Muscle Loss and Aging


Wants to share this article by Wayne Westcott PHD. He has been a strength training consultant for the US Navy, ACE, the YMCA of the USA, and Nautilus.

Inactive aging is associated with significant amounts of muscle loss on a year‐by‐year basis. Adults who do not perform some type of strength training sacrifice more than 5 pounds of muscle tissue every decade, and older adults lose even more than that. Because our muscles function as the engines of our bodies, muscle tissue reduction has serious repercussions in terms of health and fitness. For example, muscle loss leads to bone loss and metabolic slowdown.

Fortunately, our research and many other studies have shown that regular resistance exercise can prevent muscle loss, and can actually increase muscle mass at any age. For example, the 90‐year old men and women in our nursing home study added almost 4 pounds of muscle after just 14 weeks of relatively brief (20 minute) resistance training sessions performed twice a week¹. However, there are two sides to the muscle building coin. One side is providing the essential strength training stimulus, and the other side is attaining the essential amino acids (proteins) for muscle tissue remodeling.

While it would seem that most Americans eat enough protein‐rich foods, this is frequently a faulty assumption, especially for adults over age 50. Basically, the amount of daily protein that is sufficient for younger adults is not adequate for older adults. There are two reasons for this common occurrence. First, older men and women do not process protein as efficiently as younger adults, so their bodies need more protein intake for tissue remodeling. Second, older adults’ muscles need larger amounts of protein than younger adults to stimulate protein synthesis necessary for making new muscle tissue. According to leading nutrition researcher, Wayne Campbell, people over age 50 need at least 25 percent more protein than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) to maintain their muscle tissue even if they perform regular resistance exercise². He further states that to increase their muscle mass, seniors must combine sensible strength training with at least 50 percent more protein than the RDA. Many prominent nutrition researchers suggest that older adults consume at least 20 grams of protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and some advocate eating up to 30 grams of protein at each meal.

In addition to eating more protein‐rich foods, an emphasis should be placed on those that contain the essential amino acids. Only the essential amino acids in our food can produce protein synthesis, and of the 9 essential amino acids the most important appears to be leucine. These proteins are best attained in eggs, low‐fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry and fish.

While eating more protein should be a lifestyle priority for older men and women, the timing of protein consumption may be even more important with respect to muscle building. Several studies have demonstrated that ingesting protein shortly after a resistance training session is significantly more effective for gaining strength and adding muscle tissue³.

We recently conducted two strength training studies in which half of the participants drank a protein rich shake right after doing their resistance exercise (11 Nautilus machines) and the other half did not do so. In the first study, those who consumed 24 grams of post‐ exercise protein added 5.5 pounds of muscle compared to 3.9 pounds of new muscle for those who did not take extra protein. In the second study, those who consumed 24 grams of post‐exercise protein added 5.2 pounds of muscle compared to 3.9 pounds of new muscle for those who did not take extra protein. Additionally, in the first study, the participants who drank the protein shake after their workout lost 9.0 pounds of fat, whereas those who did not do so lost only 4.9 pounds of fat.

Our research results are consistent with many other studies that have demonstrated significant body composition benefits by taking a protein‐rich snack right after your strength training session. Although our study participants ingested a commercial protein shake, other research has shown similar effects from milk, chocolate milk, yogurt and other good sources of amino acids/proteins. Nutrition authorities recommend consuming about 20 grams of post‐exercise protein for best results,and this is especially important for older adults who do not process protein as efficiently as younger adults.

So it would appear that the best approach for maintaining and increasing muscle tissue is a two‐part program that combines regular strength training with post‐exercise protein supplementation. Properly performed resistance exercise is essential for stimulating muscle tissue remodeling processes that lead to larger and stronger muscles. Readily available protein is necessary for supplying the amino acids that provide the muscle tissue building blocks. According to leading medical researchers, muscle tissue is especially receptive to assimilating amino acids right after exercise. Taking extra protein at meals has been shown to be far less effective for muscle development than ingesting protein following your workout.

Additionally, if you are interested in building bone as well as muscle, our recent research indicates that post‐exercise protein plus daily calcium and vitamin D supplements may be more beneficial than strength training alone. The participants in our 9‐month osteoporosis prevention study who did not exercise or take the nutritional supplement lost 1 percent of their bone mineral density. Those who did strength training but did not take the nutritional supplements maintained their initial level of bone mineral density. The participants who did strength training and consumed the nutritional supplements increased their bone mineral density by 1 percent. These results are supported by other studies that have shown bone‐building benefits from supplemental calcium and vitamin D. I therefore suggest that for optimum development of your musculoskeletal system you should consider the following exercise and nutrition program components: (1) twelve resistance exercises that cumulatively address all of your major muscle groups, performed 2 or 3 non‐consecutive days per week; (2) post‐exercise protein source that supplies about 20 grams of protein; (3) daily calcium supplement that provides at least 500 mg; and (4)daily vitamin D supplement that provides at least 1200 IUs



Eat and Train Like a Seal.. simplicity go figure..!


Eating the right foods in proper amounts at the right times will impact performance and the effectiveness of training. Good nutrition is part of the overall healthy lifestyle encouraged for all candidates. However, there is no need for supplements or any type of commercial products that claim to enhance performance. While such products can be legal and widely available, there is no conclusive clinical evidence that they will improve performance. Excessive consumption of supplements is financially costly and potentially unsafe. Furthermore supplements are not regulated and there are no product manufacturing standards, so you may run the risk of a failed drug test.

LCDR Jim Cowan at Bud/s Medical says to keep it simple eat a balanced diet with lots of color on your plate. Try to get everything from a natural source, 1000 mg of calcium a day (to combat stress fractures when training) aprox. 3 classes of milk, along with 1000 mg of vitamin C (fruit and natural sources), and stay hydrated. Protein powders and supplements like creatine are not necessary, in fact protein levels above normal inhibit training results in hotter temperatures.

 So bottom line… if you want gains and the ability to perform like a Navy Seal…

Eat clean and train hard..!


Core Elements

Cut to the core…
Are you looking for abdominal exercises that target your ab’s instead of your hip flexors? Do you want to build power without the bulk? Then welcome the Janda sit-up!  The Janda sit-up gets its name from its inventor Czech physician Vladimir Janda, one of the world’s leading experts on muscle function analysis and back trouble.

The key to the Janda sit-up is the elimination of the hip flexors from the sit-up, putting the work into the rectus abdominus. Normally I oppose the concept of “muscle isolation” due to the fact that it negatively affects the body’s ability to gain functional strength. The Janda sit-up is an exception. This simple looking exercise is one of the most difficult and effective you can do for your abdominals.

Getting To Work

The best way to do the Janda sit-up requires a partner. Lie on the floor with the knees bent to ninety degrees and your feet flat. Your partner will hold on to your legs about halfway between your ankles and knees and apply steady pressure as if trying to pull your feet off the floor, or a towel can be looped around the calves, with your partner pulling lightly at a 45 degree angle. The trick here is to keep your feet on the floor.

Less ideal but practical for solo use: you can wrap a resistance band around the knob of an open door, looping it around the calves, ensuring resistance at a 45 degree angle. THEN…

Engage your glutes and hamstrings to keep your soles flat on the floor. Keep your arms at your sides, bring your tailbone and navel together and with a slow smooth motion sit up, remember to keep your feet on the floor.

 Engaging the hamstrings and glutes takes the hip flexors out of the movement due to a neurological process called Reciprocal Inhibition, this causes a muscle to relax when its antagonist contracts. In this case, the antagonist muscle groups are the hip flexors (illio-psoas) and the glutes and hamstrings. It is important to maintain tension throughout the entire rep. Not only will this completely isolate the abdominals, but by removing the hip flexors lower back stress is all but eliminated.

Ref: The 4 Hour Body, by Timothy Ferriss. , Body Building.Com,


Information about energy drinks

Are energy drinks safe to consume?

The general consensus is that energy drinks are safe to consume in moderation, for the general healthy adult population.  However, the short and long-term effects from excessive and chronic consumption of energy drinks additives (both alone and in combination with caffeine) are not fully known.  Unlisted ingredients pose an even greater unknown.

·        The adverse effects of energy drinks are largely associated with caffeine. The exact amount necessary to produce an adverse effect varies from person to person depending on their sensitivity to caffeine.

·        The amounts of guarana*, taurine (an amino acid), and ginseng added to energy drinks are considered to be far below the amount needed to cause an adverse effect, but this depends on the amount consumed. In addition, this is an area that has not been well studied.

·        Excessive caffeine can contribute to insomnia, headaches, irritability, and nervousness.

·        Health Canada requires the following warnings on labels: “contains caffeine, not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or caffeine sensitive persons, not to be mixed with alcohol, and “do not consume more than __ cans per day” (number of cans varies depending on product.)

Health Canada continues to monitor adverse reactions of energy drinks. The most common effects reported are: chest discomfort, heart rhythm irregularities, increased blood pressure, electrolyte disturbances, nausea & vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, etc. There have been several reports worldwide including Canada that energy drinks were suspected in seizures and sudden deaths of young adults.

Youth population concerns & issues:

·        Children and adolescents are considered to be the fastest growing segment of caffeine users.

·        Effects of caffeine use on behaviour and physiology of children are poorly understood. Some experts believe this age group may be more susceptible to adverse effects, as they are likely inexperienced with and less tolerant to caffeine.

·        Caffeine may disturb children’s sleep patterns and thus impair their normal development.

·        As well, due to the high sugar content, energy drinks may contribute to obesity & dental cavities.

·        Industry has been publicly criticized for aggressive marketing that targets the youth population.

Marketing often associates “extreme” sports with energy drinks consumption, which may lead youth to believe they will perform better athletically. This is concerning due to dehydration risks (diuretic effect of caffeine).

·        There is no legal age limit for purchasing energy drinks; they are readily accessible to youth, despite label warnings.

·        Numerous councils across Canada are calling for provincial governments to ban sales of energy drinks to students.

·        Is it safe to mix Energy drinks with alcohol? How do you feel about “Alert & Dangerous”?

·        There are clear warnings from Health Canada to not mix energy drinks with alcohol although scientific data are limited.

·        Energy drinks are often combined with alcohol (e.g. Red Bull & vodka) to supposedly increase the desired effects from alcohol while at the same time counteracting the depressive effects of intoxication. Experts worry this may increase the potential for alcohol-related injuries because users may not feel the symptoms of intoxication as readily.

At this time, controversy remains over the sale of pre-mixed alcoholic energy drinks in Canada. Health Canada has not approved the sale of these drinks. However, some products are beginning to appear in liquor stores.

Labeling concerns {Note: caffeine also sometimes labeled as 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine}

Consumers may be completely unaware of the amount of caffeine they are ingesting because caffeine from natural sources (e.g. guarana) is not always included in the amount listed on the label.

Bottom Line: Energy Drinks are generally considered safe to consume in moderation in otherwise healthy adults. However, growing use causes concerns, especially in youth. Excessive caffeine can contribute to insomnia, headaches, irritability, and nervousness. There are reports of adverse cardiovascular events, seizures and even death with energy drinks. Energy drinks are NOT recommended for children, adolescents and pregnant/breastfeeding women. Health professionals should familiarize themselves with energy drinks and recognize red flags for over consumption of caffeine and calories.

Remember..WATER is our most important element..!

* guarana: a dried paste that is made from the seeds of a South American climbing shrub ( Paullinia cupana) of the soapberry family, that contains caffeine and tannin


1. RxFiles. Q&A Summary.  Energy DRINKS (EnDs) The drink of athletes, rock stars, college students… and your twelve year old!.  October, 2010

Courtesy Of CPTN

In The News…

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Do you have a client who seems abnormally fatigued all the time?  Has the condition persisted for quite a while all during the time you have had them as clients?  CFS may be the culprit if clients show up with overwhelming fatigue, seemingly not relieved by rest, to the extent that their activity levels are decreased at least 50%. How CFS is caused is not currently known.

The fatigue of CFS is accompanied by characteristic symptoms lasting at least 6 months. These symptoms include:

– problems with short-term memory or concentration severe enough to affect job, social, or personal activities
– a frequent or recurring sore throat
– tender lymph nodes in neck or armpit
– muscle pain
– multi-joint pain without swelling or redness
– headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
– unrefreshing sleep and
– extreme, prolonged exhaustion and an overall feeling of sickness lasting more than 24 hours following physical or mental activity.

The symptoms listed above are used to diagnose this illness. However, many CFS patients may experience other symptoms, including irritable bowel, depression or psychological problems, chills and night sweats, visual problems, allergies, “brain fog,” difficulty maintaining upright position, dizziness, balance problems or fainting.
Based on an American study of more than 28,000 adults, 422 per 100,000 had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). This suggests that 125,000-150,000 Canadian adults may have CFS.1 It also affects children1;2 and occurs more often in females than in males, at a rate of almost 2:1. It is mainly a disorder that strikes young to middle-aged adults.1 
Currently there is no “magic bullet” to treat CFS. The focus of management includes coping strategies, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), a graded exercise program and symptom management.  Treatment to assist in management to help decrease fatigue, pain and sleep problems is often included.
Carruthers BM, vandeSande MI. ME/CFS Canadian Consensus Document-A Clinical Case Definition and Guidelines for Medical Practitioners. © 2005/2006.

UpToDate. Clinical features and diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. S Gluckman. 2011.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Chronic fatigue syndrome.  General information.  Accessed, July, 2011 at

Courtesy of CPTN