The re-programing of muscle cells can take from four to six weeks dependent on age and previous activity levels. If one is not aware of the ups and downs of this process, they can become discouraged as it seems at times one is not making progress. This is especially seen in the elderly who embark on a new health program and receive very little positive feedback in the way of weight loss or energy gains.
Muscle Cells and How They Build Energy
Muscle cells are composed of myofibrils. All along the myofibrils are the mitochondria. The mitochondria produce energy in the myofibril in the form of ATP. Every time a muscle is contracted, it uses energy in the form of ATP. With the right type of exercise, the muscle cell builds more mitochondria so that more ATP is produced during recovery. In the elderly, these muscle sites need to be retrained to produce mitochondria and store cellular energy. Once one depletes cellular energy, it normally takes time to replenish this energy but in an elderly individual with insulin resistance the process can take much longer.
How To Re-Train Muscle Cells
To re-train the muscle cells to build mitochondria and store cellular energy one must build muscle endurance. The best approach is to do resistance training with light weight and repetitions in the 20-25 range two times a week. When one can do over 25 repetitions of the same exercise, the weight should be increased. Use exercises that use as many muscles as possible such as the squat, chest press and dead lift. The more muscles used in the resistance routine the better the results. Aerobic activities should be added to this routine at only 60-70% intensity, for a duration of up to one hour a day, five to six days a week. Good exercises for this type of workout are walking, light jogging, swimming, biking, or a mini-trampoline for bouncing.
Eating for Muscle Cell Re-Education
The beginner in a new health program should always ingest a few hundred calories of carbohydrates immediately after a workout. This will supply the muscle cells with immediate feedback to replenish energy stores. This storage process stops fat storage and puts the body into a building phase. As the body cannot store fat and build energy stores at the same time, it will eventually focus on rebuilding ATP instead of storing fat. This is where people often become discouraged and think the workout plan is not working. They will not see a weight loss on the scale because energy stores pull water into the cells with the stored glycogen. This re-training process balances energy and water storage in a more effective way to allow the body its best performance for work. Meanwhile, fat stores are decreasing and a leaner body is emerging.