How Baby Boomers Build Muscle

By: Brad Pilon

Last week, I had a couple of old friends drop in on me for dinner. As usual, it only took a little bit of time before the conversation turned to nutrition and working out.

One of my friends was in his late 50's. He has always been in great shape. He maintains a great workout program and always pays attention to what he eats. Yet, on this particular visit, he seemed a little discouraged with his progress.

After a little bit of prying I found out why. He had been out having dinner with several of his friends who were all medical doctors and they were "on him" about working out.

Turns out these three highly educated individuals were trying to convince my friend that it was physically impossible to put on muscle once you pass fifty years of age. They told him that it had something to do with his hormone levels and lack of testosterone.

No wonder he was discouraged!

Thankfully, in no way is any of this true. Here's a great example for you to consider.

In a research trial conducted on people who were over 50 years old and had chronic renal insufficiency (real bad kidneys) researchers explored the idea that resistance training could counteract the low protein diets that these people had to be on because of their medical condition.

On average these subject were eating under 0.3 grams of protein per pound of body weight. To put that into perspective, a 180 pound man would be eating about 50 grams of protein per day! For 12 weeks!

So what the researchers were thinking was 'since these people were on such low protein diets, for extended periods of time, muscle loss is definitely a risk. However, maybe if we made them weight train, we could prevent this from happening'.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

At the end of the study, the subject working out 3 times per week maintained there body weight, while the group that was not lifting weights lost about 7 pounds.

The group lifting weights also saw increases in muscle strength and muscle size. While the group not weight training lost some muscle and a little bit of strength.

This study is a great example of people over 50 actually gaining muscle size as a result of resistance training. And, they didnt even have to follow some crazy high protein diet to do it!

This research shows that you can be over 50 and still build a significant amount of muscle with relatively low protein intakes (the amount you get from your food in the average north american diet) as long as you are lifting weights.

When it comes to muscle - Use it or lose it. That's the bottom line. There is no truth to the saying that you can't build muscle over a certain age. People in their 70's can build muscle with weight training.

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