I don’t know who came up with the quote, “Youth is wasted on the young,” but the older I get, the more and more appropriate it seems. It’s no secret we feel much better physically in our youth, but I think it’s important to know the science of why that is. We can all remember a time in our lives when we could “get away” with eating a box of Oreos or something like that. You would go through it, feel stuffed, go do something, and in an hour be hungry again without really gaining any weight. Now, you have a slice of cake and it feels like you’re trying to shake it off for the rest of the week. Besides the obvious, “Yea, because I’m older,” why is that?
Well, let’s backtrack a little. What if you were never the type who could eat whatever they want to begin with? The reason being is because you probably never really got into exercising with weights. You see muscle is something that is very expensive (in terms of caloric needs) to maintain. The more muscle you have, the more you have to eat to sustain that muscle. A person with a lot of muscle will burn an exorbitant amount of calories while just sitting in a chair. A person with little to no muscle will burn next to nothing while doing the same. This is why it’s important to build muscle mass. You can afford to eat something that isn’t good for you.
Now, back to those of you who used to be able to eat whatever you wanted when you were younger. The reason it’s becoming less and less easy to do something like that is twofold: A. you’ve stopped exercising with resistance AND/OR B. you’ve aged past 40.
When we get older, we lose the ability to produce testosterone. Yes, ladies you also produce testosterone, on a much lower scale of course, but you still need it to sustain muscle mass. The ability to hold onto muscle mass becomes harder and harder as we age so we have less of an ability to indulge in things like cookies and alcohol.
This is why it’s very important to constantly add muscle mass. The more you have the easier it will be to bounce back from say a 4th of July party. So, while you’re at that cookout this weekend (social distancing of course) be sure to squeeze in some push-ups or something to accommodate that beer or dessert you might be having.