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Muscular Development After the Age of 40

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I am a Board-Certified Physical Therapist and National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist.

Over Forty and looking shredded

It's possible to look absolutely jacked over 40

It's possible to look absolutely jacked over 40

Fitness After 40

Men's testosterone levels are at their peak between the ages of about 17 to 28. Unfortunately, after that, nature takes over and everything starts to go downhill. Age is a thief in the night, quietly and progressively taking things away from us. Some people lose things such as hair, sight, and functionality of some things a lot earlier than others. In men, as we begin to get older, it's inevitable that our testosterone levels gradually begin to get lower and lower naturally due to our age, lack of activity, loss of muscle, and bad dietary habits. Some of the symptoms of low testosterone levels can be so subtle that a lot of men will not even notice them until they wake up feeling weak and being fatigued seems normal. The symptoms of low testosterone can range from loss of your sex drive, erectile strength, and facial and body hair, to lack of confidence, depression, and inexplicable weight gain or loss of muscle. Research has shown more serious low levels have also been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

How Much T Do You Have?

The best thing that any man over the age of 40 can do is get his T levels tested. As I stated previously your levels gradually decrease after 40, so it's probably a good idea to get tested about every five years or so. This would allow you to estimate the amount of decrease for that period of time. If your current doctor does not specialize in hormonal mitigation, you may want to try to get a second opinion. In all reality, if you are producing less than 350 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter), more often than not, you are going to experience fatigue, erectile dysfunction, hair loss, and weight gain. But you don't have to accept the fact that your levels are going to gradually drop. There are ways to combat this. Regular weight training/exercise can raise your levels, as can changing your diet and eliminating stress.

The Mature (Over 40) Diet

Your diet is just as important as any performance or exercise goal when attempting to increase your testosterone levels. The older man's diet should always include a lot of leafy green vegetables such as spinach or broccoli. These greens will help eliminate the estrogens that can impede testosterone production and its release. A daily serving of walnuts and pomegranates is also beneficial to the mature man. They assist in the promotion of more nitric oxide which increases the blood flow throughout the body. We are all aware of what a nice, strong blow flow provides for a man. Medium-chain triglycerides (like water, milk, or coconut oil) will assist in the production of testosterone and the decrease of body fat. Monounsaturated fats, Omega 3's, rare or raw beef (red meat), fatty fish, and natural seed should all be included in your diet to help with testosterone production. Remember that too much of anything is not healthy. Eat everything in moderation. Eating obscene amounts of these things, especially red meat, will ultimately do more harm than good.

Ingredients for Soinach and Pomegranate Salad

  • 1 bag (10 oz) Baby Spinach leaves, Rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 Red Onion, Sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup Walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup Feta, Crumbled
  • 1/4 cup Alfalfa Sprouts, Optional
  • 1 Pomegranate, Peeled, seeds separated
  • 4 tablespooons Balsamic vinaigrette


  1. Place spinach in salad bowl. top with red onions, feta, walnuts and sprouts. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the top, and drizzle vinaigrette

Spinach and Pomegranate Salad

Mature Training Routine

As you mature, you will learn that age is just a number and mind-over-matter is everything. There is no such thing as being too old to exercise. Working out is an imperative component of the production of male testosterone. HGH (growth hormone) is secreted simultaneously with testosterone and assists in magnifying its effects, however, this can only be obtained through exercise. HGH is only secreted under two conditions: When compound movements are utilized and when the concentration of lactic acid is immense. For example like when performing supersets, forced reps, or performing sets to failure. A workout routine that consists of compound exercises (bench press, squat, military press, deadlifts, barbell rows, etc.) followed by a couple of isolation movements per body part will force the lactic acid and HGH build-up and release.

Muscle-up after 40

Muscle-up after 40

Factors that Lower Testosterone

Of course, there are going to be some certain foods and environmental things that can and will affect your hormone levels and should be avoided if at all possible. Being overweight, excessive stress which releases the hormone cortisol, insomnia or lack of sleep, certain kinds of vitamin deficiencies, and high consumption of alcohol can all have adverse effects on your levels. Recreational usage of drugs such as marijuana and over-training the body in the gym can also contribute to a sharp decline in your testosterone levels. Studies have shown that ingesting high levels of mercury, pesticides, and some pharmaceuticals have also been associated with the lowering of hormone levels.


There are many over-the-counter supplements that can encourage the natural production and release of testosterone as we start to get older. Natural supplements such as ALA (alpha-lipoic acid), caffeine, L-carnitine, and Vitamins C & E are all-natural inhibitors to the enzymes that convert testosterone into DHT and can all be found in any nutrition store or even in your neighborhood grocery store. There are several other anabolic-inducing supplements on the market as well. Consult your healthcare professional once you know where your levels are at to see which one of these products will work best for you.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Pat on November 28, 2015:

I'm 43 and recently list 60 lb. I'm atvmybideal weight but I need to increase muscle mass. The last time I worked out. (Two years ago) I practically tore every ligemate in my elbows. So I want to start off slow. I also began taking T a long time ago and noticed no benefit so I've stopped that (Three years ago)

All of that said, any ideas on where to start?


David from Birmingham, UK on June 29, 2013:

Somebody once told me he was too old to go to the gym (he was in his early 50's). I thought to myself you are too old not to. The older you get the more important regular exercise and good diet become. Thanks for some great tips on staying in shape after 40.

Thomas E. Ortiz from Henderson, NV on May 21, 2013:

I am 47 and I took T for a while and had some pretty bad side effects I believe you are very correct. See a DR first before you take anything. Great article!

Kevin W (author) from Texas on May 16, 2013:

I appreciate that Chrisinhawaii, there are a lot writing about it, it is kind of comical some of the things written though. Its what I know best, over 20 years. So I stick to what I know.

chrisinhawaii on May 15, 2013:

Hey dogg, this is a great hub! Just browsing through your other hubs, and I can see that I'll be visiting here again soon. There's so many other hubbers beating this niche to death with low quality writing, but I'm impressed with yours. Good job!