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Be Your Strongest Self

Updated: Jan 3

Skeletal muscle is the organ of longevity and the more healthy muscle you have, the greater your survivability against disease.

There is palpable excitement about the amazing health benefits of skeletal muscle mass especially for issues relating to weight loss, and the treatment of insulin resistance and diabetes.

Our muscle mass decreases by approximately 1.5% yearly after the age of 50, and by 2.5-3% yearly after the age of 60. Women over the age of 40 who don't prioritize protein and resistance training will experience loss of muscle mass along with low strength and poor fitness. Somehow, we've grown up to think this is normal, but the reality is that healthy skeletal musle determines our mobility, strength, metabolism, blood sugar stability, and ability to lose weight.

While we use the term "weight loss", what we're really looking for is "fat loss". We are well aware that the number on the scale isn't as important as improving our body composition and having a toned body.

Satiety is extremely important in fat loss. Counting calories and feeling constantly hungry doesn't support our metabolism and is simply no fun at all!

Protein is the most satiating macronutrient - it signals gut hormones to tell your brain you're not hungry anymore.

It's easy to overeat processed and high calorie foods, but it's not easy to overeat protein. Humans have an innate need to eat protein, so we will continue to feed untl we get enough of it. The obesity epidemic we see today is due to undereating protein, having replaced it with processed foods that cause us to crave even more food.

Skeletal muscle is actually an endocrine organ. It makes up 40% of our body weight and makes signaling hormones called myokines, that travel throughout the body to other organs like the immune system to stimulate damaged tissue repair. It's also the metabolic sink for glucose disposal and helps us control our dietary blood sugar levels.

The 2 critical protectors of muscle are dietary protein and resistance exercise.

Only 50% of North Americans exercise. Fortunately, it's never too late to start exercising - even if you're injured, over the age of 75 or simply haven't done anything physical in a long time. There seems to be this preconcieved notion that as we head into our 40's and beyond, it's good enough to get our steps 10,000 steps in. Walking truly is an excellent form of exercise but it belongs in the category of "everyday physical activity". We need to shift our mindset and realize that resistance training is non-negotiable!

There can be subconscious patterns that lead to self-sabotage.

This is deep-seated programming that generally occurs in childhood and affects us into our adulthood. We've all experienced lack of motivation, low self-worth, poor body image, and other emotions that prevent us from living up to our own standards. There are so many things we are up against and sometimes we have to dig deep to change these destructive patterns.

The key to making any positive change in life is consistency.

How often should you be training? I agree with new recommendations that suggest that resistance training should be done three days per week with a focus on each body part twice per week, plus some HIIT or cardio. In her book, "Forever Strong", Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, MD, recommends 10 sets total per muscle group and between 8-15 reps per set depending on the weight. It is important to stress your muscle and ensure that you're lifting heavier over time.

If there is one thing we should be doing throughout our entire lives, it's resistance training!

This includes kids and the elderly. It doesn't have to be complicated - there are many options besides joining a gym and using machines. I personally opt for free weights using 15-30 minutes YouTube videos at home. The resistance band, kettle bells or using your own body weight is great, too.

Hopefully, you're feel inspired to level up and get strong. If you're feeling a bit lost, intimidated or need some extra guidance, I'm happy to help chat it out in a 15-min complimentary Discovery Call.

Disclaimer: All content in this blog is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

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