Want bigger muscles? More protein, right? Wrong!

The fastest way to get my goat is to get hyped up about eating lots of protein to build muscle. It just ain’t so.

A recent study of 22 older women (ahem, small study but it corroborates other larger ones) showed that increased protein intake from whole, skim or almond milks had no effect on muscle protein synthesis (measured by muscle biopsies) yet it did when they took 50% more steps in a day. This jury has been in for decades now. It’s moving your body through space that allows it to become conditioned and strong.

Other serious points that aid in moving toward strength, agility, and longevity are:

  1. Start off easy. If you’ve not exercised in a while, adopt the common recommendation of 150 minutes/week on most days using a combination of cardiovascular exercise for 30-45 minutes, like walking, swimming, elliptical, jumping rope, and a couple of days a week of strength building movements, like using your own body weight (push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and lunges, and isometric holds like plank or wall squats) or resistance bands, light hand weights, or kettle bells.
  2. Form matters. Have someone knowledgable about movement watch you perform the exercises. Bad form leads to injuries.
  3. Enjoy what you do!! You’ll come back to it more often.
  4. Be consistent. Be patient.
  5. Rest. As your strength training program increases, be sure to give yourself 48-72 hours between strength training segments. For instance, do chest exercises one day, then back, legs, arms and shoulder exercises on other days. Off-days is when your body is repairing and growing.
  6. Eat a rainbow meaning lots of color for vitamins and minerals that heal your body and reduce inflammation. And opt for variety in protein, grains/starches, and veggies/fruits so your body feels the invitation to take in an abundance of beneficial nutrients.

That’s it. That’s a lot. Slow and steady wins the race.

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