Who likes getting old? That’s what I thought..me either. In terms of basic numbers the average guy loses about 5 lbs of muscle between the ages of 25-50, that is if you don’t do something about it, like lift some regular weights.Now in my 40's, I still have just as much muscle (if not more) than when I landed my first cover of Men’s Fitness Magazine ten years ago (see previous posts) I am also just as fit, fast and durable. How do you think this is possible? Weight training- it truly is a fountain of youth.
Guess what? It’s not just for guys. Men and women both can both seriously turn back the clock with some regular weight training; the key is just doing it right. We all have muscles, we all have metabolisms that slow as we age and we can ALL fend off fat gain and aging with proper weight training.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of weight training for anti-aging that just “cardio” alone can’t accomplish:
It Strengthens Our Bones. As we age, osteoporosis (weakening of bones) sets in and this increases the chances of breaking something during a fall or stumble. Think of weight training as a way to ad armor to your body. Recent research in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that men who lifted weights for 16 weeks increased their hip-bone density by 3.8 percent and raised their blood levels of osteocalcin (a marker of bone growth) by 19 percent. Not only that, the added muscle is protection to your vital organs for any unexpected impact.Muscle Eats Fat For Lunch. Muscle is an active tissue requiring a lot of calories to sustain itself. Fat, not so much. Fat is a lazy tissue. One lb of fat takes up to 18% more space than one lb of muscle. Picture that- so it’s no wonder the clients I train actually lose more inches than total body weight- muscle is a much more dense tissue. A key thing to know here is that weight training when done with good intensity and regularity can increase testosterone levels naturally- for both men and women (that’s right, women have some testosterone too) thus setting up the body to burn MORE FAT around the clock. Studies in clinical nutrition found that for every lb of muscle a man loses, he gains a lb of fat as he ages- the bottom line? Preserve your muscle at all costs to fend off fat storage!
Weight Training Adds Flexibility. Between 30 and 70, flexibility decreases 20 to 50 percent and this makes it tough for your joints to move through their full range of motion. A lot of people can’t touch their toes or even squat down until the backs of their legs touch their calves (that’s most guys) This means you have tight hamstrings and hip flexors, possibly setting you up for injury. When done right, proper weight training movements through their full range of motion (ROM) from flexion to full extension effectively stretch the muscle while strengthening it.In a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, it was found that lifting weights just 3x per week for 16 weeks increased flexibility of the hips by over 30% and bumped up sit and reach scores by 11%. Who says lifting weights makes you stiff and inflexible? Another question- why do you think more and more pro golfers are lifting weights? Because it limits their swing? So all you folks out there that use the old "I don't want to get big, bulky muscles if I lift weights" excuse, slow down. It takes more effort, know-how, time and caloric intake than you might imagine.
Most people sadly have daily helpings of the S.A.D. diet (standard American diet) which is full of fast-burning carbs and sugars like white bread, fried stuff or other fast, processed junk. When we eat these "foods" the level of insulin- a hormone that helps keep your blood sugar normal- rises dramatically. That's an issue because consistently elevated insulin increases your risk of diabetes, almost guarantees body fat storage and/or heart disease. Weight training can fight this. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that men who added two full-body weight workouts a week to their existing aerobic exercise program had insulin levels that were 25 percent lower after a meal higher in carbs than the levels of men who performed the same aerobic exercises with no weight lifting- why? Because muscle burns up calories to sustain itself around the clock, aerobic exercise only does it while you are actually doing the exercise. That’s a no-brainer right? This is called EPOC, or excess-post exercise oxygen consumption. Of course, smarter food choices are paramount for the best results but with that, weight training can actually prevent and reverse diabetes.Done the right way, lifting increases your fast-twitch fibers- the fibers you need for explosive speed and power as an athlete in your younger years. Regular aging decreases fast twitch fibers by up to 25% more than slow twitch fibers (the ones used for casual jogging around the block) This is significant because fast twitch are the ones used to help us get up out of a chair or car easier when we’re old. Again, muscle just helps make life’s little challenges easier and helps maintain your athletic abilities. I myself, can actually still run around a 4.6 40 time (unofficial). I will soon be recording my official time to prove how weight training (and sprinting hills) can keep you young and fast. Various studies have proven that weight training elevates your mood. In one such study in 2004 at the University of Alabama it was found that older men who performed three weight workouts a week for 6 months improved their scores on measures of confusion, tension, anger, and overall mood. The exact way this happens isn’t fully understood but one could just surmise that if you look better, you feel better. There is also an endorphin rush from training with weights and that helps make you feel happier and just plain stronger for what life throws at you. Some may have experienced it through a "runner's high", a euphoric natural buzz. I get that when I sprint hills almost everytime. The study subjects reversed a decade of age-related muscle loss and fat gain, by adding 4 pounds of muscle and dropping 3 pounds of fat, while increasing strength by an average of 42 percent. I would think results like that could make anyone happier- without the use of drugs and their often unpredictable side effects!
I cover everything you need to know to effectively build and feed muscle, burn fat and turn back the clock in my online training system “Ultimate Body, Awesome Abs!”.Learn more about how it can help you slow YOUR aging process to a standstill at http://www.robertmartingfitness.com No matter where you are in the world, or your age- we can train together and make your goals a reality! Or, if you are in the Southbay area of Los Angeles and would like to learn more about training with me 1-on-1, just send me an email, I want to hear your story.
When you have the right information and people in your corner, the odds of lasting success are in your favor, by far!
~Robert Marting, The "Over 40's Fitness Specialist"