After almost a year of columns on Bodybuilding.com, our readership following has grown large. Your support has lead to additional exposure for both of us in magazines throughout the year. That's just the beginning and there is much more magazine exposure about to be released. Every morning our email boxes are filled with fellow baby boomers signing up for our weekly newsletter.
Our readership is now so large that it is becoming difficult to answer individual emails, so we will periodically choose a representative sample of questions and answers to feature here on Bodybuilding.com. In addition, our website, www.legendaryfitness.com which is currently under construction, will feature additional reader emails and will also provide a forum for discussion of topics that effect the fitness quest of the baby boomer generation.
Dear Diane & Richard,
I'm a 42 year old male, and I've just reached my goal in a weight watchers program that has landed me, with modifications of diet and working out regularly, at 5'11 and 170 lbs. (Best shape of my life.) Weight watchers, and other weight tracking systems, indicate that this is close to the "ideal" weight for my height, weight, and age. (Range = 143-172, Ideal = 168) But now that I've pretty much lost the "love handles", I want to build some muscle. What, in your opinion, is a good weight range for a "body builder" of my age and height?
I have a kidney condition that prevents me from doing extra proteins. Is there any way to build muscle while taking in normal levels of protein (i.e., without the supplements)?
Jay B (Billerica MA)
Weight ranges for bodybuilders are very individual and based upon several factors including genetics, which will determine your ability to put on muscle mass. To keep it simple, muscles are made up of slow and fast twitch fibers. Slow twitch fibers are associated with endurance type of activities. Marathon runners provide an excellent example of a population with a generous amount of slow twitch fibers. In contrast, fast twitch fibers are associated with short, intense bursts of energy. Powerlifters are an excellent example of people with a high percentage of fast twitch fibers. Learn more about muscle fibers, click here!
As a 42-year-old male, your best guide will be a mirror and tape measure rather than a scale. If you happen to have great muscle building genetics and employ sound resistance training and nutritional strategies you will start to pack on muscle mass.
Because muscle weighs seven times more than fat, as you improve your body composition by reducing bodyfat, you may see an increase in scale weight from the increased muscle mass resulting from your resistance training efforts. It's this very factor that brings a smile to the faces of bodybuilders when they discuss the Body Mass Index (BMI). Calculate your BMI amongst other things with our easy to use calculators, click here!
This method of determining obesity levels does not take into account large amounts of muscle mass, which results in many fit people with high muscle mass and low bodyfat ratios to fall within the overweight or obese range on the BMI scale.
In terms of your kidney condition, you must follow the advice of your physician, but be sure that he/she is educated in both kidney disorders AND nutrition with a sports medicine slant. By "sports medicine slant," I'm referring to a fit physician that is involved in a regular exercise routine. You want to seek out those physicians that are in the gym working out on a regular basis. Network at the gym and you'll be likely to find those physicians that understand disorders and illnesses and how best to work around them.
On a personal note, I've lucked out by landing at Gold's Gym in Panama City, Florida. Not only is the gym well equipped and staffed with knowledgeable people, the gym is a haven for local doctors. Networking proved surprisingly beneficial when Richard needed an orthopedic surgeon to repair his shoulder this week. Yes, the surgeon is a fellow gym member that has worked hard to stay in shape and understands our need as fitness enthusiasts to get back to the gym quickly.
There is much research on physiological adaptive response to lower protein levels and the effects of supplementation with BCAAs. For those that need to limit protein for health reasons, it is critical to obtain your protein form the "best" sources. Proteins with high biological values such as egg whites, chicken, fish, lean beef and high quality whey protein provide excellent choices.
Richard and Diane
I'm a very physically fit, healthy 47 year old. What changes in performance and in muscle development can I expect as I move into and through menopause?
Wow, 47 and physically fit! Congratulations to your on your Legendary Physique and for seeking help to maintain your current level of fitness as the menopause years approach.
Yes, there are several physiological changes that will occur with menopause and aging, but you don't use these physiological changes as an excuse to allow your fitness levels to deteriorate, but rather a challenge to improve and create your best physique ever. And that's our message to all baby boomers. It is possible to create a legendary physique in your 40's, 50's and beyond.
- Metabolic slowdown
- Solution: Decrease calories and/or increase cardio to keep from adding pounds to your baby boomer body. Learn
- Loss of muscle mass
- Continue progressive resistance training to increase muscle mass, which not only improves physique appearance, but also increases the metabolic rate. Employ periodization techniques to maximize gains while minimizing injury.
- Lower estrogen levels
- Lower estrogen levels are a bodybuilder's dream! Many young bodybuilders use anti-estrogen medications such as Tamoxifen to help lower bodyfat levels. If you are trying to get lean, enjoy this one benefit of age.
In addition, Diana, women undergoing these hormonal changes are often faced with additional roles of both parent to young adult children and care giver to older parents. Stress from the hormonal changes and more demanding roles at home and on the job will elevate cortisol levels. Stress often leads to overeating, which in turn leads to depression and higher cortisol levels.
It is critical to keep sound nutritional strategies in place while going through the trying times associated with menopause. And remember that exercise releases endorphins, a natural mood elevator. So, if you want to ease through the menopause years, be sure to keep going to the gym on a regular basis.
I am 52 and have been exercising since my late 20s. I enjoy it much and am trying to take it to another level, because the challenge is so enjoyable to me. I'm 5'5", 147-150 lbs, and have a good frame, but am looking for a more cut look. Do you have any ideas how that can be attained?
I could improve my diet, and am more prone to 'emotional eating' in the cold months. Are their natural supplements you recommend? I'm a firm believer in natural bodybuilding and don't desire anything 'artificial.' I appreciate any feedback you provide.
Congratulations on achieving a lifetime of fitness through exercise. You are clearly on the right track to consistent gains by continuous goal setting. We've profiled other Legendary Baby boomers just like you in previous weekly columns and showed that the key to success is in continuous goals and enjoyment of the process.
For those that are already fit, the key to a really cut physique often lies in the nutritional plan. And your confession of emotional eating during the cold months reinforces my suspicions. Carbohydrate control will often yield the desired effect. You need to find that balance between enough clean complex carbohydrates to provide the necessary energy to fuel your workouts and yet low enough to help you lean out.
Often bodybuilders will zig-zag carbohydrates to obtain a more cut look. Three to five days of very low carbs, followed by a day of higher carbs is a strategy that works for many. Just when your body can no longer tolerate the low carb levels a fresh supply of energy is restored. It also helps mentally to add in more carbohydrates, which provide satisfying comfort levels for many.
When adding in your carbs, you'll have higher levels of success if you are keeping the quality high. Choosing brown rice and oatmeal over junk food or a "cultish" fad so-called bodybuilding nutrition plan using Frosted Flakes or other sugary cereals for carbs, will go a long way in providing the energy to produce mass building workouts without a huge insulin spike that produces a vicious sugar craving cycle.
Glutamine is a supplement that will aid in workout recovery, boost your immune system and help with fat loss. For more info an glutamine, check out my article here on Bodybuilding.com. Good luck in your training and keep us posted on your progress through our website, www.legendaryfitness.com, and by sending updated photos.
Dear Ms. Fields,
I have just read your article about glutamine on Bodybuilding.com and I must admit that it was revealing, so much that I'm considering using it in my diet. However, I have one question. Would it be wise to use it together with creatine and glucose immediately after working out, or should I take them separate? Keep up the good work and best of everything.
Yes, glutamine can be taken with creatine and glucose immediately following a workout. But, for an ever more effective course of action, you may want to try these supplements mixed into your workout drink.
My fellow gym members at Gold's are always asking about my "pink" drink that's in my Bodybuilding.com water bottle. Crystal Light and glutamine are mixed together for my workout drink to that the supplements will already be in my system, ready to aid with recovery as soon as my workout is over.
Hi Fellow Babyboomers,
My name is Kim and I am 41 years old. I'm interested in training for fitness competitions. I've been into fitness and have been a dancer most of my life. I'm 125 to 127 pounds (depending upon what day it is) and 5'5 ½". I'm in pretty good health, but not in the shape that I would like to be in. My kids tell me I've got a four pack instead of a six.
I workout regularly but am having trouble losing the fat on the lower abs and am wondering it I'll ever be able to get rid of the sagging skin from birthing five children. (Not without surgery anyway!) And ideas?
Even though your background is in fitness and dancing, you suffer, as do many women from too much abdominal fat... a very difficult area. To make your four pack into a six pack, make abdominal training a priority. Too often, abs are an afterthought. Work your abs at the beginning of your training day, while you are fresh and energized. Reverse incline crunches, hanging leg raises with ankle weights and flat bench leg raised with a dumbbell between your feet (don't raise your legs too high with a dumbbell to avoid an accident) will provide a heavy duty, intense abdominal workout.
For loose skin, bodybuilders have used hemorrhoid cream or Thimiocase cream for years to provide that very tight look to skin. Just remember, a cream can only do so much and should only be used for that last bit of tightness.
Once we reach our 40s, the skin loses elasticity. Excessive weight gain and/or pregnancy can stretch the skin beyond natural repair. If you only have a little bit of excess skin, try the cream therapy, but large amounts of excess skin will require surgical removal. Skilled plastic surgeons are able to hide the scars from lower body lifts under many posing outfits.
Check out our huge article database for more articles on ab training!
Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC.
Richard Baldwin, Member. Legendary Physique, LLC.
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Copyright 2004. Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved.
The advice given in this column should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical services. Before undertaking any exercise or nutrition program, Legendary Fitness, LLC advises all to undergo a thorough medical examination and get permission from their personal physician.