A recent comprehensive scientific review of research which aggregated the results from the best past studies of weight training and protein & recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that weight training combined with eating more protein will make you stronger than just weight training alone.

This finding was not limited to experienced weight trainers but applied to novice weight trainers and importantly to people of any age. Men and women who ate more protein while weight training did develop larger, stronger muscles than those who did not.

The impacts of this extra protein were not enormous. Almost everyone who started or continued weight training became stronger in these studies, whether they ate more protein or not.But those who did ramp up their protein gained an extra 10 percent or so in strength and about 25 percent in muscle mass compared to the control groups.

The researchers also looked for the optimal protein intake, which turned out to be about 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. In practical terms, that would amount to about 130 grams of protein a day for a 80 kg man. (A chicken breast has about 45 grams of protein). Beyond that point, more protein did not result in more muscle benefits.Meat and fish

That number is considerably higher, however, than the recommended dietary intake  which suggests about .84 grams per kilogram of protein a day for men and .75 grams a day for women.

So why does all this matter? And why are these findings so important for those of us who are 40 and over?

Body benefits for over-40s

The reason is that if you want to stay strong & keep your Basal Metabolic Rate ticking along well into middle age and older – strength training is the key.  Each decade after 30, muscle declines by 3-8 per cent and because it has a higher metabolic rate than fat, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn not only during exercise but also at rest. Muscle requires more blood and oxygen to be supplied to it than fat and that increases the energy expenditure the body has to do to maintain it.

Lifting workouts such as circuit training may burn about 200 calories while you’re doing them but unlike cardiovascular exercise such as running, they burn some 25 per cent more additional calories in the first hour following your workout


Weight training can also help to control blood sugar levels in patients with Type-2 diabetes and one meta-analysis concluded that resistance training should be recommended in the prevention and management of Type-2 diabetes. Moreover, it might help age-related bone loss too, as with age in women comes a decrease in oestrogen, a hormone that helps with calcium production. Studies carried out at Glasgow Caledonian University found that strength training improved bone density in post-menopausal women.

A weight off your mind

In addition to the metabolic benefits of  weight training it is now known that it can also deliver positive mood benefits.  This comes about because resistance and weight training increases  the production of serotonin, the brain hormone that makes us feel good – and the good news is that effect is best after moderate rather than intense training.

Strength training taps into the brain’s reward system quickly by stimulating the neural mechanisms that make people feel better


This blog is general in nature only and should not be relied upon as medical advice. For further information please contact our clinic or your own medical practitioner before commencing any diet or exercise regimen.

Summarised from the article – Lift Weights, Eat More Protein, Especially if You Are Over 40 – New York Times . Additional information from other sources also formed part of this article.