If you’ve exercised and lifted weights most of your life, you probably noticed something as you got older: Your strength isn’t what it used to be. Not only does this make life harder in the gym, but it also makes it harder outside of it due to the negative hit your confidence takes.
To back up this notion, I don’t have to look any further than myself for the perfect example of decreased strength over time. When I was in my 20s, I could work out with the worst hangover possible and still bench press 225 for eight sets of 10 with ease. Now at 36, lifting 225 even once is a pipe dream.
As we age, we may not work out as much as we used to. This can lead to decreased strength, but there’s something below the surface that’s a more likely cause: Lower testosterone.
A man’s testosterone levels can begin to dip as early as 25. Some of this can be attributed to poor genetics, but it can also be attributed to poor lifestyle choices such as excessive drinking, a poor diet, lack of exercise, and more.
Testosterone is key to helping a man not only gain lean muscle mass, but retain it. As it lowers, so does strength and muscle. What do they slowly get replaced with? Weakness, fatigue, and fat, especially in the chest and stomach areas.
Declining testosterone and strength as one ages provide a double whammy. Since you can’t workout as much or lack the desire to do so, your T levels and strength get affected. And since you start to become more inactive, your muscle strength goes down too.
According to one study, inactive men tend to lose 0.5 percent of muscle strength each and every year between the ages of 25 and 60. Once at 60, muscle loss starts to double every 10 years. These losses in strength and muscle can be attributed to decreased activity, but they can also be attributed to lower testosterone levels.
If you notice your strength or muscle mass decreasing, you should have your T levels checked by a doctor. Once he can determine if your T is low, he can then suggest options to increase it via injections, treatments, or natural methods.
While many men will take the injection or replacement therapy route to higher testosterone, there are certain things you can do to boost it naturally. One of the best ways to increase testosterone naturally is to lift heavy weights with such traditional lifts as the bench press, squat, and deadlift. Bodyweight exercises like pull-ups are particularly effective too.
Sleep is very important at keeping your T levels and hormones in range as well, as is a healthy diet filled with healthy fats from fish, plenty of protein, and void of overly processed foods. Lastly, you can take certain supplements that have been proven to increase testosterone, such as zinc or DHEA.