07 Nov 2015

By John L. Boos,  L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.

At some time in our lives we will ask ourselves, Am I financially secure enough to retire? or Do I love this person enough to marry them? or Am I prepared enough to start a family? A majority of people will ask themselves at least one of these questions at some point in their lives. But very few people will ever give a thought to asking themselves if they are able to maintain their independence or a high-quality physical and mental function as they age. Too many people seem to feel that if they acquire a reasonable health insurance plan, take their supplements, and do walking or some regular physical activity that they are ready for the mid- to senior adult journey. The truth is that most people don’t have enough of the facts to understand what is happening during the aging process.

There are two types of independence for survival, financial independence and physical independence. It is much easier to determine if you can remain financially buoyant after retirement simply by adding your total income for the month and subtracting your necessary expenses (with a few dollars left over to keep your sanity). That is because they are black and white figures of reality staring back in your face. But what about the capacity of our physical independence? Let me cut straight to the medical and aging facts that must be realized in order to most effectively address the issue. As the body starts to get older, it also begins to age. The older we get, the faster the body ages. We lose our energy and endurance. Our range of motion diminishes. What was once easy to do is now more difficult. Even the groceries are not as easy to handle. You develop back and neck pains. Your knees, hips and shoulders wake up an hour after you have brushed your teeth. You ask yourself, Is this all I have to look forward to? You are feeling like the present economy slow, sluggish and depressed.

So what is going on here? The answer is somewhat complex, but basically you are undergoing what is known in the medical field as sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss. It is not new to medical science that the body loses muscle tone, muscle mass and muscle capacity after the age of 30. More recently it has been found that the type of muscle fibers that contribute to sarcopenia are the ones that produce and maintain muscle strength and power. Why do we have such a need for these strength and power fibers? To stay alive and survive when under a fight or flight situation. Our conscious brain is living the luxury of the 21st century, but our reptile brain (brain stem or lower brain) is programmed to living in 5,000 B.C. and reacts only under a stimulus. It is an old part of our brain but a very wise part, so don’t even try to outsmart it or you will reduce your chances of being strong enough for getting older.

So what are the benefits of focusing on getting stronger? What is the most effective and safest way? How do you measure it and what effect will it have on the rest of your bodily functions and life? The obvious approach to the aging side of getting older should be exercise. Most people feel they know that. That is why they take up walking or other physical activities, as well as try to eat healthier. ItÕs not that this approach is not smartÉit is. It’s just that this approach is not going to sufficiently address the sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) for staying stronger. Why do I say that? Because restoring or building new muscle and strength requires an approach specific to the objective. It requires strength training! It requires effort and safe progression. It requires an intelligent and cautious execution that can be measured and monitored to help you stay on track and stay motivated. Safety and a smart cautious progression is necessary due to the fact that people over the age of 40 or 50 often have physical limitations and other issues. It can be poor exercise choices from the past or just accidents that happened. In many cases, they aren’t even aware of these limitations.

There are many fads and programs that look fun and challenging, but they should not be used to replace the core need to developing a stronger, more powerful body. Muscular conditioning and muscular strengthening are not the same, even though ideally they do go well together. One leans towards performance and the other towards building up the age-related strength and muscle mass loss we encounter during sarcopenia. The most effective approach is with free weights and equipment that simulates real life functions. This approach will keep you in touch with the reality of life’s everyday activities, and even with some that can be more challenging at times. One powerful side effect of weight training is its positive impact on almost all of the major functions that make up human physiology; the immune system, the nervous system, the digestive system, the hormone and skeletal systems, etc.

Please don’t indiscriminately go off to the gym and pick up the dumbbells, barbells, or use the weight machines without knowing the proper protocols, techniques and methods necessary to acquire a safe productive result. Don’t pretend you know more than a qualified, experienced, age-tested professional. Keep in mind that this is a science that can produce a most rewarding result for your future. Your strength is your independence and a key to your health.

Don’t let the aging process reflect your age. Don’t allow prescription drugs to put a band-aid on what you can avoid on your own. Get reliable experienced help and you will live long and prosper.

05 Nov 2015

By John L. Boos, L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.

Other names for this article could be “Turn on those Fat Burning Enzymes”, “Trigger off the After Exercise Fat Burn”, “Build Muscle, Burn Fat”, or “Stop Majoring in the Minors.” I could go on with the catchy titles, but there is no point. If you are considering exercising as a fat burning approach, keep reading. If you are exercising but not much is happening, continue reading. If you are doing resistance training and nothing much has changed, despite all the strength training, then you must pay attention. To get right to the point, if you want to burn off that fat, you should strength train heavy. You can’t get simpler than that.

However, this in no way means you should run off to the gym, grab the 50-pound dumbbells or a heavy barbell, and attempt to exercise with it. The word “heavy” can mean different things to different people. I’ve trained women who would perform 12 reps of an exercise and her comment would be, “That was too heavy”. I would do the same with a man and the comment would be, “I could do more. That wasn’t heavy enough”. The truth was they were both wrong, it was just about right for each one. Women are too easy on themselves and men are too hard on themselves (usually an ego issue). As for women who strength train, too many fear the possibility of building too much muscle. This is a fear unsupported by sports and medical chemical physiology. The fact is that women do not have near enough testosterone to do this. Don’t be misled by the over-muscled women that you sometimes see. They are heavily chemically enhanced and are off the page of anything normal (mentally and physically). Also, most women are not brought up to adequately understand this modality of exercise. As for most men, they think that because they have a lot of testosterone and played rough and tough when they were young boys that they know what they are doing. Many of these men, after a bit of time in the gym, have a number of injuries and little results for their self-proclaimed gym smarts.

Let me get to a scientific fact in exercise science that is not explained or mentioned enough. In order for a muscle to lift any given weight, it needs to excite a given number of muscle fibers. In order to lift a greater weight, it needs to excite a greater number of fibers. Muscle fibers do not half-contract to lift lighter weight or contract harder to lift heavier weight. They are either turned on or not turned on. This is called the “all or none principle of muscle contraction”. So the more weight you lift, the more muscle fibers you excite. The more muscle fibers you excite, the more energy it requires. The more energy it requires, the more calories and fat you use up. The added bonus to the increased workload is the greater amount of survival hormones (growth hormone) realized to burn fat long term. The proper approach to weight training is somewhat individual to body type, age, and other factors. This writing is meant to stimulate the desire to learn more and understand what is real and just wishful thinking.

So back to the facts, the best muscle tone and fat reduction comes from heavy strength training. A good coach or trainer will be necessary to point out the most effective methods if you truly want to get through the maze of false claims and confusion. Women should be taught to work harder and men much smarter. Please don’t misread me on this. Lifting weights heavy enough to produce real and positive results on muscle tone (or muscle building, if you are a man), is not the one and only best thing to do to rid the butt, thighs and belly of fat stores. IT IS NOT! But as far as exercising know-how, it is the one major factor that I see and know of. The fact is that it is so misunderstood by so many novice people, especially people that aren’t making any progress. In a nutshell, the words HEAVY TRAINING are words of interpretation. With the ladies, it is the fear of the unknown or low expectations, a gray zone. With men, it’s all black and white numbers or overreaching and trying to prove something to themselves or others. Yet to others, it is just admitting that they don’t know and want to learn. These few people are the smarter ones.

The objective of this writing is to bring to the open the one missing link or answer to most of the failing workouts taking place. With little doubt, I can say it is one of the major factors. Other factors can be not understanding the correct utilization of the principles of obtaining the results, such as frequency, volume, mode and varying intensity adjustments.

The bottom line is that your exercise sessions should be performed with the effort and effect to trigger the release of growth hormone and other factors that put the body in a long-term place. Little long-term results come from too much short-term effort. This type of training not only brings great potential, but great personal responsibility towards other behaviors, such as food quality choices and timing, as well as other supplemental activities. A good experienced coach or trainer should be capable of assessing the situation and helping in putting this in a clear understanding way. If you don’t understand why you are doing what you are doing, you will stay where you are. Once you finally get it, you will have learned something of great value that has been so misunderstood far too long.

03 Nov 2015

By John L. Boos,  L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.

In my past article, “Back to the Future – Discovering the Real Fountain of Youth”, now posted on my website Boosworld.com, I delineated the following medical science facts. A primary marker for aging is a condition called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is defined as “age-related loss of muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical function.” I also differentiated between the two kinds of muscle tissue and their functions, red muscle fibers (Type I) and white muscle fibers (Type II). Red fibers perform low intensity activity, i.e., cardio/aerobic, or any activity able to be performed for over three minutes to an hour or more. White fibers perform higher intensity activities, i.e., resistance/strength training, moving furniture, or hard work of any kind.

However, there is a big scientific catch. The muscle tissue that is lost during the aging process (sarcopenia) is not of the Red Type I fibers. It is of the White Type II fibers that do the hard work of life. Hence, dysfunction increases as more and more White Type II strength fibers forget how to stay strong. Not only do the White Type II muscle fibers provide more power and function, but they help us stay strong, independently functional, youthful-looking, and toned. They are much more able to be applied for shape, contour, and size, if that is your goal. If you would like to look and feel younger, and be as healthy as possible, recruit your white muscle fibers.

If you are already weight training in the gym, but not obtaining your desired results, you may not have discovered the correct formula. If you already have a trainer, but are still having problems with results, there must be a reason why not. Either the trainer is not the right one for you, you aren’t doing your homework outside the gym, or you may need a reality check (expectations may be too high). The worst case scenario is all three, but any one of these will generate a desire to quit.

So what ‘is’ the proper formula for your results? One, a reality check or revising your expectations so they are more realistic. The right trainer can help. A thorough interview from an experienced, educated, and honest professional is a must. Two, a willingness to do your homework outside the gym. Again, a good trainer should be able to explain what you need to do after your workout as far as nutrition, rest, etc. Three, if you are not incorporating the basic fundamental concepts in order to stimulate the Type II muscle fibers, your results will be greatly limited. Either obtain this education on your own or through an educated, successful, experienced exercise coach. A good coach should be able to answer your questions, provide motivation, and guide you with the proper protocol.

Your quest should be to maintain or improve your youthful muscle tone and overall health. To do this, you must exploit as much of your muscles’ potential as possible (strength muscle tissue). That is the true fountain of youth. The formula for strength and youth is no secret, but it is work. Muscles must be trained properly within an intensity range of 65% to 90% of what you are able to perform one correctly executed repetition of an exercise. This would place the exercise repetition range somewhere between 6 and 15 reps. Strength muscle fibers will respond very well if you work in this range.

Unfortunately, many personal trainers do not have a strong passion or deep understanding towards the client’s health or the aging process in general. Not only should exercise be intense enough, but it should also be biomechanically and orthopedically appropriate for the individual. Each client brings unique, individual issues that need to be addressed, especially the over-40 person who is not the picture of health. For the sake of exercising to maintain youthful energy, health, and appearance, it is necessary to understand that no one is born an exercise specialist. Knowledge and experience come at a price. In my 40-plus years in this passion, I have learned what not to do. I pass this valuable commodity onto others.

In summary, the formula for the fountain of youth is that you must train intensely enough (65-90% of your one rep max), you must train adequately and properly, and you must train passionately. Having a good guide by your side would also be a tremendous advantage. Remember…if you live strong, you will prosper because – LIFE IS A SPORT, TRAIN FOR IT!

John Boos is a two-time Mr. World/Mr. NY State champion certified by the NSCA. He is a licensed massage therapist, a certified medical exercise specialist and is ACE certified. He heads “John Boos One-on-One Strength, Fitness and Massage” based in Babylon, NY. He hosts “John Boos One-on-One Fitness” radio show Sundays at 7 am on 101.5 in Nassau County and 105.3 in Suffolk County. For more info, visit www.boosworld.com or call 631-587-4786.

01 Nov 2015

By John L. Boos,  L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.

As we age, our health becomes a growing concern – at least it should, if our quality of life is of any issue.  Our chronological age, our eating regimen, and our activity level all play a major role in the aging process.  Getting older is inevitable, but aging is optional.  Science is confirming this reality more and more each year.  Of course, there are a number of age-related concerns.  Some receive more attention than others, but that doesn’t mean they are more important.

One of these concerns is bone loss or osteoporosis, especially among women.  The body possesses an intricate process for building and maintaining our bones.  Osteoporosis occurs when that process falters and the natural breakdown and build-up ratio of the bones swings over from maintenance to a system that is unable to sustain bone density.  This condition can be attributed to genetic or nutritional causes.When bone loses density and becomes frail and porous, it threatens the structure of the body…like the framework of a building becoming too weak to support everything that is attached to it.  In the construction world, the building would be condemned and torn down.  But the human body is not a building.  It’s alive and capable of repair.  Just like the building, things attach to the framework (the bones).  Our bones provide us with protection, as well as with levers enabling us to move.  Bones don’t move themselves.  Muscles provide the movement through their attachment to the bones.  It’s not hard to see how important bone strength is.

There are many health related issues each person can take control of.  Of course, one must start with the doctor’s approval and monitoring assistance.  Osteoporosis happens to be one of those health issues that can be addressed with diet and exercise.  It would benefit women over 40 and men over 50 to have their bone density measured, at least for a mean line measurement for future reference.  If the disease is too far advanced, then medical attention may have to be the primary approach – hence, the importance of getting a bone density scan sooner rather than later.  As for osteopenia (low bone density) or early osteoporosis, a well-structured resistance exercise program, coupled with an increase in dietary calcium, can work wonders.  Everyone has heard the saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”  Like most things in life, there is an equal and opposite effect on our actions, so, as in this example, “If you use it, you keep it!”  Bones will get strong and stay strong if you encourage them to do so.  You have to put them to work with resistance exercise (weight training).   Walking, swimming, biking, and other aerobic exercise won’t cut it.  In fact, recent studies show that if that type of exercise is your only source of exercise, it can be detrimental to bone density.  That low level activity increases cortisol levels.  This breaks down the body.  Higher intensity activity increases the hormone levels that build up the body.  If low level exercises are the only exercises performed, this may lead to accelerated bone loss.  Working harder will make your bones harder.

Increasing the body’s calcium uptake to encourage increased bone density is somewhat complex.  It takes proper exercise (weight training), plus a number of vitamins, minerals, and hormones – especially calcitonin, produced by the thyroid glands, to generate this process.  Hormones are the key factors in making things happen (they manage the process).  Vitamins and minerals are the building blocks, the materials for the process.  If the exercise that is used is stimulating enough to the bone, then the brain is notified by sensors surrounding the bone to secrete the hormones and locate the materials to start increasing bone strength.  But what is enough stimulation to kick this process off?  Low intensity exercise has demonstrated in scientific studies to produce little to no results.  Higher intensity exercise, on the other hand, produces very good results.  What is low intensity exercise?  Walking, swimming, aerobics, etc.  These activities provide too little tension on the tendon attachment on the bone.  High intensity exercise – resistance or weight training – generates adequate tension on the tendon attachment on the bone to stimulate the sensors to release the necessary hormones for bone building.  The definition of high enough intensity is using resistance or weight that represents at least 60% of what you can lift safely one time (1 rm or single repetition max).  An experienced, knowledgeable exercise trainer can determine your one rep max with a formula.  Never try this on your own.

Depending on the severity of the osteoporosis, there are exercises that should initially be avoided.  The exercise prescription for osteoporosis is increased intensity of at least 60% of one rm, but safety must be the foremost concern.  Proper exercise selection, proper exercise execution, and careful and proper progression must be adhered to.  Yes, increased resistance exercise and diet are an excellent prescription for reversing bone loss, but it must be a joint effort between your medical doctor and your exercise instructor.  Osteoporosis is a very serious disease that can affect your vitality dramatically.  If you elect to address it with drug therapy alone, read about the ramifications.  Research is continually concluding that gym therapy, not drug therapy alone, is a very valuable approach to this bone loss disease.

In my own personal experience, I have witnessed what the researchers are now finding.  I have a number of clients using the gym therapy approach who have achieved amazing results.  Not only has their bone density increased, but their overall strength, energy, muscle tone, and flexibility have increased, as well.  Five years ago one of my clients was diagnosed with osteoporosis.  She asked her doctor if she could try a diet high in calcium combined with weight training, and forego the prescription drug approach.  Her doctor was hesitant, but agreed.  One year later, her bone density test was  markedly improved.  She continued with the weight training and high calcium diet regimen.  Her second bone density test (taken at the end of her second year of training) showed additional improvement.  She is an example supporting the Tufts University studies in Boston.  The only side effects from weight training have been increased strength (she can do 8 pull-ups on her own), lower body fat, increased energy, and improved well-being.  Drug therapy, in itself, cannot do that.  It’s not only about bone density – it’s about overall vitality and quality of life!  Build your muscle, and you will build your bones.  Do this, and you will LIVE STRONG AND PROSPER!

30 Oct 2015

By John L. Boos,  L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.

After more than forty years in the strength, health, and fitness field, I have developed my own unique approach to training.  My method has harvested much “win win” success.  The “win win” is what the athlete gains in ability and confidence, and what I gain from the experience.

Working with athletes, both young and old, I have learned that their workout environment must be kept safe, straightforward, and motivating.  Numerous athletic movements (swimming is no exception) can cultivate overuse conditions, as well as excessive fatigue.  This must be factored into the equation of the strength training environment.  The need to develop more kinesthetically correct movements with safe measurable results stimulates my creative side.  I also have to comprehend the dynamics of the athlete’s environment by developing an effective communication with them, as well as an open, trusting forum with the coaches.  The chances of then designing a successful exercise program are now greater.

Here is the lesson that I so strongly believe is the safest, and most beneficial – Keep it simple and straightforward.  Don’t try to be fancy or too sports specific.  I have found that athletes have the ability to take their added overall strength, power and endurance  and fold it very effectively into their sports event.

Training the athlete systemically means the difference between winning and losing.  Systemic strengthening is a product of training with multi-joint movements.  Some exercises are performed with machines, and some with free weights and cables.  Progress must be measurable in a controlled, specific manner.  I have developed a line of equipment solely for that purpose.

All resistance increases must be micro, rather than macro (smaller increases are safer for soft connective tissue and joint cartilage).  The repetition range I use is mid- to mid-high in count, between ten and twenty.  The upper body movements are 10-15 reps, the lower body 15-20 reps.  The movement protocol is about a 5-second repetition, with the accent on a smooth, slower eccentric (negative) motion.  With the sprint swimmer, I sometimes use a drop set (heavy to light) technique to activate both strength (fast twitch muscle fibers) and endurance (slow twitch muscle fibers).  With long distance swimmers, I may push the technique to a triple drop set to exhaust the slower twitch fibers a bit more.  This pushes the overall reps out a bit higher.

As the athlete improves, there may be some areas that may need to be addressed more specifically.  This is where the need for communication with the sports coach is imperative.  No one knows how the athlete feels better than the athlete, and no one knows how the athlete is performing better than the coach.  Hence, the need for everyone to communicate.

A brief note on post-exercise and training protocol:   In-Pool and Out-of-Pool training is greatly improved with recovery enhancement.  A properly timed sports recovery massage can induce this very effectively.  Everything the coaches and trainers do is meant to be progressive for the athlete, and soft-tissue recovery techniques make a big difference in lowering injury levels and speeding up training recovery time from both tournaments and training activities.

Everyone should be working towards the same goal.  It’s one thing to want maximum performance for the athlete and a good reputation for the coach…But never take the emphasis off of safety.

27 Oct 2015

By John L. Boos,  L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.

A wise man once said, “ You can’t get out of life alive ”. I feel that life is like a sport. You can either watch it from the bleachers or you can get out on the playing field and have some fun. Most people elect to view life from the bleachers. When their health starts to decline, resulting in diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, depression, etc., they start Monday morning quarterbacking. “I should have, I could have, or I would have, but… Some people then blame their doctor or their spouse for letting them get that way.

I recently heard a radio news report stating that studies now indicate that obesity and being overweight contribute to early mortality. For the local mortician, you might say business is picking up. HMO’s are flooded, and the psychotherapy business is going crazy trying to handle the personality flaws from poor self-esteem and depression. Most people write off their physiological decline as a normal response to growing older. That is pure unadulterated garbage!!!

Becoming one year older each year is unchangeable. That’s a no-brainer. However, the rate at which we age is very changeable. This is now a medically proven fact. Getting older is a linear measurement of time spent on earth. Aging is a physiological measurement of what happens to the body as a result of our lifestyle.

What is physiological aging? Premature graying, face wrinkles, and blurred vision may be thought of as aging, but in reality it’s not going to cause high blood pressure, diabetes or depression unless you become worried sick over it. Besides, a little hair dye, plastic surgery and contact lenses can cover it up. But what about the real symptoms of aging? What about the stuff that makes you feel older and act older, until you eventually drag yourself around from doctor to doctor and hospital to hospital, saying to yourself, “ I wish I took better care of myself!” The true aging process leads people to early disabilities, where drug therapy becomes a lazy person’s tool in their quest for a return to normal function. There are pills to stabilize metabolism, pills to reduce body fat, pills to handle diabetes, pills for osteoporosis, pills to regulate blood pressure, pills for cholesterol, pills for increasing energy, even pills for general depression, and all come with considerably negative side effects. These are all symptoms of physiological aging. The truth is, if something isn’t done to reverse these, they will not disappear. Shortly after the symptoms appear, (if nothing is done about it), comes the disease (pathology). For example, too much fat increases gastrointestinal disorders and various cancers. High blood sugar brings about Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol leads to heart disease, high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, low bone density causes osteoporosis, and reduced stress tolerance can generate depression and reduced energy. Doesn’t this sound like we are all doomed to a slow debilitating death? The truth is that most (not all) people that acquire these problems have lifestyles that cultivate these conditions. The pills that the doctor prescribes are the first line of defense. Next the doctor will suggest that we adjust our lifestyle to help the pills work. Notice that the doctor didn’t insist that we change our lifestyle first to see if the pills are even necessary.

There are two other factors of physiological aging that studies show will address and eradicate many of the aforementioned physical problems. They are increased muscle mass and increased strength and power. This has been scientifically proven in a long-term study at Tufts University in Massachusetts by Dr. Bill Evans. The results are published in a comprehensive and easy-to-read book titled, Bio-markers. This book clearly explains how performing strength training exercises, thereby, increasing muscle mass, will dramatically reduce all of the top 10 physiological functions of the typical aging process. Dr. Evans indicates that the average person enters the dysfunctional zone by their early to mid-60’s. If weight training is begun as late as 50 years of age, the zone of dysfunction can be held off till the age of 80 years old. That equates to an extra 20 years of vitality and independence. Can you imagine the incredible benefits of proper strength and muscle building exercise (and I don’t mean walking or aerobics), if it is begun at the ages of 30 or 40… wow!!

I explain many of these anti-aging benefits in more detail at my free lectures. Please keep in touch with my website ( www.boosworld.com ) or call me directly. If you wish to be placed on a lecture mailing list, call me with your address. Exercising to increase one’s vital longevity is a passionate interest of mine.

Remember… if you want to be on the playing field of youth longer, you must build strong muscles. On the flip side, the consequence is early retirement on the bleachers.

25 Oct 2015

By John L. Boos,  L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.

  •   Biomarker 1: Your Muscle Mass
  •   Biomarker 2: Your Strength
  •   Biomarker 3: Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
  •   Biomarker 4: Your Body Fat Percentage
  •   Biomarker 5: Your Aerobic Capacity
  •   Biomarker 6: Your Body’s Blood-Sugar Tolerance
  •   Biomarker 7: Your Cholesterol/HDL Ratio
  •   Biomarker 8: Your Blood Pressure
  •   Biomarker 9: Your Bone Density
  •   Biomarker 10: Your Body’s Ability to Regulate Its Internal Temperature
22 Oct 2015

By John L. Boos, L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.

“Mirror mirror on the wall, why is my body beginning to fall?” For many women, the effects of aging appear to strike around one’s 40th birthday. Clothes and jeans don’t fit the same as they did ten years ago, or even five years ago. They will find more gray hairs and less overall energy…and see a few extra pounds on that scale, amounting to a little less confidence. Forget that dressing room mirror: More hills and fewer curves. A few more wrinkles, a bit less patience.

Women approaching age 40 are embracing a new reality, and that’s aging. Science tells us there’s a bit more body fat and less muscle tissue, a gradual process that begins between the ages of 25 to 30 years old. If nothing is being done to sustain or increase her amount of muscle tissue through strength training and proper exercise, a woman will lose a considerable amount of her youthful lean body tissue – which gives her her shapely figure – by the age of 40. By age 50, she will begin to experience as much as a 10 percent total muscle loss. In exchange for this loss of muscle tissue, a woman gains one pound to a pound and a half of fat each year after 50. In the mirror, she sees she is becoming less and less firm, and more and more flabby.

Muscle is very metabolic in nature. It requires roughly 35 calories per pound each day in order to sustain itself on the body. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even if you’re resting. Conversely, if there is less muscle on the body, then fewer calories are being burned. Those extra calories will be looking for someplace to go. Since the body doesn’t indiscriminately excrete leftover calories, it looks for a place to store them. (This is a natural survival instinct we’ve acquired over thousands of years.) So these leftover calories that remain unburned are held in the body’s storage facilities as adipose tissue, also known as fat.

Let’s look at it this way. At 40 years of age, a woman is at about half her life expectancy of 79 years. Of course, many women live well beyond that. Bear in mind that of the first 40 or 50 years of life, the first 25 were spent in an overall youthful physical state. Science tells us that our lean body mass (which consists of organs, bone and primarily muscle) is at its peak then, and if nothing is done to maintain or build upon that, then lean body mass will slowly decrease in quantity over time. That’s part of the aging process. In accordance with this claim, women approaching 40 years of age have spent only their last 15 years in the degenerative aging process. Genetics will alter the depth and swiftness of aging, but everyone will eventually be affected.

According to Dr. Evans of Tufts University, the first true signs of general aging are loss of muscle tissue and muscle strength. As mentioned previously, loss of muscle is one of the primary causes of one’s negatively changing body shape; and loss of muscle tissue leads to an increase in the amount of overall body fat as well. This ratio of increased body fat to lost muscle tone accelerates at an exponential rate each year after 40. In other words, the appearance of aging from age 30 to age 40 is less dramatic than from age 40 to age 50. Add to this a woman’s natural hormonal changes that occur with age and things really appear to snowball downhill.

But women don’t have to surrender to what seems hopeless, because it isn’t. While we can’t stop the time clock, we can substantially slow down the aging process. I’ve always taught clients that getting older is inevitable, but aging is optional.

Replacing muscle lost from neglect or improper exercise CAN be done successfully. In a nutshell, you must get back what muscle you lost (and hopefully, even more!) in order to turn things around… and they can be turned around!! A woman over 40 can still achieve a beautiful shape.

First, a woman must closely examine her means of exercise. If you are not exercising to increase your muscle tone and therefore your body’s metabolism, then it would be a smart and healthy idea to do so. And, if you are exercising, is it being done properly to increase muscle tissue and improve overall health? The most expeditious and cautious procedure for obtaining and retaining muscle tone is weight training (done with knowledgeable, experienced coaching). Research posted by The Journal of the American Medical Association states that muscle must be under a load of 60% or more of your one rep maximum. This is the same intensity requirement for increasing bone mass if you’ve been diagnosed with low bone density. Keep your goals clear and your progress measurable. Find someone motivating with an atmosphere that is right for you. As always, please attain medical clearance from your doctor before beginning any exercise and strength fitness program.

So, if you’re 40 or over and want to slow down your age-related sluggish metabolism, then take charge of the situation and reclaim your youth. Remember: This is a health issue as well, and you’re worth the effort. Live your life for maximum results.

21 Oct 2015

By John L. Boos, L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.

As the average American matures, the onset of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus increases dramatically. For men and women alike, it seems to spiral up from the age of 30. Women have a higher incidence of adult onset diabetes. This higher incidence in women is due to two factors. One factor is gender related while the other factor is self induced, due to weight management marketing gimmicks and lifestyle. Never the less, sugar intolerance can be a part of the aging process.

With advanced age, the body gradually loses the ability to take up and productively use sugar from the bloodstream. Like high blood pressure, there are no symptoms until it becomes a major problem. As the average American slows down, exercises less and becomes more inactive, there is an increase in body fat and a loss of muscle tissue (sounds a lot like the youth of America as well).

With the induction of weight loss diets that encourage high fat and high protein foods that severely reduce carbohydrates, an acceleration in the loss of muscle tissue occurs. This is because the main fuel source of the brain (the metabolic regulating system) is blood sugar. Fat is a very poor fuel substitute for the brain but muscle tissue isn’t.

Fat can’t be converted to sugar (blood sugar), but muscle tissue can. The process of muscle tissue reduction is sped with the “fat diet” process of reduced carbohydrates. This is where the greatest weight loss occurs–in the combined loss of fat, muscle and water. The bummer here is that muscle loss (sarcopenia) eventually increases the storage of body fat and reduces the muscles sensitivity to insulin.

Let’s take a look at what is taking place. Muscle tissue is the main user of blood sugar (about 70% of the available amount). The less we use this muscle tissue, the less the muscle will take up the blood sugar (blood sugar intolerance). The greater the blood sugar intolerance, the more sugar in the blood. The more blood sugar, the more insulin needed to be pumped out from the pancreas beta cells. Unlike most other cells in the body, they can eventually burn out from overuse leaving people with an impaired ability to manufacture insulin anymore. This condition is called “adult-onset diabetes.”

According to studies by Dr. James W. Anderson of the University of Kentucky, a diet low in fat and high in fibrous carbohydrates has the opposite effect. It can increase muscle cell sensitivity to insulin within two weeks. The effect was even greater when combined with regular workouts. The research further indicated that doing strength-building exercises can increase the capacity of the muscle even more.

The book Bio-Markers, by Tufts University’s Dr. Bill Evans states, “strength-building exercise is a key to regulating glucose metabolism.” This is true, even when body fat is not lowered according to the same publication. In most cases, if not all, the proper low fat-high fibrous carbohydrate diet with muscle building exercise will lower body fat. A low fat-high fibrous carbohydrate diet will cause an increase in lean (muscle) tissue to body fat ratio. This kind of ratio will increase blood sugar uptake.

Studies are one thing, but I’ve personally witnessed these results numerous times. Most recent has been a relatively new client, Josie, who dieted herself with low carbohydrate diets and no strength-building exercises. With this lifestyle, she gradually lost a great deal of muscle tissue. This contributed to her eventual diabetes. Her blood sugar was 450 after her initial visit to her doctor (70- 100 mg. before breakfast being normal). Her doctor prescribed medication which brought her blood sugar down to 170.

Josie decided to further address the situation. She wanted to give weight training a serious try. Her health was becoming a big concern and she wasn’t getting any younger (she is 58 years old). I recommended a twice a week program.

To make a long story short, let me just say that after 4 months of dedicated training, her blood sugar is under 100, her energy level is much higher, she can now ride a bike again (one of her goals) and she lost 37 pounds. What does this prove? It proves that the studies are correct. Josie must still take her medication, but it’s nice to know that health doesn’t stop at the doctor’s office.

We all have the ability to empower ourselves and take charge of our well being. Thanks to modern medicine and good old proper exercise, Josie has her diabetes under control and is a renewed person. How sweet it is!!

20 Oct 2015

By John L. Boos, L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.

You may not believe this, but I can’t stand sounding so downbeat and cynical. I love the feeling of vitality. I love my energy level. I love being able to do things now that I could when I was 20 years younger. I love talking upbeat and positive about healthy living and fitness. Overall, I can be fun and inspiring, but I am also a down-to-earth and practical realist. My article title is a fact that is supported by all of the latest studies and research. As a whole, 55% of the American population is overweight and 35% are obese.

Obesity is defined by a body composition ratio of lean tissue (muscle, bone, blood, etc.) to fat tissue (adipose tissue). This lean tissue to fat tissue comparison is relative to body weight. If you weight 150 pounds and your body fat is calculated to be 25%, then that means of the 150 pounds, 37-1/2 pounds of that is fat. The remainder is un-fat tissue, known as lean tissue.

Approximately ½ of the lean body weight is muscle and the remainders of the lean tissue are bone, blood, liver, lungs, brains, etc. (of an average untrained person). Therefore, our 150-pound person with 25% body fat embodies 112-1/2 pounds of lean tissue, or about 56 pounds of muscle and 56 pounds of other lean tissue. Of course, you must keep in mind that this is an average untrained person (if one exists).

It is obvious that you can only alter the amounts of fat tissue and muscle tissue. Nothing much can be done about the lean tissue that is not muscle, although the function of this tissue can be greatly affected both positively and negatively by varying the percentages of fat and muscle. This is another lecture entirely and requires a bit of time.

Clearly, not all 150-pound people are the same. Suppose you weight 150 pounds and have a 15% body fat. Let’s assume your twin is also 150 pounds, but is 25% body fat. Your body composition would consist of 22-1/2 pounds of body fat, while your twin’s would be 37-1/2 pounds of body fat. That’s a 15 pound difference, yet you both weigh 150 pounds. It’s apparent that unless you have a liver the size of a basketball or the bone structure of a gorilla, you must have 15 more pounds of muscle tissue.

The 150-pound twins may weigh the same, but they look entirely different and wear different clothing sizes. This happens when one has 15 extra pounds of muscle spread out evenly throughout the body, while the other has 15 more pounds of fat around the hips, thighs and waist. It’s a no-brainer which is healthier, better looking in clothes (and out of clothes), has a much higher resting metabolism (where most calories and fat are burned), and has better self-esteem.

Even if your body weight hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years (but chances are it has gone up), you are much fatter than you think, unless you’ve been weight training properly to maintain your muscle tissue. Let me give you some facts about getting older and body composition.

Each decade after the age of 25, the average untrained person loses about 5-7 pounds of muscle tissue.
Each decade after the age of 25, the average untrained person gains 5-10 pounds of fat tissue.
The above muscle and fat tissue quantity changes occur because each decade after the age of 25, the average untrained person’s resting metabolism declines between 2 and 5 percent.

You can be 45 years old and only 10 pounds heavier than you were in your early twenties, or maybe no heavier at all, but things are in no way the same.

Let’s look at the above facts. In the last two decades, you would have lost 10 pounds of muscle tissue because of a slower metabolism due to this muscle tissue loss. There is not enough muscle to burn the fat at rest. Because of this lost fat burning ability, the fat gets stored. (The fact is that all fat must be stored in adipose tissue before being broken down and used in the muscle tissue as fuel.) Hence, you stored 10 pounds of fat in place of the lost 10 pounds of muscle.

If you took up couch potato sports-watching, and added chips and dip, you may have added 10 pounds of additional fat as a bonus. Let’s assume the person who traded 10 pounds of muscle for 10 pounds of fat weighed 150 pounds and had 20% body fat when he was 25 years old. That means this person was carrying a total of 30 pounds of fat. Now that he is older and never trained to maintain his muscle mass, he is now 10 pounds fatter and has 10 pounds less muscle. This results in a 40-pound gain in fat. His previous 20% body fat went up to 26% (26% body fat in a male is considered obese). His body weight stayed the same, but his metabolism dropped, sugar intolerance increased, muscle strength decreased, endurance went down, and the body took an overall giant step toward aging. Let me also add, his clothes don’t fit the same.

The real truth is that most people pack on a lot more fat because they’re engaging in the wrong type of exercise and diet. My advice to the masses is to step off the scale and step in front of a mirror. If you want to lose excess fat, do it right and keep it off. Get your body fat checked regularly. Get a physical by an M.D. and an assessment of your condition by an educated, experienced exercise instructor. Be sure to get the coaching you need to succeed. Life is a gift. Don’t abuse it by wishful thinking. Embrace it with passion!