Having Muscle Means YOU Call the Shots

I get a lot of health magazines sent to my clinic. This month, I got a new one called Aging Well. As I was flipping the pages I came across an article called “Nutrition’s Role in Sarcopenia Prevention.”

Sarcopenia is age-related loss of muscle mass. I’ve helped thousands of patients prevent this, and gain muscle mass with age to stay independent and active. It’s a focus of anti-aging medicine, so I wanted to read what the article had to say.

It talked about who’s at risk, signs to look for, and that you should focus on nutrition to prevent muscle loss.

Then I came to their nutrition recommendations. They tell you to get more protein, and give you a list of what to eat. But as I looked down the list I noticed something I couldn’t believe. They don’t recommend eating any meat for protein.

Peanut butter, protein bars, powdered milk, wheat germ, cheese, nuts, seeds, beans, yogurt, peanut butter… Not once do they mention meat.

It’s a shame because eating protein is essential to preventing sarcopenia. And the foods they mention are not complete proteins. They don’t have all the essential nutrients your body needs every day.

But it’s not just food. There are two other ways to prevent and reverse sarcopenia, which I’ll show you in a minute. It’s vital that you know them. Every year you lose more and more muscle, and it never lets up. Very often it’s hard to notice. As you age, muscle can be replaced by fat. And unless you’re watching out for it, you won’t see it happening.

But you’ll feel it…

Losing your muscle mass opens a Pandora’s box of new problems:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic illness
  • Diminished sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Weight gain
  • Wrinkled, sagging skin
  • Clouded thinking
  • Forgetfulness
  • Depression
  • Brittle bones

Like a progressive disease, your body simply “wastes away” over the years. In fact, skeletal muscle mass drops between 35% to 40% by the time you reach 80.1 That’s about three pounds every decade.

But you don’t need to worry. That won’t be you.

Today I’ll tell you exactly how to avoid the worst catastrophe of all… and it’s much easier than you might think.

Muscle = Power and Youth

Muscle loss is just as threatening as osteoporosis. Maybe even more so… but you won’t see any TV commercials telling you to take a drug for it. (There aren’t any.) Osteoporosis is a serious problem and you shouldn’t ignore it. But drugs aren’t always the best answer.

Ironically, it’s the loss of muscle that causes your bones to weaken. In a young adult, the stress and pull your muscles put on your bones help them stay dense and strong. But when you lose that muscle power, your bones become light and brittle.

Your dwindling muscle mass also dramatically increases your chances of falling down and breaking a bone. This happens to be the leading cause of injury and death in older adults.2

Muscles do a whole lot more than help you move around and lift things. They are responsible for a host of vital bodily functions.

Check out this chart:

Your Muscles:

  • Keep you trim by boosting your metabolic rate.
  • Improve sexual health by stimulating sexual hormone production.
  • Reduce risk of bone fractures by supporting bones.
  • Decrease risk of disease by strengthening your immune system.
  • Preserve youth by stimulating human growth hormone
  • Give you more energy by storing more glycogen

To help you preserve and build muscle so you can live well no matter your age, I want you to use these three muscle building secrets for more power and better mobility…

Muscle Secret 1: Body-weight exertion – The most powerful tool for building muscle is exertion. The right kind can reverse just about every change of aging. But not just any exercise will do. Long bouts of endurance training won’t do the trick. To build muscle and maintain it, you need something different.

In one study, researchers launched 12 weeks of low-intensity leg training in a group of men aged 69 to 74. After lightly working out three times a week for three months, they experienced a 9% to 22% increase in strength in their upper leg musculature.3

Sounds ok until you see another study that examined the effects of something similar to what I recommend in my P.A.C.E. program. They used a higher intensity, three times per week lower extremity workout on men with an average age of 64. At the end of the study the men showed an increase in upper leg strength ranging from 107% to 226%.4

And this isn’t just for men: women benefit, too. In a study looking at the effects of whole-body resistance training in a group of women and men with an average age of 68 years, thirty weeks of three times a week training resulted in an increase of upper leg strength of 30% to 97%.5

Rebuild Your Muscle Mass in Less Than 1 Hour a Week

I usually recommend body weight exertion with P.A.C.E. because they resemble the challenges you face in your everyday environment. You’re also avoiding the kinds of stress injuries that conventional training techniques can cause by unnaturally isolating a single muscle group and working it to death—something your body just wasn’t designed to do.

Here’s something you can do right now… they’re called alternating lunges.

With your hands on your hips, take a step forward with your right leg until your front knee is bent 90 degrees and your back knee almost touches the ground. Push off from your leading foot and return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg. (See pictures below…)

Make sure you keep your back straight and hold your head high. Drop with your hips as you step forward. Push up using your thigh muscles. Start by doing ten, five with each leg. As you develop more lower-body strength, add more reps to your routine.

This is just one simple workout. Do it three times a week and you’ll see great results. There are many more strength-building workouts in my at-home P.A.C.E. program PACE Express. Click here to find out more.

Muscle Secret 2: Fuel New Muscles with Real Protein – Protein provides the building blocks for your muscles. So eat protein at every meal. Cross starchy foods and carbohydrates off your shopping list.

Here are some guidelines for adding protein to your diet…

  1. Foods that are high in protein are the most delicious. Meat and eggs are your best sources. If possible, eat grass-fed beef. The flavor is great, and it’s far better for you because it has the right kinds of fats. Eggs are the perfect food. I eat them every day. They are the “gold standard” by which we rate all other protein. This means that all of the amino acids are there in the ratios you need in one place. For best results, eat eggs that come from free-range chickens.
  2. The standard recommendation is 50 to 60 grams of protein a day. But Americans in general eat far too little protein, so these numbers are far too low. To reduce your appetite – and shed weight – try one gram of protein for every pound of lean muscle. If you weigh 180 pounds and have 20 percent body fat, you have 144 pounds of lean muscle mass. So shoot for 144 grams of protein a day. If you don’t know your body fat percentage, the average man is between 15 and 18 percent, and the average woman is between 18 and 22 percent.
  3. If you’re not getting enough protein, supplementing with protein powder can be a big help. A protein shake after working out is a reliable way to boost your protein intake and help build new muscle as part of your strength-training program. Whey protein is the best. But here’s the problem: Commercial protein powders come from grain-fed cattle. By the time they reach maturity, grain-fed cattle are sick and diseased. The whey protein cultivated from grain-fed cows is compromised and denatured. You get all the hormones and antibiotics that were pumped into the cow, which may be in a more concentrated form. Instead, find a whey protein shake that is made from grass-fed animals to add your daily routine if you can’t get enough protein from your diet. That way it will be just protein. No high-fructose corn syrup… no trans fats… no gluten… no soy protein… no aspartame or artificial sweeteners. Just clean whey protein.

Muscle Secret 3: Power-boosting nutrients – There are also a number of inexpensive, widely available supplements that will keep your muscles strong and powerful.

  • L-Carnitine: This supplement plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy body. It provides a host of benefits to your body including converting fatty acids into energy, helps you lose weight, increases mental alertness, protects your heart, boosts potency in men and improves diabetes. I take 500 milligrams of the L-carnitine form. It is important that you choose naturally occurring L-carnitine and not synthetic D, L-carnitine. The D-form interferes with the natural action of the L-carnitine.
  • Creatine: This is one of the safest and best-researched supplements to increase muscle mass and strength. It enhances performance, endurance, strength and speed and will boost the amount of muscle you pack on during resistance training. I recommend a minimum of 5 grams of creatine daily until you build the muscle you need.
  • L-Arginine: Another supplement for muscle building. One double-blind study measured the change in muscle strength and lean muscle mass in men taking L-arginine.6 Twenty-two men on a strength-training program took either the L-arginine supplement or a sugar pill. The men taking the arginine supplement showed a significant increase in muscle strength and lean muscle mass after only five weeks. I have used arginine-containing supplements for 20 years. Like creatine, it is natural and safe. 500 mg to 1g of L-arginine a day will support your muscle growth.
  • Carnosine: This is a multi-functional compound made from two amino acids. It’s naturally present in your nerve and muscle cells. It protects the integrity of the muscle you have, and will help ensure that the muscle you are building will be healthy and last. I recommend taking 500 mg of carnosine, twice a day.
  • Glutamine: The amino acid glutamine is an important muscle-building supplement for a couple of reasons. For starters, glutamine helps stabilize your energy levels. More importantly, it actually boosts the natural growth hormone in your body. Growth hormone tells your body to shed fat and build muscle. In addition, I routinely use glutamine in athletes to prevent muscle breakdown. For maximum muscle growth, take glutamine as a powder at 5 grams per day. You can dissolve it in water or put it in a protein shake.

1.Janssen et al. “Low relative skeletal muscle mass (sarcopenia) in older persons is associated with functional impairment and physical disability.” Journal of the American Geriatric Society. 2002. 50(5):889-96. 2. Drummond et al. “Skeletal muscle protein anabolic response to resistance exercise and essential amino acids is delayed with aging.” Journal of Applied Physiology. 2008. 104(5):1452-61.
3. Aniansson A, Gustafsson E. “Physical training in elderly men.” Clinical Physiology. 1981. 1:87-98.
4. Frontera WR et al. “Strength conditioning in older men: skeletal muscle hypertrophy and improved function.” Journal of Applied Physiology. 1992. 64: 1038-44.
5. Pyka et al. Muscle strength and fiber adaptations to a year-long resistance training program in elderly men and women. Journals of Gerontology. 1994. 49:22-27.
6. Elam et al. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 1989. 29(1):52-56.