T Nation

Results From First Bulk at 43?


Mine is a strange case, I've been training (heavy but irregularly) for about 20 years, due to career pressure never had my diet completely nailed down until this year, up until now just maintenance cals and protein and in all that time I'd gone up from 185 @ 20% to 243 @ 25% in 2009/10.

Am on a 1k calorific deficit, kicked protein up to 300gms and carb cycling. I have since dropped 20Ibs, and want to lean out another 20Ibs this year to settle around 200/205Ibs, and then begin my first every true bulk around Christmas. I'm all natural.

My question is this; as I've already gone up in lean muscle over that time, what kind of expectations should I have from my first bulk? Having just turned 43 I'm no spring chicken any more so I don't expect 40Ibs this year, but it is the first time I've run 300gms protein and I D/L 160Kgs for 3x6 reps, so the work already done will hopefully count for something.

What do you think is a realistic target for 2012? 10/20/30 ??


Seriously, the more I advance over time the more I feel less inclined to 'bulk'.

Basically what I do is 1) figure out a rough maintenance of calories, 2) create a diet that exceeds the maintenance by 200 - 300, 3) keep it consistent, eating roughly the same foods every day. After a while you'll be intuitively meeting your daily needs.

Likely, you will be hard pressed putting on more than a couple kilos lean over the course of 12 months. No point gaining 40 lbs only to diet away 35 and find ~85% of your 'gains' were just fat. Know what I mean?

Might not be fun NOT seeing the scales move rapidly, but hell, you won't feel like shit when you reach your peak weight and realise you have 3 to 4 months of hard dieting ahead of you.

My 2 cents...


How did you arrive at that conclusion? There are plenty of fellas HERE who cleaned up their training/diet after 40 and managed to put on more than 10Ibs over the next 12 months.


I don't claim to be the most knowledgeable, but your DL may indicate that you are nowhere near the correct strength level to warrant the mass you are currently walking around with.. just a thought


Not sure what that has to do with my target for next year.


Agreed. Guys like that limit themselves even though I wouldn't recommend someone do some all out bulk over the age of 40. I'm in my 30's and I doubt I will do that much again....but clearly it helped to have done so in the past.

The older you get, the harder that shit is to lose and the harder it is to change truly bad habits. There's a big difference between eating that hamburger because you need more calories and doing it because it a part of your daily routine and a habit.


I'm just saying that I don't think it's healthy to get fat at your age.. and your Deadlift compared to the amount of bodyweight you are sitting at (you gained a lot during your bulk) makes me think you are going to pull another Artem by not holding the extra weight long enough and through not training at a level of intensity conducive to retaining your muscular gains while dropping fat.. but that is just my novice assumption

quote]Jaybee wrote:

Not sure what that has to do with my target for next year.[/quote]

Edit: you might want to post some of your other lifts, since DL is a poor indicator due to how leverages can affect it.. I just remember when Artem finally posted his lifts at the peak of his bulk his squat was pathetic, which should have alerted people to the fact he did it wrong.. if the fact that he just looked fat didnt..


OP... During you're 20 year training career you went from 148lbs of LBM to 182lbs of lean body mass. That is a gain of 1.7lbs of LBM a year.

At your age (over 40) and as a natural, it is NOT going to be easy for you to gain muscle. If you were genetically predisposed to gaining lots of LBM it would have happened by now IMO.

Not that you shouldnt aim high (because you most certainly should) but I think gaining "a couple of kilos of LBM" in a year is REALLY REALLY GOOD. Definitely not something to scoff at.

you put on 3-4 kilos (6-9lbs of muscle) in a year of solid good weight that would be awesome IMO. Of course your overall weight gain is going to be higher than that but that amount of true muscle gain in a year for someone over 40 would be pretty incredible.


I agree with this.

People with the genes to become really big don't wait 20 years to make it happen.

I am very confident in saying I doubt we will ever see many people who can gain anywhere near the weight over 40 that they could at 25.

If your goal is to be huge, you had better be really fucking big by 25 and already huge by 30.

Otherwise, expect SLOW progress.

That's the main reason we keep telling newbs to quit wasting time. They won't get it back years later.


Not badly said, except when you have someone like me (45 year young) who is a like a dog climbing a tree; everyone tells me I can't do, so I do it anyways.

But there are limitations. Like extra recoup time. Peri work out protocol is a must, and don't skimp on it either. LOTS of stretching. and Make VERY good friend with a therapist of some sort (Chiro, ART, physio, etc). Your diet needs to be spot on.

Stop thinking "bulking" and start thinking "lifestyle". There is no way I want to add 1 lbs of muscle with 1 lb (or whatever ratio) of fat at my age. Taking it off, is a bitch. I would rather gain 1/2 lb of muscle and no fat. Way easier on the body and and mind.


Well, if 10Ibs lean is the upper limit in common wisdom here, I look forward to proving you all wrong. :slight_smile:

I think what you're all forgetting is that I've already laid down hundreds and hundreds of hours in the gym lifting hundreds, if not thousands of tons, and all of that on your average desk-jockey sandwich diet. Did the work, but didn't eat the food. Now, you start to feed a muscle what it's craved over the years, it's got to respond well (they already are). On top of that, my career pressures are over, I'm pretty much set, so no distractions. I'll also be tape-measuring my gut as frequently as every other bodypart.

I'm shooting for 20IBS LMT by the end of 2012 - YES, 20. TW-EN-TY. You read it here first. I owe it to myself, and you'd all do the same in my position.

And another lean 10 by Christmas 2013. That's the challenge, your move. I'll be posting here, fellas, this site has been up for about a decade and so you'll still be able to see me keep my word next year, and the year after.

And I will.


No one said don't try....but over the entire time lifting, I have gained about 100lbs in lean body mass. That ain't happening at 40 I don't care who you are.

Never quit fighting to reach whatever goals you have....but the reality is, if you really wanted it badly enough, you wouldn't have waited 20 years to get the fire for it.


How would anyone here know what the upper limit of YOUR OWN gains would be?

No one here knows that.

What we do know is most guys who become monsters weren't skinny at 35.


And how long did that nearly 100lbs of LBM take to gain? (not getting at you but I plan on making a point based on your answer)

^^I said this alread too OP. Shoot for high numbers but to think that at 43 (much less any age) that you're going to gain 20lbs of muscle in a year is unrealistic to say the least.

Top Professional BBers who eat/sleep/live to get bigger muscle dont put on 20lbs of stage weight (LBM) in a year and those guys are definitely not "natural."

T-Nations very own, The Might Stu just won his Pro Card as a natural and in the last year (between contests) he said he only added a few (less than 5 I believe?) pounds to his stage weight. 5lbs of pure muscle is A LOT (go buy 5lbs of steak from the grocery store and imagine slapping those steaks on your body... thats a lot of muscle to add)

If you're planning on gaining 20-30lbs TOTAL in a year then that is completely doable IMO... but gaining that much weight in muscle alone isnt going to happen IMO.

Aim high OP. Good luck with your goals.


It's taken me about 15 years actively (I was a 95lbs freshman in high school)....and I rarely see anyone making that much and more progress at all.

That took all out focus on getting bigger for a number of years. There is no way in hell my body would be that "elastic" over the age of 35. It has already found its set point and it will be way harder to change at that age.

That is pretty much why I keep repeating myself on here.


15 years to gain 100lbs of muscle and you're one of the most muscular guys on this site... That's an average gain of 6.6 pounds of muscle a year (obviously gains aren't linear like that but still)

I graduated highschool at 5'11 and 162lbs (although I ha been lifting for football during that time) and now I'm 5'11" and 214 (yeterday at the gym) while being leaner than I was at 162. That's 52lb increase while losing BF in the 10 years since I graduated (wow 10 years? I feel old lol) what I'm trying to say is shit takes time (especially if your natural)

6 pounds of muscle gain a year is great IMO. If I was the OP I would be estatic at gaining that much muscle.

How does the old saying go: "Rome wasn't built in a day"???


I doubt there is much difference in one's body ability to grow muscle in his 30's compared to his 20's. what i mean is you could very well get huge when you start lifting at 30 by the time you get close to 40. show me a 30 year old average male who cant add 5lbs with good diet and training a year (LBM) considering average genetics and hormone levels. In your case you have made most of your natural gains in your 20's so naturally your gains are alot slower in your 30's


You seem to be missing the glaring point here. No one is saying gains can not be made over 40...but if you think gains to the tune of 100lbs will be gained you are being ridiculous. For one, your metabolism will only slow the older you get, so the chances of someone starting at even 30 and hitting 45 years of age with a 100lbs gain in lean body mass is so fucking rare I have NEVER seen it happen to someone.

Why argue this?

Your body adapts...and if you hold the same damn body weight for 3 or 4 decades, don't expect it to jump to attention when you suddenly ask it to gain muscle like crazy.


Because you spent your whole life teaching it NOT to do that.


I get what you're saying mate but I'll say it again, I did the 80% of the work but only 20% of the eating. I could well have been up another 40Ibs LMT in all that time with a correct diet, but I chose a career first, and I'd choose the same way again. Now, I'm not expecting to recoup that lost opportunity in one year flat, but you have to realise that I'm only just now feeding my body more than 100gms of protein daily!! That is a revolutionary increase for my body, and between the two, I'm sure my LMT gains for 2012 will be a LOT greater than the few Ibs I'd be ekeing out had I kept a solid diet.

That, plus like I said in my very first line, guys like me are rare; how many BB'ers do you know who lifted heavy, 2-3 times a week, for 20 years and only just recently kicked their protein into 3 digits? Like Prof X said, you don't know.

But yeah, thanks, I'll continue to shoot high.


well good luck then. I hope you get where you want to go.