Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Filtering by Category: "Muscle Loss"

Day 80 - Muscle Loss


For the longest time, there was this belief that as people age, their muscle tissue decreases. This is in fact true, but this is a sort of chicken-and-egg problem. Does your muscle tissue disappear because you age, or because you stop using your muscles as you age?

Studies are now showing that it is in fact possible to continue muscle growth with strength improvements later in life. Yes, men have lowered testosterone as they age, but there is more to it than that. Once you hit the age of 65, sure, you may not be making major muscle gains, but you can still use resistance training to reduce the loss of muscle. 

Not only that, men and women can greatly benefit from resistance training throughout life to help strengthen bones, muscles and connective tissues which can help reduce the risk of injury as we age.

From the Boston Globe:
Beginning at age 30, most of us lose about 1 percent - or a third of a pound - of muscle every year, as the body starts tearing down old muscle at a faster rate than it builds new tissue. (It’s why world weight-lifting records for the 60-year-old age bracket are 30 percent lower in men and 50 percent lower in women compared with records in the 30-year-old bracket.) The loss of muscle, which burns more calories than fat, slows the body’s resting metabolic rate, causing us to pack on fat pounds through the years. While we can’t completely halt this aging process, researchers believe we can do a lot to slow it down, mostly through resistance training, or weight training, that targets specific muscle groups.

Oftentimes there is a great deal of misinformation surrounding resistance training. I personally believe that many people automatically think of "beefed up meatheads" when they think of resistance training when in fact the style and type of training can be tailored specifically to any individual's needs!

People of all ages can benefit from a properly-designed resistance training program. If you ever have any questions, you are obviously welcome to educate myself by reading any of my blogs, but do not hesitate to e-mail me to ask me anything that may not be covered here. Not all personal trainers are the same, and only a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist can help you with certain aspects of your health and fitness journey!

Quote of the day:
"There is little you can learn from doing nothing."
~ Zig Ziglar





Use it or Lose it - Your Guide to Total-Body Health


 For those of you who have not heard of the book, "Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond", I suggest you stop reading this right now, run - don't walk - to your local book store and purchase it right now. Written by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge, "Younger" delves deeper into how and why we age, and how you can not only slow the aging process, but reverse it altogether. I have read this book many times because it is so good, and you may even notice the similarities between the title of the book and my blog. I definitely used this book as inspiration for my blog.

Now I could go on and write an entire blog post about this book alone, but I won't, as you are fully capable of going out and purchasing it yourself. I will warn you, however, the book is really aimed towards men who are around the age of retirement, but the principles and teachings in the book can be applied to everyone. Not only that, but they have a version for women too!

Anyways, while reading through some health news today, I came across this article which discusses some of the same principles that Crowley and Lodge discuss in "Younger". Research is proving at how young and vibrant people can stay right up until the day you die.

I always find it sad when people who make comments or suggestions regarding their age and how their deteriorating health is, "a part of getting older!" Lodge and Crowley, as well as numerous other studies suggest otherwise.

With as little science as possible, think of your bodies as a constant construction yard. You have hormones and processes being completed every day that are tearing down older tissues and rebuilding them and replacing them with new ones. As a kid, this works tremendously as you are constantly growing. The problem with most adults is that they become sedentary and then 'age' sets in.

Within your body - the construction site, remember? - there is a steady 'drip' of hormones that are signalling for your tissues to be broken down. This is called atrophy. I am sorry to say, but this will happen to you whether you like it or not. Atrophy is what leads to aging, illness, and disease. This is what is experienced by most individuals out there in society today, they simply let this wave of 'decay' take over their bodies and they begin to waste away, or in other words, 'age'.

However, you can actually slow this trend or reverse it by exercising. Vigorous exercise sends 'other' signals and hormones to the tissues in your body to grow, not decay. It basically tells your body that they have purpose and are still useful. These 'other' signals are what counteracts the wave of atrophy that so many succumb to.

Now the reason why this article reminded of Crowley and Lodge's book, is due to the findings that are published.

"The study offered convincing evidence that the “typical” loss of muscle that begins in adults around the age of 40 has more to do with lack of use than aging alone."

The article goes on to say that a group of 'masters athletes' (aged 40-81) were studied. They all exercised 4 to 5 times a week, either running, swimming, or cycling. They found that due to being extremely active, the 70 year-old folks had no distinguishable loss of leg muscle mass when compared to the 40 year-olds.

The one side note that should be observed from these types of studies however is that if you are an avid runner, well into your old age, this will not necessarily help your upper body muscles.

"The older runners had a slightly higher number of arm motor units than their sedentary peers, but the difference wasn’t statistically significant. Both were dramatically lower than the younger controls – a finding that wasn’t entirely unexpected."

This is a vital piece of information that we should all take with us as we age. Whether you are 20, 30, 60, or even 80 years old, total-body exercise is important for your well-being. Also, if you love a sport such as running, great! But do not make it your entire life. Exercise should be like your diet, well-rounded with plenty of variety! Also, let me leave you with this one final quote from the article;

"“We control 70 per cent of how we age,” she says. “The other 30 per cent is genetic, and we can blame our mothers for that. But 70 per cent is in our hands.” "

Sources:
Photo: http://craigsenglish.com/blog/blog1.php/use-it-or-lose-it





Strength and Conditioning Tips

I have compiled a helpful list of training tips below that I am sure everyone can learn something from, enjoy!

Training Time

This tip is actually a twofer (broken into 2 parts). Men and women alike are always asking when the best time of the day is to work out, so that is why this is broken into two. For men (generalizing here), they want to know when the best time of day is to work out to grow big, strong muscles. Many people will tell you that working out in the afternoon or evening is the best time for muscle growth for a number of reasons, but simply is not true. The Journal for Strength and Conditioning Research has said that consistency is the key here. If you only have time to hit the weights in the morning, do that! The study showed that men made equal strength gains regardless of what time of day they worked out.

Similarly, women (again, generalizing) want to know when the best time of day is to exercise to burn fat. Again, consistency is the key. There are pros and cons to exercising either morning or night. For example, exercising in the morning can rev your metabolism for the rest of the day, whereas exercising in the evening has the potential to burn more calories as your body's metabolism is potentially at its highest. As I have said before, doing something is always better than doing nothing, so if you only have time in the morning to exercise, do that! I personally exercise in the morning because that's what fits my schedule, but if it doesn't suit you, then fine!

Pack on the Protein

I see this one time and time again. People think that in order to grow big, strong muscles, they need to cram as much protein into each meal as possible. Studies have shown that eating 30 grams of protein in a meal yields the same benefits of eating 90 grams does. This is a perfect example of "more isn't necessarily better". Instead, you should aim to have protein in small doses throughout the day. Keep one thing in mind, however. Protein seems to have this aura attached to it now that it is this wonderful "weight-loss" food. Protein still has calories, and ingesting too much protein can still result in unwanted body fat if unused, so make sure your diet is properly proportioned. Not only that, but if all you are doing is eating protein all day, you will likely be missing out on important vitamins and nutrients that can only be found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables!

Muscle Loss

For the longest time, there was this belief that as people age, their muscle tissue decreases. This is in fact true, but this is a sort of chicken-and-egg problem. Does your muscle tissue disappear because you age, or because you stop using your muscles as you age? Studies are now showing that it is in fact possible to continue muscle growth with strength improvements later in life. Yes, men have lowered testosterone as they age, but there is more to it than that. Once you hit the age of 65, sure, you may not be making major muscle gains, but you can still use resistance training to reduce the loss of muscle. Not only that, men and women can greatly benefit from resistance training throughout life to help strengthen bones, muscles and connective tissues!

Do It For Your Brain

Sure, many people like to exercise to try and look a certain way. Unfortunately, many personal trainers will market these types of things to you as well. I have a swift kick of reality for you though. Unless you have tremendous genetics, or photoshop (or a combination of the two), you are never going to look like some of those models or Hollywood celebrities. Not only that, but chasing "the perfect image" will only end in disappointment and despair. Instead, you should exercise to feel better about yourself in your own skin, not to mention the mental and body benefits that comes along with it. Think of how great you feel after a good workout. Wouldn't that be great to bottle that up and take a swig of that every day for the rest of your life?

Go Fast and then Go Home

I probably sound like a broken record here, but unfortunately some people just don't get it. I see and get asked by people all the time why they are not getting/seeing results from working out an hour or more at a time. I then see them slowing jogging on a treadmill or elliptical. Instead, why not try HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and cut your workout times in half? Chronic cardio should only be used if you are training for...wait for it...a cardio event such as a marathon or triathlon, etc. Instead, most people can get into their gym, exercise using HIIT principles for 20-30mins and then be done with an even better workout than something that takes twice the time.

A study done by McMaster University in Hamilton found that men who performed sprint interval training for a total of 2.5 hours (including recovery) over the course of 2 weeks has the same results as the group who performed endurance training for a total of 10.5 hours over the same time period. Yes, its alright to go back and read that again. 1/5th of the time for the same results! Another study following a group of 15 women found that high-intensity exercise (40 to 45 minutes approximately four times weekly at a mean HR of 163 bpm) reduced body fat by about 5 percent over the course of 15 weeks versus a virtually unchanged percentage in the group that performed exercise at a lower heart rate (132 beats per minute).

-Tyler Robbins
B.Sc. PTS