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Eat Protein and Lift Weights to Enlarge Muscles

Your muscles get larger when you lift progressively heavier weights or work against increasing resistance. Just exercising does not build large muscles; if it did, marathon runners would have the largest muscles. As you grow older, it becomes harder to build muscle because it takes longer to recover from a heavy workout. A study from the University of Arkansas showed that eating meat helps older people grow large muscles when they also lift weights.

When you lift a heavy weight, you tear your muscles, feel sore on the next day, and when they heal, they are larger and stronger than before you injured them. Muscle biopsies done on the day after you lift heavy weights shows bleeding into the muscles and disruption of muscle fibers. Muscles are made primarily from protein building blocks called amino acids. Muscles heal when amino acids and other nutrients travel from your bloodstream into the muscles. Eating food, particularly protein, immediately after you finish your workout helps muscles heal faster. This study shows that men between the ages of 51 and 69 recover faster and grow larger muscles when they eat an omniverous diet that includes meat than when they eat only dairy products, fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. The healthiest interpretation of this information would be to eat seafood or poultry rather than meat from mammals.

More on weight training

WW Campbell, ML Barton, D CyrCampbell, SL Davey, JL Beard, G Parise, WJ Evans. Effects of an omnivorous diet compared with a lactoovovegetarian diet on resistance-training-induced changes in body composition and skeletal muscle in older men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999, Vol 70, Iss 6, pp 1032-1039 Address Campbell WW, Towbin Healthcare Ctr, NMEL, NLR, Room 3J106, 2200 Ft Roots Dr, N Little Rock,AR 72114 USA

Checked 8/29/10

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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