In today's August 1, 2009 newsletter . . .

  • Anti-Aging Formula: Creatine plus Barbells

  • Where Do You Workout?

Anti-Aging Formula: Creatine plus Barbells

Creatine monohydrate has been around the bodybuilding world and athletics for many years now. It is one of a few supplements that so far as we know is both safe, when taken in appropriate amounts, and actually does what is claimed.

Athletes have used it because it helps in their ability to perform short bursts of speed and power and to develop strength and muscle when coupled with resistance exercise.

I used creatine for a while several years ago and became somewhat stronger in most exercises. My muscles also felt fuller. So I have to say that it worked as promised. And I experienced no negative side effects. When I wrote about creatine in Living the Fitness Lifestyle, I said that I had stopped taking it for two reasons: 1) Because the long-term effects are still unknown; and 2) adding additional bulk at my age was no longer a priority with me, even if that bulk was muscle.

Recently, I came across the following report in Science Daily. It is from a 2007 double blind study on creatine.

"Creatine In Addition To Exercise
Enhances Strength In Older Adults

"While exercise is a proven way to prevent the loss of muscle mass, a new study led by McMaster researcher Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky shows that taking a combination of creatine monohydrate (CrM) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in addition to resistance exercise training provides even greater benefits. "The study to be published on Oct. 3 in PLoS One, involved 19 men and 20 women who were 65 years or older and took part in a six-month program of regular resistance exercise training.

"In the randomized double blind trial, some of the participants were given a daily supplement of creatine (a naturally produced compound that supplies energy to muscles) and linoleic acid (a naturally occurring fatty acid), while others were given a placebo. All participants took part in the same exercise program.

"The exercise training resulted in improvements of functional ability and strength in all participants, but those taking the CrM and CLA showed even greater gains in muscle endurance, an increase in fat-free mass and a decrease in the percentage of body fat.

"'This data confirms that supervised resistance exercise training is safe and effective for increasing strength and function in older adults and that a combination of CrM and CLA can enhance some of the beneficial effects of training over a six month period,' said Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics and medicine.

"This study provides functional outcomes that build on an earlier mechanistic study co-led by Tarnopolsky and Dr. S. Melov at the Buck Institute of Age Research, published in PLoS One this year, which provided evidence that six months of resistance exercise reversed some of the muscle gene expression abnormalities associated with the aging process."

As always, I recommend telling your personal physician about any supplements you are considering.

Where Do You Workout?

I often wonder how many subscribers to the newsletter workout at home? And how many belong to health clubs or gyms?

I wrote about the pluses and minuses of each choice in my beginner’s training book, Gray Iron: A Fitness Guide for Senior Men and Women.

Patty and I have worked out in a commercial health club for years. We have a few pieces of equipment at home and occasionally workout here, doing a combination of weights and bodyweight exercises. But we usually go to the gym.

At some point, probably when Patty retires from teaching, we will, more than likely, workout more at home. Ideally, I think home gyms are the best way to go — if you have the self-discipline to train regularly. The cliché of a treadmill stored in the garage with old clothes hanging from it can be all too real.

However, IF you do have the self-discipline to workout regularly at home, the hours saved by not having to drive to and from a health club are good reasons to get busy creating your own gym.

Home gyms can be as simple or extensive as you wish to make them. Nothing more than a set of dumbbells or kettlebells, plus bodyweight exercises, can be highly effective. Add resistance bands and you’ve made your gym portable. Multi-purpose machines, such as a Total-Gym, are worth considering, too.

There is place on my web site where trainees can create their own personal story page and even include a picture. Other fitness buffs, bodybuilders, and weight trainers are always interested in seeing where other workout people train and the kind of equipment they use. Why not share the history of your training space and how you decided on your equipment? It could be a couple of kettlebells in the corner of a room; or a big space filled with everything from free weights to fitness machines.

There is an easy-to-use form to walk you through your contribution. I promise that plenty of people will be interested. Check it out.

The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to our subscribers. Our purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

Always consult with your physician before making dietary changes or starting an exercise program.

Your comments or questions are always appreciated.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter