I'm far from an expert on this subject but when I started working out a little over two years ago (for the first time ever in my life) I spent a lot of time researching not only weight training form and technique but questions related to nutrition. Being over 60 and wanting to build muscle while losing fat, I knew I couldn't' go into this blindly and stupidly.
I was surprised to discover how little real science there is behind many of the "myths" that get promoted by the "fitness industry." Not saying there is no truth to them, only that they are often exaggerated and based on statistical samplings. One study indicates something and that "something" gets picked up by someone trying to sell the "something" and it gets broadcast by fitness magazines, blogs or what have you and becomes a commonly held belief, even if it isn't completely true or there may be other studies that show something different. For novices like myself, this can be very confusing.
I made up my mind to try different things, keep very careful notes and see what worked best for *me*. Men in my age group are often (not always) outside the demographics of those in these studies. True, in many respects our bodies are adaptive machines that behave similarly but differences in age, genetics, levels of health and a lot of other things also come into play.
For myself I've found hitting the "60 minute window" is important for recovery. When I go to work out (which I do a lot for an old man -- four days a week now plus two aerobics sessions a week and a very brisk walk of 2.5 to 5 miles a day, every day), I prepare a banana "pudding": One very ripe banana smushed up in a bowl along with two scoops of unflavored whey protein isolate (I buy it in bulk), one tablespoon of BCAAs and a tablespoon of either peanut butter or raw almond butter. About 15 minutes before I get to the gym (walking -- this is my initial warm-up) I stop and eat about a third of the pudding and down a strong cup of coffee. By the time I'm changed and in the weight room, I'm practically bouncing off the wall.
I have my routines (something I've developed for myself through trial and error, focused more on the upper body than my legs which are in great shape) written down. (I have several routines, actually, that I circulate through 2 to 3 month periods with periods of no weight lifting at all for full recovery.) I know exactly what I'm going to do and for an old guy it is a mother. I try to get it all done within an hour to hour and a half max. After that I do a 15 minute "finisher" using an aerobic step alternating a few minutes of big moves with bursts of very rapid double-timing step moves that spike my heart rate and exhaust my legs. When I hit that "fatigue" level, I back off, pace a bit to catch my breath, then go back to the big moves and repeat till the 15 minutes is up.
Immediately after that I go to my locker and consume the remaining protein pudding. I shower and dress then down 1.5 scoops of ProgenX Recovery in water. An hour or so later I'll have a salad with meat or iniri (raw fish with rice) but then don't eat again until early evening. Sometimes, never on non-workout days but sometimes when I feel my protein intake may not be sufficient, I have a scoop of casein protein before bed.
This is working for me. There are other things I do as well but that's the basic outline and it is working for me. I'm seeing slow but steady strength and mass gains and fat loss. I still can't "see" my abs yet but I can feel them. My whole upper torso has thinned down a lot except for the subcutaneous and visceral fat in the abdominal area. This may take another year but I do understand *that* is more a question of diet than exercise. It's a balancing act between eating enough (especially carbs and proteins) to fuel muscle growth while simultaneously tapping into fat reserves. On non-workout (but nevertheless active) days I sometimes only eat one meal a day (for example). I do not find this a problem.
So far as I understand it, most muscle *growth* occurs at night. It is true the body cannot *store* protein (other than as fat, so it doesn't help to eat *too* much), however, the gut *contains* it if it is accumulated throughout the day.
The real trick for an old guy like me (so far as I can tell) is to balance the extreme (for my age) weight training I do with sufficient *recovery time*. I push hard (experience 'good' muscle soreness) and the week before I take two to four weeks off from lifting I do *double workouts* (twice a day!) so I'm in a state of total exhaustion. I eat like a horse for three to four days after that and then back way off the eating for the remainder of the recovery period.
Like I say, it is working for me. At my age I don't expect to see rapid changes however, I do look like someone who has been working out for two years. My upper body is shaping up and people are noticing I'm starting to look "muscly". I'm looking at this as a five year gain project to maintenance. Not looking to win any competitions or become a hulk but by age 70 I hope to be in the best shape of my life
As a side note to all this, one of my locker neighbors is 80 years old. He was a gymnast in his youth and is still trim with a damn good upper body physique for his age. (I *wish* I had lats like his!) In passing he's told me that he is experiencing muscle wasting (and strength loss) even though he maintains a very active lifestyle (weight lifting, swimming, racquetball, etc.) so I questioned a) his protein intake and b) his recovery time. The point being that at that age an "active lifestyle" may become more catabolic than anabolic unless one monitors nutrition and recovery very carefully.
The above is too long, I know, but this is an "off day" so have plenty of time to write. haha. But top-(limited)-range bench pressed 300# yesterday
Half ranged 240# before my multiple sets of full ranges at 120#. That's an enormous gain from what I could do just one years ago.