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What Muscle Means to You after 50

What does it mean to have muscle?

When we were kids, we probably thought of athletes and superheroes.

In our 20s, we might have associated muscle with lots of weightlifting in the gym and young men with bulging physiques.

But later in life, we need to realize that muscle means more than big biceps.

We need muscle to perform all kinds of tasks – even standing up off the couch requires muscle. It’s that basic to our everyday lives and function.

Muscle means life – ordinary, simple life for everyone. And we start losing it in our 30s, which can lead to all kinds of trouble if we don’t do something about it. And that “something” is resistance training – also known as weightlifting or strength training.

Have You Heard of Sarcopenia?

There’s even a medical term for this losing muscle mass: sarcopenia. The condition is commonly associated with aging, but it is not inevitable. You can prevent it and even reverse it at the gym or fitness studio.

You know the stereotypes about being old and frail.

And you might have noticed that you struggle more to, say, bring in the groceries lately.

Trust us, this is common but preventable and treatable with regular resistance exercise and proper nutrition.

“Sarcopenia can be considered for muscle what osteoporosis is to bone,” said Dr. John E. Morley, St. Louis University School of Medicine, in the journal Family Practice.

Dr. Jeremy Walston said in the National Institutes of Health, “Sarcopenia is one of the most important causes of functional decline and loss of independence in older adults.”

If you’re entering midlife or if you’re already more advanced, talk to your doctor about sarcopenia. He should tell you about resistance training to prevent issues linked to sarcopenia including weakness, increased risk of falling, increased likelihood of fractures, insulin resistance and obesity.

Being inactive contributes to sarcopenia – which then contributes to inactivity.

Break the Cycle

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Use it or lose it,” right? It’s true when it comes to muscle and aging bodies. If you don’t use your muscle, you will lose it. If you use it, you’ll keep it – and all the functional ability and strength that includes.

Doctors have known for decades that exercise can reverse muscle losses of sarcopenia. But it still hasn’t filtered down into our general awareness, where “muscle” still means Arnold Schwarzenegger. By using resistance bands, body weight, machines, or free weights, we increase muscle strength, size, and endurance. That means you move better, feel better, look better, and sleep better. For starters.

IT DOES NOT MEAN you will get huge. Period. Full stop.

Join us for Functional Fitness each Monday and Wednesday at 9am MST for a safe, fun, and effective class for your muscles. It doesn’t take much to start seeing important results.

The Core Is More Than Your Abs

You’ve heard how important it is to keep your core strong. But if you think that means tons of time on your back performing sit-ups and crunches, think again.

The core involves so much more than your abs – and a more engaging set of exercises to keep it shipshape.

It’s your entire midsection, including your hips and glutes (butt). It is the foundation of your body, the area that directs all your movements – forward, back, side to side… arms, legs. Your hips, abs and glutes all work together and provide support for your back. So, if the core is weak, it can lead to compensation, pain and injury.

You want to train your core so it can send necessary force to your limbs. And sit-ups and crunches aren’t the best way to do that. (Which is great, because they’re also boring and can strain your neck and back.)

Come see us and we can talk about simple exercises that are more transferrable to everyday activities and sports.

Your abdominals absorb force and produce force, most times in a rotational pattern, so it’s good to train them that way. For instance, a chop will strengthen that rotational pattern, making it easier for you to do just about anything, like household chores and your tennis swing. The hips require more mobility, generating movement in multiple planes of motion.

So, when you think about core training, scrap the notion that it’s just about the abs and feeling the burn. Your core is a team of muscles, and we can show you how to work them together for better ease, power and protection from injury -- and more fun than endless sit-ups!

Healthy Recipe, Pork Chop, Pear, and Bitter Lettuce Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

This low-carb, main-dish salad has all the flavors of autumn and is a delicious and healthful way to satisfy a meat-craving in a hurry. The idea is inspired by a recipe in “Antoni Let’s Do Dinner” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30), a trove of quick, stylish dinner ideas for busy people who take their fitness routines seriously. “Queer Eye” star Antoni Porowski does his version a little differently — using apples instead of pears, for instance — but the balance of flavors and textures is essentially the same: tart-sweet dressing and fruit to complement the pork, and hearty, peppery lettuces, and a sprinkle of toasty nuts (or sunflower or pumpkin seeds) for a burst of high-protein crunch. Use this as a canvas to create your own adaptations. Leftover roasted pork tenderloin slices could fill in for the pork chops if that’s more convenient. Serves 4 (about 2/3 cup dressing)

Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • 1½ pounds thin boneless pork chops (about ½ -inch-thick)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or any vegetable oil)

  • 1 medium head radicchio, cored and leaves separated and torn (about 4 cups)

  • 6 cups torn kale, woody stems and ribs removed

  • 1 heart of romaine lettuce, sliced crosswise (about 2 cups)

  • 2 ripe (but still somewhat firm) pears, halved, cored, and thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup chopped, toasted pecans


  1. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, syrup, mustard, and shallots. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  2. Make the salad: Pat the pork chops dry and season both sides lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking.

  3. Add the pork chops (in batches if necessary) and cook 2-3 minutes until nicely browned; flip and cook on the other side until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5-10 minutes.

  4. Place the radicchio, kale, romaine, and sliced pears in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with the dressing.

  5. Thinly slice the pork chops and add to the salad bowl, along with the pecans. Toss and adjust seasoning as you like. Serve immediately.

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