Protein And Aging: Everything You Need To Know

December 11th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Your diet tends to evolve along with the number of candles on your birthday cake. For example, in your hard-training teens and early 20s, you could probably eat at Taco Bell several times a week and still remain fairly lean. That changes during your 30s and 40s. After turning 50, many people start dropping their calories in response to an ever-slower metabolism.

While reducing calories may help you maintain your body weight, is lowering your energy intake the best option for overall health?

Not necessarily, especially if your calorie cutting involves consuming less protein. Protein supports muscle health and growth, which helps your body stay functional at all ages. It’s also what helps support proper tissue health, including hair, teeth, and fingernails. Protein subunits called amino acids are integral components of signaling molecules and represent half of all hormones.

Research suggests that increasing protein intake as you age can support weight management and body-fat reduction. This is due to the enhanced metabolic rate and better satiety that occurs with consuming enough protein.

Father Time Does Not Like Muscle, Unfortunately
In your 30s, your muscle mass begins to naturally decline; after 50, this decline only accelerates. However, adequate consumption of protein, paired with resistance training, dramatically decelerates age-related loss in muscle mass and increases strength in individuals of all ages.

How do you know if you’re getting enough protein? 

At DBM Strength Training, we recommend .8 grams per lb of body weight. (a 130lb female would consume 104 grams of protein daily, a 180 lb male would aim for 144 grams daily).

What Are The Recommendations For Older Active Adults?
Keep in mind, these recommendations do not reflect changing macronutrient needs associated with age, nor do they consider the additional protein needs for those individuals who exercise regularly. General sports nutrition recommendations for athletes are approximately 1-2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day or 82-164 grams of protein per day for a 180-pound adult. Knowing all this, it seems safe to say that older adults could benefit from higher protein intake, especially if they are physically active, including regular exercise.

Do Aging Women Have Different Protein Needs From Aging Men?
The overall need for more protein in later years is even more pronounced in women. Research including more than 300 elderly participants (average age of 72) indicates that women who consume between 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day tend to have fewer health problems than those consuming less than 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.

Protein intake is a modifiable risk factor for sarcopenia—loss of muscle mass—in aging individuals. Protein also contributes to enhanced bone density, greater strength, and improved overall health. Since osteoporosis a bigger concern for aging women versus men, enhanced bone density and strength would be additionally beneficial on top of maintaining muscle mass and overall health.

Are There Risks Associated With A High-Protein Diet, Particularly For Older Adults?
The primary objection to increased protein in the diet is the concern that the elevated amino acid intake will stress or damage the kidneys. It’s true that individuals with impaired kidney health should avoid excess protein consumption. However, research conducted on healthy individuals with normal kidney function of varying age, sex, and training status does not seem to support the fear that high protein intake will lead to kidney damage. In addition, investigations aimed at evaluating fitness, performance, and muscle function in over-50 populations consistently supports an increased intake of protein.

What Exactly Does This Mean For You?
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how much protein any specific individual needs in a day based solely on ranges, which is why aiming for a precise goal (number of grams) of protein each day can be a more productive way to support your body composition goals, especially after age 50.

Are Protein Shakes Safe For Older Adults?

Yes. In fact, protein supplementation can provide tremendous benefit to aging individuals who struggle to meet target protein intake levels with whole foods alone. As we age, reduced appetites can also make it difficult to meet protein goals through diet alone—another reason why it may be necessary to supplement using protein powders and protein shakes.

Which Protein Powder Is Best For Older Adults?

A range of protein supplements can help individuals meet their specific protein needs. Finding a protein supplement that fits your lifestyle and diet can take some effort. But if the alternative to protein supplementation is consistently failing to meet daily protein targets, adding a supplement is highly advised.

When searching for supplements, seek reputable brands with ingredient lists that are short and understandable. You should be able to recognize and understand what a protein powder is made of. We are happy to make suggestions and assist you with planning a daily diet through the gym.

Read the complete article at Bodybuilding.com


Is Self-Care Selfish?

November 28th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Self-care is not an indulgence. Self-care is a discipline. It requires tough-mindedness, a deep and personal understanding of your priorities, and a respect for both yourself and the people you choose to spend your life with.

For example, self-care is:

  • Turning off the TV instead of watching another episode of “The Crown” because the alarm is going off at 5 am so you can get to the gym.
  • Declining the second drink at the office holiday party. It might even be declining the first drink.
  • Choosing organic food and cooking for the health of your body.
  • Saying “no” to the thing you don’t want to do even if someone is going to be angry at you.
  • Maintaining financial independence.
  • Doing work that matters.
  • Moving your body and maintaining your physical strength and health.
  • Letting other people take care of themselves.

If we are being honest, self-care is actually kind of boring. This is why self-care is a discipline. It takes discipline to do the things that are good for us instead of what feels good in the moment. It takes even more discipline to refuse to take responsibility for other people’s emotional well-being. And it takes discipline to take full and complete responsibility for our own well-being.

Self-care is also a discipline because it’s not something you do once in a while when the world gets crazy. It’s what you do every day, every week, month in and month out. It’s taking care of yourself in a way that doesn’t require you to “indulge” in order to restore balance.

It’s making the commitment to stay healthy and balanced as a regular practice.


Better Aging With Resistance Strength Training

November 19th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Sarcopenia refers to the loss of muscle as we age. The average adult experiences a 5 lb muscle loss, a 5% reduction in metabolic function, and a 15 lb fat gain 10 years.  This leads to chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, compromised health and vitality, among other things.  It is no wonder we feel less than our best the older we get.

The good news is that there is a way to stop and even reverse sarcopenia: Resistance Strength Training.

Studies have shown that even brief bouts of strength training(performed at the right intensity) lead to a whole host of adaptations within the body.  The improvement in muscle quality due to proper strength training leads to improvements in brain function, bone density, hormonal levels, metabolic function, and even gastrointestinal function!

As time passes, our bodies are either on a steady decline or are improving.

The key to keeping your body functioning at its best is to find a strength training program that is safe, effective, and measurable.  Today’s technology allows us to use Smart measures to strength train with the perfect intensity to produce the positive adaptations we all need.  Seek to find an atmosphere where you will have expert guidance and accountability to keep you on track, like DBM Strength Training.

If you are feeling the effects of age, let us help you change your life, 30-minutes at a time!


How to Fight Muscle Loss Due to Aging

September 18th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Sarcopenia, also known as muscle loss, is a common condition that affects 10% of adults who are over 50 years old.

While it can decrease life expectancy and quality of life, there are actions you can take to prevent and even reverse the condition.

Although some of the causes of sarcopenia are a natural consequence of aging, others are preventable. In fact, a healthy diet and regular exercise can reverse sarcopenia, increasing lifespan and quality of life.

What Is Sarcopenia?
Sarcopenia literally means “lack of flesh.” It’s a condition of age-associated muscle degeneration that becomes more common in people over the age of 50. After middle age, adults lose 3% of their muscle strength every year, on average. This limits their ability to perform many routine activities. Unfortunately, sarcopenia also shortens life expectancy in those it affects, compared to individuals with normal muscle strength.

Sarcopenia is caused by an imbalance between signals for muscle cell growth and signals for teardown. Cell growth processes are called “anabolism,” and cell teardown processes are called “catabolism”. For example, growth hormones act with protein-destroying enzymes to keep muscle steady through a cycle of growth, stress or injury, destruction and then healing. This cycle is always occurring, and when things are in balance, muscle keeps its strength over time.

However, during aging, the body becomes resistant to the normal growth signals, tipping the balance toward catabolism and muscle loss. Although aging is the most common cause of sarcopenia, other factors can also trigger an imbalance between muscle anabolism and catabolism.

Four Factors That Accelerate Muscle Loss

  • Immobility, Including a Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Unbalanced Diet
  • Inflammation
  • Severe Stress

Exercise Can Reverse Sarcopenia
The strongest way to fight sarcopenia is to keep your muscles active. Combinations of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and balance training can prevent and even reverse muscle loss. At least two to four exercise sessions weekly may be required to achieve these benefits.

All types of exercise are beneficial, but some more than others.

1. Resistance Training
Resistance training includes weightlifting, pulling against resistance bands or moving part of the body against gravity. When you perform resistance exercise, the tension on your muscle fibers results in growth signals that lead to increased strength. Resistance exercise also increases the actions of growth-promoting hormones. These signals combine to cause muscle cells to grow and repair themselves, both by making new proteins and by turning on special muscle stem cells called “satellite cells,” which reinforce existing muscle.

Thanks to this process, resistance exercise is the most direct way to
increase muscle mass and prevent its loss.

2. Fitness Training
Sustained exercise that raises your heart rate, including aerobic exercise and endurance training, can also control sarcopenia. Most studies of aerobic exercise for the treatment or prevention of sarcopenia have also included resistance and flexibility training as part of a combination exercise program.

3. Walking
Walking can also prevent and even reverse sarcopenia, and it’s an activity most people can do for free, anywhere they live.

SUMMARY:
Exercise is the most effective way to reverse sarcopenia. Resistance (Strength) training is best to increase muscle mass and strength. However, combination exercise programs and walking also fight sarcopenia. At DBM, we suggest staying fit at every age and not allowing sarcopenia to set in. But, it is never too late to get started with your strength training, especially under the guidance of certified personal trainer Debbie Martilotta.

In part by Matthew Thorpe, MD, PhD