The Influence of Skeletal Muscle on Aging | Get it, keep it

The combination of menopause and the pandemic may make this topic – the influence of skeletal muscle on aging – one we’re talking about for decades. If you’re a woman within 10 years of menopause or you’re post menopause you want to pay attention.


Flipping 50’s Master Class on research in 2020 and what it means for your workouts and your post workout nutrition. I’ll soon be announcing the opening of the next STRONGER program for women, to build, rebuild, and make you better at aging than you will be without it. 

I’ve got the expert on skeletal muscle health and aging here to talk about the mix of resistance exercise, protein intake, and supplements, and their combined effects on your body composition … and really quality of your life as you age.

My Guest

Dr Stuart Phillips Director at the McMaster Centre for Nutrition, Exercise, and Health Research at McMaster University. An expert in Skeletal Muscle Health in Aging.

Questions & Discussion in this Episode:

Please share for listeners your why. Of all sports, exercise, health topics, why skeletal muscle, aging and sarcopenia?

Twenty-five years ago I was educating people on the term osteoporosis. Now it’s mainstream. In the last 5 years sarcopenia has begun to be more mainstream, but it’s still not widely known. This significant muscle loss, that occurs or can without adequate measures to prevent it, do you have a preferred definition or way to describe it? Loss of mass? Loss of strength?

Effects of Loss of Muscle on Aging

Loss of muscle as we age, slows the metabolism, resulting in an increase of body fat. Women in our listening audience are often experiencing both dropping hormone levels effecting muscle breakdown and fluctuating hormone levels that create symptoms that disrupt exercise participation. Hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue … all not conducive to energy to exercise.

Your research and your lab tries to answer what factors serve to maintain, increase, or decrease skeletal muscle mass? 

In fact one of your recent publications was co-authored with Douglass Paddon-Jones  – who was a guest just a couple months ago – the research was on Optimizing adult protein intake during catabolic health conditions.

Let’s talk about that – first, what qualifies as “catabolic health conditions”?

What would you say of a pandemic where women in menopause in stages of late perimenopause and early post menopause can have an accelerated loss of muscle, are suddenly exercising at home, with a shortage of dumbbells? Is that also a catabolic state?

Prevent Skeletal Muscle Losses

In order to prevent muscle losses, as opposed to having to overcome sarcopenia – or significant muscle loss – what are your recommendations for protein intake, or supplementation where someone may be feeling they can’t inject enough?

Resistance exercise-induced changes in muscle metabolism are load-dependent.  Published in the journal of Medicine Science, Sports & Exercise in 2019.

Listeners vary widely in their ability, and possibly motivation, to use heavier weights, so where muscle is concerned (though listeners please done confuse that with bone) reaching fatigue with lighter weight and more repetition is the way we program when heavy weights are not an option.

Adequate Stimulus 

A study Dr Philips authored in the Journal of Physiology (2019) is titled Muscle fibre activitation is unaffected by load and repetition duration when resistance exercise is performed to task failure.

The importance of physical activity toward health has always been apparent to people like you and I. In the current situation we’re in with people at home, dealing with emotional roller coaster and lack of predictable future, do you have anything to add about the importance of physical activity in 2020 and into 2021?

The influence of skeletal muscle on aging is clear. Without muscle you have reduced metabolism, increased fat, and ultimately loss of independence. 


December Master Class: 2020 Menopause Fitness research

STRONGER: Tone & Define (Jan 1-March 31, 2021) 

Flipping 50’s 90 Day Journal 

Flipping 50’s January 2021 Virtual Retreat 90 day planner fitness for women over 50

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