3 Things To Consider To Build Lean Muscle

Muscle is the buzz word, but what do we need to consider to build it in midlife!!

Increasingly the women I work with want to build more muscle in midlife. Lean muscle is crucial to keep us stronger for longer + enable us to keep healthy in later life.

After around age 30 we can lose 3-5% muscle per decade unless we factor in 3 vital considerations to counteract this!

What we eat, the exercise we do + the rest we take!

In order to 'grow muscle' we need muscle protein synthesis to take place. Muscles are made up of protein based fibres + so increasing the number + size of the fibres increases our muscle mass. Every day our muscle tissue is created + broken down. We need the amount created to be greater than those broken down to see muscle growth!

Muscle protein synthesis is driven by 3 main factors - stimulating the muscle, fueling the muscle + letting the muscle rest to allow growth + repair.


So how do we fuel the body to create muscle? Protein of course! This is the essential building block our body needs to make up the protein to build muscle. Protein can be broken down into 20 amino acids. 11 of these are actually produced by the body itself + the remaining 9 is taken in via our diet.

The term complete protein, means that a food source is made up of the 9 essential amino acids. Most animal sources such as meat, fish, eggs + diary contain the 9. Some plant sources such as quinoa, tofu, tempeh, chia seeds + hemp contain the 9 but many contain a smaller amount, so its important to mix + match your plant sources to ensure you get all the amino acids you need!

As we get older we actually need MORE protein as our body becomes less efficient at taking it up particularly women in midlife + during menopause!! Hormonal changes mean we lose muscle + increase body fat, so it's a good idea to really focus on how much protein you are getting into your daily diet.

For active women the general advice is for approx 1g of protein per 1kg of body weight. For a 65kg women that is approx 65 grams of protein a day! There are some suggestions that it is important to add more protein via snacks for women in midlife + beyond. For a 65kg women approx another 26g - that's a significant amount of protein EVERY day!  

It is important to balance the intake throughout the day - within each meal to help balance blood sugar levels + particularly for breakfast to kick start the day + post workouts.


Strength training is the key to building muscle. Strength training can be classed as anything where your muscles are working against a force - so this can be bodyweight, dumb bells or bands. Adding resistance causes little tears in the muscle which in turn stimulates repair + growth. The muscles build + come back stronger!!

I am a big fan of strength training for women + its the reason I created Fitness Bites which are designed to help women build muscle through the use of bodyweight, dumb bells + bands as well as cardio exercises to keep a healthy heart + plymometrics to help with healthy bones.

Research has shown that two or three 20 or 30 minute strength training sessions a week can lead to a significant improvement in strength + muscle growth. Of course consistency is key - that is two or three times EVERY week which is why I create Fitness Bites for 52 weeks of the year!!!

Rest + Recovery

The third consideration when building muscle is rest + recovery. The body needs time to rest in between sessions to allow muscle fibres to repair + grow. That's why 2-3 times a week tends to be the optimal sessions along with active recovery, walking, stretching + enjoying other activites!

Fitness Bites are online workouts of less than 20 minutes to allow you to easily fit into your day + create fitness habits that last, along with results!

Please feel free to ask me any questions - I am available on

Ready to make a change?

Start your FREE 7 day Fitness Bites trial today

Get Started