There are various theories as to why we add bulk as we age. One is that we simply expend less energy throughout the day. Caloric usage is down, metabolic rate decreases and we gain weight as a result.
Another theory is that as we age, we lose muscle mass. As we lose muscle mass--and as we gain weight--the rate of energy usage slows; muscle requires energy to maintain while fat does not.
Slowing Weight GainHow do we slow this natural tendency, or eliminate it? First of all, studies have shown that we may have to increase the quantity of exercise each year, not maintain a consistent level year-to-year, but actually increase the volume of training.
In addition, resistance (strength) training is critical to maintaining muscle mass, and thus metabolism. So as we age we must maintain, if not increase, the volume of resistance training.
Nutrition is very important to keeping weight gain to a minimum. Increase the amount of lower calorie, nutrient-dense foods, and reduce the amount of energy-rich foods to keep weight gain in check.
Finally, don't be afraid to maintain and increase the number and volume of high intensity workouts as you age. While your body may require more recovery after a challenging workout, it is still capable of working at a high level.
Bob McEnaney is a certified coach through USAC and USAT, and is certified as a personal trainer through NASM. He lives outside St. Paul, Minnesota. Contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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