And what about Muscle Mass?

by Dr François Bouchard, D.C.
and Denise Fredette, N.D.

Maintaining muscular tissue

On aging, most people lose their muscle mass. This is called sarcopenia. Up to now, it has been agreed by the scientific community that sarcopenia is mainly caused by aging. What if we told you that one of the only body tissues that has the potential not to age at all is our muscle mass? In other words, it is possible to have the same body muscles at 80 as we had at 20, provided we learn to maintain our muscle tissue on a daily basis.

More and more doctors have proved this theory based on the physiology of our muscles. The latest articles on this subject indicate that in actual fact sarcopenia is simply the result of the values of our society,that are over focused on passivity.

Everything has become so easy these days thanks to technology and office jobs… As he ages, man forgets to take care of his muscle mass, which results in serious health problems as we shall see…


‘Maintaining or increasing our muscle mass as we grow old favors physical strength and also contributes to the prevention of cancer and cardio-vascular diseases,’ according to Stuart Phillips, professor at the Department of kinesiology at the McMaster University, Ontario.

‘As well as doing keep-fit and muscle-building exercises, the elderly should double their intake of food protein,’ he recommended at a recent Symposium of Dairy Producers of Canada, entitled: Have a Long, Healthy Life.

According toPhilips, eating protein contributes to satiation, thermo-genesis – the capacity of our body to burn calories more efficiently –, to preventing muscle loss, to reducing blood pressure and to improving blood sugar levels.

Studies have also shown that people on a high protein diet (25 % –30% calories) lose weight more easily, mostly adipose tissue (body fat).

Among the elderly, who tend to eat less, the need for protein could be higher than the present recommended dosage.

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Sarcopenia - Translated from passeportsanté.net

Sarcopenia is a geriatric syndrome that is first of all characterized by a decrease of muscle mass, which, on worsening, leads to a deterioration of muscle strength and capacity for physical performance. Sarcopenia observed in the elderly is imputed to the aging process but may be accelerated by pathological and behavioral factors, such as undernourishment and a sedentary lifestyle.


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Advancing in age is accompanied by a modification of the composition of our body. An increase in fat massand a decrease in thin mass (bones, organs, muscle tissue) is observed.

Sarcopenia is the origin of a general physical deterioration, which leads to increased risk of falls, a gradual incapacity to perform daily tasks, a loss of autonomy, and a fatal increase of morbidity and mortality. Sacropenia is now acknowledged as a central factor in the physio-pathological syndrome of fragility among the elderly.

Sarcopenia affects all old people, including those considered to be healthy and those who have kept up a sporting activity. *

(*NB: We need to differentiate the different types of sporting activities. To regain our muscle mass it is vital to stimulate the growth hormone. To do so, the best-known optimal physical training today is interval training. In other words, even though we still cycle, canoe, etc. at 65, we don’t necessarily stimulate the hormone that helps increase our muscle mass; we only maintain what already exists.)

Various studies estimate that 25% of people over 70, and 40% of people over 80 suffer from sarcopenia.

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The characteristics of sarcopenia

From the age of 30, 3%–8% muscular degeneration per decade is observed. Muscle tissue is replaced by fat and this loss accelerates from the age of 50. Indeed, after the age of 50, muscle mass decreases approximately 1%–2% per year, and our strength decreases on average 1.5% per year between 50 and 60 years old, and then at the rate of 3% per year, i.e. a loss of 30% per decade after 60 years old.

Strategies to deal with sarcopenia

There are two types of physical activity:

1. endurance exercises which help improve balance and appetite, increase respiratory capacity and muscular protein synthesis, with minimal effect on muscle strength

2. strength resistant exercises which rapidly help increase muscle power and quality as well as muscle mass.

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Leisure physical activity is not enough to prevent the decrease of muscle mass on aging. However, it does help improve fatigue, balance, prevent falls and contributes to improving our quality of life.

To sum up...

Over the last years, in industrialized countries, the number of people with excess weight has considerably increased – to such an extent that the World Health Organization has called obesity an epidemic. In the USA, over 65% (2 out of 3) of the adult population; Canada isn’t far behind with 40% – 60 % of adults with weight problems. These figures are on the increase each year.

Overweight (but not necessarily obese) people run a much greater risk than people with a healthy weight of contracting medical problems such as high blood pressure, a heart attack, a stroke, diabetes, gall stones, various cancers, among many others. In fact, the 7 major causes of death in the world are closely related to overweight.

How can I tell if I am overweight ?

Knowing what we know about the situation in industrialized countries, this is a very good question that everyone should ask themselves today. There are lots of medical tests that can be taken to answer this question. If interested, you can easily find them on the Internet, on the Health-Canada website, among others.

However, there is a very easy way to find out if you tend toward your health weight or not, and that is to see if you can manage your body weight on the 4 levels of your body’s main muscle masses:

1) thighs

3) pectorals

2) back

4) abdominals

According to medical standards, the term manage means that at the very least, we should be able to repeat the following movements:


Women :

30 – 40 full squats (for the thigh muscles)
10 pull-ups with assistance, i.e. with 20-30% less weight (for the back muscles)
40 female push-ups (for the pectoral muscles)
100 full sit-ups (for the abdominal muscles)

Men :

40 full squats (for the thigh muscle)
10 full pull-ups without assistance (for the back muscles)
40 full push-ups (for the pectoral muscles)
100 full sit-ups (for the abdominal muscles)

If you so wish,you can now check where you are as regards the management of your body weight… and then come back to read the rest of this article. Don’t forget, these exercises should be easy to do; they should not require all of your strength and muscle endurance. It’s a question of minimum requirement…

Off you go…

We’ll wait for you…


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You may have noticed that most adults nowadays cannot accomplish even a fraction of these exercises without expending enormous energy.

What is encouraging is the fact that our muscle mass re-forms rapidly with a program of specific exercises, in 3-6 months (up to 12 months for some people). Hence, we can easily attain these basic objectives and maintain them all life long, which will have uncountable benefits for our body, mind and spirit.


Why is it so important to maintain our muscle mass ?

It’s a good question. The answer is that in so doing, we…

  • Increase our body’s metabolism, which has several positive effects
  • Greatly improve our cardio-vascular health
  • Improve our general state of health
  • Reduce bad cholesterol (LDL); favor the regulation of good cholesterol (HDL)
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Improve our mood and help reduce the negative effects of depression
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve the quality of our sleep
  • Increase strength and recuperation
  • Greatly favor weight loss
  • Facilitate maintenance of our health weight
  • Protect against accidents
  • Reinforce our bones
  • Help prevent diabetes and also helps manage it
  • Reinforce our kidneys
  • Improve our posture
  • Anti-age par excellence
  • Increase testosterone and libido
  • And much more…


Have our muscles become virtual ?

We live in an era of facility where our two legs are being more and more replaced by virtual, digital reality… Very few people realize that our present lifestyle is extremely harmful… We don’t really notice in the short term, but the older we get, the more visible and problematic it becomes… for ourselves and others.

I remember when I was at primary and even secondary school, we used to have approx. 7 – 9 physical education classes per week. I thought it was perfectly normal and healthy.

I was in the middle of medical studies when the Canadian education system decided to make drastic cuts on the time devoted to physical activity at all, quite a few years ago now. I immediately understood that, as a country, we were heading toward an increase in health problems.

Today, more than ever, weare experiencing this reality and, unfortunately, it is getting worse every day.

Taking care of our muscles is easy, natural and beneficial on several levels, both physical and psychological…We should take care of our muscle mass every day, just as we take care of our teeth every day of our lives.

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Muscles are virtually the only tissues in our body never to age when we take good care of them… daily… Hence, at 80 or 100 years old, we can enjoy life as physically to the full as when we were 20-25 years old! Today, many doctors have proved this theory, which, in my opinion, is not a theory but quite simply our physical experience on Earth.

A healthy muscle creates new arteries, new veins, new lymph vessels to purify our blood… Our whole body benefits from this additional blood network…

How long should I train for every day ?

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To begin to take care of your muscle mass, we recommend 15–20 minutes intense training daily. During this training, try to take only minimum break(s)… (ideally none, or only a few seconds between each exercise).

Instead of waiting till the muscles in a particular region relax before renewing your efforts, change region and continue with your muscle work. Hence, you maintain an elevated cardiac rhythm which will improve the health of your heart and simultaneously stimulate your muscle mass.

Do I have to become Mr or Miss Universe ?

Absolutely not. Too much muscle mass is useless if we don’t use it daily – and in some cases, in the long term, it may even cause problems for our bones, tendons, muscles, purification organs such as the liver, intestines and kidneys, as well as certain glands.

If you are a professional sportsman or woman, and a very high level of physical activity is part of your daily life, it’s a different matter because your particular lifestyle allows the body to manage such activity.

However, for the average man or woman, it is wise to try and integrate the above recommendations very gradually.

What type of training should I do ?

Today, we often recommend a training method that doesn’t cost a lot and is efficient on both the cardiovascular and muscular levels. It is the TRX method. You can discover it at: You can also create your own little home TRX very economically (15-20$) by following the instructions on the Internet.


Do take care of your body… Understand its basic needs and in return you will gain great energy and protection, which will ensure a better quality of life short and long term… physically and psychologically…

Now, that’s enough reading. Up you get and start moving!  :)

Masse Musculaire Nature Zen

Muscles are virtually the only tissues in our body never to age when we take good care of them … daily… Hence, at 80 or 100 years old, we can enjoy life as physically to the full as when we were 20-25 years old!