Think only young people should lift weights? Or only pro athletes should take supplements? Think again. Celebrity exercise physiologist, Marco Borges, shatters some common workout myths for Life Extension® readers.
The roster of celebrities lining up to give credit to Marco Borges for teaching them how to live a healthy lifestyle reads like a Grammy nominations list, with Jay-Z, Beyonce Knowles, and Gwen Stefani acting as headliners. Not to mention the dozens of other business moguls, pro athletes, and readers who have seen him or his work featured in Vogue Magazine and Best Life Magazine. Now, with his book titled Power Moves: The 4 Motions to Transform Your Body for Life, Borges is quick to give credit to the philosophy, training routine, nutrition plan, and supplement regimen that got him where he is today. Beginning with the latter, he says that he relies on a huge array of Life Extension products to maintain optimal health.
"Life Extension has the most amazing products," Borges says. "I love the Life Extension Mix. I just switched from the tablets to the powder and I love it. I find that it's the most comprehensive multi-vitamin product on the market."
As Borges talks, he opens up his medicine cabinet and runs through a list of the products that he takes on a regular basis: ubiquinol CoQ10, lycopene, mitochondrial energy boosters, gamma tocopherols, omega-3's, resveratrol, vitamin D, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
"You guys have bar none the best research of anyone out there," he says. "I started taking the resveratrol because of all the great research out there that I've come across."
That research includes a vast array of clinical studies as well as a CBS News 60 Minutes report that highlighted some of the benefits of resveratrol, including signs that it may help slow or even reverse certain areas of the aging process. For Borges, who has plenty of clients that fall into the "middle-aged population" range, passing on knowledge about supplements like resveratrol is just one part of his total body health philosophy.
"When it comes to the aging population, I also recommend glucosamine and chondriotin," he says.
Glucosamine is important because studies have shown that aging people tend to lose their ability to produce glucosamine, which may lead to joint pain or damage. For active individuals, this leads to a decreased range of movement, which may lead to pain and less inclination to exercise. Chondroitin is usually taken with glucosamine to facilitate its entry into the joints.
"In addition to the supplements, I've also noticed that as people get older they want to eat less and less," Borges says. "Sometimes they eat so little that they start to atrophy. That's why I recommend they take a really good protein shake. That way they're getting at least 20 grams of protein a day to help maintain the muscle they already have."
Of course, in order to sustain muscle mass and preserve our strength as we age, it is imperative to continue to do some type of resistance training on a regular basis. It's in this area of physical training that Borges wants to shed the myth that weight training isn't just for bodybuilders or young professional athletes.
"The aging population needs to understand that weight training isn't just something you do when you're young," he says. "People think that if they're in their 60s, 70s, or 80s they won't benefit from strength training, but nothing could be further from the truth. You start losing about 1% of strength per year around age 50, so you must remain engaged in a resistance training routine or your muscles will atrophy."
At the bare minimum, Borges recommends some sort of stretching program one to two days a week, just so people can keep their range of motion. But even if that's all you're going to do, he says that you still need to warm up and cool down. In order to warm-up for an exercise or a good stretch, you should go for a nice paced walk for 15 to 20 minutes. If the walk is going to be your exercise for the day, then try to at least walk at a moderate pace for a half hour.
"After a workout, I always recommend a good 10 minute slow or moderate paced walk to cool down before stretching," Borges says. "Many aging clients want to stretch to keep range of motion, but your muscles have to be warm to reap the benefits of a good stretch. If you tried to stretch a cold muscle, that's like putting a rubber band in the freezer. When you pull a frozen rubber band, it's going to snap, but if you put it out in the hot sun, the rubber becomes more pliable."
Also, if you exercise, you don't want your muscles to cool in a knot or contracted position or you'll wake up and feel stiff later. If you want to delay or offset soreness, Borges' recommendation is to engage in a 15-20 minute stretching program after exercise.
He points to the fact that as we get older, we're more susceptible to injury because of overusage of a muscle or muscle group. That's because whatever the activity, the older you get, the more times a muscle has done a particular movement the likelihood increases that it may break down. For instance, if you play tennis and don't stretch, as you get older, you'll be more susceptible to shoulder soreness and things like tennis elbow. For those of you who don't play tennis or have a particular athletic interest, Borges says that while exercising is important, it's just as imperative to enjoy the type of exercise that you're doing.
"I think it's really important to find something that you like," he says. "If you're looking for permanence, you can't force yourself to do something. At the end of the day, it's all about engaging the body. The more we move, the more we improve. I can't begin to tell you how many people attended my bike spinning class in Florida who at first thought they couldn't do it. People in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. They would come as a group and start at a very low resistance. Each of them moved at their own pace, so they could coexist in the same routine. Eventually, they all improved!"
If you aren't into tennis, bicycling, golf, or a particular exercise, you can still benefit from some very basic movements. Borges suggests even doing a few sets of squat presses can be beneficial. A squat press engages the core, quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders and calves, which makes it a near total body movement. *(See sidebar for instructions on how to do a squat press.)
"I don't recommend squatting too low," he explains. "What I have my clients do is place a chair behind them and you tap the chair with your glutes and stand right back up again. This exercise is important because we lose explosiveness the older we get. Even if you're 80 years old, you always need explosiveness. When you get out of bed or get out of a car, you want to be able to just pop up and get going. That takes explosiveness. We take it for granted until we no longer have it."
Exercises like the squat press take only a few minutes to learn but have benefits that can last you for the rest of your life.
"For people who haven't exercised in a while, they often have this image of the old Nautilus machines," Borges says. "They're not thinking creatively. With just a few simple movements done for reps several times a week and some cardiovascular exercise, aging individuals can improve and maintain their coordination, stability, and balance."
For more information, visit www.marcoborges.com.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.