T Nation

Muscle Gains at 40 Years Old?


Can I expect any appreciable muscle gains at nearly 40 years old?

I’m late to the iron game, wish I had started earlier but is what it is. I’m 39, been lifting for a little over 3 years now. Admittedly the first 2.5 years I was absolutely clueless. I train alone so my learning curve has been slow. But after countless hours of reading T nation this year I feel like I have a pretty solid knowledge base of training and nutrition.

I’m tracking my workouts (only been doing that for 4 months), aiming for progressive overload. My nutrition is on point, Dr. Berardi would be proud. My peri-workout nutrition is on point, hello Plazma!

But I read these stories and see photos of these 12 week transformations and my progress is NOWHERE near that.

I see photos (and in person) of guys in their 40’s and 50’s with the physique that I want for myself. But I question did they gain that lean mass in their 20s and are they now just maintaining it?

Has the ship of “appreciable lean mass gains” sailed with my younger years already gone? I’ll still keep training and eating clean regardless because I enjoy it.

But it’s been a bit frustrating to eat so clean for the last 6 months, and work so hard, and the changes I see in myself have not been as significant I as had hoped.


Base your nutrition/calories on your goals.
I was 39 when I got the strongman bug. I was 6’4" 267 lbs. Now I am 336 lbs and 52 years old. My bodyfat has went up very little. I am on HRT, but nothing else.
I don’t suggest you gain 70 lbs, but 40 years old is still in the game.


You’re doomed. I would just go ahead and give up now!
Well, that is with that attitude. It is what you make it. If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else.
There is no secret ingredient.


Not at all, my attitude is great! I love training and eating clean, and like I said, I’ll continue to do so. I honestly just thought my strength and size gains would’ve been more by now.

I wanted to get some realistic expectations from some more experienced lifters.


It is difficult to predict how much mass you can gain over the next 10 years. But this much I can say with absolute certainty: If you continue to train hard and eat properly, you will have much more lean mass (and less bodyfat) in 10 years than you would if you didn’t lift/eat right.


You can definitely make gains


Depends on if your test levels are high enough. My want to get it checked. If needed, trt would help.