by Robert Maxwell
David: Any ideas for me? I’m 60 years old, 203 lbs, 13% body fat and 5 feet 5 inches tall. I'm struggling to get down to 14 stone (196 lbs) so should I keep trying or just maintain my weight and train to pain? (Please reply eat and train to pain lol)
Hi David! I guess it depends what’s more important to you; getting leaner or building strength and muscle. It sounds like you’re leaning towards the latter, and if so, by all means eat and lift. You may not stay as lean as you are now if you prioritize strength and eat accordingly, but you can always lean down later if you choose. The main thing is to select an approach that’s satisfying and sustainable. It sounds like struggling to lose more weight for you isn’t either. At your weight and BF percentage, you’re already quite lean, anyway. Trying to get leaner makes sense if your main goal is aesthetic, but not if you want as strong and functional a body as possible. I remember when I actively switched from trying to get lean to trying to get strong. Best decision I ever made. I gained tons of strength and muscle, a bit of fat, and lots of satisfaction.
Gary: I’m 54 and losing muscle. I’m wondering if it’s safe to take creatine. Will it help?
Hi Gary! It’s safe if you take the right amounts, but creatine alone won’t stop muscle loss. Lifting heavy and eating enough are your main allies there. Here’s an article I wrote on the subject: https://www.manfactorytraining.com/2018/04/03/2-biggest-reasons-you-re-not-building-muscle/
Usually sold as a flavourless white powder, creatine is a natural compound found in most living tissue. Its function is helping muscles produce more power. In practice, taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate every day will give you a couple extra reps before reaching failure in the gym. That’s it. It’s a natural compound, not a miracle drug. If you’re serious about preventing muscle loss and even gaining some muscle, you’d better be doing a whole lot of other things right before buying a sleeve of creatine. It certainly doesn’t pack enough of a punch to make or break your results. You’ll do that all on your own.
If you’re serious about holding off muscle and strength loss as long as possible, start by eating at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. Eat lots of quality carbs, too (not junk and desserts), and some healthy fats. Make sure you’re eating more calories than you’re burning, and train consistently. Focus on barbell squats, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press with weight where 10 reps challenges you. Do some extra movements, too, like curls and dumbbell French press. Get plenty of sleep, and drink lots of water. You do all that, and your muscle loss will likely slow down, stop, and maybe reverse.