Are you a man over the age of 40 who has a hard time building muscle? Are you spending hundreds of dollars on supplements and countless hours in the gym without your desired results? Then you may be suffering from low testosterone levels.
Low testosterone levels can be present in men starting as early as their 20’s. But typically, once a man reaches 40 years of age, testosterone levels are noticeably lower after gradually decreasing by 1% year over year, and effects such as weight gain, moodiness, loss of muscle mass, and sexual complications come into play.
For this reason, many men are increasingly considering Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) as a means of restoring their testosterone levels and regaining the muscle mass they may have taken for granted in their youth. But do you need TRT to build and maintain your muscle mass after you reach the age of 40? The answer is that it depends, but those undergoing treatment with TRT have been shown to get improved results. We’ll dive more into the reality of building and maintaining muscle mass in your 40’s, and why you may or may not need TRT to do it.
How Do You Build Muscle?
Building muscle is a science, and it doesn’t happen overnight. The key is having great habits, and being consistent with those habits.
For starters, your diet plays a huge role in building muscle. You must consume more calories than you burn, and it typically takes a set amount of calories over your consumption to build one pound of muscle, and there are set limits to the amount of muscle you can build in one week. This means that eating past this limit will lead to unwanted fat. Additionally, you want to make sure you’re eating high levels of protein and whole foods in order to promote muscle building within your body.
While you get your diet in order, you also need to have a consistent workout regime. This regime requires a mix of resistance training, mobility training, and proper rest for your muscles.
Why Is Muscle Mass Important?
Building a healthy amount of muscle mass is about more than just your looks, it’s a huge part of living a long and mobile life. For those who let their muscle mass deteriorate over time, they become more susceptible to bone fractures. This is because muscles help to move your bones by contracting and pulling on them, and also keeping these bones in place, which prevents your joints from being overused and deteriorating. This ultimately means that maintaining muscles is a key factor to staying mobile and independent as you age.
What Happens To Your Ability to Grow Muscle Mass As You Age
For the average man, testosterone production begins to naturally decrease year over year after the age of 30, though it can start much earlier than that. The problem that arises here is that testosterone is responsible for more than just a man’s sexual performance, and one of those additional responsibilities is related to building and maintaining muscle.
These deteriorating levels of testosterone production contribute to the natural age-related reduction in muscle mass that many individuals have to deal with. Some studies have estimated that after the age of 30, you lose anywhere between 3% to 5% of your muscle mass, with some men losing up to 30% of their muscle mass within their lifetimes.
But just because muscle mass is reduced does not mean you can’t minimize the loss and combat it to live a fulfilled life, you just have to use different methods than you did when you were younger.
How Can You Grow Muscle Mass After 40
Growing muscle after the age of 40 can be tricky, and it won’t be as easy as when you were younger, but some of the tricks below can help you.
Make Sure You Warm Up
Your muscles need to be warmed up before you workout. This is something you should be doing at every age, but some people can get away with skipping a warm up when they’re younger. But the ability to quickly recover muscle mass goes down as we age, and this can impact the blood flow and immune system of the person performing the activities, meaning less results in the gym.
Practice Progressive Resistance Training
Resistance training, also known as strength training, is important. And you can’t get complacent, which is why you should progressively do more sets, with more weight, while practicing proper form. This helps your strength and endurance improve, and is especially important in combating decreasing muscle mass.
Watch Your Diet
When you’re an active individual over the age of 40, protein is important because you need it to break down amino acids. Protein is still needed when you’re younger, but a phenomena happens when you’re older where your body experiences anabolic resistance, which reduces the ability to break down these amino acids by itself, so this is why you need more protein to fill the gap (up to 1 to 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for those older individuals who are still doing resistance training).
Quality over Quantity
Lower weights with good form are better for allowing your body to recover between reps. You’ll also be less sore and encourage your body to feel the benefits of metabolic training, and quality over quantity increasingly should be the goal as you age.
But what happens when you try all these methods and find that they just aren’t enough to help you build muscle?
How Can Testosterone Replacement Therapy Help?
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is there to help when natural methods of building muscle aren’t working for you. That’s because testosterone is a huge part of building and maintaining muscle in the male body, as we’ve discussed above.
In addition to boosts in your mood, you can see improvements in your energy levels, and many men even notice having leaner muscle mass, while also having an easier time replacing their fat with muscles.
If you think you may benefit from TRT because you’re having a hard time building muscle mass, you can consult your doctor and take a few blood tests to check your testosterone levels, and learn more about if this treatment will be a great supplement to your muscle building journey.