Muscle maintenance is so important as we age. The alarming thing is, we actually start to lose muscle mass from our mid-twenties, and in total, we lose about 25 – 40%  of what we were at our peak, and then it just gets faster after 60yrs.  So, it is imperative that we know what to do about it right now!

To begin I want you to think about how active you are in terms of moving your muscles and how much resistance type of workout you get daily.  When we exercise and how we exercise – and when I say this –  I am talking about exercise as the movement of the body – like vacuuming, cleaning, going up and down the stairs etc.   What you may not know is that there are 3 types of muscle fibres that use various different pathways for their energy source, so you need to have a variety of exercise to utilise all of these different types. Some are good for long walking or marathon running, others for short and fast movement, like sprinting and then the mixed type which is kinda in between.

The thing about muscle is, and you may have even said this yourself, if you don’t use it, you lose it? That is so true.  Because building and breaking down muscle happens at the same time.  Can you remember a time that you weren’t moving as much as you normally do? – you may have been sick and in bed, a lot,  or on holidays and you weren’t doing as much exercise as you normally do – more sitting, eating and drinking and flexing this muscle. You may actually feel more ‘flabby’ or not strong after and this what is called muscle catabolism.

So to build muscle you actually have to have more of the building up going on, than the breaking down of muscle.  This means we want ‘net’ balance is more for building.  So as this balancing act is happening all the time, how do we push it more to the building side?

Okay, so we need to eat protein to build muscle right. Proteins are made up of Amino Acids, of which some are essential so we have to eat these to get them into our body. One of these is called Leucine it can activate the building of our muscle all on its own.  Amazing right. Other Amino Acids can help stimulate making muscle as well as something called Insulin Growth factor, but Leucine has its own little trigger system. So what’s important here is 1. We have to eat this to get it and 2. It has its own special pathway, so I’m thinking this is kinda important.

What we want is about 3gms of Leucine per meal to turn on muscle building.  And no, you don’t have to go out and buy a specific supplement, but you may see it in muscle-building protein powders. 

You want a target amount of 3 g of leucine combined with 25-30 grams of protein, each meal, 3 times a day is recommended.

So where to get it?  Well, you can find Leucine is most animal protein at reasonably high levels. So, all you have to do is eat it.  These foods are particularly high in Leucine, beef, chicken, pork, tuna, salmon, sardines, eggs and feta, and cashew nuts give good high amounts from their 15 – 20gm of protein per gram. 

And the perfect timing to eat for maximum muscle building is close as possible after a workout.  So say if you have an early morning walk, or go to the gym before breakfast ensure it has a good source of protein, likewise after work, going for a workout and then having dinner.

For healthy aging, if you eat 3 high-quality protein meals per day, it provides all the amino acids you need to increase muscle mass by about 25% over 24 hours, which is pretty cool.

So, it’s all about maintenance as we age, and addressing our susceptibility to muscle breakdown.  If you eat three balanced meals a day, in particular, a selection of high-quality proteins to ensure adequate leucine contents you will benefit in the long run. 

Building muscle is greatest when combined with exercise, particularly ingestion of leucine-based protein as close as possible to completing the exercise.

Now if you are confused about what to eat, and the best options for you, I can certainly help you out there with a whole food nutrition plan, designed by your blood values.  How incredible is that?  The guessing stops there, as you have your own meal plan and types of protein to eat, it makes muscle building easy. 

If you’d like to know more, you are welcome to join my free membership on facebook. Thyroid, Metabolic, Hormone Harmony Hub. 

I’d love to see you there

Inspiring Wellness

Beth 

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