The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) has generated a graph showing a typical muscle mass loss over time. Our body, made up of fat, lean tissue (muscle and organs), bones and water, changes as we age.
After age 30, we tend to lose lean tissue at an average of 5% per decade. The amount of fat on the other hand, goes up steadily and may rise at a much higher rate.
The need to hold onto our lean tissue goes far beyond the desire for a bikini look body. Lean tissue loss does not just mean smaller biceps. It means loss in organ tissue. The associated changes in body composition form the basis of many metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance and slower metabolism.
Physical activity and healthy eating can slow down the aging process but for this to really work, it has to be done right otherwise you will be wasting your health, time and money.
Only a holistic approach to training, nutrition and supplementation (N.T.S.) can offer maximum results that will enhance muscle gain and fat loss at the same time.
Training must engage proper heart rate at certain intervals, appropriate exercise, suitable time in the day as well as length of time and ongoing progression. For example, a cardio routine that exceeds 20 minutes will not just lead to fat burn but it will also make you lose muscle, which is exactly what you don't want!
Nutritious food intake is equally important but what is as important is its timing in line with your training. The body has greater need for certain nutrients at certain times during the day. Carbohydrates are most beneficial after exercise, while fats are best consumed well before exercise, or several hours after. Protein is important throughout the entire day with every meal, while sugar shall only come from low glycemic index (G.I.) foods, like honey.
Supplements are also a must-have factor in the anti-aging equation. Nutrients are best absorbed when they come from food. However, it is not always possible to get the dosage you need at the time you need it. The body has an increased need for certain amino acids immediately after exercise but the type of supplements used may vary depending on whether the exercise is performed in the morning or later in the day.
You could be following a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which is great for muscle development and fat loss but if your nutrients intake from both food and supplements is not in concert, you could be easily undoing all your hard work.
For those people out there who do not exercise in the first place, all this is just small talk. But for the millions who make a huge effort to exercise day after day, it is remarkable that so very few synchronise training, nutrition and supplementation in an educated manner by recognising the interrelation of nutrition, training and supplementation when it comes to type, timing and duration.
So you decide where you want to be on AJCN's graph, now and 10 years from now. And next time you think you are too busy to train or, exercise with no consideration to factors like type, timing and suitability of training, nutrition and supplementation, think again. Your body could be still losing muscle and gaining fat.