How To Build Muscle Naturally Over 35

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Do you want to find out how to build muscle naturally after 35? Getting in shape after 35 is about muscle building and you need to find out how to build muscle mass. This video will show you how to build muscle naturally over 35 and give you tips for muscle gains. When you know how to build muscle naturally and use the right protein sources you will start gaining muscle mass.

Are you over 35 and want to build muscle?

Of course you do and it is possible.

Stay tuned and I’m going to show you how to build muscle naturally after 35.

Hey, it’s Ivana helping you get fit, healthy and strong at any age.

If you’re new here, please do subscribe and don’t forget to also hit that bell so you’ll be notified when I release a new video every week if you want to build muscle so you can feel strong and you can have that great athletic physique. I’m going to show you how you can do that, even over 35.

I’m an online fitness and nutrition coach, primarily for people over the age of 35, men and women.

I’ve been working out myself with weights for about 27 years now and I’ve also been on stage three times at the national level in masters bikini body building. So I know a little bit about what I’m talking about when it comes to building muscle. I’m not at my biggest right now for sure. I’ve had a little bit of an injury and you may not think I’m huge and that’s fine.

I’m also a natural ectomorph so I’m at a hard gainer and I’m tall, five foot 10, so I don’t have that natural shape for bodybuilding really. That’s actually why I think I’m a great person to show you how you can build muscle.

Train With Weights With The Right Frequency, Intensity & Volume

If you want to build muscle over 35, the first thing that you need to do is train with weights, with the right frequency, intensity and volume. So we’re going to go through those one at a time so you understand what I’m talking about.

The first one is:


So that’s how often you’re training with weights. So your cardio stuff doesn’t really count here. So frequency, I generally recommend for most of my clients for between three to five times a week.

As you get older in that 35 plus range, we often need a bit more recovery time and our muscles are growing, not when you’re working out, but when we’re resting.

So you need time in between to recover. And as you get older, you need a bit more time in between. So someone who’s maybe 25 they might be able to work out, you know, five or six days or some people trained seven, but very few.

I’m a natural athlete and someone who’s training naturally with weights can’t really do that. So almost everybody requires at least one day off. But as you get older, probably three to five times per week is ideal.

Of course, that depends on your experience and how much time you have and that type of thing. But ideal frequency is about three to five times.


The next thing that I’m going to deal with is intensity. So everybody thinks about intensity as, okay, if I’m pushing myself really hard or I’m jumping up and down and I’m doing burpees or something, and that’s very intense, right?

People would say, Oh, I go to classes and they’re super intense. But when we’re talking about weight training a scientifically, that’s not what intensity is. Intensity is actually they percentage of your one rep max that you’re doing. So we’re working within different ranges. So one rep max is the amount of weight that you could lift for that particular exercise. Just one time. Okay. And almost nobody’s really trading in that range unless you’re a power lifter in competing, that sort of thing. So then you’re doing one rep max this, otherwise most people are not. So the power range, one to five reps, that’s where you’re doing about 75 too, realistically about 90%, but theoretically up to a hundred percent of your one rep max. So that’s where your train, so one to five for power. Then the next range is six to 12 reps. and there you’re working from about 67 to 85% of your one rep max.

So that’s what we consider moderate intensity. This is the strength and hypertrophy range. Hypertrophy is muscle growth. So most of your work should be done in that moderate range between six and 12 reps. and the last one of course is sort of that 12 plus. Um, and that’s when you’re working at 67% or less of your one rep max. So that’s more of a strength, endurance range. So ideally in terms of intensity, you’re going to be working in that six to 12 most of the time there are some benefits from veering out. So doing that one to five range, occasionally going into the higher rep range as well.

Most of your primary muscle building is going to, is going to happen at the six to 12 rep range.


Volume refers to how many times you work out that muscle group either per workout, um, but generally over the course of a week.

So that’s often where the idea of body part splits. If you heard like chest day, leg day, shoulder day, arms, arm day, that kind of thing. So we’re talking about how often you’re working those muscle groups.

Now the optimal amount of volume varies. Some people believe in lower volumes and some people believe in higher volumes.

For me, you have to have some experience so that, you know, it all depends.

A lot of it is genetic. Some people respond really well to higher volumes and some people respond better to lower volumes. Uh, as people get older, they tend to respond better to lower volumes.

So if you’re over 35, consider the fact that you might need to cut back on your training in order to get more muscle growth.

That’s actually really important.

You have to remember that your muscles are growing when you’re resting and not when you’re actually doing the training.

So you may need a little bit less volume per body part. And there’s often a difference if you’re a very strong individual, you need more recovery time.

So my husband, for instance, a very strong man and he needs a bit more recovery time, particularly for a larger muscle groups like legs. Whereas I can train legs sometimes three times a week. And that is often the case. Women can normally train body parts more frequently and get good results from that.

Whereas a very strong man can or will need a little bit more time to recover. So he might be only, he might only be able to do a one leg workout a week and that’s it. His legs won’t be able to recover in time, whereas I can do it more frequently. I’m working in a lower sort of intensity in general, but I mean I don’t have as much muscle mass, so I’m recovering a lot quicker.

As people get stronger and stronger, they actually need a little bit more recovery time in between.

Use Progressive Overload

The next thing that you want to do if you want to build muscle, is use progressive overload.

So very simply, progressive overload just means that when you get stronger and you can do a heavier weight, you want to lift that heavier weight so that your muscles are stimulated to respond. If you’re constantly doing the same thing over and over again, you just do three sets of 12, same, same exercise, some same reps, then you’re not training progressively and you’re not pushing your muscles to respond. So they’re going to stay exactly as they are, hopefully. Although over time they’re going to adapt and you’re not actually gonna get any progress and you may start slipping backwards.

So training progressively means that you need to increase that weight if you feel that you can move outside of that rep range.

This is a common problem that I see with a lot of people. They’ve assigned themselves three times, three sets of 10 is this kind of really, really standard formatting for most people. Um, and they’re using a weight that they can do for maybe 15 or 16 reps.

This is a big mistake.

I want you to comment below. If you’ve ever made that mistake before, you just stopped at 10 and you knew you had about five and a tank or something like that. Um, because it happens to all of us, I’ve done it myself occasionally. In order to get the most out of your workout, you need to be pushing. So the weight that you’re lifting is only what you can do within that rep range. So you maybe you can eke out like let’s say 11 or something like that, but it would be really hard and you’d lose good form.

But you really should be right at that top of the rep range and you need to lift a heavy enough weight.

Eat Enough Calories

If you want to build muscle, the next thing you need to do is eat enough calories.

Your body needs raw material to build that muscle from.

So you need to give your body what it means. If you’re only eating just the right amount for your body to maintain yourself, it won’t have anything to build muscle from.

So sometimes people are afraid, and I understand this, obviously they’re afraid of putting on fat and so they’re not eating enough calories in order to build muscle. And often that’s holding them back because they’re scared of putting on weight and they will put on some weight because muscle will add a little bit of weight.

But you have to really let yourself have those extra calories.

And that’s not to say that it should be a free for all and you just keep eating too much. Just like if you’re trying to lose weight when you’re trying to build muscle that you want to keep it kind of moderate, a moderate increase, see how that works for you. Maybe 250 extra calories a day and then see if you’re able to put on more muscle. If you’re still not really building the muscle, you can go up to 500 calories per day and then see how your body responds.

So a lot of weight training and muscle building is about experimenting and seeing what works for you. I often do it with my clients, I test them out on different regimes and then we kind of find out because this kind of training, it’s very individual.

There are standards of course, and that’s what I’m sharing with you.

But there can be differences amongst people and if people are not tracking their calories in the first place, that’s often a problem too because they don’t know. Some days you won’t have enough and if you’re training harder, probably on that day you want to have a few extra calories. So you need to make sure you have enough calories to build muscle.

Eat Enough Protein

So along the same lines as that, eat enough calories you need to provide your body with protein.

Protein is used for muscle recovery, repair growth, and that’s what we’re looking for, right?

So you need to have enough protein. Now it varies a little bit person to person. Of course, some people have a preference for protein compared to others as well. Uh, but my general recommendation to start off with is 0.8 to one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.

So if you weigh 200 pounds, that 160 to 200 grams of protein per day, now you’ll obviously want to spread that out over the course of the day so it’s not too heavy on your digestion.

There are a lot of great sources of protein.

I primarily rely on chicken, Turkey, fish, eggs, sometimes some dairy. I also use a whey protein isolate because that goes down pretty well for me. Occasionally Greek yogurt because that’s higher in protein than other yogurts as well.

I don’t use red meat only because it doesn’t agree with my stomach, but that’s also if you’re using lean sources of red meat, they’re also a great source of protein.

And for the most part you want to avoid processed meats where possible. I’m not encouraging you to have lots of like hot dogs or anything like that or deli meats. You don’t want to add processed meat to your diet in an effort to add protein.

Good quality proteins, chicken, fish, lean red meats, wild meats, that kind of thing as well.

If you’re looking for vegetarian sources, it’s a little bit trickier. And of course most of those vegetarian sources will also include more carbs. So you have make sure that you’re not going too high with the carbs in trying to get your protein up.

Also they can be things like beans and lentils, which if you eat a lot of them, so if you’re trying to get a lot of protein and you eat a lot of those things, you might be a little bit bloated. Like that disagrees with me particularly because I have digestive issues. But, if that’s not a problem for you, that’s fine. You can also combine those things if you’re not a vegetarian, you can combine those things.

So you have your meat sources and then a little bit from those lentils and beans. Some whole grains as well contain a small amount of protein as well. And soy is kind of one of those things. It depends on where it’s soy beans perhaps. Legumes can be another source.

Nuts are not actually a great source of protein.

That can be sort of a, a nice side source of protein. Almonds are probably the best ones that while the of all the nuts because of their highest in protein. However, keep in mind that they’re primarily a fat source. They have a lot more fat, so they’re not necessarily a primary source of protein. And that means don’t rely on nuts for protein and make sure that you use a wide variety of protein sources. So I’ve already mentioned my favourite source of protein. Generally it’s chicken or fish.

When I eat out, it’s almost always fish or some sort of seafood. And I’d like you to comment if you can about your favourite source of protein, which is the one that you use to provide protein for yourself for muscle building.

Get Adequate Recovery

And now we’re going to move on to number five, get adequate recovery.

So I talked about this a little bit when we were talking about frequency, but recovery is very important for muscle building. Now this means two things. It not only means the rest of that you’re having between workouts. So that means not working out every day and using the same muscle groups and that type of thing.

You want to give yourself adequate rest for those muscles to rest and recover.

It also means rest in general. So if you’re running around and you’re not getting enough sleep, uh, I talk about sleep a lot, then you won’t be able to build muscle.

The hormones that are associated with muscle building are primarily produced during sleep.

So if you’re short changing yourself in sleep, then you’re not gonna get the muscle building effects that you’re after. So focus on getting adequate recovery.

This becomes especially important as you get older.

Often our sleep suffers because we’re under stress.

So many things going on. You’ve got your family and you’ve got your career and you’ve got hopefully some sort of life, so you’re just kind of, you’ve got so much going on. Then often your sleep is going to be suffering, so make sure that you get enough recovery because that’s what your muscles need to grow.

Hopefully you’ve learned a few things about building muscle naturally over 35 I think if you follow through on the suggestions that I made, then you can definitely start building more muscle.

Ivana Chapman


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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 8-year-old boy. She is a YouTuber, writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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