T Nation

Accessing Muscle Memory

I�??m a 59-year-old male and a body builder for most of my life.  At my best, I weighed about 185 pounds, at 5�??5�??, with a 320 bench and 425 squat. This was when I was around 18.  I abandoned training for a number of years and, when in my 30�??s, or mid-to late 20�??s, I started training again.

Unfortunately, my size and strength remain stuck and have not moved appreciably in about 30 years. I have never used steroids and will not do so. Although I regained a bit, I have not been able to go beyond 155-to 165-body weight, and my poundage�??s remain stuck also. I have altered training and supplements to no avail.

Around my mid-fifties I had my hormones tested for general health and they were found low. I received bio-identical hormones (in a topical cream, by prescription) from the doc for several years. But there was no difference in gains.

Recently I have been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. The counselor wants me to see if I can receive information as to whether or not that may be having an effect on my lack of gains, perhaps due to high cortisol levels.

I had my cortisol level checked and the doc said they were only slightly elevated and he didn�??t think it was anything to worry about. Still, perhaps there is some effect. The lack of gains started before I ever heard of post-traumatic stress disorder or consciously experienced any effects of it. But still, perhaps it was affecting me anyway.

My own view on my �??stuckness�?? is that due to a serious training injury during my comeback, my subconscious mind is not letting me become bigger or stronger in order to keep me safe.

In any event, I am interested to see if anyone can offer any ideas on my lack of progress. If you have any thoughts of what I might be able to do in order to go forward in my training, I would really appreciate it.


It would help to know how you approach training and eating. That's rather essential knowledge. No doubt you're aware that at your current age gains will be very slow. However, that doesn't mean they can't happen. Are you still receiving hormone therapy? What are your t-levels (if you know)?

In general, I tend to focus on food intake if gains in lean mass aren't coming. It's simply physically impossible to gain muscle without eating enough, unless you're really fat to begin with (which is not the case here). Strength gains are not so easy to track down.


I think you really need to give a detailed description of what your training consists of: set/rep schemes, exercises and the order you do them in, how you are trying to progress... etc.

What's your diet like? Are you eating enough? How do you know you're eating enough? Can you provide a list of what you ate in the few days with an idea of how many calories it consisted of?


If you have low test HRT might help more things then just weightlifting.