So what does it take to “age” gracefully.
In a word…… MUSCLE.
As the years pass, muscle mass declines.
Fighting this systematic disappearance, should be a priority.
The first way to preserve muscle mass, is simply to use it.
The optimum kind of exercise for this endeavour, is resistance exercise i.e. ask your muscles to lift things and push things, preferably HEAVY things. The “resistance” aka hard work, puts strain on the muscle, which requires a little maintenance work – helping to maintain a strong functional muscle.
But, the maintenance work, requires that the muscle have access to suitable building materials. For muscles, this means they need an adequate supply of quality protein.
So Bodybuilding 101 boils down to move more and eat more protein.
Not just for body builders
A regimen of MOVING muscles and eating MORE PROTEIN, is what creates those muscular jocks. But, the principle needs to be applied beyond the INCREDIBLE HUNKS bench pressing in the gym, to ordinary “old” joes.
Research from the Exercise Metabolism Research Group at McMaster University, suggests current guidelines for protein consumption are missing the mark, leaving older individuals short changed.
The team signed up 35 “old joes”, the average age of the group was 59 years – the “old joes” were sent to the gym to bench press.
To fuel up for the heavy lifting, the “old joes” were served a little “dinner”, in the form of lean mince (beef). The real food dinner was served up in different portion sizes. Protein portions varied from 0 g i.e. no dinner, through to 36 g of protein.
Following “dinner” it was off to work, at the gym.
The researchers tracked how “dinner” was turned into muscle, by calculating muscle protein synthesis.
More beef produced more muscle
Officially, it is recommended that you eat around 0.8 g /kg / day of protein. So if you weigh 80 kg – this means you ideally need to eat 0.8 x 80 = 64 g of protein throughout your day.
The team discovered, this was definitely not enough for their group of “old joes” to optimize their muscle protein synthesis. In fact, to really get their muscle beefed up, they needed double the recommended amount.
It takes bricks and mortar
A building project with lots of labour and no building materials, is doomed. The workers end up hanging about, twiddling their thumbs and nothing gets done. And all the fuel has to be stored, somewhere.
When it comes to eating “healthy”, our attention is always focused on fats and carbs, the body’s primary fuel sources. Now to be fair, if you don’t have an energized labour force………. you won’t be building much. But, the first step is to provide the bricks and mortar for the labour force to build with.
Eat more protein
Healthy eating is all about BALANCE.
A good rule of thumb – obey the rule of thirds, at every meal. And don’t be afraid of eating a little more protein, odds are you need it, bodybuilding is not just for the young.Dose-dependent responses of myofibrillar protein synthesis with beef ingestion are enhanced with resistance exercise in middle-aged men. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism (2012) : 120. Meghann J. Robinson, Nicholas A. Burd, Leigh Breen, Tracy Rerecich, Yifan Yang, Amy J. Hector, Steven K. Baker, Stuart M. Phillips.
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