Listen up Baby Boomers – you are in deep shit. They’re keeping you fat and weak.
Who are “they?” The very institutions you’d expect to help you out of this mess. And they are not coming to your rescue. In fact, they are the ones who profit by keeping you fat and weak.
Old age is here, bearing painful losses of bone and muscle. Soon it will be a struggle to do simple things like get up out of a cozy chair or lift a grandchild for a hug.
Wake up! This really is happening to you.
The Health Care industry fails to provide the preventive coaching you need because there’s easier, bigger money in selling drugs and surgeries. Huge industries in Fitness and Weight Loss make enormous profits banking on your continual failures.
Worst of all, nobody is even talking to you about this. Unless you happen to Google a medical term like “sarcopenia”, you’re not likely to even know it’s happening.
As the effects of aging take hold, many doctors will tell you that you are simply getting older and to accept it, while writing you another prescription for drugs. Well…
F them and F that!
Have you been to a nursing home lately? If so, you know that some people are able to move about and stand upright. While most others move painfully with walkers and wheelchairs.
You’ll see some people who are hunched over, suffering from bone loss. Their skin sags and hangs off their limbs because much of their muscle mass is gone. It is painful for them to move.
The negative effects of aging can be prevented and reversed if you act.
How you can do it is easy to explain and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime. I’ll tell you all about it in this article, but first let’s take a deeper dive into the issues we face.
“About 13 percent of Baby Boomers — the generation born in the two decades after World War Two — reported being in “excellent” health in middle age, compared to 32 percent of the previous generation who said the same thing at the same stage of life. Overall, about 39 percent of Boomers were obese, compared to about 29 percent of the previous generation. Baby Boomers were also less likely to get regular exercise.” — Journal of the American Medical Association – Internal Medicine.
We’re the Fattest Generation Ever!!!
The experts say we’re going to live longer than any generation ever — thanks to modern chemistry. Be they also say we’re going to be the most obese and out of shape people in history – and by a wide margin (pun intended).
Worst of all, nobody is really talking to you about this. Unless you happen to Google a medical term like — “Sarcopenia” — you’re not likely to know all of the negative things that are happening to your body.
Ironically, we were super healthy at one point.
Jogging? Our generation invented it. Aerobics? We sweated it out in spandex and leg warmers with Jane. Commercial Gyms? We got the first ones started in the 70’s and 80’s. Tennis? Weekend Rec Leagues? Healthy eating? Remember Euell Gibbons and natural foods? You name it. We did it all.
Of course, they called us the “Me Generation” and we also own cultural bombs like Disco, Bell-bottoms, silly hairstyles like perms on guys, recreational drug use and more. But that”s a whole different subject. Back to aging issues:
At some point, we just stopped working out. Maybe it was due to having kids — or focusing on our careers? Maybe we diverted too much time to social media and staring at our phones? Who knows why, but we stopped exercising and got fat.
It’s a certified epidemic and now it’s even infecting our grandkids generation.
“Pediatric obesity is now of epidemic proportions in the United States. Pediatric overweight and obesity now affects more than 30 percent of children, making it the most common chronic disease of childhood.” – Obesity Action Coalition
Where do we stand, or rather, how much do we weigh now? The average adult is 26 pounds heavier than they were in the 1950s, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. And in most cases, it’s not weight from added muscle.
Yo Gramma and Grandpa, it’s time to step up and own this.
Muscle and Bone Loss
Obesity is just one problem we face. Making things much worse are the related loss of Muscle (sarcopenia) and Bone (osteoporosis). It starts after we turn 40 and accelerates from there. Once past 40, you can lose up to 8 percent of Muscle mass each decade. By 60, you may have already lost 20 percent of your muscle. After 70, the losses can shoot up to 15 percent every decade.
What’s Happening as We Age?
“Aging is associated with a progressive loss of bone-muscle mass and strength. When the decline in mass and strength reaches critical thresholds associated with adverse health outcomes, they are operationally considered geriatric conditions and named, respectively, osteoporosis and sarcopenia.
Osteoporosis and sarcopenia share many of the same risk factors and both directly or indirectly cause a higher risk of mobility limitations, falls, fractures and disability in activities of daily living.” – US National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health NIH
It’s all Linked Together
Obesity can amplify bone and muscle loss. It’s a triple threat that is kicking the living crap out of our generation. Science Daily reports on a 2014 study out of Florida State University that identifies a new syndrome called “œosteosarcopenic obesity.”
“The syndrome explains how many obese individuals experience a triad of problems that place them at a higher risk for falling and breaking bones. Researchers note that the work stands to remind people to consider the damage that can be done to all parts of the body if they are overweight.”
Bone and Muscle loss accelerates in women following menopause.
As I said earlier, the answer to preventing and reversing all of this is very easy to understand and doesn’t have to cost you anything. That’s one reason why you probably don’t know about it. We will get to the answer shortly:
Ok, so WTF is going on? Why is nothing happening to turn this around? Let’s go over the reasons by category.
The Weight Loss Industry — Here’s WTF
There’s a ton of money being made in selling you stuff, even though most of it just doesn’t work, no matter how slick the marketing. Weight loss is an enormous global market, led by consumers in the US.
You get about 30,800,000 results
Google: “weight loss programs”
“The global weight loss and weight management market is expected to reach $206.4 billion by 2019 from $148.1 billion in 2014. – Markets&Markets Research
That market includes everything from diet services like Weight Watchers to meal plans like Atkins to gyms, health clubs and fitness equipment makers — even surgical equipment and procedures.
It’s an enormous, wide-reaching market fueled by people staying fat. The more fat people there are, the bigger the potential market becomes. The market has grown enormous right along with us. But the millions of hyped solutions are just not working. Easy miracles don’t work in the real world. Smell a rat here? Wait, there’s a whole nest of ’em.
Google: “weight loss products”
You get about 44,900,000 results
The Gym & Health Club Industry — Here’s WTF
The cruelest culprit here is the Gym & Health Club group. Their business models are actually based on knowing that you will pay to be a member even though you’re never going to show up.
The business model counts on it. In fact, if all the members of a gym showed up at a typical franchise club, it would burst at the seams.
According to Statistic Brain, 67% of gym memberships are never or rarely used. Meanwhile, the Global industry did revenues of $83 billion in 2016 and $30 billion of that was in the US.
It doesn’t take an Einstein to do the math. People respond to a slick TV advert, typically in big numbers right after New Year’s resolutions. They sign up and pay, then never go. But in the back of their minds, they did something, right? “I’ll start going next week.”
Sigh… Another way we sabotage ourselves.
The Personal Trainer Industry – Here’s WTF
Google: “The fitness industry is a scam”
You get about 1,270,000 results‹
As I was researching this post, and using the Almighty Google to dig out information, I came across a Personal Trainer who kind of personifies part of the problem in this Industry. More on him in a minute: First of all, this is an Industry and it’s growing fast
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 231,500 PTs in America as of 2011, a 44% increase from 10 years prior. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that rate to keep growing at 13% resulting in a total of 300,000 PTs by 2022.
Today, the median income for them is about $55,000 with the upper echelon reaching around $80,000 per year. There is little to no regulation in this Industry. Basically, anyone can say anything they like about just about anything (including me). It is all Buyer Beware.
In some cases, all you need is a 70% pass rate to get certified. I did one myself, along with an assist by Google, and passed easily the same day. I didn’t buy the “credentials” because I think the whole thing is shady. To be certain, there are indeed solid programs out there that use more rigid standards. Not all PT certifications are bogus. But, this is an unregulated industry, so Buyer Beware.
Google: “Fitness industry is full of shit”
You get about 5,810,000 results
So about that Personal Trainer I came across:
I’m not calling him out personally, but I think he represents something of a trend as the number of trainers rapidly expands. His website features a picture of himself teaching a strength building class. He is obviously over-weight and not muscular.
He defends that by saying it’s not about what he does or is, but about what he knows and can teach to others with his coaching skills. He’s a got a bit of a point there to be sure. But wait a freakin’ minute, exactly what are you coaching these people on if it’s not something you do and personify in how you live and look? Is it just stuff you memorized from an e-book?
How do you know it’s the right stuff? Isn’t that kind of like seeing a doctor who smokes and eats too much but lectures you on getting healthy based on stuff he read and passed an exam on? That’s just not good enough in my book.
But wait, it gets way worse.
Sometimes those PT certifications aren’t worth the pixels they’re printed with. If you poke around the certification side of the PT Industry, you’ll find you can buy initials to put after your name for anywhere from a couple hundred bucks on up. In some cases, you can immediately take the classes and the tests online. You’re left free to use Google with another device as you answer the questions, which means anybody who can type and chew gum at the same time can pass the test.
Google: “biggest complaints about fitness industry”
You get about 10,900,000 results
That Leads to the Next Issue with the PT Industry
There is so much noise and confusion. There are thousands of competing workout programs, all pitching miraculous results. There are a million different voices yapping away. It’s information overload at its worst.
Thousands of independent bloggers (like me) add to it. If you try to research the subject and find a workout solution for yourself, be prepared to wade through a tidal wave of conflicting information.
Google: strength training blogs
You get about 14,100,000 results
One of the leading gurus in the Personal Training space has pointed out that this mass of confusion is one of the reasons the PT Industry is failing at its primary purpose “ helping people become healthier.”
Again, I’m not naming names, even though this guy is totally legit and a leading player in the business. He says that the emerging role of the Personal Trainer has become helping people avoid being overwhelmed by info overload.
I agree. So that’s what I’m trying to do here: Lead you to something that is straight-forward, simple and proven to work.
To be clear, I am not a certified PT. I do, however, have a very deep and abiding passion in the info that I share; It’s based on nearly 50 years experience in doing it and living it.
There is a way older people can halt and reverse the effects of aging on our bodies, reduce fat and roll back the risks of diabetes, heart disease, depression, arthritis and much more. It’s clear people are searching for answers in regard to building muscle as we age. In fact, if you Google it just that like I did, you get more than 100 Million hits in about half-a-second.
Google: “do you need muscle as you age”
You get about 105,000,000 results
But I would urge caution before you leave this article and jump into Google. Its a great search engine, but it has no way of filtering out the BS. And much of what you get on any spin of the wheel is pure BS. There are no end to “experts” who will tell you about things like the “10 Worst Weight Lifting Mistakes.”
Often, they look like that guy I was talking about earlier. Not exactly living proof of effectively building muscle. And there are literally millions of workout program out there.
Google: “strength training programs”
You get about 2,550,000 results
So Who the Hell Am I?
My name is Brian Patterson. I run the website BoomerMuscle.com and a Facebook page of the same name BoomerMuscle is devoted to helping Baby Boomers build muscle to halt and reverse all the nasty effects of aging on our bodies.
To be clear, I am not a certified Personal Trainer. I do, however, have a very deep and abiding passion in the info that I share. It’s based on nearly 50 years experience in doing it and living it.
I’ve been learning and living how to do it since I was 12. I’m 62 at this writing. Over all those decades, I’ve tried virtually all forms of Resistance Training: Olympic Lifting, Power Lifting, Body Building with Progressive Resistance and more.
A few years ago, Progressive Resistance training did damage to my shoulder joints. My muscles were willing to continue trying to lift ever-heavier weights, but my more delicate joints finally said “enough!” There’s a limit to what our older joints can handle.
The BoomerMuscle Method:
There is a way older people can halt and reverse the effects of aging on our bodies, reduce fat and roll back the risks of diabetes, heart disease, depression, arthritis and much more. It’s clear people are searching for answers in regard to building muscle as we age. In fact, if you Google it just that like I did, you get more than 100 Million — hits in about half-a-second.
Building Muscle is Critical for Women and Men
For the past 6 years, I’ve followed the BoomerMuscle Method “ lighter weights for higher reps. I’m far from perfect, but I’m in better shape and have more muscle today than at any other age. This method works. I can tell you from my own personal experience. I live this workout.
Be like this guy or that woman…
I’m including links to highly credible third party experts later in this article that definitively shows the BoomerMuscle Method I promote is the very best way to do it — especially for us older people. You can build muscle at any age. And you don’t need to lift heavy weights to do it.
Cutting to the Chase:
Building muscle at our age is just as important for women as it is men — perhaps maybe even more so. Don’t believe old tales about weight training making you bulky. If you’re a woman, it’s not going to happen unless you take a boatload of steroids. Don’t do that.
Even most guys will not become heavily bulked up. I am because I’ve been at it for 5 decades and I’m genetically predisposed to being big, one way or another. If I stop working out, I’ll put on 50 pounds of fat in less than a year. It’s happened before.
It will definitely make you healthier, happier, better looking and able to enjoy life.
You don’t need to live in a gym or devote more than 45 minutes per workout, 3 – 4 workouts per week. You don’t need to use drugs or supplements. Don’t need to swing ropes, jump on boxes or go to a bootcamp. And most of all, you do NOT need to lift heavy weights.
In fact, you can do it at home with very simple equipment like Resistance Bands and Dumbbells. There are several free Workouts on BoomerMuscle.com you can use starting right now.
Want Credible Proof?
Don’t take my word for it. Lighter Weights at Higher Reps really is the best way to go, especially for older people. Below is a sampling of studies and articles on the subject of how older people can best build muscle. They range from the academic to traditionally hardcore bodybuilding publications. All share in the conclusion that lighter weights & higher reps to failure is the best way to build muscle. Keep in Mind as you Read: “Lighter Weight” does not mean Light Weight. It means a level of resistance that causes your muscles to “fail” in the 8 – 12 rep range (some say 12 – 15 reps, but it’s essentially the same idea).
Failure simply means you can’t do another good, clean rep without cheating. Doing reps until failure is a common theme in each of these reports.
MAYO CLINIC: The prestigious Clinic says that a single set of 12 repetitions with the proper weight can build muscle efficiently in most people and can be as effective as three sets of the same exercise. It recommends choosing a resistance level that causes failure to your muscles between 12-15 reps.
“Dr. (Marcus) Bamman says, you should push your muscles until they are exhausted.” In this study, lifters used enough resistance to cause failure in the 8-12 rep range. Failure, or muscle fatigue, was noted as the key driver for muscle growth.
MUSCLE & FITNESS: 5 Advantages to Lifting Light
“Studies show that decreasing the load on your lifts can lead to greater muscle gain.” This article points out that not only does going lighter produce results, it provides a number of distinct advantages vs. lifting heavy weights. Me and my aching shoulders can second that!
FLEX online: Flex tackles the age-old question of light vs. heavy and comes out squarely on the lighter side. Flex says that the majority of your workouts should be in the 8 – 15 range for best results.
McMASTER UNIVERSITY, Hamilton, Ontario: Excerpts from a 2010 study:
“These results suggest that low-load high volume resistance exercise is more effective in inducing acute muscle anabolism than high-load low volume or work matched resistance exercise modes. Again in this study, failure was recognized as the driver for muscular growth. Low Load means Lighter Weights and High Volume means Higher Reps.
SCIENCE DAILY 2016: An article on McMaster University’s latest study in 2016:
Lighter weights are just as effective as heavier weights to gain muscle and build strength. This is one of the latest studies (2016) on the subject. It points out that it is becoming apparent that lighter is better, contradicting decades of old-school messages that heavy weight was the only path to muscular growth.
Can Older Adults Really Build Muscle?
Here’s a link to an article on research analysis conducted by the University of Michigan that demonstrated older adults definitely can and should build muscle. They found that contrary to common thinking, older adults don’t have to view the loss of muscle as an inevitable aspect of aging. In fact, the opposite is true.
A review article by U-M researchers, published in The American Journal of Medicine, shows that after an average of 18-20 weeks of progressive resistance training, an adult can add 2.42 pounds of lean muscle to their body mass and increases their overall strength by 25-30 percent.
“Not only can we fight the battle of strength and muscle loss as we age, we can even build muscle and strength well into our Golden Years.” Credit: U-M Health System.
Big Distinction: Old School vs New Way
There’s still no end to the debate on this subject: lighter weights vs heavy weights. And you’ll still find lots of arguments on the web for the old school way, mostly coming from the mouths of 30-somethings. I might argue for it myself, until just a few years ago.
Some of those arguments are made by younger guys who take steroids. That’s a whole different ballgame. The juice helps them recover faster and no doubt packs on the mass. But it’s also extremely dangerous to your health and illegal.
We’re talking legal, natural methods on this site, and we lean heavily toward what’s best for the older person.
Lighter Does Not Mean Light
At the same time, we’re not talking about aerobicizing here. When I say lighter weights, higher reps” I don’t mean waving a tiny dumbbell around for 100 reps.
It does mean finding the right level of resistance to cause your muscle to “fail” between 8 – 12 reps. If you can do more than 12 clean reps, you need to adjust the resistance to be a bit heavier until you find the right combination of resistance and reps. Typically, you’ll get 12 reps in that first set and then fewer in each subsequent set.
And again, “failure” does not mean you pass out or something. It simply means you can’t do another clean rep without cheating because you’re taking the target muscle to exhaustion. You take a brief rest and do it again with another set. This is how we cause “hypertrophy.”
Hypertrophy is the process of causing microscopic damage to the targeted muscle fibers so that as they repair, and with proper rest and good nutrition, they grow just a bit stronger/larger each day. Forget the old saying “no pain, no gain.” That’s not what this is about. If you ever feel pain, especially in your joints, that’s your body saying “hey, dummy stop, you’re hurting us.” Listen to that voice and stop.
At the same time, you might experience a bit of soreness in the muscles you worked. That’s to be expected and ok. It’s a sign the building process is working. Know the difference between a little pumped up soreness and genuine pain.
Benefits of Resistance Training for Baby Boomers
This really can change your life in so many positive ways. In addition to burning Fat and building up Muscle and Bone, strength training can work wonders on a long list of key health issues:
- Diabetes – recent studies show strength training can actually prevent Type 2 diabetes and can better manage the disease for those who already have it, according to Web MD
- Heart Disease – the American Heart Association recommends strength training at least 2 days per week
- Arthritis – the Arthritis Foundation recommends resistance strength training to help ease and control the condition
- Back Pain – can be reduced by strengthening core muscles, like the glutes, according to Web MD
- Anxiety and Depression – studies have shown strength training reduces both, in part by releasing feel-good hormones like endorphins. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says 40 million people suffer from Anxiety and more than 15 people will experience clinical Depression annually.
Strength training with lighter weights and higher reps can be an avenue to a healthier life and a happier outlook. The evidence is overwhelming and clear.
But Wait, There’s One More Amazing Benefit
The Real Fountain of Youth Discovered!
Science has also demonstrated that Resistance Training can actually reverse damage to our genes caused by aging. In effect, this restoration can make these genes youthful again. In a study published by Dr. Len Kravitz of the University of New Mexico, it was found that resistance training literally does reverse the aging process at a genetic level.
During this study, the group trained for 26 weeks while the researchers monitored 179 genes associated with aging. The goal was to see if the resistance training had any effect on those particular genes. Their conclusion was that it did in fact: This means quite literally that the resistance training was not only slowing but also reversing the aging process at the gene level, according to Dr. Kravitz.
Not surprisingly, the study used a training method very similar to the one we promote here at BoomerMuscle: 3-5 Sets of each exercise. Higher reps (8 – 12) & Lighter weights. For the study, participants did 3 sets of each exercise for 10 reps each. They did a variety of exercises ultimately working the entire body. Virtually identical approach.
My favorite workout scheme is to go 4 days per week, focusing on a different area of the body each day. I know from personal experience that it works. I didn’t know until recently, it was also literally making me younger at the genetic level.