How Your Metabolism Changes in Your 30s, 40s, and 50s


When I met Joanne for the first time, her goal was to lose weight, get fitter, and reduce her cholesterol levels. To help her achieve that, we increased her exercise with frequent sessions and added more daily activity in her routine. In just four months, Joanne lost over 14 pounds. What’s more, she also reduced her cholesterol levels by 50%! This was a fantastic achievement considering Joanne is a woman in her 70s.

In my experience with consulting with hundreds of women one-on-one, they often tell me that it’s easier for them to gain a few pounds than it’s to lose them.

The reality is that metabolism slows down with age. The older we get, the more challenging it becomes to maintain a healthy weight due to hormonal changes, decrease in muscle mass, being less active, and the natural aging of your metabolic processes.

And although metabolism slows down with age, there are some things we can do to fight this age-related condition. We can have an impact on our metabolism to reverse the aging process by staying active and maintaining a healthy diet, for example.

So, I’m going to break down how metabolism changes in all different ages and stages of life, and what direct impact we can have to get in shape, stay healthy and look and feel better.


Your Metabolism In Your 20s

People in their 20s experience the highest resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR is the rate at which your body burns energy when it’s completely at rest. “Some of it is based on genetics, but a large part of it has to do with how active you are,” says Cederquist.

When you’re in your early 20s, you’re still growing, and your muscles are developing. Meaning, you’re burning more calories in a day. Additionally, your body continues to build bone until you’re 25, a process that requires additional energy.

But once you reach your late 20s, you might notice a change in your metabolism. You won’t be able to eat as much as you used to without gaining weight. This happens because this is the time when you start losing fat-free mass (muscles and organs).

Luckily, with a nutritional diet and regular exercise, you can bounce back quickly.


Your Metabolism In Your 30s

Your body will start losing muscle mass around the age of 35. It’s been found that you lose about one percent of muscle mass every year. This decline in muscle mass will result in a drop in your metabolism.

So, if you haven’t started strength training yet, now it’s a perfect time. Why? If you’re not using your muscles, you’re telling your body that you don’t need them. Consequently, the body will start storing more fat, says Caroline Apovian, M.D., author of The Age-Defying Diet: Outsmart Your Metabolism to Lose Weight.

What’s more, your 30s are also the time when you start producing less human growth hormone (HGH). This contributes to a dip in metabolism.

If you want to slow down the aging of your metabolism processes, add strength training to your schedule two or three times a week. If you’re a woman, consider hitting the weights three times per week as it takes more effort for women in general to maintain muscle mass. Men have higher levels of testosterone, contributing to a lower body fat percentage.


Your Metabolism In Your 40s

According to a recent survey, the average woman has tried dieting for more than six years by the time she reaches 40. However, nearly 95% of those women regain lost weight within a period of five years.

According to Caroline Apovian, it’s vital to keep your metabolism off the rollercoaster ride. For example, if your weight has always been 200 pounds, you’ll need around 2,000 calories per day to maintain that weight. However, if your weight has always been 220 and you lost 20 pounds, you’ll need to consume fewer calories as your metabolism is going to slow down.

You might want to consider including protein in each meal. Protein will help keep you full and feed your muscle tissue, fixing any tears you cause with each workout. Ultimately, your muscles will grow stronger, and your metabolism will improve.


Your Metabolism In Your 50s

Once a woman enters menopause, her estrogen and progesterone levels start to drop significantly. This drop leads to bone and muscle loss, and sometimes even weight gain due to hormonal changes.

For that reason, strength training is essential. Apart from training, make sure you watch your sugar intake. With age, your body becomes less able to move glucose into our cells as efficiently, so the glucose that won’t enter your cells will ultimately be stored as fat.


Final Word

To conclude, remember to watch your sugar intake, eat healthy foods, and add plenty of strength training exercise. That’s the surest road to a fit and speedy metabolism, regardless of your age.

“Just remember, when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.”

― Charles Schultz