Tag Archives: xgym

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 xgym.com

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 www.grandmabetsybell.com, 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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personal training results

Gentle Reader,
I was wondering if I could walk to the car on my rubbery legs from the lunges with a weight vest on when  PJ Glassey captured me on video.  I had just finished my 21 minute workout with Dan this morning at the Xgym on Alki in Seattle.  My goal in going to the Xgym 2 x a week for personal training is to increase bone density.  At my next annual physical in Sept 2015, I’ll get that tested and report on the success.  What has surprised me is the functional improvement in my daily life tasks.

Betsy X Gym Testimonial
Betsy X Gym Testimonial

Here’s one of the exercises, bench row with barbells.

I am in the middle of what they call splits: controlled small movements monitored for form, lasting until the muscles in use fatigue completely, about 4 1/2 minutes.  Efficient and not damaging to joints.  Can you see that it’s 25 lbs in each hand?
Two things:  I have hiking friends who give me a run for my money without this kind of training.  Some people are lucky with their genes and don’t have as much to overcome as I do.  Secondly, I am convinced diet and supplements make a big difference in my recovery and improvement.  I always take an after workout recovery drink Physique or the 180 smoothie Shaklee makes, to repair the muscle break down.  The protein powder has leucine in it that heals muscle.  I get enough protein every day from both plant and meat and fish sources, at least 100 grms.  And I eat many servings of vegetables, beets, carrots, celery, kale, other greens, onions, tomatoes plus apples, raspberries and blueberries.  No grains, or very little.  It seems to be working to keep this arthritis-ridden body going.  Hiking, anyone?
Be well, Do well and Keep Moving,
www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com/be-well/  for more health stories and tips
www.HiHoHealth.com to shop for Shaklee products on my personal web site
206 933 1889  I still love to talk to people, answer questions, hear your stories.

Sign up today for my monthly Health4U newsletter for the latest Shaklee product information and special offers. Click here to sign up.

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pigeon pose pain free

Gentle Reader,

I had a plan for this week to bring you the information Julie Donnelly eveloped about muscle strain. and the myth that strenghthening the muscle can heal the pain.  I can not find the sequel to my last posting.  Stay tuned.  The information may show up through further research.  At least one reader was eager to hear what she had to say about that.

Instead I will tell you about my own unexpected healing from severe arthritis in my hips. I can recognize the healing because when I went to yoga on Tuesday, the instructor led us through an opening of the first shakra.  The idea behind this came from her reflection about St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.  What was the pot of gold that brought good luck all about?  The pot of gold found at the foot of a rainbow.  Our seven chakras are energy centers in the body located along the spine.  They have been associated with the full spectrum colors of the rainbow, beginning at the base, or shakra #1, Red.

We lucky humans are the pot of gold when we open, connect and release our chakras. Our primary chakra is found at the base of the spine, the tail bone, floor of our body when we sit on the ground, sits bones creating support for all the other six chakras.  This is our root, where issues of survival reside.  Survival in terms of money, a place to lay our head, sufficient food to sustain life.  When chakra #1 is healthy, we feel stable in life, supported, able to manage.  Perhaps my own sense of security around these foundation elements contributes to the lessening of arthritis pain in the hips.

pigeon pose

Our yoga instructor began her guidance with us lying flat on our backs.  Layer upon layer of complexity opened the base, pelvis and hips.  After an hour she asked us to find pigeon pose.  I have not done pigeon pose for 8 years because of the terrible pain in my hips.  This is a posture which requires the right knee to fold in front of the body, the left leg stretched out behind, the hands and arms lifting the torso to find a comfortable position.  Once this position is stable (I put a block under my right hip to support it as forcing it to rest of the floor is painful), you see if you are able to rest your elbows on the mat in front of your bent knee.   I was amazed that I could find this pose without pain.  Two days later, there is some ache in the hips, but nothing a couple of the herbal pain relief tablets can’t handle.

What has happened over the last few years?  It would be hard to pin point all the actions and attitudes that may have contributed to more pain-free mobility in my hips.

Let’s explore some possible causes of the lessening of arthritis pain.


I have a dear feiend who suffered so much from arthritis in her hips and especially one knee that she took the drastic steps to see if she could eliminate her pain.  She has cut out all dairy, all grains (that’s right, ALL grains), all night shade plants which include potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.  She does not deviate from this diet.  She does not cheat.  I eat with her often so I can testify to this.  She was on a heavy duty prescription pain killer.  She takes no medication today.  And she is gorgeous.  A side benefit.

Personally, I am not rigidly adherent to my dietary rules, but I avoid dairy (no cheese or ice cream, no milk except in my coffee), and I avoid grains, especially wheat.  I do eat a mixture of steel cut organic oats, barley and rye during the cold winter months when I am going skiing or feeling the need of comfort against the weather.  I eat brown rice.  Raw tomatoes seem OK for my body, but those tiny red, yellow and orange peppers that  I love are not so good.  Roasted, they seem to be less bothersome.  I am absolutely convinced that diet has a great deal to do with arthritis.  If you haven’t tried the extreme measures practiced by my friend and you are in pain, by all means, give these dietary suggestions a try.


Over-exercising does not seem to help arthritis pain.  Rather too much exercise exacerbates the problem.  I have been working with a new-to-me program since before Christmas.  The program is the invention of JP Glassey.  His three facilities here in the Puget Sound area are called Xgym.  This this approach to excercise is completely different from anything I have ever experienced.  Today I dressed for the day, which includes dinner and theater with friends later on.  In these clothes I showed up for my 21 minutes guided workout. My wonderful trainer, Clayton, watched over me with care, encouragement and ruthless insistence while I made slow, measured progress through 5 muscle groups until there was not one more move left.  Complete muscle failure.  No sweating.  No strain on any joint, absolutely none.  No impact.  Just pure muscle development.  I jokingly ask for a wheel chair assist to get to my car.  Doing this 21 minute workout twice a week is what it takes to change your muscle strength.  Not hours in the gym lifting weights.  I am not bulking up, either.

I decided to work with PJ and his trainers in order to keep my bones healthy.  Bones get stronger when muscles make demands on them. A side benefit is the loss of 5 pounds of fat.  The weight loss only showed up last week.  Three months of fat-to-muscle conversion came first, then the excess pounds are disappearing.

If you can’t go to the Xgym, buy PJ’s book, Cracking Your Calorie Code.
He describes the science behind his methods, his approach to food, exercise and dieting.  He describes the five basic excercises and how to begin, plus one progression to the next level.  A person could easily do these at home.  I do.  The only problem is that is very hard to force yourself to complete muscle exhaustion on your own.  You could find a buddy.

Exercise: Part II

Walking is still one of the best ways to keep the body moving.  PJ’s approach to cardio can best be described as a burst of effort.  He has a couple machines that we are invited to use, however they are not necessary.  Find your self a stair case and go up for 3 -4 minutes as fast as you can until you think you are going to have a heart attack.  Rest a minute or less and do it again.  A couple repetitions are enough.  How efficient is that?

Snow shoeing along Commonwealth Creet, Snoqualmie Pass, WA

I still love walking, or snow shoeing, or cross country skiing for long steady breathing and enjoyable movement and as long as time allows, I’ll be outdoors or a long day on Wednesdays.  It’s more about the forest, the quiet, the friends who share the experience than the fitness goals.  PJ claims, and to look at him, it must be true, that he can maintain his level of fitness with one or two cardio moments a week along with one or two 21 mnutes muscle grouip workouts.


Suffering from arthritis pain is a real downer.  My 81 year old friend was in such pain in her apartment, she could barely get to her bed, much less get in it.  Going to the bathroom was an big “ouch!” all the way.  So she stopped moving.  Her grandson is her personal trainer.  “Grandma, you have to keep moving!”  Today she’s at her doctor’s and will hopefully find out what the origin of the pain is.

Her grandson is right.  The absolute worse thing you can do is sit down.  Avoiding the wheel chair requires that we keep moving.  My neurologist told me back in 2004, after he looked at my xrays, that if he didn’t know me, he would expect to see me in a wheel chair due to the advanced arthritis in my hips and lower back.  I am no where near a wheel chair.

Without any scientific evidence to support my belief, I am convinced that listening to Peggy Cappy’s “Back Pain relaxation” cd every night as actually helped to heal my joints. She reminds us that our cells die off and new one are formed regularly and that over time, given healthy nutrition, our new cells can be healthy cells.  The joints can change for the better.

So, Gentle Reader, I hope these personal experiences help you in your journey to better, pain-free mobility.  If you have your own experiences to share, let us know.

Be well, Do well and Keep moving,


206 933 1889



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