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Preventing Muscle Loss as We Age (nytimes.com)
449 points by hvo 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 326 comments





I always like to show this picture as an example.

https://i.imgur.com/ZcDedfo.jpg

I don't have an original source but it shows a MRI leg scan comparison between a 40yo triathlete, a sedentary 70yo and a 70yo triathlete.

The picture tells the story...


Most people have no idea I'm 41, and instead think I'm in my 30s. Balding and grey hair show I'm not in my 20s ;) My 'secret' is I workout every single day. I might do heavy weight training, sled pushing, surfing, or a spin class. It doesn't matter as long as I do something physically challenging. I also follow an 80/20 rule on eating paleo-ish. Mainly I try to avoid processed foods, but I'll still eat a pizza or good sandwich - just not all the time. Most meals consist of meat/dairy and veggies.

If I'm fortunate enough to live into old age, I don't plan to stop exercising. It's part of what gets me out of bed every morning.


Counterpoint: my wife and I are well into our 40s yet often mistaken for being much younger. Being significantly overweight gives us nice smooth wrinkle free skin.

People's idea of what "over forty" looks like is just a caricature, fed by confirmation bias.

Really? I'd guess "wrinkles" would be more determined by sun damage, or the sort of flappiness body-mass loss that happens after >60yrs, or people who yo-yoed weight.

Maybe people who exercise tend to get more sun damage...


Wrinkles are usually minimized/prevented by proper hydration/moisturization. MSM lotion topically, for example, and antioxidants (like MSM + silicon/monomethylsilanetriol + vitamin C) internally.

Sagging is usually caused by collagen breakdown damaging ligaments, tendons, etc. Progesterone is associated with collagen maintenance. Wrinkles are usually due to loss of fat/water or maybe collagen.

Basic prevention routines can delay wrinkles for a long time.

Many who take higher amounts of vitamin A (20 IU : 10 IU : 2 mcg+ palmitate : D3 : MK-4) aren't wrinkled, though there's still sagging. Progesterone, whether taken directly or kept in range indirectly, has a similar effect.


Do you have some sorces to back that up? It reads like you looked in to this a lot.

A fat round face has less creases where winkles might form.

I have a genetic disorder. I'm quite convinced that one of the reasons I frequently get read as years younger than I am is due to my ears and nose being starved of nutrients and thereby growing slower than average.

In spite of being prematurely grey, I have a "button nose" and cute ears for a 53 year old.

There's lots of details that influence perception of age.


Fat, natures dermal filler!

You're guaranteed to look younger if you lose weight. Source: the waistline of middle-aged people in your office

I guarantee that if I lose weight my nice round cheeks will drop into jowls making me look a lot older.

I'll certainly look better, but older.

Of course the jowls are going to happen anyways, but losing weight would accelerate the process.


I don’t do paleo or low carb or any fancy diet besides eating plenty of protein and calories.

The key for me is regular, heavy strength training. I exercise 3-6 days a week, all compound lifts, at high weight/moderate (3-7) reps.

More than just managing my physique, I find it immensely helpful for my mental health and general well-being.

I’m not the biggest or most shredded guy in the gym, but the focus on strength keeps me from obsessing with aesthetics, while everyone who knows me has still noticed the changes to my physique.

My point in all this is that exercise and sufficient calories is more important than following a specific diet, and that it’s been a solution in multiple dimensions of my life. I heartily recommend it to all my friends.


I can't handle more than 3 days a week at the gym. I do my main lifts only once a week or I don't recover, but I am still getting stronger on my program. I have been lifting for more than a decade though.

I do cardio and lift on the same day, I also can't run every day or I don't feel great.

On off days, I just walk and do minor accessory stuff. Can't imagine lifting like this every day.


I believed I was susceptible to overtraining for most of my life. N=1 and all that, but I made an effort to consume more protein and switched to a higher volume program and have had much better results (and I bike to work ever day).

One important aspect is that I de-load every couple of weeks when the volume starts to really wear on me. (I’m also vegetarian.) Most of my “program” is from Charles Poliquin’s writings.


I thought I was, too, until I committed to 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. After maybe a month of this I completely stopped being sore and it was tremendously beneficial to my overall health, even years after I dialed it down (2 hours got to be too much). I get sore now after working out but I no longer have the back, neck, and hand pain I used to have.

It depends on what training do you do and your personal recovery capabilities. You can do 7 days a week low intensity (in sense of resistance, not necessary cadence) cardio, no problem, but I don't know anyone who do can do high intensity weight training (as Mike Mentzer's and Arthur Jones defined it) that often and for that long.

What kind of training do you do, which exercises? I'm mainly asking because I too want to avoid "back, neck and hand pain" as I get older.

How much are you eating? I used to have similar troubles with recovery until I realized that I just wasn’t eating nearly enough to train at the volume I was. For me, adding two cups of Greek yogurt and a protein shake every day (so roughly 500 calories and 50 grams of protein over what I was eating before) made an enormous difference.

I am eating 90 grams of protein @ 190 lbs body-weight with a pretty low fat %.

Way too low. Try doubling it (not kidding). If you’re worried about calories, reduce your carbs.

Everything I read says .5 - .75g protein / lb of bodyweight for lifters. Maybe I will do more research.

Your number may (may) be a bit low but the number I settled on after researching it extensively was 1g / lb of lean mass.

Yeah, that tends to be around the consensus.

This is what my strength coach recommends.

More anecdata: I aim for 125g per day, 1800 calory target, at 138 lbs/5’ 5” and can lift strong every day. I usually take a “rest” week (calisthenics and 3-7 miles of walking) every other month when I travel somewhere.

That seems crazy high to me, but maybe I am just too used to my own thing and should try upping it.

It depends on your goals. I’m trying to gain muscle. 90 isn’t bad for maintenance in my case. Some folks would say I’m low as the recommendation is as high as 1.1g of protein per lb to gain.

as others have said, that does seem pretty low. I am 220lbs (tallish at 202 cm) and was eating about 120g. When I increased it to 175g I found my recovery was much better and and even though I was increasing my weekly distances (I run ultras for fun!), I wasnt getting any nagging overuse injuries. I try to get most of my protein from food rather than powders, but found it hard not to cheat a bit with whey, hemp and pumpkin in the mornings mixed in with my coco-puffs :)

Protein powder is essentially powdered milk. I don't think you can really 'cheat' with it, it's just 'food' :)

Random pro-tip: unflavoured whey powder goes into just about anything (and is 150% less gross than I thought it was before I tried it).


I get the unflavored whey too, and personally, I can be quite mercenary / practical about my food when I need to :) But I am a bit suspicious as to the bio-availability of these powders. Are the proteins really as good (or even good enough) as compared to actual food sources ? Quality also seems to vary immensely from what I have read. My intuition tells me 30g of protein from chicken breast and not the "restructured" stuff which is jacked with soy[1] is probably better than 30g of whey.

1 https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/marketplace-chicken-fast-fo...


Yeah, way too low. Shoot for at least 0.8g / lb.

I think I personally handle high volume well genetically, but I also haven’t been lifting as long and am probably moving a lot less weight than you are.

(For context, my squat max is 335, and my deadlift max is 405. Not bad, but nothing near competitive.)


> My point in all this is that exercise and sufficient calories is more important than following a specific diet, and that it’s been a solution in multiple dimensions of my life.

Completely agree, hence I said -ish. I'm not Paleo, but it's probably the closest to what I normally eat. Lots of veggies and protein with high quality carbs and limited 'junk' (I also almost completely stopped eating sweets). I view diet as something you can do your entire life, and I've settled on something that I can easily follow and enjoy.


At which age did you start to lift?

I’m 29 now. I started lifting at 26, but finally got proficient and rigorous about a year ago. The biggest key was learning to eat more because my body’s metabolism was low because I wasn’t eating enough. I went from a 2000 calorie maintenance to 3000 in about 6 months.

Did you find it hard to increase your calorie intake? This is something I've been struggling with for a while. Especially since I don't deal well with lactose getting in enough calories and protein can be a bit daunting.

What are your "trick foods" that contain a good amount of calories but are good to eat?


> What are your "trick foods" that contain a good amount of calories but are good to eat?

Cheese! Parmesan is 50% protein and 50% fat by weight. Almost all soups and stews can be improved in taste and calories by adding enough coconut oil


Peanut butter snacks during the day. I used to set alarms that would go off during the day. When they went off, I'd pull out a jar of PB and eat a few spoonfuls with crackers.

Second dinner. Eat your first dinner early, and then eat a lunch sized snack right before bed. When I was gaining, this usually consisted of a turkey or roast beef sandwich.

Know that I was almost never hungry. I ate on a schedule, and tracked everything I ate.


I think there are protein sources that work well for lactose intolerant people (soy, pea, etc?). I'm not well versed in them but google it up, protein is key for staying in a positive nitrogen balance. If you're looking to gain nothing is as efficient as a scoop or two of your most important macro.

I struggle to eat enough calories as meals, so I make "fat shakes". Obviously you're gonna want to adapt this to your personal preferences, but: coconut milk and protein powder as your base, a little sweetener (stevia, sukrin), a litte salt, one avocado, a bit of peanut butter, and a banana if you're feeling wild.

I eat keto-ish... Olive oil, ghee, and coconut oils are all hugely calorie rich and can easily be snuck into food. Hellamns mayo is 700+ calories per 100g, so slathering it on some broccoli can quickly make up any caloric gap :)


You should know that exercising a bunch and jamming more food into your system IS NOT the "healthiest" option, if life span is your goal.

Calorie restriction IS perhaps the healthiest route, if you are mainly interested in living longer. Feeling better is harder to quantify. The "TLDR" is: Exercise moderately, and find the minimal amount of calories you can consume without feeling like shit. That's the optimal balance.

The unfortunate reality is that often the "healthiest" path in life, doesn't FEEL the best. I felt my best lifting 3-4x a week, running, and eating 3600-3900 calories per day. I was constantly full, but felt like I had tons of physical and mental energy. Alas, plenty of research has been done on the effects of large calorie diets EVEN WHEN CONTROLLED FOR WEIGHT. Large calories = bad.

If you're interested, here's a good place to start:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2686342/


Perhaps, but no study has yet shown that calorie restriction actually extends human life. It works on lab animals. Given that human lifespans are already relatively long it will take many years to gather reliable data.

Controlling for weight isn't meaningful if you're not also controlling for body composition.

You make an interesting point. I glanced over the article and I’m curious: is weight a sufficient proxy for activity/lean body mass? The anecdata I have of athletes generally supports longevity and health, whether training strength or long distance exercise.

It was hard! Here’s where the “eat clean” obsession breaks down for me. Gummy bears and chips balanced with plenty of protein works great for me.

1. Gummy bears. 500 calories a pack. (Usually before or after a workout)

2. Fritos, 1500 calories a bag.

3. Chicken breast and eggs - high protein and good fats from the eggs I can afford on a grad student stipend.

4. Natural peanut butter. This and other nut butters are key.

5. Whole milk.

Past a certain amount of carbs, I feel like they make me bloated, so it’s easier for me to use fats and some junk food to get the rest of calories in.


Some folks are able to lift heavy weights frequently, and that's awesome. I'm jealous. But here's a comment directed at people who've tried that and hurt themselves.

For years I tried to lift heavy. Big compound barbell lifts. In my early 20s it was OK, but by 30 I started hurting myself. I always warmed up fully, but kept tearing things. I tried eating more, eating better, more recovery, everything I could think of.

Finally I gave up on doing 1 rep max lifts, or even 3-5 reps 90% 1RM. Now I do very high repetition workouts. I'm talking warm up sets at 20-30 reps, "work" sets at 10-20, with a minimum of 5 sets, with limited rest between. I focus on every rep - focus on feeling the muscle contract, and focus on thinking about moving blood to the contracted muscle. I try to go to failure every set but the first.

Sounds goofy, but it's been a game changer for me. I don't hurt myself, and I look much bigger/better than ever before. I'm not sure if I'm really "stronger" since I don't lift heavy anymore - but I've added pounds of muscle so I wager I am.

Point is - a lot of folks get huge mileage out of lifting heavy. I wish I was one of them. For those of use who, for whatever reason, don't have the body type to handle it. High rep workouts are the next best thing!


You're doing good, form is better than just lifting heavy. It's counter-productive, you hurt something and then laid up for weeks in recovery. I hurt my shoulder lifting heavy and it took me months to get to even half of what I was lifting earlier. I've been lifting for 22 of my last 40 years, so know how/what to lift, but sometimes all it takes is a small mistake to throw you off. Focus on a comfortable weight and slowly add 5 pound increments from there, never compromising on form.

> Finally I gave up on doing 1 rep max lifts

I never understood why people focus on 1 RM lifts. They're obviously a huge strain on your body and there's literally no benefit for the vast majority of lifters. Good to hear you found a good template that works for you though, often people just give up on lifting.


I've had to start doing the same after turning 40, more 20-30 rep sets, no more 5 reps. I just ended up injuring myself too many times by pushing my max too much.

The other thing that seems to help is warming up - working up instead of down. I start with lower weight and work up to my max over several sets, rather than what I used to do, start at my max and only drop when I couldn't lift it anymore.


Lifting to optimize hypertrophy usually involves medium-heavy weights at significantly higher volumes. More along the lines of 5x12s instead of 5x5s.

In my experience, working out in the 90-100% range is Evil Magic. It works for a while so you think "Hooray, I'm stronger than I've ever been" and you enjoy posting heroic numbers. Then it stops working and becomes all about demonstrating strength rather than building it.

It sounds a lot like you've reinvented bodybuilding with your protocol. You're probably not actually stronger in a strict 1RM sense than you were before, but you may well be healthier and you sound happy, so why worry?

If you occasionally threw in a peaking protocol and worked your way back up to the 90% range you'd probably be beastly; the trick is not to stay there.


Lifting-wise, age is a game changer for most.

If you want to train low rep after 30 you have to do just 1 big lift per training session, and no more than 3-4 sessions per week.

A related problem is that low rep lifting burns little calories (training volume is not much) but requires quite a surplus to recover. So, as your metabolism decreases with age, it tends to make you fat.

After 40 anything below 8 reps is too low and most exercises should be done between 8-12 reps for big lifts and 12-15 reps for small lifts.

Also, unless you need to demonstrate low rep strength, as long as you increase the weight in the bar, you will get stronger.


Everyone who trains for strength is just one injury away from losing months and perhaps even years of work.

Training for muscle is a much more sustainable long term strategy.


90% or 1rep routines don't work well for natural lifters, every body has different composition so you need to find what works best for you, following the routines of enhanced builders is sure to give you only frustration and injuries. Same with bulking-cutting, it's hard to lose 15% of body fat without losing muscle as a natty, not impossible but not in 8 weeks as you see in training videos.

I'm quantitatively motivated, and almost never have access to a spotter, so I usually get my 1RM "fix" by calculating/extrapolating by using a lower weight and counting number of reps until near-failure.

Something like this helps: https://exrx.net/Calculators/OneRepMax


The total volume you lift with higher rep rqnges may be much higher than with high weight and low reps, hence you get bigger ;)

That's very interesting. I've frequently had to take time off lifting due to injuries, many of which never really relax properly. Eg a tense spot on my back I'm still having massage/physio done on.

Do you do barbells lifts at high rep, or other things? Also, how many days a week do you do it and for how long?


Barbells and dumbbells and bodyweight stuff. I load the bar very lightly. For example, for shoulder press I am usually putting 10 pounds on either side of a 45lb bar.

For deadlifts I do 20-30 reps at 105-145


Have you looked into Starting Strength (the book and the program)? It goes ridiculously anatomical in order to address the most common injuries uncoached weightlifters experience.

Yeah, I've gone through some of it. Helpful, I was waiting until I got my current back injuries fixed before trying to apply it. I don't think I can squat correctly while a certain spot is tight - have tried.

It did help me get closer to the proper position though.


If you just do some exercise regularly and eat halfways right you are already way ahead of 90% of the population . It always amazes me to learn that a lot of people do absolutely nothing.

Exactly. This is why I do it everyday - it becomes a habit. I wake up and work out. No different than brushing my teeth.

You do that on empty stomach? Serious question, it's my main difficulty with morning workout.

Yes. You get used to it. I get up and only drink water. I have a protein shake after my workout. I also do not have any caffeine prior because I want to learn to operate with and without.

I think many people are took quick to not push through something that is just a little uncomfortable. For example, a healthy person doing a short fast (24/48 hours) once in awhile teaches you what it feels like to really be hungry, know that feeling goes away, and know you can operate just fine.


I think the big bad habit is not doing what you do, ie no caloric intake before training. Most people who try sneaking a quick snack before training, or break their fasts with milk in their coffee/tea, and then eat breakfast after training. It's just not the same.

Once you start eating your body wants more food. Eat nothing before training and you're still in warrior mode.


I've found that what I can do - immediately - in the morning depends on exercise intensity:

Running/swimming/cycling: anything at or around low aerobic threshold (Friel HR zones 1, 2, or 3)

Strength: Endurance-focused compound primary exercises (e.g. squats, deadlifts); any form of auxiliary exercises (planks, bicep curls, etc.)

Anything more than that and I need to wait at least 2-3 hours after waking up (e.g. cardio in Friel zones 4, 5a, 5b, 5c or max-strength-focused primary compound exercises.)


I would feel some gut "pinch" when I would run after eating something -- more like a mild cramp on my left side. Once I stopped eating before a run, the "cramp"s have gone away, and I can go ~5mi going at a moderate (11min/mi) pace.

Not the person you were replying to, but I'm a morning workout person (mostly weightlifting but also some cardio-type stuff). Yeah, empty stomach. For weightlifting I may have a protein shake with just enough water and almost always a banana and that's it. Doesn't bother me. I'm not sure if it's optimal (or if I could even tell what is optimal) but weights are still heavy and I still make progress so I'm happy with it.

I do the majority of my training fasted (ie 8-14 hours since last I ate). I used to struggly wildly with working out before breakfast, but with some experience now I think training fasted is definitely superior [for my own needs, N=1, #YouDoYou].

Not only is it not uncomfortable, I feel _way_ better before/during/after working out.

Firstly: the food in your mouth is not used for your workout. You work out with food already digested and put in your muscles. Our biology is not precious, jungle-warrior neanderthals did turn into skeletal waifs if accidentally they hunted before noon without a BCAA-rich recovery shake. Nothing about morning training is energy, it is all habit, comfort, and hormones.

The primary issue, for most people (including me earlier), is that they train "before breakfast" and not "fasted". Important distinction. Hunger (and the hormone that causes it), comes in manageable 20-30 minute waves. If you do nothing it will pass. Most people take a banana, or some milk in their coffee, or a "little snack" before trainin. That breaks the fast. That is "break-fast", and it starts your body expecting food. So if you don't break your fast, you aren't exciting those hormones and insulin, so your body is ready to roll focused on the task at hand.

Secondarily is hormones. When you are fasted your body makes lots of great focus hormones. It also gives you extra HGH. Training also delivers HGH. Training additionaly delivers bombs of happy-hormones, and go-rip-the-world-a-new-one hormones. If you're fasted, you are more sensitive to those hormones, meaning you feel better. If you're fasted your low insulin also lets your body get as much fat-energy as it needs, so your energy levels can be amazing.

Outside of that is simple comfort and habit. The time your body expects food, the "engrained eating time", is adaptable. Having a lower baseline insulin, and a lower-carb diet, that minimizes "hangry" feelings and snack cravings will also be a huge help. Combine the two and you've got a recipe for insanely fun work outs with no hunger issues and better energy than otherwise.

Black coffee, water, and nothing caloric before training. It's night and day :)


Is L-carnitine allowed with that black coffee ?

Late reply, but:

I take my daily L-carnitine during my feeding window at night.

There are different levels of fast, for most people most of the time (ie those looking for weight loss), taking a pill during the fast should be just fine (as long as you're under 30-50 calories).

That said, personally I do not like taking pills during my fast, as it will wake my stomach up and cause some hunger. Same thing with gum and stuff, but that's all individual preference :)


Focus on getting your body used to expending energy without recent consumption. Practice intermittent fasting until you can go easily 14+ hours without food and still have energy. Once you force your body to reach that point you'll find that there's no problem working out on an empty stomach. Heck at this point I've got some PRs while 22 hours in to a fast (straight lifting, cardio's a no go by that point).

Not sure why the downvotes... Everything said here is true, and scientifically proven.

Ramadan is a widely held fasting period that impacts millions of lives, many of whom train power/strength/endurance while fasted under the conditions described above. This has been studied in depth, with oodles of peer-verified and unequivocal real-world data showing it's totally possible and not noticeably harmful (technically, the studies show it to me mildly beneficial...). In a training context the hormonal boosts are impressive and much more noticeable while fasted.

Your body has a learned point where it expects food. That learned point can be moved through habit. Humans, and mammals in general, are meant to thrive in the wild. Our physicalities are not precious. We do not turn into Gremlins if we are not fed before 10:00AM.

Not a week ago I did a mountain trek that streched 6 hours past expected. At 9:30PM, at the tail end of an unplanned 30 hour fast, after a 10 hour 500 vertical meter hike (with a kid on my shoulders!), I was so over-energized I had to take a jog to wind-down. Hunger and energy are much more about habits than we've been raised to understand.


Pre-workout Carbs and Protein are linked to better, harder workout performances.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23846824

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19997003


Every saturday morning, I do some running, on empty stomach. Last week, I ran 10 kilometers. I don't do much sport (swimming pool twice a week, tai chi once a week, running once a week). Nothing intensive, just endurance. ((I do all of that not to stay young but because I have other pathologies that would progress without that).

You may also get used to it. I used to always exercise at night but a few years ago I switched to morning and now I can't exercise at night anymore.

Not the same person either but black coffee or green tea are also a great pre workout drink

Do you have children?

I used to run or cycle at least 5 days a week but since my daughter was born (and stopped being an infant) it is a struggle to keep a regular exercise regimen.

I try to run with her in a jogging stroller when I can but this is much more susceptible to foul weather than when I could just adjust my own clothing.


I do and it can be tough to balance without time management. But I've long since become a morning workout person and during the week I just get my workout in before everyone is awake. My gym is not too far away either and at 5:30 in the morning there isn't much in the way of traffic so I am there in no time. I also have a bike trainer for when it's nasty out.

Go to sleep early, ideally same time as your daughter, then wake up early. While she still sleeps you have time for yourself.

One practical tip: join a gym with an indoor pool and sign your daughter up for swimming lessons as soon as she's old enough. Then you'll have 30 minutes twice a week to exercise yourself.

No kids, but I know people who do have them. If you have the space, get a power rack and you can do workouts when you have the time. If you don't have the space, there are tons of body weight workouts. You can also get kettle bells. The point is to do something physical every day.

And yes, life can cause exercise to suffer. Kids, work, etc... will throw curve balls. Do what you can, and keep the fire going. Maintain until you get back to going hard.


I do and workout nearly every day. You just have to find the time. It's not always easy, but we find time for the things that are important to us.

Kids make exercise during the week a struggle.

If I had kids I don't think I could afford losing the energy boost exercise gives me, for their sake.

Not to mention the huge benefit of kids seeing their parents exercise. My 6 year old asked to go for a "run" with me last night, so we ran a ~500m loop together before I went off on my own. We both really enjoyed it :)

It's a bit tougher with kids but not much tbh (obviously it's harder if you're a single parent). You just have to do it in the morning before they get up, after they go to bed, or during lunch hour.

If you are chasing after your kids you are doing more than enough exercise.

I can't tell if you're joking or not but this is not close to being true. See for example the millions of obese parents in North America.

edit: to expand, it's unlikely you're getting your heart rate elevated to see much improvement in your cardiovascular system or doing much of any resistance training.


Thats because those millions of obese parents mostly sit on their couch, play video games and drive kids around. Start actually chasing them.

I started to run to work and back, and during the weekend to run before anyone else at home wakes up.

Are you on your own? Can't you run after she goes to bed?

Most of my meals are meat too but I'm now just realizing how bad processed meat are for me, let alone cancer risk from red meat. I try to get local sourced meat nowadays and am going days where I eat vegetarian protein sources. Also my vegetables are from my garden or organic from farmer markets, farmer co-ops. Also weening myself off dairy and added/artificial sugar.

It's crazy how much optimal nutrition affects your well-being as you age and the sooner you fix your diet, the better you'll feel.


In similar state here - working out almost daily, weekends are reserved for mountains in whatever form (that's actually one of my motivations to work out - to enjoy adventures however difficult they might be ,and be as safe as possible).

Having to stop working out, either due to illness, injury or some obscure travelling makes me almost depressed, not only because of the drop experienced once coming back to gym. It is just a great feeling to be fit, even when I count in almost constant slight muscle ache from workouts. I stopped using massages to work on those muscle bumps/knots on the back - no point getting rid of them when I put them back in 2-3 days.

But I do have rest days, usually when my quads become semi-useless (having 1 hour brisk walk is still a rest day). I can't push on every single day so usually have 1 rest day per week, or injuries will come (usually in form of stretched ligament or tendon pain).

What I don't like in the article is universal recommendation of eating more proteins - there are some sources which are not OK to consume long-term, ie predatory fish like salmon or tuna. Quality of the meats in general is important (no growth hormones/antibiotics).

And generally, eat much more vegetables, again good quality. There are tons of benefits.


> I stopped using massages to work on those muscle bumps/knots on the back - no point getting rid of them when I put them back in 2-3 days.

I spend a few minutes per day rolling my back out with a hard foam roller: https://www.decathlon.co.uk/hard-foam-roller-id_8484814.html

As good as a massage for getting knots out, and great for thoracic mobility.

> Quality of the meats in general is important (no growth hormones/antibiotics)

I'm all for restricting antibiotics in livestock on the grounds of bacterial resistance, but are you claiming that they somehow alter the quality of the meat itself and/or impact your own health?


Bacterial resistance in animals is a topic on its own (which I believe will bite us back in not-so-far future), and I don't believe for a second that the chemicals cattle is fed don't end up in the final meat on the plate in substantial concentration. There is no magical process that somehow removes them from deep tissue.

Now somebody can claim consuming animal growth hormones or strong antibiotics regularly can do you no harm, but I wouldn't believe this person. I prefer to not be part of long running experiments involving few billions of involuntary participants.

Quality of the meat, at least taste-wise, is probably unaffected by these. Much higher effect has caging/free range/wild, shocks and stress animal has to go through life, particularly at its very violent end.


I think I look OK for 47. I've been lifting 4 times a week since I turned 40, mostly on 5/3/1 but lately on some bespoke programming. It's all based around the 4 big lifts, and after doing some amateur strongman competitions I occasionally add an events day as well.

A good age to start topical pregnenolone + DHEA (5 mg : 5 mg), iodine protocol, selegiline, or anything else that maintains vitality. And a multivitamin, D + K, and chelated/TRAACS magnesium supplement.

Do you have any info on pregnenelone and DHEA I could read up on?


> My 'secret' is ...

But how do you know if that is indeed the secret? (What if you looked even younger - less gray hair, say - if you didn't work out?)


>(What if you looked even younger - less gray hair, say - if you didn't work out?)

Because that makes no sense given everything we know about exercise and a healthy diet?


What supplements do you take? Topical DMSO + magnesium ascorbyl magnesium phosphate is said to sometimes reverse balding. There are nutrients/vitamins/minerals associated with reversed greying.

Vitamin D3, vitamin K2 MK-4, iodine/iodide, chelated/TRAACS magnesium, topical pregnenolone + DHEA (5 mg : 5 mg), nicotinamide riboside + pterostilbene, selegiline, MSM + silicon (monomethylsilanetriol) + vitamin C, astaxanthin..

MSM lotion (face and body)..


I take Krill Oil and Creatine. For everything else I just try to eat a lot of varying foods.

I don't mind balding or greying so...


It's recommended that iodine/iodide (1,000 mcg+; add 200 mcg L-selenomethionine when taking higher amounts) and vitamin E (2 IU/g) are added when supplementing PUFAs. Iodide/Iodine binds with double bonds making the structure less prone to oxidation and vitamin E counters oxidation.

Most don't get enough vitamin D (and magnesium) even if eating well. 40-60 ng/mL 25(OH)D is a commonly preferred range.


Balding and grey hair show I'm not in my 20s ;) I’m in my mid 40s also. I have a simple solution for that. When I’m interviewing, I’m completely clean shaven - head and all.

Luckily, seeing a Black guy with a bald head by choice is not unusual.

As far as working out everyday, I can’t do it. It’s just not in me. I need down time. I work out hard for about 150 minutes 3 days a week. According to the machines I’m burning around 1600 calories per workout. High resistance on the elliptical, high incline on the treadmill.


Bro... 150 minutes, 3 times a week? You're alreday on the G.D. ironman regime, using extra time, and doing it in a grueling fashion aimed at leaving you depleted, too. No wonder you don't have daily time!

I don't know what your goals are, but: getting slim is 95% diet... Sourcing calories from diet is almost always cheaper than on a treadmill. Seriously. Generally slow and steady is the way to get it done, too much too fast makes rebounds. Low-impact exercise with constant wear is also a lot for joints...

Lifting heavy weights is much better at burning fat than cardio. It builds fat-burning muscle, and increases your fat burning across every hour for a long period post-workout. It's hormonally optimal with avout 45 minutes of effort. 3 x 45min would save you over 5 HOURS of gym time every single week. You could learn Chinese in half a year with that kind of investment. Smart training means smart recovery, so the goal should be feeling worked, but never drained. Weight lifting can do that well.

Grinding ourselves down in the gym is a moral desire, but athletic development is about simple progressive stress and recovery.


It’s not a grind. It’s mostly resistance training that I do at home while just catching up on TV, listening to podcasts, or watching tutorial videos. It’s really relaxing.

Also, that’s a reduction from what I use to do. In another life I was a part time fitness instructor and between classes, training for runs, and my own weight workouts, I was exercising more than 10 hours a week.

You’re right. When people use to ask me how to lose weight, I would tell them it’s mostly diet. But I know myself. I’ve never been consistent about my diet but I like to exercise. I never cared about slim. Three days a week gives me the other four days to relax.


Curious about your breakdown between heavy lifting vs. cardio. I find that I can't do more than 4x/week of heavy lifting, so I've been trying to run (or something else) on the remaining 3 days.

Recovery is a thing, but I find most of us non-athletes as a job can do way more than we think. I lift heavy 3-4 times/week. Cardio 2-3 days/week. Sometimes I might lift heavy at 6am and then do cardio at 6pm depending on my schedule.

If I show up at the gym and really feel lacking, I do a different muscle group. If I show up to the gym and I'm supposed to do bench, but I'm hurting - squat instead. Squats struggling? Do a pull up workout (I'm trying to get to 500 pull ups in a single workout). Whole upper body hurt? Push the sled around. Or do a full body weight workout which acts more as an active recovery.

There are a limitless amount of things that can be done.


I think you need to factor age in as well. Recovery is a lot easier in your 20's.

I'm in my 40s. Too often people use a 'recovery day' to just skip the gym. Life throws enough curve balls, that few of us need a scheduled recovery day.

You're doing better than me then :-) I do 4 days of heavy lifts a week, and the other days are rest days. I don't schedule deload weeks though, as life causes those (work crunches, colds, family holidays etc).

> I find that I can't do more than 4x/week of heavy lifting

To quote Mark Rippetoe (it's likely in the article somewhere on his site, but I primarily consume his advice via podcast), "you don't get strong in the gym (as you mainly tear muscle in the gym) - you get strong when you sleep and recover".

Have you tried just upping your sleep?


How many grams of protein do you consume? Trying to eat the recommended amount (0.5 - 1.0 g / lb-bodyweight) seems like a lot of effort at first, but has amazing effects on recovery, especially for resistance exercise.

This formula is meant for fat-free body weight which most people forget to tell.

by "fat-free body weight", do you mean people that have a low body percentage already?

recovery is a thing. I also lift heavy 4x/week.

The picture is taken from this study: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3810/psm.2011.09.1933 (use Sci-Hub if you do not belong to an institution paying for access)

The fallacy in this article is as follows:

(quote) "A cross-section of 40 high-level recreational athletes (“masters athletes”) who were aged 40 to 81 years and trained 4 to 5 times per week underwent tests of health/activity, body composition, quadriceps peak torque (PT), and magnetic resonance imaging of bilateral quadriceps."

The 81 yr old that trains 4-5x (!) a week is a lot more special than the 40 yr old (that's my hypothesis at least). Thus any regression is spurious, since we are sampling from different quantiles! So you don't know anything about the correlation with age.

I'm not disputing that training 4-5x a week keeps muscles strong and the body lean, but it's hardly prescriptive. It's like winning the lottery will make you richer when you retire.

I've tried to reach the authors about this when the article came out, but alas. A letter to the editor in a to me unknown journal seemed not the best use of my time. I've even got code demonstrating the fallacy with quantile regression ;)


Huh. Well let's assume causality points in only one direction, genetics->tissue->ability, then I'm screwed and there's nothing I can do about it. Let's assume that it at least points partially in the other direction, ability->tissue, now I can keep my tissue healthy by exercising.

Since I don't know for sure which direction causality points, I'm going to take the path of maximal self-determinism and try to stay fit as long as possible.


The paper's discussion contains this statement:

In addition, studying masters athletes partially limits the applicability of these data to the general population of aging adults who do not aggressively exercise 4 to 5 times per week.

It's unfortunate that such a statement won't make it into popular treatments, but the paper doesn't get very far out over its skis.


My point is they are not sampling from genpop And they are sampling Different populations with age rising. I've met quite a few fit 60 yr olds, but have never seen a that fit 80 yr old.

Your criticism is spot on. Separately, though, there is a growing community of people using weight training on older folks. It seems incredibly effective. Check out The Barbell Prescription by the Starting Strength folks if you’re interested.

Training 4-5x a week is within your control. Winning the lottery is not.

I get up every weekday morning at 5 to 6am to do a spin or group fitness class and lift 1 to 2 times per week Arnold superset style. I'm loving this lifestyle. (I guess the gym being Equinox helps.)


> Training 4-5x a week is within your control.

That may not be true for a large proportion of people in their 80s.


Those in their 80s have nothing but free time. Of course they won't have the energy to train 4-5x a week if they have been sedentary the last half of their life.

Maybe they can start with 1-2x and then work their way up to 4-5x after awhile.

I agree with jmull here. In my personal opinion things like intermittent fasting might be a lot more broadly applicable to the elderly than exercising 4x a week or becoming a triathlete.


Thank you! I couldn't come up with a reputable source on reverse image search to figure out if it's fake or not.

Yeesh. That's a great visual. I'm a sedentary software engineer... gotta make some changes. It reminds me of the cancer slides in the "How Not to Die" talk https://youtu.be/7rNY7xKyGCQ?t=780 which is partly why I'm now vegan.

Dr Greger and its undisclosed vegan agenda using cherry picked or wrongly interpreted studies to push it.

Would you consider adding to the discussion by presenting meta-studies showing meat is not carcinogenic?

That's not how things work. A study can only prove something was not carcinogenic during the study. It cannot prove it's not carcinogenic [period]. The other way around works: if a study shows something was carcinogenic during the study, it proved it's carcinogenic [period]. All of this assumes properly conducted studies.

On the other hand studies proved UV rays are carcinogenic [0]. Assuming knowing meat is carcinogenic turns you into a vegetarian let me know how you'd approach getting out of the house from now on.

[0] https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/radiation-exposu...


That's quite the comparison, considering one of those is practically impossible to do and would have a lot of negative consequences in other areas.

Whereas the other is doable (as evidenced by the existence of vegans) AND has a lot of other positive consequences (environmental, moral).

Most definitions of veganism include something like "reduce suffering as far as possible and practicable". It's not absolute.

Of course, another objection to your comparison is that it suggests if we cannot remove ALL bad things, we ought not to do anything.


I replied to a comment asking to "prove a negative". Either due to poor understanding of how it works or to skew the answer in their favor.

But to the point, you could wear sunscreen. But you consider that to be too much of a hassle even when risking cancer.

And no, that's not what my comparison was suggesting. What I tried to say clearly (not just suggest) is that if you live and die by studies than don't cherry pick. Don't ask for studies only when it suits you and it supports your point of view.

In the end it's mostly personal preference. No study said "moderate meat consumption will cause cancer" yet people are willing to skew the conclusions to better justify a personal choice. Just give up meat if you feel like it and use the study as additional justification if needed. Don't go waving studies to justify your choice but put them aside when they don't.


It doesn't matter which cherry you pick, they all lead to the same conclusion: eating too many animals and not enough plants causes our most common diseases (obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke). Dr. Greger's agenda is not about the animals, it is about the people.

> eating too many animals and not enough plants causes our most common diseases (obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke)

Do you actually believe that eating "too many animals and not enough plants" is the cause of diabetes (I assume you're referring to Type II)?


I think that is exactly the point Dr Greger makes. Specifically not enough unprocessed plant foods.

(https://nutritionfacts.org/video/what-causes-diabetes/). Click on the "sources" section to get the sources cited.


Yes, I do believe that, and yes Type II (not Type 1). According to Dr. Greger there is mounting evidence that fat is the cause, and that problems processing carbs is the symptom. Here are his videos with many studies cited: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/diabetes/. Or Google type 2 diabetes and vegans. Here is the first thing I found: https://veganhealth.org/type-2-diabetes-in-vegans/. I'll take a 68% lower rate as some evidence. Vegans, by the way, are people who eat "too many plants and not enough animals". It helps with certain diseases.

definitely start a sit/stand desk as early as possible. I didn't think I was that unhealthy sitting all day until I had an injury from a car accident which took waaay too long to heal - primarily bc my hamstrings and IT band were shortened from all that sitting!

when i left my last job, I started working from home without the sit/stand for about 2 weeks thinking "that didn't help that much," until I started noticing the tightness all over my body. I just bought a sit/stand (Varidesk fwiw) last night.


Do you have a pad for under your desk? I find that I can't just stand all day without getting stiff either.

I didn't have one and yes it took a few weeks of building up to being able to stand all day, so I would take sitting breaks for 1-2 hours. From what I understand, it's actually better to have a mix than to stand only. But yes, now that you remind me, I will get a pad! Thank you.

> From what I understand, it's actually better to have a mix than to stand only.

Yeah, we like to think that standing is something new, but cashiers have done it for years, and, having spent time as one in my youth, I can tell you that there is a lot of discomfort during the work week. I'd really recommend sitting and standing.


> From what I understand, it's actually better to have a mix than to stand only.

Indeed. You will probably get spider veins otherwise. Happened to me. I've been working standing up since 2011 and only noticed it a couple of years ago so it might take a while.


Love the talking style of the speaker as well as the terrifying content!

Doesn't tell the whole story: Was told by a doc that with the amount of scar tissue in my R shoulder / bicep that he could easily trick new medical residents into thinking it was the MRI of a 70 or 80 year old.

... I train jiu jitsu 3x / week + cardio 3x / week.


JJ is notoriously hard on the body, especially the joints, and especially if you're rolling with less experienced folks.

...martial artists are guaranteed bodily harm in some form or the other.scarifying tissues,ligament damage and microfracturing are a fact of life. not to mention if you're doing it competitively then someone else is actively going to cause grevious bodily injury that you cannot prevent. the bill comes due someday

> The picture tells the story...

IMHO what it needs to show is the 40yr old sedentary picture too. Without that I don't think you can separate ageing from sedentary affects. I doubt the 40 yr old sedentary person is the same as the 40yr old athlete.


Was the 70yo triathlete just a triathlete in their younger years, or did they keep up the exercise as they got older?

If you can remember, of course.


Both. The subjects in the paper trained a lot before age 40 and continued to train a lot into old age.

That's a good one. Amazing how little muscle the sedentary person has.

I'm pretty sure the images are scaled differently (note the sizes of the bones, which should be the same).

The sedentary person isn't just sedentary, they look to be morbidly obese. That image is zoomed out, but the actual size of the muscle isn't that different. It's just surrounded by a huge amount of fat.


Can be summarized as "use it or lose it".

Counterpoint that becomes increasingly relevant as one ages: "wear and tear."

That's not a valid counterpoint. Assuming proper technique, frequent sustained use keeps joints healthier. In particular the old myth that running is bad for knees has been debunked.

Wow, thanks so much for sharing.

this must be one of the most important medical documents out there. I can't believe that after reading thousands of words in magazines on aging I never saw this! One could ask how much more exhausting it is for someone to do a triathlon at 70ya. But I remember someone in my family really enjoying being very active right until they dropped dead.

That is such a positive message.


That image seems to be somewhat misleading though, as the scale isn’t preserved across pictures. If you look at the bone size, the middle pic mostly has more fat.

40 and 70 are so similar I'm almost dubious.

that said I want to run now


The key is balanced (non-crappy) diet and a certain level of activity whatever that activity. Look at people in NYC vs. people in Scranton. NYC folks have more muscles because they have to walk to get to the subway, stand in a subway, walk up the stairs and down the stairs to get to the platform, walk from one place to the other, cross a dozen of blocks, etc. Folks in Scranton walk from their couch to their car, ride to their work in that car, barely move at their work, walk 100ft back to their car and get themselves back to their couch.

Very neat! Why does the 3rd picture have so much less fat than the first?

This picture made me jump out of my chair and start doing squats.

Wow, great pic. Thanks for sharing.

You should also show the brain scans of the triathlete versus a sedentary computer programmer.

How smart do you have to be to out-think a heart attack?

You missed a triathlete computer programmer.

In my office we have a CrossFitting computer programmer, a BJJ-ing computer programmer, and indeed a triathlete computer programmer. Being a computer programmer and being fit are by no means mutually exclusive.

yay BJJ! Been doing this for about two years, and it's the best thing I ever started. Really enjoy both the physical training aspect of it, and also the "human chess" aspect of it.

The patterns on the 40 and 70 year old triathlete match far too well. I'm calling bullshit. The "70 year old triathlete" scan is just further up the leg of the 40 year old.

You find it surprising that two different humans have the same muscles in the same locations? Have you ever noticed that chicken wings also have the same meat in the same spot across two different wings?

This is too stupid to answer to, but have you noticed Yao Ming and Britney Spears do not look the same? Good.

Now have you noticed carbon atoms are strikingly similar? Good, almost there.

Somewhere in-between these two views unique features emerge. Tell me where on the scale of atom to human the quads are? There is plenty in these pictures that is unique in the two persons depicted.

There is no need to lie to make a good argument for exercise. This image belong on your grandmothers Facebook page at best.


I agree that it's typical for authors to cherry pick the samples used to illustrate their major message most forcefully.

That's why discriminating readers (like us) should rigorously overlook pretty pictures and instead look only at: 1) the amount of separation between groups (big effect?), 2) the stat. significance across the given population (consistent signal?), 3) the constraints the authors used to create that population (representative of the real world?), and 4) whether the discriminating signal they chose selectively detects the causal effect they propose.

No picture can do all of that.


It seems reasonable to me. I did a triathlon several months ago. One of the other competitors was 73. We finished with approximately the same final time.

To be fair, the legs of healthy people who perform the same type of exercise do tend to have very similar shapes.

Weight training into old age does much more than prevent muscle loss! It also prevents osteoporosis and increases bone density, decreases likelihood of falls, and might even prevent cognitive decline. Basically it prevents you from slowly withering away as you die. Instead you are pretty normal, then one day you die. It doesn't make you live longer, but it can give you a lot more quality years.

Not only are you less likely to die of a heart attack, diabetes, or a broken hip, you're also more likely to be still doing the things you love when you do pass away. It's a win win really.

This seems like many parts of the human body: use it or lose it. I've heard this described as well for sexual function. Supposedly, seniors losing the ability to walk leads to quick decline in health.

Am I missing something or is the article just giving a name to very generic muscle loss and saying that one can workout and get enough protein to combat it?

I hate to be overly critical, but these types of articles published by the likes of nytimes just make digesting news more difficult. Puff pieces honestly subtract value from my life. I with more news vendors would think about the value they provide in the internet age and adjust.


The article is needlessly verbose. Here's the one paragraph that contains all of the information you need:

> If you’re currently sedentary or have a serious chronic illness, check first with your doctor. But as soon as you get the go-ahead, start a strength-training program using free weights, resistance bands or machines, preferably after taking a few lessons from a physical therapist or certified trainer.


Agree. I see also way too many NYtimes articles on HN recently. What happened to the adage that "if its on the popular media, it should probably not be on HN". Is HN turning into the comment system of the NYT?

> "if its on the popular media, it should probably not be on HN"

Why though? Can't say for all but a majority of articles on popular media would be mostly right...that's why they are popular. As things go more fringe, there is less verification.


It's not about that. It's called "Hacker News" for a reason. I don't mind having regular stories hitting HN sometimes, but there's nowadays a massive flux of NYT, and also NewYorker, TheAtlantic just to name a few, which were not there a few years back.

I think software engineering used to be a nerdy hobby now its for 'everyone' ( due to the rise of amazing tooling/languages ect).

That 'everyone' attitude is reflected on HN.


I've been investigating recommended protein intake recently and counting calories to lose some weight, and it's amazing how little protein most people get compared to what is now recommended.

Here's examine.com on the recommended amounts: https://examine.com/nutrition/how-much-protein-do-you-need/. I'm of fairly healthy weight, active and have been losing some weight, so I should be getting 2.2-3.3 g/kg according to that. I have two protein shakes a day and build every meal around as much protein as possible while still having it resemble normal food, and I'm achieving an average of about 2.2g/kg, i.e. just at the lower end of where I should be. Particularly when trying to lose weight, getting the amount of protein required in the calories allowed is really tough. It's easier when maintaining weight or trying to gain weight since the protein requirements are similar but you have more calories to play with.

I'm 46, so soon I'll be in the 50+ group which the examine.com article says is when you start needing more protein in a single dose. For me that's about 36g per meal - about 6 eggs, for example.

Counting calories is a bit of a pain to get started with, but isn't too bad once you're going since most people tend to repeat meals frequently. But it's been really illuminating - I thought I ate well previously, but I was a long way from where I needed to be. It's pretty geeky but has been really interesting. I've realised that it's essentially impossible to eat the way I should do eating food I don't prepare myself - nothing has anywhere near enough protein. Data driven health FTW.


The German society for nutrition recommends 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight for normal weighted, adult people. I cannot imagine that three or four times that amount would be required for a healthy life even if your are more physically active than the average. Also, please do not forget that vegetables contain some protein too.

The examine.com article discusses this - 0.8g is also the RDA in the US. The RDA is considered a bare minimum:

This is considered to be the minimal amount of protein a healthy adult must consume daily to prevent muscle wasting when total caloric intake is sufficient.

According to recent studies, however, the RDA for protein may not be sufficient for healthy young men, older men, or older women. These studies point to 1.2 g/kg as the minimum intake before the body starts downregulating important non-essential processes, from immune function to muscle protein synthesis. Even a reanalysis of the data used to establish the RDA suggests the minimum intake should be at least 1.0 g/kg.

They cite a study there where they shut subjects in a metabolic ward for 8 weeks and fed them a 40% caloric surplus. Those subjects eating near the RDA for protein lost muscle mass, i.e. it's not even sufficient to maintain lean weight when overeating.


1.5g/lb (3.3g/kg) is considered by many in the weight training communities to be way overkill, and potentially hard on your kidneys.

> There is normally no advantage to consuming more than 0.82g/lb (1.8g/kg) of protein per day to preserve or build muscle for natural trainees. This already includes a mark-up, since most research finds no more benefits after 0.64g/lb.

source - https://bayesianbodybuilding.com/the-myth-of-1glb-optimal-pr...


See here for a great takedown of the studies that this page references, and how it distorts the actual study results on top of that: https://old.reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitness/comments/98ephy/o...

Yeah, 3.3g/kg is really high, and I don't see how you could get there without living on shakes. From that examine.com article:

Eating more than 2.6 g/kg (1.18 g/lb) is probably not going to lead to greater muscle gains, but it can minimize fat gains when “bulking” — i.e., when eating above maintenance in order to gain (muscle) weight.

There doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence for the kidney thing as long as you don't dramatically increase protein suddenly: https://examine.com/nutrition/can-eating-too-much-protein-be...


IMO while protein is needed for muscle building, recommendations like 3.3g/kg (I've even seen recommendations of 4.4g/kg) come from a "more is always better" mentality, along with a pop culture obsession with protein.

Personally, a simple flat 100g seems both a reasonable & attainable goal for most regular people building muscle without requiring exceptional diets (here I fall back on naturalism- I cannot believe that exceptional diets are required to get fit). You can easily hit that number with 1/4-1/3lb of meat a day plus whole grains and vegetables.


I don't think it's that, it's more this:

Since higher protein intakes seem to have no negative effects in healthy people, one may want to err toward the higher amounts.

I haven't seen anything over 3.3g/kg recommended anywhere, and most people seem to recommend 1.4-2g/kg as a good baseline amount. The ISSN recommends this (see here: http://stevenlow.org/issn-position-statements-protein-and-ex...), however the ISSN does recommend higher amounts when losing weight:

Higher protein intakes (2.3–3.1 g/kg/d) may be needed to maximize the retention of lean body mass in resistance-trained subjects during hypocaloric periods.

Of course, none of this is required to get fit - you don't need to do the optimal thing to get a basic result. But you'll definitely gain lean mass faster if you do follow this. Those recommendations for weight gain (say 2g/kg with a caloric surplus) is easy to achieve with no supplementation and normal food, at least for an omnivore - vegans may have to work harder to get there.


> potentially hard on your kidneys

Is there data for that?

IIRC, for healthy kidneys this amount should not be an issue, slightly more per lb shouldn't be either.

I'm not sure what weight training communities you refer to, but in bodybuilding and strength circles amounts that high and higher aren't often considered "way overkill".

Anywhere between 0.75-1.25g/lb is where I shoot for, depending on my goals. But I have gone higher than 2g/lb for extended periods of time in the past


You are correct. The whole “beware of protein” narrative is completely wrong-headed. People here would likely be astounded by how much protein strength athletes eat with nothing but positive health effects.

It's really more like a balance narrative. Hit reasonable ratios of protein, fats, and carbs.

High protein, low fat, low carb, low protein, high carb, high fat- collectively we've tried them all through one fad or another.

Currently IMO we're in a blowback period where we are seeing high carb is not panning out and many people are still afraid of fat, so protein is the next savior in line.


> high carb is not panning out

For what exactly? It pans out just fine for various things, or are you specifically talking about weight loss?


The various negative health outcomes we're seeing with refined &/or simple carbohydrates.

Might be worth getting a urine sample and check how much protein there is. More than likely you are urinating most of that protein out through out the day.

https://examine.com/nutrition/how-much-protein-can-i-eat-in-...

That being said, since fecal losses of protein and short-chain peptides tend to smell incredibly bad one can use a 'sniff-test' after bowel movements to assess if protein is being lost in the feces and thus not taken up by either the intestines or the muscle.

For a while I really tried to eat as much protein as I could, to see whether I could make the higher end of the recommendations. After a certain point, I could immediately tell I was failing the sniff test, and so could my family :-). At the amount I'm eating, I'm not.


Valter Longo, who has done extensive longevity research, recommends 0.31-0.36 grams per pound

https://valterlongo.com/daily-longevity-diet/


>Select ingredients among those discussed in this book that your ancestors would have eaten.

Oh, so its one of those "we aren't willing to drive knowledge and health forward like other scientific resources online unless we shill you a product" sites. Sprinkle in a good dose of holistic wackadoodle and bam trendy product pitch.

Also this fun little excerpt..

>Although clear links have not been proved yet, it is possible that consumption of the wrong foods based on ancestry could be associated with many autoimmune disorders, including Crohn’s disease, colitis, and type 1 diabetes.

From : https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/find-your-next-read/extra...


I can't recommend StrongLifts enough.

https://stronglifts.com

I'm up to squatting 130kg now and feeling great!


I've used StrongLifts for 2+ years and second the recommendation.

HOWEVER.

Because it's just an app with videos, it's really up to you to learn proper form and execute it each time. Additionally, the app doesn't know your limitations, so take your pain seriously.

I hurt my knees squatting a couple years ago, and recently hurt my lower back deadlifting. It sucks, and I'm crossing my fingers that there's no permanent damage.

If I were to go back in time, I'd force myself to book yearly or twice-yearly sessions with a physical trainer who can check you on your form, particularly when I first got started.


Are you still stronglifting after 2 years? How has your progression been for the last year or so of that? As I understand it it's a fairly novice focused program with aggressive weight increases, so I was wondering how you modified it to continue running it after the first 3-6 months of easy gains went away.

You're not supposed to run it for 2 years. OP has made adhoc adjustments and is no longer following the program if he has been consistent.

Even the SL5x5 site recommends moving on from the program. Their recommendation is Madcow 5x5 but there's other options out there.


I know, that's why I was curious. If you followed the program as written you'd be at like 2000 lbs of deadlift.

My own journey has taken me through Starting Strength to Texas method and then to various 5/3/1's (and occasional returns to Texas) through the years.


Yeah, I’ve been doing strength training 2 hours 3x/week with a coach, and I would never attempt this without a coach.

Every work set she’s watching me and making frequent adjustments. It would be impossible for me to do this without her. Maybe I could record video and analyze it, but I would have to essentially learn all of her expertise and even then it would be delayed so I couldn’t make fixes until after I have already completed a dangerous set.

At the very least I would recommend a good two months or so during your linear progression. After that you can do volume sets, pause sets etc alone, with coaching maybe twice a month for heavy days and to check in on your form.

(Shameless plug for Bay Strength in Berkeley CA!)


I have done strength training without a coach for 6 years. My squat went up to 185kg/407lb without any injuries. You can do it, and depending on the coach, you may be better doing it alone. However, with a good coach (not easy to find) you will progress much faster. I recently started competing and found a good coach, I wish I had found him earlier.

> However, with a good coach (not easy to find) you will progress much faster.

In what way coach is helping? Providing that your technique is correct, application leads you - so what's the coach's role?


Sounds like you might need to stretch your hamstrings. Hamstring flexibility is key to form in both squats and deadlifts. In particular, the hamstring must lengthen as you bend your knees in the squat, and it must lengthen as you bend over in the deadlift or you round your back, which is probably where the injury came from. Google "third world squat" for a good test of your flexibility. Most people have very tight hamstrings from sitting all day for most of their lives.

I'd pay for yearly clinics for compound lifts, especially if I could learn better form and better stretching techniques.


The problem with this training is the need to go to a gym or to build one at home. Can't do the latter and loathe going the gym.

However, I do enjoy group classes. I tried cross-fit but I found that the competitiveness and exercising against a running clock is not for me (also considering that I'm usually the oldest - 48 though I don't look like it)

Then I heard about kettlebell training and that seems to be exactly what I need! I have a kettlebell group class nearby and purchased one kettlebell to use at home.

So as an alternative to those who may want an alternative that gives a lot of ROI consider kettlebell training.


In your age group and do some HIIT and Cardio Mix. I do not know much about kettlebells, so what is the ROI on it? I know it can be hard to answer that, so just your personal feelings on how it benefited you would help. I am trying to get some weight training added to my mix and that is the reason for my asking.

Thanks.


A kettlebell is just one small piece of equipment that allows you to have a rather complete workout. Once progressing you may need to increase the weight, but still, something that you can easily do at home. There are plenty of exercises available, online and in books. Just my personal impression but I feel I have exercised well after a session.

Obviously, proper weight training in a gym will bring better results but I don't think that this is necessary if all you care is staying healthy and in shape. I just mix it with other sports like running.


I've used this program several times in the last few years after seeing a comment here on HN.

I started at 49, 55 now, no serious weight lifting experience prior, just basic exercises.

Worked up from the empty bar. My max on squat has been about 260, and deadlift about 310. Various injuries from prior to lifting keep that about as high as I go.

I supplement with swimming on non-lift days during the week, yoga and walking on most weekends.

Been a boon to overall fitness, have done long distance backpacking and canoeing (90 miles just this summer) with my oldest son's scout troop. Just last week did a one day 50 mile ride with my youngest son.

The app makes it a game that helps with the commitment, I get up at 4:30 to carve out the time each day.


Starting Strength is another excellent program to follow and if you pick up the book it features an exhaustive description of the bio-mechanics involved in each lift (which you can skip if you just want the charts).

I didn't like SS when I tried it. It users the rep range 3-5 for the working sets as far as I remember. This makes sense as the book is strength-focused. However this is just too heavy for a casual lifter. Lifting 5RM, the form and concentration has to be very tight not to screw up. I've gotten small injuries from lifting much lighter than that. Nowadays I wouldn't even consider lifting 3RM for reps without backup - I know that will not end well.

> I've gotten small injuries from lifting much lighter than that.

Probably because you weren't focused. For me 1-5's are great - long enough to really build character, but short enough you can have the laser focus that the lifts require. If I'm doing 10 reps 3-8 I'm half there.

The only lift that requires backup (assuming you don't have the appropriate equipment) is the bench press - all others you drop the weight and walk away.


Agreed that it's an excellent novice program for strength training. They place a lot of emphasis on lifting with good form and proper technique. I feel that it's only effective for 3-4 months, but it can a build a solid foundation of strength for just about anyone.

Yeah - if you start as a New Year's resolution you're running that puppy out by the time the snow melts, but it is simple and fast enough to be rewarding with long, punishing hours in the gym, and by the time you've run the program out you should see enough gains that you have the urge to move onto an intermediate program.

I recommend 5/3/1 for everyone, especially with some lifting experience. Very easily sustainable long term because training sessions are short and sweet. Minimal risk of injury because the warm-up sets are built-in and there's no fatigue from long workouts. It can be easily combined with other sports like running or martial arts because there's plenty of time for recovery.

I'd also recommend www.startingstrength.com as well. It's similar to strong lifts, but they have a lot of articles on correct form.

I enjoy doing the (recently updated) recommended routine from https://www.reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitness -- being able to to it at home (with very little equipment) or outside at a nice calisthenics park is a major perk.

I started about 3 months ago thanks to a comment on HN!

I told a trainer at my local gym I wanted to do the 5x5 program and he knew exactly what I wanted, but added a 6th exercise. He's been training my form, teaching me what to do to avoid exercise-induced nausea and so on.


Could you elaborate on your case a little bit more, please?

How old are you?

How long did it take you to get to 130kg and from which level did you start?

Was that progress linear?

What about your weight and fat - have they changed?

Have you often got injuries?

Thanks in advance! I really admire your achievements!


I'm not the OP, but I started on Stronglifts and now run 5/3/1. Current 1RM lifts are around squat 155kg, bench 122.5kg, deadlift 220kg.

I'm 35, I've been lifting for about 2.5 years. Most of my progress was linearish for the first 1.5 years or so, and has tapered off. 5/3/1 is a periodized program so the gains come more slowly (as they must once you exhaust linear gains), but they're still coming.

I started at 310lb and ~45% bodyfat and at my lightest got down to 230lb/~18% bodyfat. I'm currently about 260 and around 24% bodyfat (via DEXA; calipers underestimated my BF% by around 10%!). I'm 6'10", for reference.

I've had a few bouts of tendonitis in my wrists, mostly due to incorrect benching technique. I had some really bad knee pain around the 100kg squat mark, so I went to go see a sports medicine doctor who referred me to a sports physical therapist, who taught me how to squat using my hips rather than my quads. I'm now moving quiet a lot more weight with no knee pain, which is a remarkable achievement given that I had chronic knee issues for most of my adult life - bad enough to necessitate surgery.

I love what lifting has done for me, and think everyone should do it.


I'm 36, I started with literally nothing (like < 50kg squat) and started 5 months ago. During this time I've not gone when I've been super busy and the app tells you to de-load if you don't go for a week or so.

I'm also VERY risk averse in terms of deadlifting and also I'm naturally quite strong so I'm probably covering up some bad technique. I think this thread has made me think I'll get a coach to make sure everything is working correctly.


This app looks a bit like what I need, but not quite.

I practice martial arts, and would like to improve my overall fitness. Strength is obviously part of that training, but so are flexibility, speed, and reaction times.

I have yet to find a training plan that accounts for all these factors. Even worse, some of them tend to negatively correlate with each other: when done wrong, for instance, strength can negatively impact flexibility.

I thought this would be an easy problem to solve. But so far I've had no luck. I guess there is more to biology than just solving an optimization problem.


Been using it for 3 months only. It is a great routine; quick and effective.

I can't believe people still recommend squats and bench presses to beginners. Great way to cause a life-changing back or shoulder injury.

Unilateral leg exercises and dumbbells are a much better starting point. They can work their way up to squats and bench presses if they decide to compete or want to impress people who ask "How much can you squat and bench?"


Stronglifts (and other beginner LP programs) start the lifter at trivial weights, and by the time you reach weights that have the potential for injury, you have hundreds or even thousands of reps under your belt. The motion is practiced, the form is good, and you know how to move that weight. Squats can be started entirely unweighted. Bench can be started with dumbbells if you can't trivially handle a barbell. The motions are perfectly safe (and in the case of the squat, a fundamentally necessary functional movement) when performed with appropriate weight.

Squatting or benching high percentages of your 1RM without knowing what you're doing is a quick ticket to injury, sure. Nobody sane recommends that.


> The motions are perfectly safe

In theory, sure. In reality, not even close. I guarantee there isn't a single person in this thread who could tell me what someone's squat form should look like based on their femur:torso ratio and hip/ankle flexibility. Should they squat high bar or low bar? Wide or narrow stance? Parallel or below parallel? Flat shoes or heel lifts? If you can't easily answer all of those questions, you have no business squatting anything more than the bar.

Squats, bench presses and deadlifts are extremely complex, high-risk lifts that serve no purpose for the average, non-competitive weightlifter. There are plenty of lower-risk alternatives that can achieve the same results.


> Squats, bench presses and deadlifts are extremely complex, high-risk lifts that serve no purpose for the average, non-competitive weightlifter.

You've clearly never had to lift a couch or push a car out of a ditch, even just squatted down to pick up something larger than a breadbox.

Your body isn't made of glass - it won't explode, and scaring people off these wonderful exercises is doing a disservice to humanity.

> Should they squat high bar or low bar? Really whatever is more comfortable. High bar won't get you as much weight due to leverages but some people lack the mobility, or the desire, to low bar.

> Wide or narrow stance? Totally based upon the individual anthropometry. If you have long femurs you can squat wider to get ride of some of that potential moment arm but that's going to load your hips to a greater extent. It'll also depending on how your femur hits your hip bone - I have to squat wider just to get my femurs into the right spot to hit parallel.

> Parallel or below parallel? If you're competing, aim for just below -you're playing the game and you want 3 white lights with the most weight. If not, then do what your mobility / goals set. Far below is going to cause you to move less wait, but you don't want to be above to keep the knee strain low (note: your knees ain't going to explode, it's just not as nice on em)

> Flat shoes or heel lifts? That's an ankle mobility question. If you can do it without, go for it, but many people won't be able to.

Stop living in fear of excellent exercises that get you stronger and build character. Progressive overload and months/years of experience will sort most people out before they explode into a pile of gooey chunks putting a bar on their back.

edit: put question marks at the end each quote to help delineate between question / response.


Your body isn't made of glass - it won't explode

Considering my father got a herniated disk from improperly lifting a heavy weight (and he can never lift heavy weights again), and several other people I know experienced severe injury, this is not as good advice as you're making it to be.

I agree that weightlifting can be safe, but not riskless, and back injuries are no joke.

I'm all for exercise (in theory, in practice I'm a couch potato) but don't dismiss what can be legitimate fears, I'd rather you address them.


You are right, there is the potential for injury, and some people herniate discs. But more people hurt themselves putting the lawn mower in the truck than in the gym. I took a look and the only statistic I could find for rate of herniated discs in a population (in this case Finland and Italy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2907819/) was 1-3% - those aren't all caused by lifting. I've even found a website that was concerned about runners developing herniated disc (https://runnerclick.com/herniated-disc/) Life causes herniated discs, and can happen naturally with age as well. I don't mean to downplay that it can and does happen, and that sucks when it's so bad it's debilitating, but steering clear of the gym won't prevent it.

An injury is a fact of life. How many people tear ACL's during soccer practice or skiing? But then people tear their ACL's falling the shower as well. Any activity has built in risks.


You're wrong on literally every point -- especially bar placement and stance width -- and I don't buy into your false dichotomy about "living in fear". It's a simple matter of risk vs. reward. Squats are complex and high-risk. If you can achieve the same results with simpler, safer exercises, it would be stupid not to.

I believe you and I differ on what we consider the results of a squat. And I'm impressed that you can dismiss my points so quickly and not even put in the effort to try and enlighten me. Who knows, maybe I'll come around to your line of thinking if you put more than "squats bad, simple exercises better" on the page?

If I can coach my 68-year-old mother up to a 45 kg squat with barbell (to say nothing of a dozen other clients; she's not even the oldest one), I'm pretty confident that I can coach anyone. I'm quite confident about recommending strength training using free weights as being lower-risk than most other fitness activities, including cycling, running and yoga.

> I guarantee there isn't a single person in this thread who could tell me what someone's squat form should look like based on their femur:torso ratio and hip/ankle flexibility.

Flat lumbar, stance roughly shoulder width, though exact placement is up to the individual's preference and morphology as long as it doesn't induce valgus collapse. Knees tracking over toes to avoid shear forces on the hinge joint, hip crease to below the top of the knee (which is actually parallel, and is much lower than what people think is "parallel"). High/low bar up to personal preference, whichever most easily keeps the weight over center of gravity. Shoes up to preference and ankle mobility as long as they're hard-soled. Start with box squats if the trainee is having trouble with depth or the hinge. Easy peasy.

The hip hinge and vertical lift-off trained by the squat is an _exceptionally_ important movement - that's the one that'll keep you from needing assistance to get off the toilet in your advanced age. Want to be able to see what's on the bottom shelf of the fridge without twisting your back and neck into pretzel shapes? Learn to squat. Deadlift training is useful literally any time you'd pick something up off the ground, even if it's of trivial weight. You learn to "lift with your legs, not with your back" by deadlifting. I helped a friend move last weekend and every single box I picked up from the ground was the same motion as my deadlift - and my back didn't ache at all the next day like it used to before I started lifting, oddly enough. Want to pick up your kids and not throw out your back? Learn to deadlift.

Squat is a moderately complex lift, but it's no clean and jerk. Deadlift is just learning to stand up properly. Bench press is a _simple_ movement, and teaching it is mostly about teaching upper back tightness. Work in a proper power rack and/or with a spotter and risk is extremely minimal. If you run around trying to max out your bench without a spotter and without any training, sure, you're at risk of getting hurt. Literally nobody in this thread is advocating that.

Can you get injured lifting? Sure. People do. People also get injured walking down the street, picking up their kids, opening soda cans, falling down stairs, and a billion other ways. Even more dangerous is being a sedentary blob who slowly rots away due to cardiac disease. Life is dangerous - but the strong individual is going to be a lot more resilient than the average Joe, and you don't get strong without putting your body under stress - and therefore at some risk of injury, But, as Mark Rippetoe likes to say "Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general."


My favourite Rip quote is "A weak man is not as happy as that same man would be if he were strong. This reality is offensive to some people who would like the intellectual or spiritual to take precedence. It is instructive to see what happens to these very people as their squat strength goes up."

Starting weight is the bar. Pretty sure no one is going to kill themselves. The entire point of 5x5 programs is that A) it's for beginners, and B) you start from zero. It's a fine beginner's program.

> It's a fine beginner's program.

It's a subpar beginner program because it recommends complex, high-risk lifts when there are much safer alternatives that can achieve the same results.

Even professional lifters injure themselves while squatting with low weight. If you're not competing, there's no reason to choose barbell back squats over any of the alternatives.

But don't take my word for it: https://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/comments/2t47s0/my_doctor_t...


> Even professional lifters injure themselves while squatting with low weight.

People hurt themselves on the lat pulldown machine every day too. I've seen people roll ankles on bosu ball bicep curls. Injuries happen - it's all about calculating the risk.


I'd also like to mention the use of hormonal replacement technologies (as TRT and HGH) that can absolutely help the elderly.

We have terrible stereotypes around testosterone because of steroid abuse in athletes, but reality paints itself very differently.

https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/this-103yearold-bodybu...

My grandmother underwent medical treatment using Deca Durabolin, a well-known anabolic steroid, and she could walk again after a long time spent in beds and, at best, chairs.


More interested in preventing this:

http://social-quotient.info/sq.4mg.com/brainpower.gif

Much less clear on how accomplish that.

Edit: To elaborate, I know exactly what I need to do to stay physically fit into old age and how to monitor my physical fitness - I know immediately when I get winded more from my regular run, my lift numbers drop, or I can't reach my toes.

The scary part is if I stop working out for more than 2 weeks, I see dramatic and rapid declines.

So how do I monitor my mental health? Is it possible to keep improving it? Do I do dual-n-back (studies inconclusive), do I learn a languge/to play piano, do I memorize 5 words a day?


AFAIK nobody has a clear idea of which cognitive abilities degenerate due to normal ageing AND respond to exercise (other than N-Back helping short term memory, perhaps).

I'd start by looking at the standard components of cognition. Start with the sub-metrics in the Wechsler IQ test. See what specific mental skills you might want to maintain or improve.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wechsler_Adult_Intelligence_Sc...

Then design your own tests to assess each skill and your own mental exercises to see if you can strengthen your mental muscles. Positive feedback is your best guide, IMHO.


If you are interested, google "gwern dual n-back", there is a lot of info there. In the end, it seems a lot of people disagree with Jaeggi that n-back training carries over to iq, which is unfortunate. Still, cool post.

There is a lot of evidence that cognitive decline is greater in people with insulin resistance. Eating a relatively low sugar/carb diet that doesn't cause blood sugar to spike is probably a good idea.

A better idea is to not develop insulin resistance in the first place and improve sensitivity.I eat 85% carb diet. My blood glucose barely moves up after eating a bunch of straight sugar, then goes back to fasting level after an hour and a half.

How do you improve sensitivity?

Could you provide some references? I'd love to read more about it.

My only theory is that you need to

1) find foreign things to do to stimulate your brain in non known ways

2) possibly pleasurable/happy things (shared games/challenges with people you like or care about)

3) do them slowly~ enough to be aware of when you're reaching your limits and then keep at that level to not overload your system.

After I partially lost control of my left hand fingers, I could clearly sense when a movement was triggering jitter or finger locks. If I tried playing around that movement again, I could feel my brain clogging just a little, it's was almost a mind tickle. I have zero proof that it made things better, beside a belief in that challenging your brain/muscle system is how we learned skills when we were born. I think newborn have the structure to get a lot of reward out of sensing their body or the world. So I just try to re-apply that strategy.


it's on the fringe right now, but many nootropics are being found to have neuroprotective properties. If there were a drug I could take as a regular supplement that was better understood and prevented cognitive decline in old age, I'd take it.

Selegiline

Low carb and periodic water fasting (autophagy), and you should be set old age.

Add "occasional heavy lifting" to that list.

Baby boomers are deadset on this idea that cardio is the only kind of exercise that one should be doing.


I wonder who was running the PR for cardio and weightlifting in the 70-90's. For some reason weight lifting, and barbell training in particular, has a weird anti-intellectual connotation. Getting up to run for two hours at 4 am is the habit of a successful business executive, but spend a couple of hours a day in the gym and carry an excess of muscle mass and you're clearly dumb. It's very strange.

The Jim Fixx book "The Complete Book of Running" was a national best seller starting in 1977, then aerobics (studio exercise, a la Jane Fonda) hit, followed by Arthur Jones' Nautilus in 1986.

Free weights were considered "dangerous" for a long time. Frankly, most people who lifted back then were suspected of being homosexual.

If you take boomers as being born between 1946 and 1964, then the leading edge of the boomers were turning 30 about the time both Fixx's book and "Pumping Iron" hit the popular conscious. There is a lot more money in selling shoes to people than gym memberships, so saturation advertising is part of the 'why' as well.


> Baby boomers are deadset on this idea that cardio is the only kind of exercise that one should be doing.

Possibly, but we are, after-all, of a different era, when running (Jim Fixx) and aerobics were 'sold' as the right stuff.

(I'm a trailing edge boomer, and I lift.)


I keep seeing this on HackerNews - everyone seems to convinced that keto, intermittent fasting, and fasting are the new holy grail, I am unconvinced. I am convinced in the good old "enough sleep and cardio" theory though, since both have known working mechanisms (incread blood flow and debris clean up during sleep).

why are you unconvinced about fasting? have you tried researching and reading the scientific articles about fasting and the other topics.

If you're thinking in terms of "holy grail," you may be subjecting yourself to an "all or nothing" fallacy.

Generally, we're discovering how to lead our bodies through the healthy operating conditions which kept our ancestors alive as we navigate a modern world of high-tech capabilities, treatments and availability crossed with widespread lack of discipline and healthy habits.


Are there any studies on positive effects of fasting which control for caloric restriction / weight loss?

I don't know if you are purely talking about mental health. But I would add in some resistance training, for bone health amongst other things.

"enough sleep, cardio and some resistance exercise"


Go read some of Dr. Jason Fung's articles on his blog. Not saying fasting is a panacea, but doing it regularly unlocks lots of different health benefits. https://idmprogram.com/blog/

Sleep, and a mix of cardio and strength training would most closely replicate how our bodies evolved. Pre-civilization, humans would have needed both strength and endurance to make shelters and hunt. Both running, and lifting/moving heavy things would have been common.

I wonder where is the part about low-carb coming from?
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