Am I doing things OK for my goal of increasing lean body mass?

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Hello. Just found your fantastic website via a post from one of the misc.fitness newsgroups. What an outstanding job you’ve done – it must have taken many hours to put it all together! (Does that count as “sedentary” time?)

Background… I am male, 48, 6 feet 3 inches, 215 pounds. I workout on a somewhat regular schedule, at least four, sometimes five times per week. At least one, mostly two of those workouts are with fairly heavy weights. My goal is to maintain the current weight level or perhaps gain a little, as well as increase lean body mass. This will probably mean losing more of the body fat (which is currently “estimated” at between 10-11%) than the gaining of muscle. If I absolutely have no time during the day for a workout, I will still do a couple of sets of pushups, crunches, etc. in order to maintain the ritual and minimum overall goal of four times per week. I know that it is difficult for males my age to gain too much more lean body mass (LBM) than is already on their frame without the use of substances of dubious legality. (Actually, I can increase the LBM, but it means that every workout is a heavy one! My knee joints are starting to complain!)

Now my question is this: Am I doing things (in general) ok for my goals? Is there a supplement (or combination thereof) that you know of that can help me with the task at hand? I’m not looking for the wonder pill or any fancy snake-oil medicine – just simple things off the shelf… Thanks very much for your time, and I’m sorry for the intrusion. Again, congratulations on a well-executed website!!! It is now bookmarked on my browser!!!

Did you try out the Healthy Body Calculator® and include your current body fat? Your Nutrition Facts report on page 3 of the calculator will give you a place to start for the number of calories, fat, vitamins and minerals you need. On page 2, you can customize the percent of calories from fat as well as your weight or body fat goals. FYI, an average male has 19 – 21% body fat, so you are already in excellent shape. Most collegiate athletes would be very pleased with 10 – 11% body fat. Please be aware that unless you include your percent body fat, my calculator will report that your weight is unhealthy because of basic assumptions regarding fat to muscle ratios (BMI) in an average individual.

You weren’t very specific with regards to your exercise routine i.e. what you do and for how long each day. Is your goal bodybuilding or wellness? Since your main objective is to reduce body fat and increase muscle what percent body fat is your goal? If bodybuilding is your goal, then weight lifting will be your primary exercise routine. Your exercise plan should be specific with regards to the amount of weight and number of reps (repetitions) for weightlifting. If wellness is your goal, then combine moderate weight lifting with an aerobic sport you enjoy (running, biking, swimming, etc). If your knees complain, try including non-stressing exercise like swimming. Either way, I would recommend talking to an exercise physiologist for a training program.

Your available time seems currently limited, so how do you plan to exercise more unless you re-allocate the time you have available? Thirty to 60 minutes 5 times per week is good. Remember that quality of life includes activities other than exercise programs unless you are competing in a sport.

Hey, guys have it better than gals with regard to laying down muscle. Your testosterone levels stay pretty level until age 70, so why do you think your ability to lay down more muscle is limited? It is only limited by your diet (healthy low fat) and weight lifting schedule.

As for supplements, as long as you eat a balanced, healthy diet based on the My Plate, you don’t need any vitamin supplement or mineral supplements. Yes, most supplements contain substances that are not identifiable nor beneficial and their labels make claims that are not supported by current nutrition research. If you think you don’t eat a balanced diet, a multi-vitamin with 100% of all vitamins and minerals wouldn’t hurt. It is hard to accept, but there is no quick fix (pill or supplement) to increase muscles and decrease fat. You have to put in the exercise time.

Thanks for your kind comments.