Building and Maintaining Muscle Mass to Prevent Sarcopenia

Sarcopenia is the gradual loss of skeletal muscle mass, strength, 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 doubtless to have some muscle loss. 

Any loss of muscle is a priority as a result of it lessens strength and mobility. The tempo of muscle loss usually quickens round age 75. Sarcopenia in aged individuals is a serious reason 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 health, and malnutrition (e.g., insufficient protein consumption). The excellent news is that sarcopenia may be prevented or reversed with dietary modifications and strength training.

Skeletal muscle, the biggest organ within the human body, is essential for bodily functioning, optimum hormonal steadiness, cardiac health, bone density, pulmonary health, and metabolic functioning. According to a 2020 scientific literature review, strength training together with a healthy weight loss plan (e.g., ample protein consumption) is the best approach to stop or sluggish the development of sarcopenia.

Strength training includes lifting, pushing, or pulling actions to load and overload the muscle so that it’ll adapt by getting stronger. All main muscle teams must be focused with heavy resistance – heavy hundreds – two or thrice per week, with a minimum of one relaxation day between understanding the identical muscle group.

Dietary and Supplementation Recommendations

Strength training by itself is a wasted effort. A healthy weight loss plan is the opposite essential element to staving off sarcopenia. An evidence-based dietary help method is synergistic with strength training.


The very first thing you want to know is that the U.S. beneficial day by day allowance (RDA) for protein consumption has been unchanged for many years – and is woefully insufficient in case you interact in common strength training. The second factor you want to know is that complete day by 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 one of the best types of protein to devour?

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

For instance, a 200-pound person would wish 90.7 grams of protein each day. Some scientists suppose even this advice is simply too low, recommending 1 gram of protein for each pound of body weight. I subscribe to this attitude. There can be proof that we want extra protein as we grow old.

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

People who consumed >1.0 g/kg/day of protein had 22% decreased odds for useful incapacity. The European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism has not too long ago beneficial that older adults ought to devour between 1.0–1.5 g/kg/day of protein.

3. Not all proteins are created equally. 

They may 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 be essential and contributes vital advantages to MPS. 

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

5. Contrary to fashionable perception, the next protein consumption isn’t detrimental to kidney or bone health. 

The next protein consumption might be helpful to bone density health and could assist scale 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 instances a day for one week, adopted by an ongoing upkeep dose of 5 grams a day. Creatine supplementation is secure and well-tolerated, and an essential element of building and sustaining skeletal muscle. If you interact in strength training you must nearly actually be supplementing with creatine.

Other Dietary Supplements

Many of us can even profit from dietary dietary supplements to be certain that we’ve got the mandatory micronutrients to help MPS.

1. Vitamin D3 + Ok: 

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

2. Leucine:

Supplementation with leucine, an essential amino acid, could also be helpful if general protein consumption is inadequate. This could also be particularly essential 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 essential in periods of relative inactivity (e.g., throughout sickness or restoration intervals).

My Strength Training Protocol

In case you’re questioning, my strength training protocol is to alternate push and pull days, aiming for 4 to 5 workouts per 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 below (which prevents ankle rolls). This system suits simply in my carry-on baggage once I journey. At dwelling, I exploit a vibration plate, which I substitute with a stationary plate once I’m on the street.

Variable-resistance bands work together with your strength curve, as an alternative of in opposition to it as free weights do. What this implies is that on the start 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 step by step – as does your strength by the movement. This signifies that acute and repetitive stress accidents are far much less doubtless. It additionally means you’ll be able to extra successfully go to failure and past (i.e., partial reps). 

For this motive, I solely do ONE SET per muscle group. To get essentially the most out of that one set you’ve to make full effort. This means doing as many reps (i.e., 15 to 40) as you presumably can, and then persevering with to do partial reps till you might be not ready to transfer the bar greater than an inch. On “push days” I do 4 exercises, one set every: chest press, triceps extension, shoulder press, and squats; on “pull days” I do 4 exercises, one set every: dead-lift, calf increase, bent-over-row, and bicep curl. My complete exercise time is lower than 15 minutes. I’ve been utilizing this method for 2 years now with good outcomes – and, a serious 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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