Two Simple Steps to Improve your Health

written by Wayne Westcott, Ph.D

shakeThere are two relatively simple steps that you can take that will have a major impact on your health, fitness and appearance. The first step is to begin a basic and brief strength training program, and the second step is to increase your daily protein intake.

Consider the results of three recent research studies that examined the effects of these two lifestyle changes.

Our first research project involved 46 men and women (average age 59 years) who did a standard program of resistance exercise (11 Nautilus machines) with or without a protein shake after each training session.  The participants who performed the exercise program without extra protein added 4 pounds of muscle and lost 5 pounds of fat for a 9 pound improvement in their body composition.  The participants who preformed the exercise program with extra protein added 5 pounds of muscle and lost 9 pounds of fat for a 14 pound improvement in their body composition, a 50% better result!

Our second research project included 52 man and women (average age 52 years) who did no exercise or who did a standard program of resistance training (12 Nautilus machines) with or without a protein shake after each training session. While both exercise groups achieved far better results than the no-exercise group, the improvements were significantly greater in participants who took supplemental protein.  These individuals added 5 pounds of muscle, increased their bone density by 1%, reduced their systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg, and reduced their diastolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg, all of which were very impressive and healthful achievements.

Our third research project involved 121 men and women (average age 59 years) who did exercise only, or exercise with increased daily protein intake and decreased calorie intake.  The exercise-and-protein group experienced much better results than the exercise-only group, including more than twice the muscle gain.

Every survey reveals that the greatest obstacle to regular exercise is lack of time.  It should therefore be encouraging to know that the three relatively brief (30 minute) weekly exercise sessions are sufficient for significantly improving body composition (lean weight, fat weight) and for attaining relatively high levels of overall physical fitness especially when protein consumption is increased.