A study: Strength training plus additional protein results in fat loss and added muscle

The body makes adaptations to survive. Don’t eat enough and the body will catabolize calorie-consuming lean body tissue to lower your metabolism. Lift weights and the body will build lean muscle and raise your metabolism. In order for that to occur sufficient protein must be consumed. To fight the resulting lower metabolism of a restrictive diet it makes sense to lift weights and consume adequate protein to keep your metabolism up.

From this study, More Protein Combined With Exercise May Lead to Weight Loss and Muscle Gain | McMaster University Research Snaps this quote:

“Weight loss regimes that involve a low-calorie diet result in a major loss in fat mass, but can also cause a loss in muscle mass.”

To avoid that loss of muscle mass the study concludes:

“A low-calorie, high-protein diet, combined with resistance training and high-intensity training, can promote fat loss and muscle gain.”

It is vital to remains strong if you are trying to lose fat. High intensity training for strength burns calories four ways. It is the type of training we do atAustin Strength Trainers and New Orleans Strength Trainers.

A interesting result of a study comparing lifting lighter versus heavier weights

As self-protection the body makes adaptations specific to the demands placed on it if given adequate time and resources for recovery. A study bears this out.  Eighteen well-trained subjects were divided into two groups. One group lifted heavier weights until reaching muscular failure, and the other lifted lighter weights until reaching muscular failure. From the study,Effects of Low- vs. High-Load Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Well-Trained Men:

“These findings indicate that both high load and low load training to failure can elicit significant increases in muscle hypertrophy among well-trained young men; however, HL [high load] training is superior for maximizing strength adaptations.” In both groups the exercises lead to similar changes in muscular size, but the subjects in one group experienced a greater increase in their one-rep-max, while those in the other group increased how much they could lift for a longer time (muscular endurance). Whether it is an increase in muscular endurance or strength, at New Orleans Fitness Training and Austin Fitness Training  we can help you with both, always with an eye on safety.

Lifting lighter weights produces the same results as heavier weights, a point to consider

From this NYT article Lifting Lighter Weights Can Be Just as Effective as Heavy Ones:

“A new study finds that people who lift relatively light weights can build just as much strength and muscle size as those who grunt through sessions using much heftier weights.”

If lifting heavy or lighter weights produce the same strength increases you might do well to consider which produces those results in the safest manner. Increasing strength should not be the cause of injuries, but rather it should give you protection from injuries.

Whether the weights lifted are lighter or heavier in both instances the stress imposed on the body needs to be sufficient to affect a positive change. When the body is exposed to more than it’s used to handling, as an act of self-preservation, the body responds by making a positive adaptation if given enough time and resources to recover from the imposed stress.

Lifting a very heavy weight requires force that can be potentially harmful.  Additionally, momentum is often required just to have a chance of completing the repetition; momentum is counter-productive as it has the effect of unloading the muscles you are trying to work.

With a lighter weight there will be less force needed to move the weight, and if you slow down the movement just a bit it will be even safer and there will be less momentum – less unloading of the muscles. If a set is taken to volitional failure (you can’t move it) a heavier weight will have a shorter time under load than a lighter weight, but in both instances the muscles will be exposed to more than they can handle producing deep fatigue. The main difference is the potential for injury.

A characteristic of many strength exercise programs is a very high injury rate. Google any strength training program along with the keys words injury rate, and you will likely see a whole lot of hits. With a program with high potential risks you might make 10 steps forward barring injury, but if you are injured you will likely take 10 or more steps backward.

At Austin Personal Trainers and New Orleans Personal Trainers we place a high premium of safety and increasing strength.  We use MedX equipment with its special medical rehab features. We can show you how to safely increase your strength and avoid injuries.

Got Sarcopenia? If you are over forty you have it

The term sarcopenia has not been in common usage for very long (see graph), but the condition has been around forever.  Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle tissue that occurs as a natural part of the aging process. According to this article, Why You're Aging Ungracefully, there are two things we can do to help maintain our muscle as we age - lift weights and eat high-quality protein.

A quote from the article:

Sarcopenia begins naturally in the 4th and 5th decades of life, making your 40s and 50s an ideal time to increase dietary protein and weight training, but even those in their 60s and beyond can benefit."

Another quote: "The stronger you are, the more muscle you have, the less likely you are to become sick or die."  

It is a pretty simple equation: the more muscle you have the less likely you are to die. That is because muscle positively affects so many of the bio-markers of aging. There are bio-markers we cannot influence by exercise such as hearing loss or graying hair, but there is a long list of bio-markers we can change most effectively by strength training. People are not generally placed in nursing homes because they are out of breath; it is because they are too weak to carry out daily activities on their own.

At our Austin Fitness Training facility we use MedX equipment with its special medical rehab features. We can accommodate those with limiting conditions and can work with people of any age. One of our trainers has four clients in their 80s, and our oldest client was 95. Strength training can add years of vitality to your life. It is never too late to start.

More articles on aging here.

Strength training study shows seniors improving far more than younger set

Two groups of men and women strength trained for six months. One group was older and the other younger. At the start of the study the older group was 59% weaker than the younger group. After six months the older adults were only 38% weaker than younger adults. Both groups improved, but the older group improved much more. 

From this study Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle

“We conclude that healthy older adults show evidence of mitochondrial impairment and muscle weakness, but that this can be partially reversed at the phenotypic level, and substantially reversed at the transcriptome level, following six months of resistance exercise training”.

Mitochondria, found in most cells, is where respiration and energy production takes place. Six months of strength training partially reversed mitochondria impairments to a level consistent with a younger stage in life. It is like having a fountain of youth.

At Austin Personal Trainers and New Orleans Personal Trainers we use MedX equipment with its special medical rehab features.  We can accommodate those with limiting conditions and can work with people of any age.  Our oldest client was 95; one of our trainers has four clients in their 80s. It is never too late to start a strength training program. It can add years of vitality to your life.  

Pictured is Stella in a field of icy grass.  She was a fixture at the New Orlean Kelly Personal Training facility and now visits the Austin Kelly Personal Training facility. She is 12 and still fetches enthusiastically.

Peak strength and endurance at the same time, Is it doable?

An active Marine who trained a lot once told me, "Whenever I do my personal best at bench press my running is way off, and whenever I am at my best at running my bench press suffers". Alan Page was a 260 pound defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings. Toward end of his career he had trained for and completed a marathon – the first active NFL player to do so. He lost a significant amount of muscle; so much so that he switched position to linebacker at 225 pounds. When you run great distances carting around more muscle is demanding. You can improve strength and endurance at the same time. Strength and endurance complement each other up to a point. At some point one is going to suffer at the expense of the other. It is best to seek a balance. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for strength will increase both endurance and strength. At Austin Personal Trainingand New Orleans Fitness trainers the trainers can put you through a series of exercises with little rest that will have your heart racing and have your muscles exhausted. Rest, recover, improve, and come back next week stronger with more endurance.

Can't move it, can't hold it, and can't slow it down

Muscles have to be exposed to more than they are used to handling if there is to be a positive change. Hopefully that is done in a safe manner. Confronted with a state of fatigue that is beyond what the body is used to, the body, as self-protection, will make a positive adaption by becoming stronger if given enough recovery time.

There are three stages of fatigue associated with resistance training. When you can no longer lift or move a weight you've reached concentric or positive failure. When you can no longer hold the weight you've reached static failure. This produces a deeper fatigue than positive failure. When you can no longer stop a weight from falling or lowering you've reached negative or eccentric failure.  This is the deepest fatigue.  Eccentric failure is best conducted with a trainer or spotter and on equipment where it can be safely performed.

Negative reps should be used sparingly. Negatives put a much bigger hit on the system. You're basically pulling the muscles out of a contraction. Micro-trauma to the muscles occurs. If not done safely you can have serious injury. One way to do this is to complete a regular set and then have the trainer immediately lift the weight for the client and have the client lower the weight slowly.

If one performs chin-ups to the point where she just barely gets the last one up that's positive failure. If she continues to hold at the top position until she can no longer hold it that is static failure. After that if she fights the lowering of her body weight with every fiber of her being she will achieve negative failure.

Achieving negative failure? That is far from a negative thing. You have successfully stressed the body to the point where the body as an act self-protection must make a positive adaption to survive.

Conducted correctly negatives can be very safe. I am currently conducting physical therapist prescribed negative reps with a client with two knee replacements through a limited range. There are a lot of factors to consider.  The type of exercise, the range of motion, pre-existing conditions are just a few of those considerations.  At Austin Personal Trainers and New Orleans Fitness Training we have MedX rehabilitative exercise equipment that is specially suited for concentric, static and eccentric reps. 

The Price Of Inactivity

In the last 35 years I have had about a half dozen times where I got out of the habit of exercising as a result of injuries or life just getting in the way. When that happened I had a greater propensity to eat more comfort food. I would even get up in the middle of the night to eat. Of course I gained weight, sugar levels went up, bad cholesteral went up, and my blood pressure was a little harder to control. What was more striking was how badly I felt. Old injuries came back to haunt me.

Last year I tore my Achilles tendon right in two. The recovery was slow. I stopped all exercise for months. I woke up one day with a pain in my shoulder that’s lasted for days. I further injured it playing around with my daughter. The pain, numbness, and restricted movement lasted for months. Because I favored one shoulder I slept on the other shoulder, and it soon began to hurt as well.

The pain and numbness just would not go away. I couldn’t reach over my head, reach out to close the car door, and had trouble putting on a shirt. I couldn’t sleep; the pain was persistent. Each night was constant struggle to find a position that would not hurt or make my arms numb. I began therapy with positive results. Massage helped too. I eventually got a shot of cortisone, and the pain subsided enough that I began strength training again, slowly building up.

The pounds started coming off and the pain totally disappeared. I was motivated to eat better. If I was going to all this effort of exercising I did not want to sabotage it with bad eating habits. Eventually I could move my shoulders effortlessly without having to be conscious of every movement.

At New Orleans Fitness Trainers and at Austin Personal Training we have extensive lines of Medical rehab equipment that can be finely adjusted to accommodate those with physical limitations to get you back to effortlessly doing the things you want to do and increase your quality of life. The time, effort, and price of price of exercising far outweigh the price of not exercising.

Making the weights heavier after time off from exercising

A client said, “You goofing on me; these weights are lighter”.

I replied, “No they are actually heavier”. I then showed him the recorded weights from our last workout. I had increased the weights since his last workout. He had gone on a cruise and was out for more than two weeks. 
He came back and fully expected to be weaker, as he had not workout in some time. He came back rested and the workout with the heavier weights was almost easy.

Once you have committed to an exercise program for an extended period taking a few weeks off can be a very good thing. How much rest is enough and how much is too much? If you are fully recovered and your body has overcompensated you come back stronger. The amount of time it
takes will vary by individual. Through trial and error you can eventually find
out what works. I spent years figuring it out; I was slow to learn that I would come back stronger after time off. At Austin TX Personal Trainers and New Orleans Personal Trainers our personal trainers have developed a high intensity training program (HIT) with special attention paid to
recovery to insure that the improvements are ongoing – our business depends on it. We cannot afford to have clients come in and ruin two workouts in a row by not being adequately recovered.

Related post:
How To Ruin Two Workouts

The value of strength training

From this Reader’s Digest article, The Importance of Strength Training:

The consensus is growing: Strong muscles are good for everyone. In fact, the American Heart Association now recommends that all adults strength train their major muscle groups at least twice a week.

The benefits mentioned in the article:

Strong muscles require active living.
More strength results in more protection for your joints and your back.
Improve your looks with strnger muscles.
Strong muscles help you lose weight
Strong muscles give you a mental boost.

Strong muscles are healthy for your heart

Strong muscles help fight free radicals

At New Orleans Fitness Training and at Austin Personal Training and we employ a high intensity interval training (HIIT) that addresses more of thebio-markers of aging than any other training protocol.

Don't hang up those cleats just yet

At 78 years of age Jack had few golfers his age to golf with. His friend Marcus was 73 and about ready to hang up his cleats for good. Marcus could play nine holes and that was about it; the next day he’d be too rundown to play again. Jack insisted that Marcus start doing the strength training program Jack had been doing for years. Jack said, "Anybody can stick to one half hour a week. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain."

A year later Marcus was playing 18 holes of golf, and the next day, he would play 18 holes again. He was hitting the ball farther and enjoying golf again. Marcus had added quality years to his life, and it took just minutes a week.

Every time Marcus exercised he would do a little more. Each week he gave himself ample time to recover, and because of that each week he would improve.  52 weeks of continuing improvement add up.

Strength training is by far the most effective exercise in addressing the bio-markers of aging that effect not only how young we look, but more importantly, how we young we feel. Loss of strength ultimately leads to life compromising conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis, herniated discs, type-2 diabetes, weight gain, and heart disease. People aren't put in nursing homes because they're out of breath; it's because they're too weak.

The strength training programs at Austin TX Personal Training and New Orleans Personal Training start with the premise of not seeing how much exercise one can withstand but with just how little one can get away with doing and still have significant results. There is no magic bullet; the exercise will be demanding, but such a program will be brief, efficient, produce significant strength increases, and be one that people will stick to for life - a life where one looks better, feels better, and is free to enjoy life more without endless hours in the gym.

The many benefits of strength training

From this LA Times article Strength training does more than bulk up muscles:

A growing body of research shows that working out with weights has health benefits beyond simply bulking up one's muscles and strengthening bones. Studies are finding that more lean muscle mass may allow kidney dialysis patients to live longer, give older people better cognitive function, reduce depression, boost good cholesterol, lessen the swelling and discomfort of lymphedema after breast cancer and help lower the risk of diabetes.

"Muscle is our largest metabolically active organ, and that's the backdrop that people usually forget," said Kent Adams, director of the exercise physiology lab at Cal State Monterey Bay. Strengthening the muscles "has a ripple effect throughout the body on things like metabolic syndrome andobesity."

The list of benefits of strength training for any age is long.

Austin TX Personal Training
New Orleans Personal Training 

Muscles really do have a long memory

From this Science News article Muscles remember past glory:

"Muscles hold memories of their former fitness in nuclei (green, shown on muscle fiber) that help the muscle bounce back to fitness when training begins after a period of inactivity.

Pumping up is easier for people who have been buff before, and now scientists think they know why — muscles retain a memory of their former fitness even as they wither from lack of use.

That memory is stored as DNA-containing nuclei, which proliferate when a muscle is exercised. Contrary to previous thinking, those nuclei aren’t lost when muscles atrophy, researchers report online August 16 in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The extra nuclei form a type of muscle memory that allows the muscle to bounce back quickly when retrained.

The new study suggests that pumping muscles full of nuclei early in life could help stave off muscle loss with age."

The upshot of this research is that dividends will be paid in the future if you strength train now, not when you are old and frail. Strength train when you are younger and you'll be better off than those who opted for non-weight bearing exercises.  When you are older and stronger you will:

  • Have a stronger immune system and be better able to withstand sickness and disease.

  • Have stronger bones and less likely to have the broken bones that comes with the decalcification of bones.

  • Have more stamina and a stronger heart.  Exercising strong muscles forces the cardiovascular system to make a positive adaptation to the demands placed on it; weak muscles, not so much.

  • Have higher quality of life. Do you want to be able to play just nine of holes of golf or eighteen?


Strength effects not only how young we look, but more importantly, how we young we feel. Strength training reverses many of the bio-markers of aging. This does not require hours in the gym. With high intensity strength training you can work the whole body in less than one half hour, and it only need be performed once or twice a week to see continuing results. Your life can be transformed in just minutes a week with the right exercise program.

We have such a strength training program at both our locations - Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Personal Training. A little strength training, better eating choices, and an active lifestyle is a program most people can stick to, and it can have profound effects on one's fitness and health.

The six factors of fitness

The six commonly recognized factors of fitness are:

· Stronger bones
· Cardiovascular efficiency
· Flexibility
· Leanness
· Muscular size, strength, and endurance
· Resistance to injury

You have options for improving each of those factors:

1. You can opt to concentrate on one or two of the factors that you enjoy or that is particularly beneficial to your sport or active and ignore that other factors. You'll not attain as high a level of overall fitness.
2. You could do one consolidated workout that addresses all the factors of fitness.
3. You could do a combination of two more more different forms of exercise that in combination address all the factors. That might be very time consuming.
4. You could do one consolidated workout that addresses all the factors of fitness and supplement that with exercise beneficial to your chosen sport or activity.

For those who want to address all factors of fitness and get the most out of your time in the gym you might want to consider High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). No other single workout addresses all six factors of fitness in one complete workout - none.

A properly conducted HIIT regime will result in increases in bone density, resistance to injury, strength, muscle, flexibility, muscle tone, resting metabolism, and cardiovascular conditioning. You will feel and look better, and your life can be transformed in minutes a week. Runners and tri-athletes can spend less time in the gym and have more time to spend running or doing other forms of aerobic exercise. They will seeimprovements in their performance.

HIIT is the type of personal training we do at New Orleans Fitness Trainersat Austin Personal Trainers. People who start such a personal training program find that this is a program they can stick to..