Today I want to talk to you about muscles, why most of you reading this probably don’t have enough muscle mass, and strategies to get you started on building muscle today. We often associate building muscle with our youth, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or those guys who repeatedly set off the “Lunk Alarm” at Planet Fitness. But having more muscle on your frame is necessary for proper blood sugar control, increased metabolism, increased self-esteem, protection from falls (and if you do fall, being able to get up off the floor), decreased pain, better control of hunger cues, improved brain function, and decreased mortality. In fact, grip strength (an easy way to study overall strength) is one of the best metrics in assessing longevity and health.
People under the age of 40 are able to put on muscle fairly easily with just a little bit of attention. However, this process becomes more difficult and actually starts to decline in our 40s and beyond. On average, people after age 50 will lose about 8% of muscle mass per decade. This may not sound like much but remember the law of compounding interest — it accelerates with time. If you are 50 years old and not paying attention to muscle mass, you will not be able to do most of what you enjoy doing by the time you turn 75 years old: picking up your children or grandchildren, going on a hike, riding a bike, jogging, traveling, carrying groceries, and more. If you are hospitalized at any point during this time, you will likely lose another 5-15% of muscle mass due to severity of illness and immobility. This loss of muscle mass is called sarcopenia and has become one of the biggest health issues impacting the elderly population today. If you learn nothing else from this post today, it is that muscle mass is one of the most important metrics for long-term health and quality of life.
Wait, what actually is muscle?
To understand how to build muscle, let’s first start with what muscle is. Muscle can be viewed as an organ in the body that is constantly building up and breaking down. It is made up of various types of cells that organize into fibers that bundle up to create a muscle. These muscles are how our bodies are able to move through space and not collapse against gravity.
The building blocks of muscle are amino acids, which are the individual molecules from protein. We do not have a way to really store protein or amino acids in the body, so we have to maintain a constant supply of it in our diet to be used when needed. Our muscles are in a constant state of building up and breaking down, so protein is constantly necessary in order to protect us from muscle loss. If you have too much (actually very rare), you will excrete it out. If you have too little, you will experience some amount of muscle loss.
Ok, it’s a big deal. What do I do now?
We have two main strategies to build and maintain muscle. No matter who you are, how old you are, or how much or little training you’ve done in the past, these two principles apply to you!
Each topic is a blog post in and of itself, so stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3!
With this series, we are running a promotion on our line of Body Health Perfect Amino XP Powder! Do you need to increase your protein intake but either 1. Trying to cut calories or 2. Not hungry enough to eat more food? Perfect Aminos Powder is a great way to get you the 8 essential amino acids necessary to build muscle but delivered in an easy-to-drink, delicious strawberry flavored powder. Just mix 1 packet in water and get 5 grams of amino acids, equivalent to 30 grams of whey protein, for only 2 calories! Can’t beat that!
$21 for 15 packets (40% off retail price)
Come by the office to purchase or ask about it at your next doctor visit. Valid while supplies last!