T Nation

Mid 40s, Hard Work = No Gains, Losing Motivation

This is my 1st post on the forums here and hope to get some advice on what I’m doing wrong and/or what’s missing from my routine. Just a little background, three years ago I was 43, 6’4, & 272lbs, I felt miserable until I started riding a bike which led to me riding two-three times a week with some rides up to 100 miles and I lost nearly 50lbs. I felt pretty good about myself but wanted more so I bought some weights and started working out which I’ve stuck to for the last year and a half with little to show for it. I’ve gotten quite a bit stronger but my physique is pretty much the same and I’d say my mid section has grown a bit over the last year probably due to less miles on the bike and more time in the gym. My typical workout has me benching 250-275 3x8, squats same, deadlifts same, plus a mix of isolation exercises concentrating on biceps/shoulders Monday, legs/calves Wednesday, and triceps/back on Friday with a day between for rest and a hard 30-40mi bike ride on Sunday to get some cardio in.

I’ve had my testosterone checked in March and it was 474(ng/dL) with a free level of 80.9(pg/mL) so while I’m not at an optimal level, I don’t seem to be deficient or in need of replacement therapy at this point, but maybe so? I’m open to any path that would lead me to what I’m after which is more muscle mass and a flatter mid-section.

I really want to continue working out and want some size but am I too old? Do I need testosterone therapy? Am I not lifting not enough? Right now I’m about to throw in the towel and I’ve taken a few days off because I feel like I’m over doing it.

474 isnt bad for a 45 year old but it isnt optimal by any means. You need to head over to the TRT forum and see how much you have in common with other guys.

And no…you are not too old to see changes if you get your hormone levels optimized.

I’m no expert on TRT and thus will not comment other than to see you should check out the TRT forum and, if you still feel intervention is warranted, seek out a competent physician to help in that regard.

However, I would also not rule out the possibility of improvements in your diet and training. Would you care to share some more specifics in that regard?

1 Like

I’m not claiming expertise either, but I would recommend you not check out the TRT forum, as it is populated by individuals highly biased in favor of TRT. If you post over there, I can guarantee what their conclusion and advice will be–that you have low-T (and probably hypothyroidism), and should doctor-shop until you find one willing to prescribe TRT (among other substances). If you truly think you’re hypogonadal (and the limited data you’ve presented do not support this), talk to your primary-care physician, and take it from there.

This. At a minimum, your training sounds far from ideal with regard to physique enhancement. And as diet is even more important in this regard, it’s vital that that be on-point as well.


Not sure you mean deadlifts every workout, but that alone can make you hit a wall.

Get on an organised plan off this site with varied intensity/rep schemes and planned progression. 5/3/1 triumvirate below is a solid starting point.Start light and you should see steady progress for 4-6+ months…

Reading a bunch of Dan John articles great for the older lifter also…


I’m 41 and have been lifting on and off for the past 10 years. Its only in the last year or so that I have finally “got it” and am enjoying overall successful progress.

Big things for me where

  1. Understanding food and my body. I put on muscle relatively easy but that also comes with putting on fat easily. Once I starting counting calories and understanding the impact that a carb calorie has versus and protein or fat calorie on my body it made a huge difference to my training. Eating clean (minimising Sugar/Fructose) put me on a whole other level.

  2. Mixing it up. - For the last year my program was standard 4x12 pyramid weight lifting 5 times a week. Over that year I saw very slow gains and I was getting very frustrated. I worked out that I needed to shock my system out of the rut. I have been following a German Volume Training Protocol for the last 10 weeks and my gains have been huge compared to what was happening previously. Every week i have Leg DOMs for 3 or 4 days and my quads are massive! I follow a program for 12 weeks so next time I am going to try giant sets to mix it up again.

  3. Supplementationn.
    I now use Pre, Intra and Post workout supplements and I can power through even the toughest GVT program. My system is fueled during the entire cycle and I notice the difference in training capability and growth. I don’t take any steroids or GH supplements, only regular ones like BCAA’s, Creatine etc.

Thanks for the replies, I agree with the fact that I should explore other avenues before just caving in and pushing for T replacement and I hope to find the ideal workout and diet plan to help me get where I want to be. This week I just find myself mentally tired and in need of a break which has me here on the computer instead of hitting the weights. The combination of working out, riding, two active kids, and a demanding job that has me outside in the heat everyday adds up (It was 96 degrees yesterday).

Today is the start of a new week so it’s a good time to mix things up a bit. I’m going to workout light today just to keep the blood flowing and actively search for a new diet and workout that’s different from what I’ve been doing in hopes of stimulating some growth.


1 Like

Not saying follow this to a t, but I would read over it and implement some of the ideas. Just my .02.

1 Like

Strongly disagree. By reading what others have experience with their own PCP, he will have better understanding of what to expect. What questions to ask to better gauge his Drs knowledge and biases towards TRT. I’m telling you from personal experience, if you are low normal, your dr will very likely not be willing to help you regardless of how you feel. Why would anyone tell a person not to look at all information to make a better decision? Especially someone claiming to be an “EyeDentist” whatever the fuck that is.

My life changed once i got on TRT and I’m never going back to where I was. Everybody should have that chance.

@dvdslw, this is the attitude that permeates the TRT forum. Note that studhammer has already decided your issues derive from ‘sub-optimal’ T levels, and should be treated as such. No talk of trying training or diet adjustments–just straight to the needle.

Whatever you say, “studhammer.”


To be fair this is “T-Nation”. Where the motto is “The intelligent and relentless pursuit of muscle” if I recall correctly.

You are expecting moderation?

For OP try absolutely everything you can to improve before TRT. TRT is forever. That’s shots twice a week and pills all the time.

Also I’d much prefer he go through real doctors with TRT than self medicate from the steroid forum.


@dvdslw could you post a regular day of eating please.

It’s not the most glamorous fix and it does take effort, but usually diet is the culprit.

1 Like

Nope, i just told him to go get more information before he makes a decision. Plus, there is a lot of evidence that mainstream medicine will not view him as needing meds while in reality, his test is too low, his TSH too high, and E2 too high to be the man he used to be and wants to return to.

Maybe you haven’t been down this road. I have. I’m just trying to educate the man like I wished was available for me when I faced this. Instead I had shitty doctors and no estrogen treatment.

1 Like

are you talking about the original poster or yourself?

I dont remember the Op mentioning any symptoms, Which might indicate hes actually super low.

When you self-medicated a year ago, you did 1g of test because you thought 1mg = 1ng/dl. I don’t think you should try to educate anyone.


You got to be kidding me! If this is the case someone needs to just keep his thoughts to himself.

Nope. He “cruised” on 1g for 2 years.

WHAT THE FUCK!!! SOB is full of shit

TRT my ASS!!

1 Like

Some posters over there giving accounts of their experiences with “uneducated” doctors even have mental illnesses. This guy was even cycling steroids despite this.

1 Like