Building and Maintaining Muscle Mass to Prevent Sarcopenia

Sarcopenia is the gradual lack of skeletal muscle mass, power, and functioning. It usually begins sooner or later in our 30s. Physically inactive individuals can lose 3-5% of their muscle mass every decade; lively individuals are also possible to have some muscle loss. 

Any lack of muscle is a priority as a result of it lessens power and mobility. The tempo of muscle loss usually quickens round age 75. Sarcopenia in aged individuals is a significant explanation for frailty and elevated chance of falls and bone fractures. 

Primary causes of muscle loss are declines in hormones, diminished numbers of neuromuscular junctions, systemic irritation, declines in bodily exercise, alterations in mobile well being, and malnutrition (e.g., insufficient protein consumption). The excellent news is that sarcopenia might be prevented or reversed with dietary modifications and power coaching.

Skeletal muscle, the most important organ within the human physique, is important for bodily functioning, optimum hormonal stability, cardiac well being, bone density, pulmonary well being, and metabolic functioning. According to a 2020 scientific literature assessment, power coaching together with a nutritious diet (e.g., enough protein consumption) is the best approach to forestall or gradual the development of sarcopenia.

Strength coaching includes lifting, pushing, or pulling actions to load and overload the muscle so that it’s going to adapt by getting stronger. All main muscle teams must be focused with heavy resistance – heavy masses – two or thrice every week, with no less than one relaxation day between figuring out the identical muscle group.

Dietary and Supplementation Recommendations

Strength coaching by itself is a wasted effort. A nutritious diet is the opposite important part to staving off sarcopenia. An evidence-based dietary assist strategy is synergistic with power coaching.


The very first thing you want to know is that the U.S. really useful every day allowance (RDA) for protein consumption has been unchanged for many years – and is woefully insufficient in the event you interact in common power coaching. The second factor you want to know is that complete every day protein consumption is crucial dietary contribution to muscle mass. Older adults usually devour inadequate quantities of protein. So how a lot protein do adults want to present most stimulation of muscle protein synthesis (MPS)? And what are the very best types of protein to devour?

1. Adults every day require 1.2 grams of protein for each kilogram of physique weight (1 kg = 2.205 kilos) to present most MPS. 

For instance, a 200-pound particular person would wish 90.7 grams of protein day by day. Some scientists assume even this advice is simply too low, recommending 1 gram of protein for each pound of physique weight. I subscribe to this angle. There can also be proof that we’d like extra protein as we grow old.

2. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007-2016; n = 8,070) discovered a powerful affiliation between every day protein consumption and incapacity. 

People who consumed >1.0 g/kg/day of protein had 22% decreased odds for practical incapacity. The European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism has just lately really useful that older adults ought to devour between 1.0–1.5 g/kg/day of protein.

3. Not all proteins are created equally. 

They might be objectively scored for his or her high quality utilizing the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid rating (PDCAAS) or the digestible indispensable amino acid rating (DIAAS). Results of those analyses present that animal-derived proteins are superior to soy, pea, and most different plant-based proteins.

4. Protein distribution all through the day can also be vital and contributes important advantages to MPS. 

This means it’s vital to devour 25-50 grams of protein at each meal all through the day, probably with smaller protein snacks in between meals.

5. Contrary to common perception, the next protein consumption just isn’t detrimental to kidney or bone well being. 

A better protein consumption might be helpful to bone density well being and might assist cut back the chance of hip and different bone fractures frequent amongst older adults.


Found in meat and fish, the first operate of creatine is to facilitate the transmission of high-energy phosphates within the manufacturing of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Start by taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate 4 occasions a day for one week, adopted by an ongoing upkeep dose of 5 grams a day. Creatine supplementation is protected and well-tolerated, and an vital part of constructing and sustaining skeletal muscle. If you interact in power coaching it’s best to nearly actually be supplementing with creatine.

Other Dietary Supplements

Many of us will even profit from dietary dietary supplements to be sure that we’ve got the mandatory micronutrients to assist MPS.

1. Vitamin D3 + Ok: 

A deficiency in vitamin D, frequent in most Americans, is related to musculoskeletal illness.

2. Leucine:

Supplementation with leucine, a necessary amino acid, could also be helpful if general protein consumption is inadequate. This could also be particularly vital for individuals who devour plant-based proteins as their main or solely supply of protein (e.g., vegetarians).

3. Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n3-PUFA): 

Commonly present in fish oil could also be particularly vital in periods of relative inactivity (e.g., throughout sickness or restoration intervals).

My Strength Training Protocol

In case you’re questioning, my power coaching protocol is to alternate push and pull days, aiming for 4 to 5 exercises every week (although 6 can be higher). I exploit a variable-resistance band system[1] that includes giant, flat, round bands; a shoulder-width Olympic bar, and a plate to thread the band beneath (which prevents ankle rolls). This system matches simply in my carry-on baggage after I journey. At dwelling, I exploit a vibration plate, which I substitute with a stationary plate after I’m on the street.

Variable-resistance bands work along with your power curve, as an alternative of in opposition to it as free weights do. What this implies is that at first of the movement, earlier than the band has been stretched, the resistance is at its lightest. As you proceed by the movement, the band stretches and the resistance will increase regularly – as does your power by the movement. This implies that acute and repetitive stress accidents are far much less possible. It additionally means you may extra successfully go to failure and past (i.e., partial reps). 

For this purpose, I solely do ONE SET per muscle group. To get probably the most out of that one set you might have to make full effort. This means doing as many reps (i.e., 15 to 40) as you probably can, and then persevering with to do partial reps till you might be not in a position to transfer the bar greater than an inch. On “push days” I do 4 workouts, one set every: chest press, triceps extension, shoulder press, and squats; on “pull days” I do 4 workouts, one set every: dead-lift, calf increase, bent-over-row, and bicep curl. My complete exercise time is lower than quarter-hour. I’ve been utilizing this strategy for 2 years now with good outcomes – and, a significant bonus, all of the continual joint ache I lived with for many years has disappeared.

[1] I exploit the X3 variable-resistance band system by Jaquish Biomedical.  

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