Tips for Building Muscle After Menopause

Ladies, don’t let menopause slow you down! Get ready to flex those muscles with our guide on how to build muscle after menopause. From lifting heavy weights to chowing down on protein-rich foods, we’ve got the tips you need to get stronger and feel great. Plus, we’ll fill you in on how hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help you reach your muscle-building goals. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s pump some iron and show menopause who’s boss!

how to build muscle after menopause

How Menopause Affects Muscle Mass

Menopause is the dreaded “m” word that women in their 40s tend to start thinking about often. There are many negative menopausal symptoms that women want to avoid. Some of the side effects are less concerning for women than others.

One of the side effects of menopause that active women truly dread is the loss of muscle mass. Menopause can lead to a decline in muscle mass for several reasons. The big one is the natural decrease in estrogen production that occurs. This can impact the body’s ability to build and maintain muscle mass.

Estrogen plays a role in regulating muscle growth and repair, so a decrease in estrogen levels can lead to a reduction in muscle mass which can be a big struggle for women who are athletes are just like to live an active lifestyle in general.

Women who are going through menopause may also start being less active than they were. This is not always intentional. Unfortunately, symptoms such as hot flashes, fatigue, and joint pain may make women less motivated to move their bodies like they used to.

There are also lifestyle changes such as retirement or an empty nest that may change routine. The decrease in physical activity levels can further contribute to a loss of muscle mass.

Osteoporosis can also begin to occur in women of menopause age. This can impact muscle mass as well. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle, making them more susceptible to fractures. As a result, women with osteoporosis may avoid weight-bearing exercises that can help maintain muscle mass, further exacerbating muscle loss.

how to build muscle after menopause

Benefits of Resistance Training for Women After Menopause

Resistance training, or weight training, can offer several benefits for women after menopause. One of the best things about resistance training is that it can help build and maintain muscle after menopause which is exactly what you will want to do as you are experiencing muscle mass loss.

If you are a woman of menopause age, keep in mind that adding more resistance training into your routine can help prevent age-related muscle loss or sarcopenia. Maintaining muscle mass is very important for overall health because it helps to improve balance, mobility, and functional independence.

Incorporating more resistance training into your schedule can also help increase your resting metabolic rate, which is the number of calories burned at rest. This happens because muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue. Increasing your metabolism is a great way to manage weight gain.

By increasing muscle mass, resistance training can help women burn more calories throughout the day, even when they are not exercising. This is a huge bonus because many women going through menopause experience weight fluctuations which can be hard on them.

how to build muscle after menopause

Tip 1: Lift Heavy Weights

Lifting heavy weights is one of the most effective ways for building muscle after menopause. When you lift weights that are heavy enough, it causes microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. In response, your body initiates a process called muscle protein synthesis, which involves repairing and rebuilding the damaged muscle tissue to make it stronger and bigger.

Incorporating a heavier weight-lifting routine into your life is a great way to stimulate muscle protein synthesis because it recruits a larger number of muscle fibers than lighter weights. This means that the heavier you lift, the more muscle growth can happen. Of course, you should never lift outside your personal limits or in a way that you are not trained to lift.

When you lift heavy weights, you can help improve your bone density. This is because lifting places stress on your bones, which signals your body to build more bone tissue to adapt to the stress. This can help prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.

It’s important to note that lifting heavy weights doesn’t necessarily mean lifting the heaviest weights you can find. The weight you use should be heavy enough to challenge your muscles, but not so heavy that you compromise your form or risk injury.

As you become stronger, you can gradually increase the weight you lift to continue challenging your muscles and stimulating muscle growth. There are a variety of weightlifting programs you can follow that gradually increase weight over time.

how to build muscle after menopause

Tip 2: Increase Protein Intake

Increasing your protein intake is great for building muscle after menopause. Protein is an essential nutrient for building and repairing muscle tissue. Your muscle tissue is mostly made up of proteins, specifically contractile proteins called actin and myosin, which allow muscles to contract and generate force.

Women after menopause may need to increase their protein intake to see results from their resistance training program. This is because as women age, they experience a decline in muscle mass and a decrease in muscle protein synthesis rates. To combat this, they need to consume adequate amounts of protein to support muscle growth and repair.

The recommended daily protein intake for women after menopause who are engaging in resistance training is approximately 1.2-1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For example, a 70kg woman would need to consume between 84-112 grams of protein per day.

When you consume protein, it gets broken down into amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. These amino acids are then used to synthesize new muscle tissue and repair damaged muscle fibers.

If you do not eat enough protein, your body may not have the resources it needs to repair and build muscle tissue effectively. You should load up on protein to get the full benefit of weight training and avoid having your hard work go to waste.

Even though protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue, it’s not the only nutrient that’s important. Carbohydrates and fats also play important roles in providing energy for physical activity and supporting overall health.

So, while you should consume adequate amounts of protein to build muscle, make sure you are not leaving out the other important macronutrients. Consider working with a dietician or sports nutritionist if you are struggling to eat enough or understand your body’s fueling needs.

Examples of high-protein foods to incorporate into your diet:

  • Lean meats: Chicken breast, turkey breast, beef, pork, and fish are all good sources of protein. Choose lean cuts of meat and avoid fatty meats, which can be high in saturated fat.
  • Beans and legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans are all good sources of protein and fiber. They can be added to salads, soups, and stews, or used as a meat substitute in dishes like vegetarian chili or bean burgers.
  • Eggs: Eggs are a great source of high-quality protein, containing all essential amino acids. They can be boiled, scrambled, or used in omelets.
  • Dairy products: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese are all good sources of protein. Choose low-fat or fat-free versions to keep calories in check.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, peanuts, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds are all good sources of protein and healthy fats. They can be added to oatmeal, yogurt, or eaten as a snack.
how to build muscle after menopause

Tip 3: Focus on Compound Exercises

Compound exercises work for multiple muscle groups at once, this makes them more efficient and effective than isolation exercises that only work one muscle group at a time. When you engage in multiple muscle groups, it can lead to more total muscle activation and greater energy expenditure. Add these exercises into your exercise routine if you want to build muscle after menopause and see fat loss and avoid weight gain.

Examples of compound exercises include:

  • Bench press: This exercise works for the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
  • Squats: This exercise works for the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core.
  • Lunges: This exercise works for the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.
  • Deadlifts: This exercise works for the back, glutes, hamstrings, and core.
  • Pull-ups: This exercise works for the back, shoulders, and biceps.

By performing compound exercises like the ones mentioned above, women can build functional strength that translates into everyday activities which I exactly what you should aim for!

Squats can help with bending and lifting, lunges can help with walking and stair climbing, and pull-ups can help with lifting and carrying heavy objects. As you age, you might start to struggle with the idea that you cannot do everything you used to.

Performing exercises like these can help build muscle after menopause but they also help you to remain independent and able to enjoy life in the same capacity that you always have. Compound exercises can also improve overall body coordination, flexibility, and balance, which can reduce the risk of falls and injuries.

While compound exercises are effective, they also require proper form and technique to prevent injury. You should consider working with a qualified trainer or coach to learn proper form and progression for compound exercises.

how to build muscle after menopause

Tip 4: Get Enough Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are just as important as exercise when it comes to building muscle after menopause. When you exercise, muscle fibers are broken down and damaged. When you rest and recover, the body repairs and rebuilds these fibers, leading to muscle growth and strength gains.

Women after menopause may need more rest and recovery time than younger women due to a variety of factors, including decreased hormone levels and increased risk of injury. It’s important for women to listen to their bodies and give themselves adequate rest and recovery time between workouts to prevent overtraining and injury.

Tips for getting enough rest and recovery:

  • Get enough sleep: Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night to allow your body to repair and recover.
  • Schedule rest days: Plan rest days into your workout routine to allow your body time to recover. This could mean taking a day off from exercise or doing low-intensity activities like walking or yoga.
  • Foam roll and stretch: Use a foam roller or do some gentle stretching after your workouts to help relieve muscle tension and prevent soreness.
  • Practice stress reduction techniques: High levels of stress can interfere with recovery, so practicing stress reduction techniques like meditation or deep breathing can help.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Make sure you’re getting enough nutrients, including protein, to support muscle growth and recovery.
  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to how your body feels and adjust your workouts or rest days as needed.


Living an active and healthy lifestyle after menopause may look different but it is possible. If you are a woman who wants to build muscle mass after menopause, consider the tips we have provided. By prioritizing strength training, lifting heavy weights, increasing protein intake, doing compound exercises, and prioritizing rest and recovery you will be well on your way to building muscle and staying happy and independent even in your later years. Getting older does not mean you have to miss out on the joys of life.  Bottom of Form

Lacey Baier

Hey there! I’m Lacey Baier and I’d like to welcome you! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, as well as cleanish, my clean-eating supplement brand. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

One thought on “Tips for Building Muscle After Menopause

  1. Hello Lacey – Thanks for the great article! I‘m 55, still perimenopausal, doing everything you talk about in your article and am wondering the following:

    – is it really realistic to be keep off belly fat in the long-term
    – is it really possible to get and maintain a well-defined muscle tone as one ages and eats enough protein

    I get that women can stay fit and healthy, but quite honestly, it seems like having a body that looks sleek and well-toned, maybe even sexy (maybe not like in your 20s but still good) is in fact not really that realistic for most menopausal women. I am not really sure what is realistic to expect in this phase and that is making realistic goal-setting a real challenge. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts