Building Muscle By Resistance Training


By Jes Williams @feelmoregooder

With the prevalence of social media fitness trends & content, it may be harder than ever for a fitness-seeking newbie to find quality information that isn't just clickbait. In addition, it's important to note that many of these trends are oriented around "hacking" or "shortcutting" your way to your ideal body and state of health. While there's nothing wrong with optimizing your physiology, going into it with a "quick fix" mentality isn't ideal, as it doesn't consider how your physique will take time to change & evolve to your liking. Also, it doesn't address the commitment & staying power that is required to consistently keep up with an active lifestyle.

Low muscle strength is associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality.

PMID: 5820209 (8)

Why Are We Just Now Hearing About Weightlifting for the General Population?

Gone are the days of weightlifting being solely for professional bodybuilders, Arnold Schwarzegger-types, Olympians, football players, and extreme Cross fitters. We all have bodies and we all have muscles. To develop and care for these muscles is to care for your health. Though the online & social media noise around fitness is at its height, it is simultaneously clearer than ever in the science that having muscle on your frame benefits your health.

Many of us have heard that physical exercise is a component of a healthy lifestyle. However, this messaging in the past has been largely focused on aerobic exercise for maintaining a healthy weight and cardiovascular fitness. The importance of strength, muscle density, and resistance training in the past has been largely reserved for high performers who require that strength in their sport or modality. However, it's important to consider the science backing the concept that resistance training is for everyone.

Over the years, the standard American lifestyle has become more sedentary & loaded with artificial & highly processed foods. Alongside this decline in healthy lifestyle practices are more emerging research papers on best practices for maintaining a healthy human physiology. Muscles are a recurring theme in the literature, really driving home the tertiary benefits of building muscle on your frame.

“Muscle is perhaps the most important organ system to combat our current health crisis, regain exceptional health and maximize physical performance. Muscle health becomes more important as we age, yet is often the most overlooked–even by modern-day medical practices. Muscle-centric medicine focuses on this, the organ of longevity. Muscle is fast becoming the 6th vital sign.”

-Dr Gabrielle Lyon

Furthermore a team of researchers in 2018 declared that an individuals muscle composition should be one of this vital signs of health. Upon considering the laundry this of processes below that muscle is involved with, this makes sense:

Having Muscle Offers Myriad of Benefits

We are taught in grade school that muscles help you to run fast, perform pull ups, and look athletic. However, the benefits far surpass the functional and aesthetic realm. Having enough muscle on you offers:

  • Reduced risk of disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies found that muscle-strengthening activities were associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cancer, and diabetes. (1)
  • Improved brain health: A Canadian study found that older adults who combined weight lifting with walking and balance exercises improved their decision-making abilities by almost 13% in six months. (2)
  • Improved mental health: Regular strength training can reduce symptoms of worry, anxiety, and depression. (3)
  • Improved blood sugar control: Muscles play an important role in insulin control, so having higher muscle mass can help keep blood glucose levels in check. (4)
  • Enhanced joint support: Strong muscles can help prevent injuries by supporting joints. (5)
  • Increased metabolism: Muscle gain increases the body's ability to burn fat and calories faster. (6)
  • Strong bones: Muscle tissue development is related to stronger, healthier bones. (7)
  • Increased health span. Resistance training has been shown to improve the functionality of existing mitochondria and improve cardiovascular health. (11)

Muscle Mass Can Decrease with Age

As individuals age, their activity level often decreases. Thus, the muscle stimulus lessens, and the resistance training & exercise inputs are not generating the same benefits that they once were. However, with some concerted effort towards consistent resistance training, one can combat this process and help their body to maintain a strong & resilient physique, as the below study suggests:

Inactive adults experience a 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade, accompanied by resting metabolic rate reduction and fat accumulation. Ten weeks of resistance training may increase lean weight by 1.4 kg, increase resting metabolic rate by 7%, and reduce fat weight by 1.8 kg.

-Current Sports medicine reports (8)

Additionally, a study and ongoing research suggest that "older adults need more dietary protein than do younger adults to support good health, promote recovery from illness, and maintain functionality. They also need more protein to offset inflammatory and catabolic conditions associated with chronic and acute diseases that occur commonly with aging." (10)

Essentially, we are looking to combat sarcopenia, which is defined as the aging-related loss of muscle mass and function. (12). Sarcopenia reduces mobility, reduces quality of life, and can result in injuries, which often require costly hospitalization and extended rehabilitation sessions.

A great way to begin feeding your muscles throughout the day (and meeting your body's protein needs) is to include a serving of protein with every meal. Shoot for 20-30 grams of protein per meal. Of course, the frequency and quantity of protein your body requires will be dependent on your ideal body weight. Dr. Gabrielle Lyon suggests ingesting 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (note: Not everyone agrees with Dr. Lyon.  Mara Lab’s medical director, Dr. Martin Katz, says that only  1/3 of a gram of protein per pound of body weight is needed). Focusing on including protein with your meals will also help with satiety, and not experiencing cravings in between meals.

“Engaging in muscle-strengthening activities was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality.”

Muscle-strengthening activities are associated with lower risk and mortality in major non-communicable diseases: a systematic review (9)


Muscle wasting is caused by myostatin, a protein that acts as a negative regulator of muscle growth. It inhibits muscle differentiation and growth, ensuring that muscles do not grow excessively.  The sulforaphane in BrocElite is known to downregulate the production of myostatin. (13)

Common Misconceptions

Worried about getting bulky? Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, an advocate for muscle-centric medicine, educates on this, as she explains that resistance training does not equate to becoming bulky. Instead, it promotes lean muscle growth, leading to a toned and sculpted physique.

Additionally, putting on mass has more to do with your diet (excess junk food, etc.) than it does with resistance training alone. Considering this truth, hopefully more individuals can confidently start strength training without fear of looking "big" or "bulky".




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