Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
BCM
User Panel

Posted: 10/6/2021 6:50:01 PM EST
So my story...
50 year old male. Type 2 diabetic. Weighing in in the 230’s at 5’11”. Former football player in HS. Diagnosed as diabetic one year ago. I’ve lost about 40 lbs. and the visual transformation is pretty striking to everyone who knows me. I’ve done this by getting back in the gym and going pretty hardcore keto. I’m now down to the minimum doses of lisinopril for blood pressure and metformin for blood sugar as far as my medications. My PCP is thrilled with the progress and took me off all other meds except these maintenance doses.

The issue I’m having is that I don’t seem to be adding visual muscle mass. My strength has gone up in terms of weight on the rack, but I’m sorta plateauing. Because of my body fat loss, I can see the muscle that there, particularly when I’m pumped while lifting, but I can’t really discern any mass gains.

I tend to follow a 5 set routine when lifting. 2 sets at light weight for high reps for a warmup (40 and 30 reps, for example) then a set at about 15 reps and then 2 sets at 7-8 reps. I set the weight heavy enough to reach failure on sets 3-5.

I’m sure that part of it is age. But having let myself go for decades, quite literally, I’d think I still have more potential in my 50 year old frame than what I am doing now. I’m not really worried about numbers on the plates as far as achievement goes, but I do watch them to see progress.

My primary worry is heart rate. I do anything strenuous and my heart rate jumps up into the 120’s almost immediately. My peak HR during cardio sessions will get as high as the 150’s, but I try to keep it in the 140’s. But once my heart rate gets up in the 120’s, it usually stays up there during my lifting.

One thing I’ve read about is the link between heart rate and cortisol. I know my cardio routine isn’t exactly ideal to mass gain, but it’s pretty necessary to help control my blood glucose levels.

I’ve recently decided to bifurcate my workouts by doing cardio (30-45 minutes) at lunch and then lift after work with only a 10 minute cardio warmup. But I’m still seeing that elevated heart rate in the 120’s even after the warm-up.

So is my heart rate getting in the way or are the 120’s not really that high even at 50?

Maybe this just still boils down to too few calories in my diet to add mass? But it seems to me that if intermittent fasting is a thing and I still have body fat to burn, the energy should be there.

Or is there any chance the early light weight/ high rep sets are counteracting my heavier lifts to failure?

Maybe I just need to pick a lane as far as weight loss versus mass gain?

Any input with anyone who has insight into the geriatric phase of lifting is appreciated. :)
Link Posted: 10/6/2021 8:23:09 PM EST
[#1]
Trt is what you seek

Don’t think 120s is a problem but I’m no cardionaut
Link Posted: 10/6/2021 8:40:23 PM EST
[#2]
Assuming you don't have any heart issues, your max HR is usually 220 minus you age, so in your case 170 bpm. So at 120 bpm, your heart is still only operating at 70%.
Link Posted: 10/6/2021 8:47:54 PM EST
[#3]
In my 50's. Have been steadily adding strength and muscle for the last several years. On trt.

1 - heartrate in the 120's should not be a problem in and of itself. If it is, first see a cardiologist and second work on conditioning.

2 - Keto works well for fat loss. I used it initially to lose a bit of weight when getting back on the fitness horse. For most people however it is terrible for adding muscle mass. Someone will be along shortly to talk about targeted carb loading; but then you're really not doing keto. I gained strength on keto but not much mass until adding a reasonable amount of carbs back in.

Link Posted: 10/8/2021 12:46:50 PM EST
[#4]
What is your approximate resting heart rate? That will give you a good indicator or your level of fitness more than what your heart rate goes up to during a particular exercise, unless you're having a VO2 max test done or something.

Either way, no md claims from me, but 120 for strenuous exercise seems pretty normal, even on the low side depending on what you're doing. My hr skyrockets for squats or deadlifts for example.

If you have health issues, I would say you probably don't want mass at this point. Get lean efficient muscles and strong heart+lungs first, then see how you're doing/feeling. Putting on mass increases heart strain. More muscle=more blood supply.

That said, if you want to gain mass, you have to lift heavy. Sets of 15 is way too many and 30-40 is right out. You want to be in the 3-5 range for 4-5 sets at least a couple of times a week if you want mass....but build up a solid base first or you'll injure yourself.
Link Posted: 10/9/2021 8:39:15 PM EST
[#5]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
What is your approximate resting heart rate? That will give you a good indicator or your level of fitness more than what your heart rate goes up to during a particular exercise, unless you're having a VO2 max test done or something.

Either way, no md claims from me, but 120 for strenuous exercise seems pretty normal, even on the low side depending on what you're doing. My hr skyrockets for squats or deadlifts for example.

If you have health issues, I would say you probably don't want mass at this point. Get lean efficient muscles and strong heart+lungs first, then see how you're doing/feeling. Putting on mass increases heart strain. More muscle=more blood supply.

That said, if you want to gain mass, you have to lift heavy. Sets of 15 is way too many and 30-40 is right out. You want to be in the 3-5 range for 4-5 sets at least a couple of times a week if you want mass....but build up a solid base first or you'll injure yourself.
View Quote


My resting HR is in the upper 80’s.

I’m not worried about my HR being in the 120’s when lifting from a health perspective. It’s in the cardio zone for my age so I know I burning some fat.

I’m just more or less wondering if it’s getting in the way of mass gains. If my workout is running in the 1-1.5 hour range and my HR is constantly in the 120’s or higher over that period of time, that’s when I wonder if I’m possibly triggering a cortisol reaction which is then interfering with my efforts for mass.

As for sets, I usually ask m for 5 sets of each lift. The first two are light weight/ high rep. The third is about 15 reps. But the last two are “heavy” aiming for 7 reps. Sets 3, 4 and 5 are heavy enough to reach failure on the last rep.

I’ve always looked at the first two sets as warmups for blood flow and to condition the nerves for the heavier lifts to come.

I am making sure I do a core and lower body lift each session as I focus on a different upper muscle group each session. I’ve read there’s a synergy in terms of testosterone production if you are getting the large muscle groups working to then benefit the smaller muscle groups.

Example for chest day:
Pec fly
Deadlift
Bench press
Crunches
Overhead press
Link Posted: 10/10/2021 3:12:21 PM EST
[#6]
First, stop with the 30 and 40 rep sets. They're way too much for warm-ups for a novice lifter. They are going to tire you out so you will be unable to lift as much as you could on your working sets which should be at least 5 in the 10 to 4 rep range (decrease reps as weight increases).

Need to see your whole routine .... each day, but what you listed above is Not chest day. It's also legs and shoulders (DL and OHP).

How long have you been hitting the gym. Newbie gains (in the first 2 months) are typically neurological (body re-wiring itself and the lifter getting more skilled at the exercises) and not due to muscle gains which come later. Your body won't lose 40 lbs and gain muscle at the same time.
Link Posted: 10/11/2021 4:05:29 PM EST
[#7]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


My resting HR is in the upper 80’s.


I’m just more or less wondering if it’s getting in the way of mass gains. If my workout is running in the 1-1.5 hour range and my HR is constantly in the 120’s or higher over that period of time, that’s when I wonder if I’m possibly triggering a cortisol reaction which is then interfering with my efforts for mass.

View Quote



If you're in the upper 80s resting and only hitting 120, it sounds like intensity is the issue. Lifting with the amount of strain needed to really build muscle, you're pretty much always going to be at least 85% of max HR by the end of the set for any of the big four lifts if your goal is building muscle. Maybe if you're just doing tris or some other isolated work then no, but even then I would think that for where you are at, if the intensity is enough to build muscle, you'd get way over 120. I almost wonder if your HR monitor is way off?

It seems like for now doing what you're doing until you have a stronger base fitness is a good idea. Be patient, appreciate the great work you've done so far.  Getting injured is really not what you want.
Link Posted: 10/14/2021 4:52:45 PM EST
[#8]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
First, stop with the 30 and 40 rep sets. They're way too much for warm-ups for a novice lifter. They are going to tire you out so you will be unable to lift as much as you could on your working sets which should be at least 5 in the 10 to 4 rep range (decrease reps as weight increases).

Need to see your whole routine .... each day, but what you listed above is Not chest day. It's also legs and shoulders (DL and OHP).

How long have you been hitting the gym. Newbie gains (in the first 2 months) are typically neurological (body re-wiring itself and the lifter getting more skilled at the exercises) and not due to muscle gains which come later. Your body won't lose 40 lbs and gain muscle at the same time.
View Quote


Heart rate is an indirect response to the demand for O2 by your skeletal muscles.  

Low rep strength work (heavy weight) does not demand a lot of O2 because it is anaerobic, mostly fueled by the creatine-phosphate cycle.

As you push into higher rep ranges, you increase the aerobic demand which will raise your HR.  If you don't like where your HR is, lower the demand your muscles make for O2.
Link Posted: 10/15/2021 10:23:53 AM EST
[#9]
Keto and a deficit are your problem. People tend to look deflated on keto especially while cutting. Look into creatine and see if it will interfere with your health issues. It’ll help with your muscles looking fuller if you can take it. Maybe switch up your routine so your cardio is more along the lines of loaded carries or battle ropes and what not.  My current cardio consists of overhead carries assault bike or trap bar carries around the neighborhood.
Link Posted: 10/15/2021 1:51:51 PM EST
[#10]
I'll echo the recommendations to look into TRT and get yourself tested.  Your first 3 sets (15-40 reps) are probably a waste if you're looking to add lean muscle mass.

One thing I did a few years ago that really helped and I highly recommend it is to not try and design your own workout programs.  Most people put together random exercises or follow templates in magazines that weren't designed for their goals and level. Find a quality trainer, not from a box gym who merely passed a short training course to get a certificate.  Give the trainer your goals- add muscle, lose fat, etc. And make sure they know how to take into account your medical issues.

For info, I am 46 and over the last two years reduced my body fat by 5% and added 13 pounds of lean muscle mass.  I'm on TRT and switched to a 3 x week full body routine with 3 days a week boxing/MMA.  I've made great gains and can do more pullups than in my 20s.
Link Posted: 10/15/2021 2:21:33 PM EST
[#11]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


Heart rate is an indirect response to the demand for O2 by your skeletal muscles.  

Low rep strength work (heavy weight) does not demand a lot of O2 because it is anaerobic, mostly fueled by the creatine-phosphate cycle.

As you push into higher rep ranges, you increase the aerobic demand which will raise your HR.  If you don't like where your HR is, lower the demand your muscles make for O2.
View Quote


I don't want to be insulting, but I don't think this is a very accurate post.


1) Heart rate is a direct response to demand for O2 coupled with the efficiency of the pulmonary system (ie- how in shape you are), more so than even breathing rate. That's why CPR made the switch to more compressions vs. breaths. Blood delivery is the most critical aspect of the pulmonary system. Heart rate increases BEFORE breathing rate does.

2) Anaerobic vs. aerobic has nothing to do with O2 "demand", except as it relates to metabolizing molecules either now or later. Lifting, especially lifting heavy, requires huge amounts of O2. The difference between the two is the source of immediate energy, not the need for O2.





An error occurred on the server when processing the URL. Please contact the system administrator.

If you are the system administrator please click here to find out more about this error.