Age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, is a natural part of aging. After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% of muscle per decade. Most men will lose about 30% of their muscle mass during their lifetime. However, you can do something about it.
Here are my top 3 things you should do to prevent muscle loss:
1. Resistance training
I have heard people say that you cannot build muscle when you get older. I’m living proof that is not true. At 55 years old, I can and do build muscle while losing body fat. However, you may find my regiment extreme, but you don’t have to be extreme to prevent most muscle loss. So, the first thing I recommend to prevent muscle loss is to do resistance training. That’s using weights or bands, and you really should push yourself in those exercises.
2. Measure and then manage your protein intake.
Many people cringe at the thought of measuring calories and macronutrients, but for better results and management it is best to do so. It’s like jumping in your car when traveling to a new unknown destination and using an app on your phone to get directions instead of guessing. First find out what you are currently consuming, then make changes and monitor results.
If you want to gain and/or maintain muscle you must eat enough protein. For males, most studies suggest that 0.7 – 1 grams per pound of lean mass (1.5 – 2.2 grams per kg) is sufficient.
A recent study in the journal Nutrients suggests a daily intake of 1 to 1.3 grams (g) of protein per kilogram of body weight for older adults who do resistance training. For example, a 175-pound man would need about 79 g to 103 g a day.
It’s easy to track for me, because I use the CalorieKing.com app. It’s free and has a pretty extensive food database where you can find nutritional information on single items and even the most popular restaurant dishes. Get the app from the app store.
Additionally, you should eat for your body type. I go into detail about managing your food intake and eating for your body type in my course called, “Manage Your Diet Like a Bodybuilder“, but you don’t have to be a bodybuilder to benefit.
3. Spread your protein intake throughout the day
Spreading your meals into several smaller meals per day does two things. Firstly, it trains your metabolism to know that food is coming regularly so that the body can maximize digestion of food. Secondly, protein provided to the muscles in regular increments allows maximum protein synthesis for muscle growth. Exactly what you need.
Meal planning and preparation ahead of time can do so much to help you in spreading your protein intake into several meals throughout the day.
I go into detail about resistance training, meals and macronutrients in detail in my book, “Fat Burning Secrets“. Please check it out and know that good health is a big part of living a lifestyle by design. It is also available on Kindle:
Preserve Your Muscle Mass – Harvard.Health.edu
How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day? – HealthLine.com
- Fat Burning Secrets – Richard Webb