Protein and Muscle Mass

From the heart….
There seems to be a gulf between elderly people with good, strong muscles and those whose muscles have wasted away, even when they are visiting the gym and working out several times a week. A friend who is in his nineties called to see if I could suggest something to help him rebuild muscle mass as his gym workouts don’t seem to be enough. In the same week, I received an email from my trainer, PJ Glassey, which rather embarrassed me. I’ve decided to reproduce our exchange for you because I have such a heart-felt passion for what PJ has helped me achieve in my old age.

The idea of building muscle strength is not new for me. When my oldest daughter became pregnant for my first grandchild, I was fifty-seven. I wanted to be able to carry an eight pound baby around without hurting my back, shoulders or arms. I began lifting weights. For me, weight training has always been about daily living functions and the ability to keep doing them.

After a recent workout session: I had a hard workout over Skype today [4/28/2019] with trainer and owner of the Xgym method, PJ Glassey. After we were done, he sent me this email:

Hi Betsy,
I just gotta say how proud I am of you and the incredible strength you’ve produced. Your lunge switch squats are better than 70% of the X Gymers -regardless of age! Your mental strength is better than probably 90% of the X Gymers because you never offload.
You totally rock and even border on superhuman. You should do the wall sit contest at your [60th college] reunion, but have someone else suggest it (and judge form) because when you win, it would make you look like you conned everyone. Hahaha! 😂
PJ Glassey, CSCS
Founder, X Gym

My response: Ah, shucks. I’m embarrassed by your comments. I just love being able to carry a full basket of wet laundry up the basement stairs and hang it out to dry, to haul the lawn mower around the yard, to lift my set of stainless steel pots from a lower cupboard to the counter, and to twist the frozen lid off my Ninja food processor, plus go for a 6 mile hike with my 50 year old daughters and not cause them to slow their pace too much. Xgym makes all that possible. I’m grateful, and not necessarily superhuman, just a lover of an active life. my brand and motto: Be well, Do well and Keep Moving. Love ya and all your fabulous trainers. You and Shaklee! Betsy








PJ took these pictures of me during a recent training. Pushups and bicep curls. I’ve still got skin that sags just like every other 80 year old!

So, what is going on here?


You can’t generalize from a sample of two people, both over 80 and both working out, but I will offer some macro observations.

Protein is a major factor in retaining and building muscle mass at any age, but particularly in our older years. Most older adults do not eat as much protein as they did when they were younger. We don’t have the appetite for it; it’s harder to digest; lean organic meat, poultry, and line caught fish are expensive grocery items and we may not include them in our budget.

Nothing happens in the body without protein. We have to have it every day for growth, repair, and maintenance of all body tissues. Protein makes enzymes – the stuff we have to have for every single thing that happens in the body. Protein keeps our fluid and electrolyte balance where it needs to be.

Without protein, we have no Energy. Protein fights off disease and heals wounds.

Our body makes protein’s amino acids, except for nine essential ones. These nine are not stored in the body. No new body tissue can be built without it.

Protein Sources

Not all protein is equal: fish, lean meat, poultry and soy have all nine of the essential amino acids and do all the things I mentioned.

If you rely on a low meat/poultry/fish diet or are vegetarian by eating nuts, grains, beans for your protein sources (none of these sources have all nine essential amino acids), you would be wise to study up on the combinations you need in a 24 hour period to get those 9 essential amino acids into your body. It can be tricky. Incomplete balance of the missing 9 could leave you depleted in certain important ways. We all know the classic beans and rice protein diet, a combination that creates a synergistic balance of  all nine of the needed amino acids.

To prove my point, I will share a study conducted by Dr. Richard Brouse at his clinic in Clackamas, Oregon.
January 2003
Re: Shaklee Physique and the Elderly

As you know, the nutritional needs of mature individuals is unique. Digestion, muscle mass and hormonal regulation tends to decrease. Body fat and blood cholesterol levels tend to increase. Cardiovascular efficiency, blood sugar regulation and energy levels tend to decrease.
This observation seems to be related to the aging process and made us ask the question “What factor seems to have the greatest effect on aging?”

After several years of recommending Physique to 210 elderly patients (men and women between 65 and 84) at this clinic we noticed some amazing results that we would like to share with you.

*1) 72% of people over 65 years of age who began using Physique daily had an increase in energy and
* more muscle mass after 6 months.
*2) Sugar regulation in those who had been hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic returned to normal in 56% of the cases within 3 months after starting daily use of Physique.
*3) 60% of all elderly patients following our recommended exercises had less muscle and joint symptoms within 3 months after daily use of Physique.

These findings can only suggest that Shaklee Physique is a very useful addition to the nutritional program of the elderly population who are physically active and taking positive steps to maintain their health. When maximizing the diet and regularly supplementing, significant benefits can be gained by the elderly using Physique. We are very excited about these findings and hope that mature people and not just young people will take advantage of this outstanding product.

Richard Brouse, M.A., D.C, DACBN, CCN

Physique is a whey protein based product. Since this study, Shaklee has a line of soy and other plant protein with and without added sugars (the protein powders without sugar are sweetened with stevia). These protein powders when mixed as smoothies have the same result as Physique.

I personally get most of my protein from plant based powders made by Shaklee, often having more than one serving a day, completing my meal with a huge bowl of salad or steamed vegetables. I believe my highly digestible 60 grams of protein per day (1/2 gram for every pound of body weight) is the cause of my well-developed muscles.

Be sure to pass this information along either in this form or via my facebook video at

. Your friend will thank you. And if you’d like to get the monthly posts from, fill in the form below.

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving,  Betsy

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Betsy Bell’s Health4U

4455 51st Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98116

206 933 1889 12/7 Voice mail






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