1 June 2008

Move It & Lose It with Prof Trim

Should people over 50 eat more protein? And does this need to be timed with exercise?
Losing muscle mass is a significant problem with age. Combined with an increase in fat mass, this can lead to decreased ability to carry out daily tasks, increased prospects for dangerous weight gain and a greater potential for damaging falls. Weight training has been proposed as a possible way of at least maintaining, if not increasing muscle mass amongst those in the sixth decade of life and beyond. But studies examining this have had conflicting results, giving rise to the suggestion amongst some medical practitioners, that lean body mass loss is an inevitable function of ageing.


To test the effects of nutrition with weight training, scientists have compared the results of weight training in older men after eating a normal omnivorous diet or a lacto-vegetarian diet. They’ve found increases in strength in both groups, justifying resistance training as an effective technique for improving muscle function with age. But muscle mass usually increases in the meat-eating group whereas it decreases in the vegetarian group.This suggests that while vegetarian diets may be healthy in older age, they could have disadvantages in the limited amount of protein supplied, particularly if resistance muscle work is employed, as it should be for musculo-skeletal benefits in the aged.

In answer to the second part of the question: more recent research has shown that protein is best taken up in muscle if eaten within 1 hour before or 2 hours after resistance exercise.

Dr Garry Egger aka Prof Trim

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Anonymous said...

I would like to know then, what is the recommended amount and type of protein to eat when trying to gain strength and muscle mass with weight resistance training?

Anonymous said...

I'm a 59 year young woman and have been doing different forms of exercise (weight bearing, resistance, aerobic, strengthening, stretching, etc) on a regular basis for over 20 years. Just about all my indicators show that I'm medically healthy except that I'm underweight, 160cm tall weighing 43kgs. I always eat protein within 30 min after exercise, eg boiled eggs, home made chicken soup, etc. My muscle is 'toned' but rarely gain any if not minutely losing over the years. My exercise is always under supervision and the professional instructors are scratching their heads ... what else they can do so that I don't lose muscle mass. Any hints would be greatly appreciated.

GI Group said...

Prof Trim answers your questions:
1. Re the amount and type of protein to gain strength and muscle mass with weight resistance training.
“If this is for fat loss as well as muscle mass, the best type is 'fast' protein which is absorbed quickly. This is best got from whey powder obtained from dairy products, but other types of 'fast' protein are soy, seafood and lean game meats. If weight loss is not an issue and only muscle gain is important, any type of rich protein is useful. You can add eggs, cheese and dairy products to the fast protein above, but this should be consumed about an hour before or up to 2 hours after resistance training for best anabolic effects.”

2. Re being medically healthy but underweight.
“Most people would be delighted to have your condition – difficulty in gaining weight. You seem to be doing everything right, but if you are not gaining and desperately want to, the only thing open to you (provided you are eating enough total food) is to cut back on the aerobic exercise. This might be hard because this is the 'enjoyable' form – but that's the trade off. With your health indicators this should not affect your overall health (provided you maintain the resistance work).”