As the New Year is upon us I thought I would revisit the 5 Pillars of Health we follow here at the studio. Fads are fun, but if you don’t have the foundation set, they are of no use. So, check out our 5 Pillars and prioritize those before you add something new. In other words, start with foundation and build up.

Please note, they are not in any particular order as they are all foundational and depend on each other for success. For example, daily movement is one of the pillars but without healthy eating you simply cannot perform to your best ability. Sleep, another pillar is essential to all the others etc. And so, my point being, you need to pay attention to them all.

Today I want to introduce to you, remind you or reinforce to you the importance of CONSISTENT MOVEMENT, and specifically resistance training.

I am a strong believer in the philosophy of Dr Garbrielle Lyon, in that she believes that muscle holds the key to longevity. She goes so far as to call it the ORGAN OF LONGEVITY!

The sad thing is that muscle is even more critical as we age, yet it is often overlooked by our doctors If your muscles are healthy, you live better. So if you are already sold on the importance of resistance training good for you! You are farther ahead than most of your peers, and possibly your doctor!

Why You Should Build Muscle

Skeletal muscle is essential for glucose clearance and is responsible for over 80% of glucose uptake after eating. Meaning the more muscle mass you have the lower your blood glucose levels and circulating fat levels will be. Knowing this, if you are a type 2 diabetic or pre-diabetic, according to this study in PubMed, resistance training should not be considered optional, it is crucial for your health.

It is an endocrine organ the helps regulate your metabolism. The stronger and healthier your muscles are, the more effective your body is at managing carbohydrates and fat. Also, skeletal muscles secrete myokines which have anti-inflammatory potential (whereas chronic obesity promotes inflammation).

Healthy muscle mass increases your survivability in nearly all injuries and illnesses and helps you recover faster after surgery. Not to mention, it is an essential for your good posture.

Resistance training is good for your memory and your brain. It causes the neurogenerative hormone BDNF to be secreted in your brain. BDNF is often referred to as fertilizer for your brain. Your hippocampus (memory centre) actually grows after high intensity exercise like resistance training. It has been suggested that the more frequently you engage in high intensity exercise the greater the production of BDNF.

How to Build Muscle

The only way to build muscle is through a Progressive Resistance Training Program (PRP) and an adequate diet.

A typical training program might include:

1) 8 to 10 exercises that target all the major muscle groups
2) sets of 12 to 15 reps, performed at an effort of about 7 to on a 10-point scale
3) two or three workouts per week.

After you have established a routine, there are several ways to progress. The easiest is to add a second and then a third set of the exercises. Another way is to decrease the number of reps per set and increase the weight or resistance to the point where you are able to complete at least eight reps, but no more than 12. As you improve, you can increase weight by trial and error, so you stay within the range of eight to 12 reps.

Power—not just strength

Building muscle is not all about strength, you also need power. Muscle power, how fast and efficiently you move, is actually more connected to the activities of daily living and physical function than muscular strength.

A good way to improve overall muscle power is with your legs, since they are most responsible for mobility. Doing quicker movements against resistance, like one’s own body weight, can be an effective means of developing power. For example, sitting down in a chair and standing up or jumping up quickly.

The Power of Protein

Your diet also plays a role in building muscle mass. Protein is the king of muscle food. However, as we age our bodies ability to break down protein lowers, therefore the older you are the more you need. Most studies suggest you consume 1.0 – 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of weight you are.


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