Muscle Mass and Your Metabolism

If you’re gaining fat as you’re gaining years, more than the fit of your clothes has probably changed. The ratio of fat to muscle affects how quickly you burn calories, how easily you build muscle, and how well you age — and feel.

The expert physicians at Men's T Clinic know that keeping and building your muscle mass is one of the keys to a fast metabolism, good health, and balanced hormones. At their locations in Dallas, Frisco, The Colony, Houston, Cypress, Pearland, Pasadena, Grapevine, and Spring, Texas, they help men of all ages keep or build their muscles. Here’s why muscles matter.

Sarcopenia ain’t pretty

Sarcopenia is the clinical word for muscle wasting. As you get older, if you don’t use your muscles enough, or if you don’t provide them with the high-quality protein they need to build and maintain muscle fiber, they degenerate.

You may have noticed that elderly people, even when they’re at a “healthy” weight, seem to have much smaller muscles than younger people. Not only does sarcopenia make your muscles smaller, it also affects your metabolism and your blood sugar. 

Muscles require a lot of energy. If you don’t have enough muscle tissue, you can’t burn the glucose in your food as efficiently as you did when you were younger. 

Sarcopenia puts you at increased risk for:

Of course, sarcopenia happens gradually, so you might not realize that your muscles are wasting away. But if it’s harder to lift weights or perform physical labor, or if you’ve experienced fat gain without changing your diet, you may have sarcopenia.

Muscles are beautiful

Enough of the bad news. Here’s some good news. You can maintain or boost your metabolism and normalize your blood sugar simply by putting more muscle mass on your body, or by preventing its loss.

Building muscle doesn’t take crazy equipment or time. Just dedication, repetition, and increasingly heavier weights. It also takes high-quality protein.

Though you may think that the protein in food translates directly to the proteins that build your muscles, that’s not quite right. Instead, your body breaks down and uses the amino acids in foods to build the proteins it needs to maintain muscle mass and perform other functions.

More good news is that high-quality proteins tend to be tasty. And filling. 

Not all proteins are equal, though. The proteins that your body most easily and efficiently uses to build muscle are given something called an amino-acid utilization (AAU) score. 

High AAU scores mean that your body uses most of the amino acids in those proteins to build muscle. Low AAU scores means that a good portion of the amino acids in that form of protein are turned into glucose, which your body either burns or stores as fat.

From high-quality to lowest quality, here’s how proteins rank on the AAU scale:

As you can see, protein powders have half or less the AAU value of animal proteins. Your body turns 83% of the protein in protein powders into sugar. If you’re vegan, you have to work extra hard to get the amino acid building blocks you need to build your muscles and stay healthy for life.

Muscles make testosterone

If you need more of an excuse to aim for a six-pack set of abs, your muscles help maintain your hormonal balance, too. Stressing your muscles stimulates them to produce the hormone testosterone (T). And T stimulates your body to do — guess what? — build more muscle.

One of the best and easiest ways to build muscle is in your thighs, because the muscles are large and you use them all the time. Deadlifts and squats help build up lower-body muscles. Then you have more energy to work on your upper body, too.

Everyone needs muscles (and T)

If you have a female partner, friend, or family member who’s in the “danger zone” of muscle loss, encourage them to kettlebell it, too. They’re also at risk for sarcopenia, low T, and all of the accompanying health problems. Gifting your mom, sister, or wife some hand weights for her birthday may not seem sentimental, but it’ll keep her fit and strong for years to come.

Although building muscle normalizes and balances T levels and other hormones for both sexes, if you already have sarcopenia or low T, the idea of getting ripped may send you running for the comfort of the couch. 

Getting your T levels back to normal with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) helps you build muscle and shed fat. Building muscle and shedding fat raises your T, which helps you … yep … build even more muscle and shed even more fat. And that gives you the energy to get off the couch.

If you want to reverse or avoid sarcopenia, keep your glucose levels healthy, and speed up your metabolism, too, reach out today for a low T evaluation. Contact our office that's nearest you by phone or through the online booking form.

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