To build muscle you first have to break up the muscle fibres. It sounds dramatic but breaking down the fibres allows you to re-form them, bigger and stronger.
That means lifting weights and working hard. Then ensuring you have enough rest time and that you eat the right stuff.
You will notice that many bodybuilders have the formula for muscle building down to a fine art, which involves weighing out portions of food to ensure they eat just the right amount for maximum muscle.
We have talked a lot about protein when it comes to building muscle. The protein helps to build the fibres, and helps to heal. When it comes to building muscle, protein really is your best friend.
Where protein is great, sugar and bad fats really are bad. You don’t want to eat much more than the energy you are expelling, as otherwise that food will just turn to fat. So it’s about eating a good amount, of good stuff. Forget the doughnuts and the crisps; focus on lean meat, fish, fresh fruit and veg.
Push-up: They may sound underwhelming, but press-ups really are good for building arm and shoulder muscle. There are also so many variations that you can make them much harder the better you get.
Start lying on the floor, face down and push yourself up into plank position. Make sure your hands are about shoulder width apart and level with your chin.
Have your legs slightly apart and then lower your nose to the floor and bring your elbows backwards, slowly and steadily until you are as low to the ground as you can get.
Then push back up making sure you don’t sag in the middle of your back.
Bench press: The bench press, in its many forms builds the muscles in your chest really effectively. There are many variations, some using the gym machines, but you can find your own bench alternative or lie down on the floor, so long as your back is flat and you can lift.
Using a pair of dumbbells, one in each hand, bend your arms at the elbows at right angles, and then push the weights up towards the ceiling.
Once at the top lower them back down again and repeat.
I am not naturally muscular Matthew C, and I used to overdo the weights to bulk up, never getting that big compared to other people. I really don't care now I'm older and more informed, so age is a great thing in that respect.
Apart from looking good, those of us not quite 25 any more need to keep working on our muscle mass. It will pay off later. And as Sasha says, weight bearing builds bones too.
I would add that some people are just naturally more muscular than others so don't fall into the trap of trying to be a shape you're not intended to be.
This is a good reminder that I should really add in more strength exercises to my routine. Being a woman, I still feel a resistance against lifting weights, but I know I should get over that and do it for my bone health.