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How to Build Muscle After Menopause: Stay Fit

It might seem inevitable to lose muscle and gain weight after menopause, but it is possible to maintain a well-toned body and keep a healthy weight.

Is it more challenging? Yes. Biological factors play a role in muscle loss and weight gain at this stage of life. Women start losing lean body mass as early as their 30s, and the loss continues at a rate of 3-5% every decade.

The good news is you can maintain this with a proper diet and the correct type of exercise.

Building muscle after menopause is under YOUR control!

The Barriers to Building Muscle After Menopause

Poor Nutrition

If you don’t fuel your body well, building muscle after menopause becomes a real challenge. Not getting enough protein or calories will cause breakdown instead of growth.

Plus, when your diet lacks essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, your bones weaken, making it even harder to do the weight-bearing exercises needed for building muscles.

As with all health-related journeys, taking care of your nutrition is just as important as your workouts.

Age-Related Muscle Loss

As you age, muscle mass decreases by around 3–8% per decade after the age of 30. After 60, this rate of decline rises even higher.

Lack of Physical Activity

Couch potato

Many women become less physically active after 50  as they balance a busy life, work, family, and friends. This physical inactivity also causes a loss of muscle mass.

Furthermore, those who exercise in their fifties frequently choose exercises that are not sufficiently challenging to make a real difference, like walking.

Hormone Changes

The decline in estrogen experienced by women is a natural part of menopause, and this drop can significantly contribute to age-related muscle loss. When estrogen levels decline, visceral fat mass increases and muscle mass decreases.

Benefits of Building Muscle After 50

Benefits of strength building after 50

Improved Strength

Building muscle improves your strength. This increased strength also makes everyday activities like carrying groceries and navigating stairs much easier.

Increased Bone Density

Weight-bearing exercises like squats and lunges are excellent for improving bone density.

By performing these exercises, you not only improve your strength but also reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis and other bone-related issues.

Improved Weight Management

Increasing muscle mass helps to burn more calories during and after exercise, making it easier to manage your weight.

Additionally, it helps increase your metabolism, so you will burn more calories even when you’re at rest.

How to Build Muscle After Menopause

Improving your muscularity after menopause can seem daunting, but it is achievable with exercise and appropriate nutrition.

Strength Training


Strength training exercises are the best way to build muscle at any age. By challenging yourself through strength training, you can increase crucial mass. 

These exercises don’t have to be a rigorous exercise program or done at the gym; resistance bands, bodyweight exercises, and even yoga are great ways to get started.

Here are some ideas that work for middle-aged women:

Total Body Workouts

Total body workouts are great for building muscle as they target multiple groups at the same time. 

Many women enjoy taking total body workout classes at their local gym. But at home, video workouts are also an excellent choice.

woman doing a workout video using weights

Here are a few examples:

Strength training workout videos for women over 40

BODI (formerly known as Beach Body on Demand)


Yoga is an excellent way to build muscle as it increases strength and flexibility while improving posture and balance.

Yoga exercises target different groups, which help you achieve a full-body workout. 

Not only that, but yoga has also been proven to reduce stress, improve mental clarity and focus, and increase energy levels. 


Pilates is another effective method for improving strength, particularly the core. This form of exercise focuses on controlled movements and breathwork, improving flexibility and balance.

It’s especially beneficial for strengthening the abdominals, lower back, and pelvic floor, which are crucial for overall stability.

Resistance Bands

Woman using resistance bands

Resistance bands are a great option, especially if you’re new to strength training. They provide resistance throughout the entire range of motion and can be gentler on joints than traditional weights.


Barre fitness classes combine yoga, Pilates, and ballet elements to help you build strength without adding bulk. 

These classes are generally designed with women in mind and use a combination of small isometric movements, stretches, and postures to strengthen and tone your body.


To prevent muscle loss, you want to avoid being deficient in protein, calories, and specific vitamins and minerals. Proper nutrition can easily help you maintain lean body mass and healthy body weight.


High protein foods

You need to consume adequate protein in order for your muscles to grow and strengthen. This is because protein provides amino acids, the building blocks of muscles.

Moreover, as we age, it’s even more essential to consume adequate protein because we become more resistant to the signals of growth hormones.

The American College of Sports Medicine suggests the following protein intake:

  • To maintain muscle, consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.35 grams per pound.
  • To build muscle, the recommendations increase to 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilogram or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound.

The Bottom Line

Building muscle doesn’t have to be intimidating or overwhelming; there are many ways to add strength and tone your body. 

Stay consistent with your workouts and nutrition, and enjoy the process! With enough dedication and effort, you’ll see results in no time.

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