Since you lose muscle mass as you age, are you best off building yourself up as much as possible?

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    Jan 20, 2013 1:50 AM GMT
    Forget for now the subjective argument of how too much muscle isn't "aesthetic" - as one ages, assuming one remains heart and joint healthy and flexible is there such a thing as being "too big" from a health perspective?

    I'm at a stage in my training where I'm wondering whether I should more actively pursue lean size for health reasons in a physically healthy, drug-free fashion. At 50, I won't be walking any runways and I'm not gonna stay pretty forever so I'm trying to decide whether I should just go for it. Note: For health reasons, HRT/TRT are not options.

    I'm interested in everyone's opinion on the subject of intentionally adding lots of lean mass as you age but am particularly interested in the experiences of our bigger, more muscular, older members - especially as to whether being "big" improves their overall quality of life and how, and whether the extra maintenance is worth it.

    FYI, here's a comparison I put together today - I was an un-muscular 260 lbs 3.5 years ago, by Christmas '09 I'd dropped weight to 218 and this year leaned down to 179. Don't get me wrong, being light feels great because I now feel as agile as a flea but now I think I'm ready to get big again, albeit in a good way:

    wjdlc4.jpg

    2dcix5i.jpg

    More progress photos here: http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/2936513
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    Jan 20, 2013 2:57 AM GMT
    Hey, I'm not sure I agree with your premise. Afterall, Bodybuilding was once called an "old man's sport". I see 20 somethings moving as much metal as I do but they don't muscle up. Of course with all the supplements and technology anything is possible. But I don't believe you have to loose muscle just because you get older.
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    Jan 20, 2013 3:27 AM GMT
    Well, I would be interested in hearing some experiences too. I've seen a whole lot of healthy 60 and 70 y/o's, but I can't remember seeing any big healthy ones. Not that I intend to get much bigger.

    Over the last couple of years, I've been moving up to the top range of my dumbbell set for many exercises. I find myself wondering whether I should keep buying bigger ones, or if persons of our age should be more into "maintaining." Anyway, I have gotten significantly leaner in the last two years, although my overall weight hasn't changed significantly. I'm happy with it, but wouldn't mind putting on a couple more pounds here and there.
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    Jan 20, 2013 3:56 AM GMT
    I've seen older heavier muscular guys have heart issues. I prefer to stay with a muscular swimmers body.... if you're ankle pulse is strong... then it's all good.
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    Jan 20, 2013 4:19 AM GMT
    robbee333 saidI've seen older heavier muscular guys have heart issues. I prefer to stay with a muscular swimmers body.... if you're ankle pulse is strong... then it's all good.


    They probably didn't do cardio, eat right, and engaged in steroid abuse.

    Epidemiologically (population studies), yes people lose muscle as they get older. Individually (longitudinally), if you keep working out, you're not going to lose muscle significantly unless you change your workout routine such that your body doesn't need it. That means as long as you can lift the heavy weights, you'll be fine. There's no proof that testosterone loss with age isn't due to other factors other than conventional "aging," which is becoming an unscientific word these days. You can be 40 and have a younger cardiovascular system than a 25 year old who eats like shit and doesn't exercise.
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    Jan 20, 2013 4:39 AM GMT
    You're absolutely right Bluey on most counts. However I'm pretty sure you can gain muscle mass at any age... it's just difficult as you get older. The question is why would you want to over do it... especially if it is going to put a constant strain on the heart.
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    Jan 20, 2013 8:25 AM GMT
    May be that now that you have reached your goal (and amazingly so), you are looking for a new one to motivate you.

    The warrior life feeling weird when the war is over and the opponent defeated.

    But may be you can find other non fitness goals to put to good use your remarkable energy and determination.

    Keeping that good body and fine tuning it will still be a source of satisfaction, but don't become addicted to the before/after whoa effect ;-)
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    Jan 26, 2013 5:31 AM GMT
    bluey2223 saidEpidemiologically (population studies), yes people lose muscle as they get older. Individually (longitudinally), if you keep working out, you're not going to lose muscle significantly unless you change your workout routine such that your body doesn't need it. That means as long as you can lift the heavy weights, you'll be fine. There's no proof that testosterone loss with age isn't due to other factors other than conventional "aging," which is becoming an unscientific word these days. You can be 40 and have a younger cardiovascular system than a 25 year old who eats like shit and doesn't exercise.

    Of all the good answers this best addresses the question but I'm not sure if it exactly answers it. Basically, you're saying that if you keep exercising (using "heavy" weights?) to maintain mass you're not going to lose much of it. I'm wondering if its best to build as much lean mass as possible on the theory that the more you have, the longer it'd take to lose. Unless it's more true that the more you have the more you'll lose. Or, the more you have = greater effort to maintain = less likelihood of maintaining in the long term = more mass loss. Thoughts anyone? Particularly firsthand experiences from our bigger older guys?
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    Jan 26, 2013 5:35 AM GMT
    minox saidMay be that now that you have reached your goal (and amazingly so), you are looking for a new one to motivate you.

    Thanks for that marvelous validating post! I actually only reached the first of a few goals. Ongoing maintenance and health considerations are issues so I'm trying to be reasonable as to how far I take this...thanks!
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    Jan 26, 2013 7:20 PM GMT
    I suspect that all of the data about muscle loss is done on people who don´t train. The actual reality is that people who keep training and eating right look amazing WAY past the age that they "should".

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    Jan 26, 2013 7:36 PM GMT
    GonzoTheGreat saidI suspect that all of the data about muscle loss is done on people who don´t train. The actual reality is that people who keep training and eating right look amazing WAY past the age that they "should".



    That's what I'm doing. People keep telling me that it's just gonna magically disappear as I age but that doesn't quite fit with the logic that if I continue training and keeping common sense nutrition, randomly losing muscle mass isn't something I foresee happening.

    As for the OP, I'm not using the premise that assumes progressive deterioration. I'm planning on getting bigger, stronger, faster, better indefinitely. I've been told this is "unrealistic" but I've found this viewpoint does me far more good than harm, at least compared to how people "give in" to the "inevitability" of getting fat in their twenties/as they age. Especially considering I started out as an obese kid with asthma who couldn't walk home from school in one go, much less play with kids during recess.

    In the end, it's all about an individual's mindset.
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    Jan 28, 2013 4:56 AM GMT
    I notice that as people approach the end of their life, the big ones fare a lot better, healthwise than the skinny ones.

    Each year over the last 8 years, I have been stronger, bigger and feel much better than the previous year.

    If T is a problem, all bets are off.
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    Jan 28, 2013 5:31 AM GMT
    gonzothegreat--->I suspect that all of the data about muscle loss is done on people who don´t train. The actual reality is that people who keep training and eating right look amazing WAY past the age that they "should".

    What gonzo say is true. The urban myth, that just because you age, you lose muscle mass, is because the studies were conducted back when most all folks past a certain age did NOT exercise. Newer studies show people of any age can "gain" muscle mass if they change their behavior and lift weights (appropriately).

    To answer your question directly, you can gain and maintain muscle mass as you age, but it should be within you personal genetic and physiological boundaries. I for one never lifted when I was younger. I was active, but did not focus on muscle mass until I was over 50. Once I started to lift and eat healthier, I went from 160, not well proportioned body, to 175 with a much better muscle tone and a much stronger core.

    At this age, I'm not looking to be on the cover of one of the muscle magazines, but rather, maintained the appropriate muscle mass for my genetics. As I get stronger an lift heavier weights, I continue to add mass, although much slower than someone half my age, but that's ok. I feel great!
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    Jan 28, 2013 6:29 PM GMT
    eagermuscle said I'm at a stage in my training where I'm wondering whether I should more actively pursue lean size
    ...
    this year leaned down to 179.

    Given your height you might be at or near your genetic max for lean mass, if you go by Martin Berkhans suggestions. So that might be something to keep in mind.

    As for some comments on heart disease, I've heard of guys who were slim all their lived and dropped dead of heart attacks in their 40's and 50's. Heart disease is lifestyle related and also genetic. There are some who are healthy fatties. They are a bit over weight and have been so for all if not most of their lives but all their blood work number are in normal range.