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June 8, 2012

Becoming Lean and Mean at Any Age

becoming leanBecoming Lean

Want to become lean and mean?  Are you in your 20’s?  How about your 40’s?  Can someone 60 and older become stronger? Age doesn’t matter (unless you want to early bird diner and get disounted movie tickets). Becoming lean is possible at any age. Hard to believe but it’s true.

This past week there have been 2 interesting articles reported from FoxNews; one on the importance of exercise in the elderly, and the other on an intense 15 minute workout sure to leave your muscles begging for a rest, yet creating the necessary stimulus to develop bigger and stronger muscles.

Exercise in the Elderly

Believe it or not, but the elderly respond to exercise much the same way as individuals in their 20’s and 30’s making becoming lean despite age possible.  Certainly some common sense is necessary and elderly individuals should be evaluated by their physician prior to starting an exercise program, and the program needs to be implemented in a more gradual fashion than for someone younger.

Maintaining muscle strength is essential to youthful aging. Not only does having stronger muscles make someone more functional, but stronger muscles also reduces risk of chronic disease like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease by lowering the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.  Also, joint and muscle aches many times subside as we become stronger.

As a sports medicine physician I’ve always felt the importance of musculoskeletal system on quality of life is too frequently overlooked especially by primary care doctors.  But, without the ability to move without pain or disability life becomes challenging to enjoy.

Intense 15 Minute Workout

There’s a lot to be said about making workouts more intense but briefer. The 15 minute workout featured in FoxNews is an example. First, muscles need to be really stressed for the necessary physiological adaptations to occur to make muscles bigger and stronger.  Far too many people are getting little from their strength or resistance training programs because they don’t adequately stress the muscles.

This 6-12-25 workout regimen is designed to work on different components of muscle health.  The 25 rep component is designed to improve muscle endurance.  That’s accomplished by lifting lower loads at higher reps until the muscle fatigues. Muscle size (what most men are looking for) is developed by lifting moderately heavy weights, again until fatigue, in this case at 12 reps.  And, finally brute strength is achieved by lifting heavy weights but with fewer repetitions, in this case 6 reps.

The key, as the article says, is picking the right weight for each exercise so that you fatigue on the 6th, 12th, and 25th reps respectively.  It will probably take 2 or 3 workouts to determine the correct weight for each exercise. For those of you really serious about strength training I recommend you print the program illustrated in the FoxNews article for future reference.

Muscle Fatigue Leads to Growth Hormone Release

Stressing muscles to the point of fatigue is a key to becoming lean as it stimulates the body to release to growth hormone and testosterone. Growth hormone does a lot more than facilitate muscle growth. Growth hormone is a repair hormone and improves body composition in addition to providing many other health benefits.  And, as we have said many times before, testosterone is more than a muscle and sex hormone.

Bill Phllips’s Body for Life program is another program where endurance, size, and strength are addressed in the same workout.

See related articles.

“Resistance Training in Older Adults”

“Human Growth Hormone Replacement”

“Increasing Growth Hormone with Sprint 8”

“Exercise to Slow Down Aging Process”

“Nonsexual Symptoms of Low T”



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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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