As we age, muscle mass naturally diminishes. But if you dedicate the time to strength training and certain lifestyle habits, you can help preserve and increase lean muscle mass. And the benefits go beyond just athletic performance (and good looks), such as stronger bones, better balance, and physical resiliency, which all help reduce your risk of injury.(1)
Whether you’re in your 20s or your 60s, it’s clear that building muscle is key to building a healthy lifestyle. But where to begin? We’ve got you covered. The experts at Ascent put together a daily routine with tips that encourage muscle growth.
Resistance training, or strength training, is a form of physical activity where your muscles work against a weight or force. Resistance training programs may include free weights, weight machines, bodyweight exercises, and resistance bands.
Based on recent studies(3), we recommend following a resistance training program 2-3 times a week. Seasoned athletes can check out US Skimo National Team and Spartan Ultra World Champion Rea Kolbl’s gym workout here. But when it comes to training, everyone is different. Your perfect fitness routine depends on your goals, stamina, and experience level. If building muscle is your mission, we recommend partnering with a Certified Personal Trainer to determine your ideal resistance training regimen.
Lastly, just because you have a day off from the gym doesn’t mean you can sit in front of your computer all day. Move your body in some way at least once an hour to avoid sitting in the same position for too long. Take a quick walk around the block, or bust out a few push-ups and squats. Even these small bursts of movement throughout the day make a difference in your health.
The combination of resistance training + whey protein is where the muscle-building magic happens, or what the experts call Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS). Whey protein is an excellent source of leucine, an essential amino acid that promotes MPS and muscle growth. But you won’t see the maximum benefits of leucine until you pair it with your workout. In fact, research has shown those who exercise while supplementing with 1.7-2.4 grams of leucine have more lean muscle tissue and less body fat than those who don’t. This is why whey protein is the optimal choice for post-exercise recovery and rebuilding bigger and stronger muscles.(2,3)
Athletes know all about this key combo. After all, Ascent’s Chocolate Whey Protein is a favorite of USA Weightlifter & World Record holder C.J. Cummings. Train like a champion and follow your workout with a scoop of Ascent’s Protein Powder containing 2.6 grams of naturally occurring leucine.
Add in Vitamin D3
Vitamin D can be beneficial for mood and immune support. But new research has found the supplement can also affect muscle mass. A recent study followed a group of healthy, untrained males supplementing with 25 grams of leucine-rich whey protein and 4,000 IUs of vitamin D3 during a 6-week resistance training protocol. The research revealed that combining whey protein with a vitamin D3 supplement either before bedtime or upon waking resulted in beneficial increases in muscle mass.(4)
Before adding a vitamin D supplement to your routine, make sure to check in with your doctor to determine which dosage is right for you.
Rest and Recover
We talked about how the leucine in whey protein helps you recover post-workout. But you can take your recovery one step further with Micellar Casein Powder, a slow-digesting protein that releases essential amino acids while you sleep. If you’re working out at high intensity or early in the mornings, try one of our micellar casein recipes 1-2 hours before bedtime and wake up rejuvenated and ready to take on the day.
Link to sources:
- (“Build Muscle, Improve Health: Benefits Associated With Resistance Exercise | ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal”, 2015)
- (“Health Benefits of Whey Protein: A Review | Journal of Food Science and Engineering”, 2012)
- (“Supplemental Protein in Support of Muscle Mass and Health: Advantage Whey | Journal of Food Science”, 2015)
- (“Muscle-Related Effect of Whey Protein and Vitamin D3 Supplementation Provided Before or After Bedtime in Males Undergoing Resistance Training | Nutrients”, 2022)