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Other/Mixed Concerned about health

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)

Wyanokie

Level 5 Valued Member
I wanted to reach out to ask for some advice because I'm growing increasingly concerned. I know that the title of the thread will cause people to say 'go see a doctor' but I have and they cannot find anything. I'm wondering if this has happened to anyone else here and if it's normal or if there's something I'm missing.

Back story: I'm currently 50 years old. From 2003-2019 I did a combination, rotating, of boxing, muay Thai, some jiujitsu, and some barbell and dumbell training to keep myself healthy for martial arts (did some kettlebell work in 2018-2019 but it was minimal). Usually (not always) I ate healthy and didn't have many problems with performance. When the pandemic hit, I couldn't train martial arts so went down the rabbit hole with kettlebells. Trained average of 4 days/week with 1H, 2H swings, goblet squats, and TGU's with a 20kg bell (the program was very close to S and S but not exactly). I also tried O-lifts and got moderately competent early on with technique but had to stop because of tendonitis of the knee and a hip flexor injury. Post pandemic I'm currently back on the barbell work and working again through O-lift technique with the baby bar to get myself on track and learn the sport.

Here's what I'm concerned about: in 2017, I weighed >210 lb. Without trying through diet adjustment, I lost about 10 lb/year for 4 years. I bottomed out at 176 and am locked in at 176 lb. Won't budge. I do walk a lot more and still do kettlebell work, but can't imagine that I would lose THAT much weight from it. I got bloodwork and the only concerns were that my a1c was 5.7 (which surprised me because I currently eat very balanced and healthy meals) and my egfr was very low but they retested that and it was fine, so it was probably a blip. No other concerns and I got screened for colon cancer. Doctor says I'm healthy. My joints don't hurt (I actually feel better than I did when I was in my 20s and 30s), my mobility and stability are up, and I'm working out regularly. Only other changes are that I'm a little more tired on a day-to-day basis and that I'm sleeping very long and deep at night, which can be expected from the barbell.

My biggest concern: I can't gain weight, and I'm weaker than I was. Despite training barbell work for over a year now, my squat and deadlift numbers are pretty low (I squat 145 lb 3x5 reps and deadlift about 215 2 or 3 sets of 5). I lift 3-4 days/week. The weights are slowly going up but it seems glacial. Now I know that people would advise me to push it and give it time but I think I'm stuck in that negative feedback loop where I don't have the muscle mass to increase my lifts and without pushing it the muscles aren't growing. I'm eating lots of protein, balanced meals, veggies, etc, sleeping 8+ hours per night.

I could really use some help or direction here. Has anyone experienced age-related sarcopenia before this early in life? If so, what helped? Does anyone else's gut say that I should be concerned, or is this just normal for someone who is doing moderate weights? Really banging my head against the wall here and could use some help working through this, if even to point me in the right direction of where to go next.

Thanks for your help
 

Gypsyplumber

Level 6 Valued Member
My guess is that it’s difficult for all of us to put on muscle. And as we age it’s even harder. I would maybe suggest looking at your diet. Eating lots of protein is said to help combat sarcopenia. One could be eating a healthy diet, but if gaining muscle is your goal your diet needs to match that.
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
I wanted to reach out to ask for some advice because I'm growing increasingly concerned. I know that the title of the thread will cause people to say 'go see a doctor' but I have and they cannot find anything. I'm wondering if this has happened to anyone else here and if it's normal or if there's something I'm missing.

Back story: I'm currently 50 years old. From 2003-2019 I did a combination, rotating, of boxing, muay Thai, some jiujitsu, and some barbell and dumbell training to keep myself healthy for martial arts (did some kettlebell work in 2018-2019 but it was minimal). Usually (not always) I ate healthy and didn't have many problems with performance. When the pandemic hit, I couldn't train martial arts so went down the rabbit hole with kettlebells. Trained average of 4 days/week with 1H, 2H swings, goblet squats, and TGU's with a 20kg bell (the program was very close to S and S but not exactly). I also tried O-lifts and got moderately competent early on with technique but had to stop because of tendonitis of the knee and a hip flexor injury. Post pandemic I'm currently back on the barbell work and working again through O-lift technique with the baby bar to get myself on track and learn the sport.

Here's what I'm concerned about: in 2017, I weighed >210 lb. Without trying through diet adjustment, I lost about 10 lb/year for 4 years. I bottomed out at 176 and am locked in at 176 lb. Won't budge. I do walk a lot more and still do kettlebell work, but can't imagine that I would lose THAT much weight from it. I got bloodwork and the only concerns were that my a1c was 5.7 (which surprised me because I currently eat very balanced and healthy meals) and my egfr was very low but they retested that and it was fine, so it was probably a blip. No other concerns and I got screened for colon cancer. Doctor says I'm healthy. My joints don't hurt (I actually feel better than I did when I was in my 20s and 30s), my mobility and stability are up, and I'm working out regularly. Only other changes are that I'm a little more tired on a day-to-day basis and that I'm sleeping very long and deep at night, which can be expected from the barbell.

My biggest concern: I can't gain weight, and I'm weaker than I was. Despite training barbell work for over a year now, my squat and deadlift numbers are pretty low (I squat 145 lb 3x5 reps and deadlift about 215 2 or 3 sets of 5). I lift 3-4 days/week. The weights are slowly going up but it seems glacial. Now I know that people would advise me to push it and give it time but I think I'm stuck in that negative feedback loop where I don't have the muscle mass to increase my lifts and without pushing it the muscles aren't growing. I'm eating lots of protein, balanced meals, veggies, etc, sleeping 8+ hours per night.

I could really use some help or direction here. Has anyone experienced age-related sarcopenia before this early in life? If so, what helped? Does anyone else's gut say that I should be concerned, or is this just normal for someone who is doing moderate weights? Really banging my head against the wall here and could use some help working through this, if even to point me in the right direction of where to go next.

Thanks for your help

What do you testosterone levels look like?
 

Ege

Level 6 Valued Member
Sir, when you come with such a serious health concern, you really can not get answer here. I guess even a regular doctor would not be able to tell you if you are healthy or not with such a strength level. Maybe they need MRIs who knows?

I am 49, much weaker than you but it does not mean anything. I am the opposite, I find strength gains difficult but Hypertrophy comes easily. Does it mean I have an underlying serious health issue? Honestly who knows? I don’t ask it here with my all due respect to you. Some people like me, might try to help you and do more harm then good with good intentions. Maybe you are 1 in a Million case, or maybe you are very healthy…

If I were you, I would go for Fabio’s Minimal BST program based on random waves from Strong first letter or even better buy the book. After built strong, I would run Fabio’s programs from articles, he has great strength gain programs w limited equipment.

Some swear by Geoff’s programs. I did not try them. Fabios minimalist hypertrophy program might be best on market for regular guys that I know. But you definitely need to take in more calories.

And see a sarcopenia specialist. No one, can say you are okay or not from a forum even best doctor.
 

Ege

Level 6 Valued Member
Sir, when you come with such a serious health concern, you really can not get answer here. I guess even a regular doctor would not be able to tell you if you are healthy or not with such a strength level. Maybe they need MRIs who knows?

I am 49, much weaker than you but it does not mean anything. I am the opposite, I find strength gains difficult but Hypertrophy comes easily. Does it mean I have an underlying serious health issue? Honestly who knows? I don’t ask it here with my all due respect to you. Some people like me, might try to help you and do more harm then good with good intentions. Maybe you are 1 in a Million case, or maybe you are very healthy…

If I were you, I would go for Fabio’s Minimal BST program based on random waves from Strong first letter or even better buy the book. After built strong, I would run Fabio’s programs from articles, he has great strength gain programs w limited equipment.

Some swear by Geoff’s programs. I did not try them. Fabios minimalist hypertrophy program might be best on market for regular guys that I know. But you definitely need to take in more calories.

And see a sarcopenia specialist. No one, can say you are okay or not from a forum even best doctor.

Fabio’s program is fool proof. Even I can’t mess it up :). I think Geoff’s programs are the same. You do them, you put muscle.

Fabio, prescribes 3 lifts. And a ton of volume relative to other Hyperthrophy programs.

Hyperthrophy work is not for faint haearts. It is painful, and you can skip, cheat ROM bla bla if u are not an expert.

But I am telling you, when you roll a “six” with that die, you have nothing to hide behind :)))

That I believe one of the beauties of minimalist Hypertrophy programs. If I go in a debate with an experienced lifter that I need accessories and this and that, I will lose it :) so this my 2 cents.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Elite Certified Instructor
Has anyone experienced age-related sarcopenia before this early in life?
Sarcopenia needs to have a reference point. My often-mentioned point is what one weighed at high school graduation. If you weighed 175 then, and you put on 35 lbs through your 20's, 30's and 40's, and now you're back to your earlier weight, I wouldn't call that sarcopenia. Yes it is age-related muscle loss, but I'm 67 and just deadlifted 375 lbs in the 148 lb weight class, raw division, and my lift is nothing special, good enough perhaps to win a local meet but somehow seems better because there are so few lifters my age and my size. (I used to be 5' 7-1/2", now more like 5' 6" tall, er, uh, short.) If we do some math and give you 215 as a 7RM on your deadlift, that works about to about 260 as a 1RM, and there is almost certainly room for technical improvement.

For diet, on your own I'd advise you to try to make sure you're getting plenty of healthy fats, and unless you're into a keto diet, I'd also make sure you have enough carbs every day, too. If you're getting a lot of protein from shakes and the like, I'd aim for real food instead. What you're doing isn't working, and if you keep doing the same thing you're likely to get the same results.

For training, get some professional guidance. (I repeat this story periodically, but ...) At the first US SFL (the StrongFirst Barbell instructor certification), some of the attendees were grumbling about the strength requirements, one of which is a 2 x bodyweight deadlift. Pavel addressed the group and said he wanted us all to know that meeting the strength requirements didn't mean you were strong, it just meant you weren't weak. Every health adult male can learn, without adding major muscle to their frame, to have a 2 x bodyweight deadlift, provided they aren't carrying around a lot of fat, of course.

-S-
 

John K

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I wanted to reach out to ask for some advice because I'm growing increasingly concerned. I know that the title of the thread will cause people to say 'go see a doctor' but I have and they cannot find anything. I'm wondering if this has happened to anyone else here and if it's normal or if there's something I'm missing.

Back story: I'm currently 50 years old. From 2003-2019 I did a combination, rotating, of boxing, muay Thai, some jiujitsu, and some barbell and dumbell training to keep myself healthy for martial arts (did some kettlebell work in 2018-2019 but it was minimal). Usually (not always) I ate healthy and didn't have many problems with performance. When the pandemic hit, I couldn't train martial arts so went down the rabbit hole with kettlebells. Trained average of 4 days/week with 1H, 2H swings, goblet squats, and TGU's with a 20kg bell (the program was very close to S and S but not exactly). I also tried O-lifts and got moderately competent early on with technique but had to stop because of tendonitis of the knee and a hip flexor injury. Post pandemic I'm currently back on the barbell work and working again through O-lift technique with the baby bar to get myself on track and learn the sport.

Here's what I'm concerned about: in 2017, I weighed >210 lb. Without trying through diet adjustment, I lost about 10 lb/year for 4 years. I bottomed out at 176 and am locked in at 176 lb. Won't budge. I do walk a lot more and still do kettlebell work, but can't imagine that I would lose THAT much weight from it. I got bloodwork and the only concerns were that my a1c was 5.7 (which surprised me because I currently eat very balanced and healthy meals) and my egfr was very low but they retested that and it was fine, so it was probably a blip. No other concerns and I got screened for colon cancer. Doctor says I'm healthy. My joints don't hurt (I actually feel better than I did when I was in my 20s and 30s), my mobility and stability are up, and I'm working out regularly. Only other changes are that I'm a little more tired on a day-to-day basis and that I'm sleeping very long and deep at night, which can be expected from the barbell.

My biggest concern: I can't gain weight, and I'm weaker than I was. Despite training barbell work for over a year now, my squat and deadlift numbers are pretty low (I squat 145 lb 3x5 reps and deadlift about 215 2 or 3 sets of 5). I lift 3-4 days/week. The weights are slowly going up but it seems glacial. Now I know that people would advise me to push it and give it time but I think I'm stuck in that negative feedback loop where I don't have the muscle mass to increase my lifts and without pushing it the muscles aren't growing. I'm eating lots of protein, balanced meals, veggies, etc, sleeping 8+ hours per night.

I could really use some help or direction here. Has anyone experienced age-related sarcopenia before this early in life? If so, what helped? Does anyone else's gut say that I should be concerned, or is this just normal for someone who is doing moderate weights? Really banging my head against the wall here and could use some help working through this, if even to point me in the right direction of where to go next.

Thanks for your help
I would suggest tracking your calories and macros through an app using a scale. Try to eat "normal" and just record it. Tally it up, see how much you're eating, how your macros are distributed, etc. This gives you a baseline if you've been maintaining at 176ish.

Next, dealing with your squat and deadlift being stuck, it would be helpful to get a good picture of how you consistently train - e.g. what are you doing consistently? And clarification - what does "weights are going up slowly" mean? 5lbs a week? 5lbs a month? 5lbs a quarter?

You also say you don't have muscle mass to keep getting stronger; what are you basing that off of? Do you have BF% or a LBM?
 

jayjo

Level 5 Valued Member
Not being a doctor, my off the cuff advise is to EAT MORE FAT and do complex moves like TURKISH GET UPS. And by fat I don't mean potato chips. I mean ribeye steaks, salmon, egg yolks. And do complex moves only. Deadlifts, Turkish Get Ups and other moves that overload the nervous system. Also try dropping to 2 days per week to increase recovery time. You could do Simple & Sinister or Deadlifts & Get Ups but just twice per week. Then EAT.

I'm 50 years old and although my workout has changed from barbells to Kettlebells only, my weight is the same. I am 220 lbs. but I eat rich foods. No suppliments, but plenty of beef, eggs, fish.
 

Dydo

Level 4 Valued Member
I don't know how I still have energy, given that I am 49 years old, abuse alcohol regularly, sleep 6 hours a day and train 3-4 and sometimes 5 days a week. Yes, I'm not very strong, but overall I'm not under 5000 kg. volume of free weight training. I often reach 8-10,000 kg. I lift at least 75-80% of my 1RM on each exercise. My diet consists mostly of meat, but also a lot of junk, like French fries (which I love) chocolate, ice cream and the like. I often wonder if I followed a good regimen and didn't change my workouts often how far I would have gotten.
Just to clarify so there are no wrong conclusions. I don't get drunk, it's just often and a lot by some standards, which is a problem. If there's good food, I can drink a bottle of whiskey and you won't even know I've been drinking. I say this for no other reason than because, in my opinion, the author of the thread should not have any cause for concern. A healthy man in my opinion. And I've been training with the same weights for a few years, but I'm ok. I just take it as resistance training which is helpful. I haven't made a regular effort to lift weights or build muscle.
 

Boris Bachmann

Level 7 Valued Member
Doctor says I'm healthy. My joints don't hurt (I actually feel better than I did when I was in my 20s and 30s), my mobility and stability are up, and I'm working out regularly. Only other changes are that I'm a little more tired on a day-to-day basis and that I'm sleeping very long and deep at night, which can be expected from the barbell.

My biggest concern: I can't gain weight, and I'm weaker than I was. Despite training barbell work for over a year now, my squat and deadlift numbers are pretty low (I squat 145 lb 3x5 reps and deadlift about 215 2 or 3 sets of 5). I lift 3-4 days/week. The weights are slowly going up but it seems glacial. Now I know that people would advise me to push it and give it time but I think I'm stuck in that negative feedback loop where I don't have the muscle mass to increase my lifts and without pushing it the muscles aren't growing. I'm eating lots of protein, balanced meals, veggies, etc, sleeping 8+ hours per night.
The meathead answer would be eat more good food and gain 100lbs on your squat and deadlift and then get back to me. Sometimes this is reasonable advice. In your case, assuming you are in good health and have okay T levels, it's not terrible advice. You need to train smart and eat well, of course.

There was a period of time in my early 40s that I was really worried about my weight and I thought I was wasting away. When I went in and talked to my doctor, he was like "Well, Boris, your weight 10 years ago was 195lb... and today it's 187..." It felt like I had lost a lot of weight very quickly but in actuality my weight had hardly varied at all over the 10 year span.

I don't know how fastidious you are about recording and tracking your weight, but if you don't have a training log then you should start, and make sure to note bdwt fluctuations in addition to training and notes about energy, diet, general activity.

I hope you figure it out and you'll update this thread from time to time.
 
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jayjo

Level 5 Valued Member
If you are able to lift the same amount as you get old, you are doing a good job of fighting off old age. So therefore you ARE getting stronger vs. aging. At 50 years old and after hernia surgery, I don't play with barbells anymore. But I continue to gain strength in Kettlebell work. So that makes me happy.
 

TobyC

Level 1 Valued Member
Any gain in strength is movement in the right direction. Research is saying that, as we age it's both quality of muscle(strength) AND size of muscle that determines how fragile we are. Increases in strength are always a good thing. Aside from that, look at the quanitity of calories in(intake, you can use a few different ways to track this) vs output, or basal metabolic rate added to exercise energy expenditure, again there are free online calculators for this. After looking at input vs output, the next most important thing is protein intake. For a male training resistance exercise, aim for 1.8-2.0 g of protein/kg of bodyweight.
 

Steve A

Level 6 Valued Member
Here's what I'm concerned about: in 2017, I weighed >210 lb. Without trying through diet adjustment, I lost about 10 lb/year for 4 years. I bottomed out at 176 and am locked in at 176 lb. Won't budge.

No reason for it to budge. You don't need more muscle for the lifting you are doing, and apparently you are eating healthy enough to not gain fat.

My biggest concern: I can't gain weight, and I'm weaker than I was. Despite training barbell work for over a year now, my squat and deadlift numbers are pretty low (I squat 145 lb 3x5 reps and deadlift about 215 2 or 3 sets of 5). I lift 3-4 days/week. The weights are slowly going up but it seems glacial.

That is the problem. What is happening when you do a work set? Describe how it feels.

Now I know that people would advise me to push it and give it time but I think I'm stuck in that negative feedback loop where I don't have the muscle mass to increase my lifts a

Unless you are bones and fat, you have the muscle mass to do more than you are doing. Even if you have low T (the suggestion to test it is a good one) you should have enough to do more.


I'm eating lots of protein, balanced meals, veggies, etc, sleeping 8+ hours per night.

And you've at least tried to be active, so I doubt you are bones and fat.

You do not need some magic program, and unless you were doing something seriously inappropriate for you, you shouldn't even be thinking of "program." Tell me, in all sorts of detail, what you experience during a work set. If you don't want to discuss in public, PMs are OK.
 

silveraw

Level 7 Valued Member
some of the attendees were grumbling about the strength requirements, one of which is a 2 x bodyweight deadlift. Pavel addressed the group and said he wanted us all to know that meeting the strength requirements didn't mean you were strong, it just meant you weren't weak. Every health adult male can learn, without adding major muscle to their frame, to have a 2 x bodyweight deadlift, provided they aren't carrying around a lot of fat, of course.
Huh, compared to the other certs requirements that seems pretty easy even if you are a bit on the rotund side of things. Not something most are going to be able to do in six months of barbell training, but certainly within the first year or maybe two if it is slow going. But I'd assume that someone wanting a barbell cert would have spent some time with the barbell.
My biggest concern: I can't gain weight, and I'm weaker than I was. Despite training barbell work for over a year now, my squat and deadlift numbers are pretty low (I squat 145 lb 3x5 reps and deadlift about 215 2 or 3 sets of 5). I lift 3-4 days/week. The weights are slowly going up but it seems glacial. Now I know that people would advise me to push it and give it time but I think I'm stuck in that negative feedback loop where I don't have the muscle mass to increase my lifts and without pushing it the muscles aren't growing. I'm eating lots of protein, balanced meals, veggies, etc, sleeping 8+ hours per night.
Barring some serious issue that seems unlikely based on what you said about feeling great, You probably need to take a hard look at what you are actually eating. Are you actually getting 170g of protein a day? If you eat more than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat enough protein and train correctly, you will put on muscle. Another thing to look it is your program. Have you been doing the same thing for over a year?
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
Back story: I'm currently 50 years old.

I'm not sure what's going on in your particular case, but I'm 52 and can still put on muscle, albeit it takes a lot more time and effort than it used to (newbie gains were decades ago).

I know I can because I get a DEXA scan once or twice year.

My biggest recent gain I had put on 7 lbs of lean muscle in a year. That was a year ago at age 51.

(Covid WFH for 2 years straight gave me the biggest gains of my life post age 35)

So it's not inevitable.
 

Lotto

Level 5 Valued Member
Mark Rippetoe espouses GOMAD. Gallon of milk a day diet. Full fat I believe. Adds mass/strength with the extra 2400 calories or so per day.
 

Bill Lets

Level 5 Valued Member
In July just before my 65th birthday my testosterone was 547
free testosterone the more important number was only 6.0 a little on the low side.
Still making gains.
 
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