T Nation

What is Possible at 40


I’m just curious what sort of muscle gains are possible to achieve naturally at the age of forty for an athletic woman. Pictures of what is naturally possible? What sort of gains and body fat percentage is sustainable at this age? What sorts of diet and training recommendations would you make to achieve the limits of what is possible at this age?


In my opinion, the possibilities are endless at 40. That’s young! I started lifting at 40 and competing in powerlifting at 43. I am now 50 and still going strong. I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon.

I do think the metabolism begins to slow a bit as we age and recovery becomes more important in order to avoid injuries. I can’t speak to a sustainable body fat percentage. But I imagine that’s somewhat individual regardless of age.

Good luck to you!


Snap, I didn’t know you were 50 now. Happy belated birthday :slightly_smiling:

Like Snap, I started competing in my 40’s; also at 43. At that time, I was very lean and recovery was easy. While, at 51, I’m still quite lean, recovery is more of an issue. At about 48 I found I had to put a lot more thought into my training structure. If I did too much, my lifts started to tank because I wasn’t recovering.

As for diet and training, it would depend upon what your goals are. Mine are strength and aesthetics aren’t a concern.


It’s said, in the sport of strongman, that you don’t reach your absolute strength until your late 30’s and early 40’s.


Vinny, that’s interesting about strong man. If you look at the strength charts, you’d expect strength levels to drop for both men and women with age. Sometimes increased strength is just learning to be more proficient at at a skill. Kind of makes me wonder.

Also, since women don’t have much T even when we’re young, we might experience less of a drop in strength as we age than our male counterpart. Maybe.