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Health and a busy lifestyle – with 101 Fitness find out how it is possible.

These don’t always go together so well . . . which is why at 101 Fitness we specifically try to help busy people. The 3 principles of Wellness are:

  1. 1. Exercise

  2. 2. Nutrition

  3. 3. Rest or Recovery

In this and the next 2 newsletter we will look at 1 of these principles individually – so lets dive right in . . .


What do you think is the most common change in the body after the age of 30? Wrinkles, hormones or weight gain?The Answer:  Sarcopenia.“Sarco what? I hear you say.” Well simply put, Sarcopenia is the gradual loss of muscle due to ageing.  Somewhere between the ages of 25-30 we start losing muscle tissue and this continues for the rest of our lives.There are many ways to explain why this happens but in simple terms: From about 25yrs of age onward our bodies stop being “growth” orientate. Two factors now count against us:

1)     Our diets don’t really change, so we continue consuming the same amount of calories, 2)     Our level of physical activity tends to reduce significantly as we leave behind the “hyper-teens” and “active- early twenties”.

This reduced activity means that our bodies no longer recognise the need to maintain the level of muscles we once had and the excess of calories mean our body starts storing fat, where there used to be muscle.

Now because we only loose about 250g of muscle a year, we only really start to notice the change in our bodies between the ages of 30-35. One day you look in the mirror and all of a sudden you see a bit more fat where there used to be muscle.

The great news is: You can rebuild muscle! That’s right – the good news is you can rebuild the muscle that you have lost. Even better news is that muscles use a lot of energy (calories) just to stay “alive”. So if you can rebuild some of this muscle it will automatically help you burn off more of the unwanted fat. By re-energising the body’s metabolism you give the body the ability to naturally maintain a healthy muscle to fat ratio.

So how do we regain this muscle tissue?  Muscle Growth.


1. How do muscles grow?:

The actual process of muscle growth is a complex one and involves a large number of biological steps. However, simply put: You put your muscles under stress by lifting or moving weights. By repeating this movement enough the muscle will eventually “give out” and you will not be able to do any more reps, no matter how hard you push yourself. The key to muscle growth is pushing your body and muscles to the point where the body realises it needs to “grow” strong muscles, instead of only getting better at replenishing energy to the muscle (ie. endurance). When doing High Intensity Training (HIT) the muscles get closer to failure with each rep and since it creates deeper and deeper inroads through the muscle fibres this results in what is called “micro-tearing” – this sounds scary, but it is a good thing!

So at a microscopic level you are breaking down some of the muscle fibres by causing micro damage. Your body then reacts by repairing the muscles and making them stronger. The best and most effective way to achieve this is through High Intensity Training (HIT)

Don’t forget the healing time, time your body needs to recover. The repair process is the key to building muscle. Your body begins repairing muscle tissue when you stop putting stress on your muscles, in other words, once you complete your workout. Ladies tend to heal in 5 to 10 days because they don’t tear muscle tissue to the same extent that men do and men heal in about 7-10 days as men tend to do more “damage”

2. Why do men gain faster muscle than women? 

muscle loss with age

Women do not have as much of the hormone called testosterone as men do. Testosterone is what gives men the bulking effect when training. Women, however, have a hormone called Estrogen. Estrogen helps build longer, leaner, and toned muscles. So ladies, don’t worry, it is highly unlikely that you will start to look like a body builder when you train. You will more likely build lean muscles and lose fat. Also, it is very important to remember that your genetic make-up and your diet will also have an effect on the growth of your muscles

3. Why do you need muscles?

Muscle is an active consumer of calories ie. fat – especially when they are under stress (or in use), but even more so during the repair stage. Finally, when they are inactive, they still continue to burn calories.

In conclusion: An increase of muscle mass of only 2.5kg leads to an increased consumption of 10,000 calories a month – even while inactive.  Remember: your body uses all this extra calories just to keep the extra muscle tissue alive. So your body will naturally use up that much more energy (or stored fat) purely to keep the muscle alive. So, who wouldn’t want to swap 2 kg of fat for 2 kg of lean muscle?

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