating the right amount of food, and pushing yourself in the gym is exactly what you need to let happen to gain muscle. Because a lot of people stop themselves from gaining muscle, because they look at the number on the scale, and it goes up, and they're like, “Oh, I need to stop doing this, I'm getting fat,” it's like no, you're not getting fat, you're building muscle, that's exactly what needs to happen.  

So, just another point about this, if you can't see your abs, not even the outline, then you want to focus on fat loss. All the muscle that you think you're building, you may be, depending on how long it's been since you last trained. 

For example, if you go from couch potato to Jim Junkie, you're going to gain muscle quickly.  

But if you’ve been working out for, let's say years and you're super consistent with your workouts, and your weight is going up, it's not muscle, it's fat. Get your body…And if you don't believe me, go get a DEXA scan, go get a body fat scan to confirm, and then go from there. 

And if you're body fat, if you're a guy, if you're higher than, if you're not under 20, time to take action. And if you're a woman and not under 25, time to take action and lose some fat. 

And the seventh mistake is not getting expert help, and let me tell you, every time when I say this, I know people hate it. They're like, “Oh gosh, I can do this on my own, I'm smart, I run a company, I'm smarter than you, Ted, I'm more successful than you Ted.” 

And that may be true, but what you're not better than me at is getting results with this stuff. Just like you're probably not better than your accountant who helps you with your taxes, and you're probably not better than your attorney who helps you negotiate the… whatever the attorney is helping you negotiate, whatever that is. 

We all have expertise’s. And my expertise for 23 years is helping people lose fat, build muscle, and do it in a sustainable way. I feel like I do way more than that, but the superficial explanation would be I help, entrepreneurs and executives lose fat and game muscle, right?  

And so, what I want to tell you is this, there's only one question you need to ask yourself to know if you need help with this. And it's this: do I like the results that I have right now? Am I happy with the results that I have right now, based on how long I've been doing what I've been doing? 

And if the answer is yes, then you don't need expert help, you're happy with where you are, simple. But if you're a person, like so many of my clients, they either yoyo back and forth, they've lost a hundred pounds, but it was the same 20 pounds that they lost and gained, and lost, and gained, and lost and gained. Or if you are a person who's exercising aggressively, but you're not able to lose body fat, and you have made up these excuses. 

And I shouldn't say it like that, because if you've been talked into by health influencers, this is probably a more accurate situation, if you've bought into the bullshit that so many health influencers tell you, like, “Oh, it's your hormones, it's your toxicity, it's the toxicity and the hormones, and the age, and the body type.” All that stuff, it's nonsense, okay? 

So, if you're working hard, but you're not seeing the results that you want, and it's got you frustrated, time to talk to an expert, okay? Just like you talk to an expert for anything where you need expertise, you're not going to try to fix your car, you're not going to try to do your taxes, you're not going to try to come up with, negotiate a legal situation, because you don't have the expertise, you get an expert, and this is no different. 

And I work with a lot of people who say, “Oh man, I feel like I'm pretty smart, I'm a smart person, I went through…” Like, I recently interviewed my client, Dan, “I went through law school, I'm a great attorney. I should be able to figure this out.” The same thing with my auditor client, Barbara, she's one of the best at what she does in the country. She's like, “I should be able to figure this out.” 

And here's the thing, what I would tell you, just one more point about this. It's not that you're not smart enough to figure it out. It's that two things, number one, there's a lot of misinformation out there, and two, you could figure it out if you made it your job to figure it out. 

But if you're really busy on the other things, like not only do you have a business you're running, or a business that you're working in, but then you've got to be a husband or a wife, and then you got to be a mother or a father. You don't have time to figure it out, and that's why I figured it out.  

You may be a lot smarter than me, but I've been doing this for so long and it's my soul, it's all I do, right? Is figure this stuff out, figure out how to apply it with clients, and figure out how to communicate it on the podcast, and the social media channels, it's all I do. 

And I just want to say one more thing about this, and this is not just some advice that I give out because I'm a coach, I feel like people's…Nobody's ever said that, but I feel like some people are like, oh yeah, that's a little self-serving there, Ted. But I want to tell you, I've hired my business coach, Mike Chew, changed the game for me. I didn't, and I want to be clear, when I hired Mike, I hired him not to learn how to make money. 

I know how to make money online. I was having clients. But what I really needed help with is, how to scale my business and put the systems in place to, so that I feel like I'm not having to work so hard, and also that my clients are getting better results, and you know what? It's happened. Why? Because I'm not smart? No, I just don't have the experience. 

And I'll even share one more thing really quick before I sign off with you. I recently did a wardrobe, like hired a stylist to help me, because I'm going to do, or I am doing more social media with photos, I really like it, I'm doing photo shoots, and I want to look good on those photos. 

And I looked at some photos from like a few years back, I looked not so good. And it's amazing, I put up a before and after recently for me, 2018 to 2022, and people were like, “Whoa, this guy looks way better, not just in his body and being in better shape, but also the way he's dressing as well.” 

So, experts can save you a lot of time, not just with coaching, with this, but really with health welfare relationships. If, of course, you hire the right person, and that's key, that you got to be 100% on. 

So, that is it, just a brief recap is, number one is ignoring mobility. So, if you find yourself working out consistently, but you're having more aches and pains, or not as flexible as you used to be, you're ignoring your mobility. 

Two, lifting to heavy. If you're just straining against the weight, and not focused on the form or going to failure, it's a mistake.  

Number three, skimping on sleep. Thinking that you're going to build a lot of muscle, or achieve great health on 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night, it's not going to happen for you. 

Number four, skipping warmups. Make sure you warm up your body if you're going to work out, especially if you're going to work out hard. And the best warmups are mobility exercises to turn on your glutes, to turn on your abdominals, to turn on your shoulder stabilizer muscles, and your rotator cuff, that's the way to go. 

Number five, disregarding stress. Understanding that your workout may feel hard, but that's just because the amount of stress that you're under. Because your performance, if you look at the numbers, isn't really that good. So, the key there is to schedule at least one stress reduction activity a week. 

Number six, neglecting nutrition. If you're over 20% body fat in a guy, or over 25% body fat in a woman, time to lose fat, don't focus on building muscle, focus on losing fat, it's the best thing that you can do for your health. 

And number seven is not getting expert help. If you're fine with your results right now, that's okay, I'm fine with some average results in some areas of my life, because we can't focus on everything. But if this is a priority for you right now, and you're frustrated by your results, time to seek out some help. 

That's it for today. I hope you learned a lot. I hope you had a shift in your thinking when it comes to what you're trying to achieve with your body right now. And I would even ask you, what is the big takeaway from today's lesson? 

That's what I want you to focus on and go take action on. Remember, it's not information, it's applied information; in other words, taking action on what you learn that leads to change. That's it for me. Love you lots. Speak to you on Friday. 

Ted Ryce is a high-performance coach, celebrity trainer, and a longevity evangelist. A leading fitness professional for over 24 years in the Miami Beach area, who has worked with celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, Rick Martin, Robert Downey, Jr., and hundreads of CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies. In addition to his fitness career, Ryce is the host of the top-rated podcast called Legendary Life, which helps men and women reclaim their health, and create the body and life they deserve.

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