Muscle building, but hey – these are the most important tips


  • Nutrition Doc Matthias Riedl explains why building muscle isn’t just important for bodybuilders
  • What muscles do for health and how to get more of them
  • protein hit? protein powder? Doc Riedl names better alternatives

Not everyone wants to be muscular like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but we all wish we had slightly more defined forearms or calves. It is muscle building by no means primarily about looks, but about staying healthy, explains Dr Matthew Riedl in the new episode of the podcast “Dr Matthew Riedl: This is how healthy eating works”.

them nutritionist, who does five to six hours of sport a week (“to compensate for all that sitting and stress)”, talks about so-called low gain and high winnersthat is, people who build muscle very quickly and others who build muscle very slowly.

who bodybuilding and after three or four weeks already sees a significant increase in muscle mass, according to him, belongs to the second group, “and this is the majority”. But if you don’t immediately appear muscular, there’s nothing to be frustrated about, says Medicum Hamburg’s medical director. “The thing is, muscle function doesn’t necessarily depend on diameter. In evolution, it was also the case that the small, delicate ones got through the undergrowth better than the big, big ones.

Nutrition Doc Explains: Building Muscle for “A Cornucopia of Positive Effects”

Muscle building is important, according to Dr. Riedl, because muscles do important jobs: they have an anti-inflammatory effect, lower blood sugar and improve blood lipid levels, “so it has an abundance of positive effects “. But their main task is to stabilize the joints. “They are very dependent on healthy muscles, which is our greatest treasure,” explains the doctor.

And because it’s so vital for survival, the body has evolved a mechanism that helps it maintain its muscles. “We crave protein,” says Riedl, known as NDR Nutrition Doc.

Protein shakes to help you? That’s what the nutrition doc says

On the other hand, the nutritionist does not attach much importance to protein shakes: “I have a very, very critical view on this and we generally do not recommend it for muscle building, because we can also ensure a protein intake through a healthy diet.”

These protein powders or drinks are industrially produced and also contain added vitamins and flavorings. In particular, added flavorings have been little studied. “I reject anything that contains aromas. It happens again and again that some are taken off the market due to adverse health effects.

How Much Protein Do People Really Need?

Riedl advises making such shakes yourself – from almond butter, nuts, ground oatmeal and a little milk or soy milk. “It’s the healthier option. And then I don’t just have artificial protein and vitamins in there, but also trace minerals and lots of fiber. It’s good nutrition, the other is the food of astronauts.

But how much protein do people actually need? “It depends a lot on your body size,” says Riedl. “The German Nutrition Society states 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. If we are approaching 50, we are already at the one gram per kilo requirement, because the older we get, the less protein we absorb. If you also exercise, the need for protein increases again, so you quickly reach 1.2 grams, someone weighing 70 kilos then needs 70 grams of protein per day, spread over meals.

Listen here: The Nutrition Doc Episode 7:

Why plant proteins are healthier

And what are the best sources of protein? “We have the best effects on health with a mixture of animal and vegetable proteins”, explains the expert. “The body can absorb it better. We also know that the more vegetable protein I eat, the better it is for our health.

As a result, there is less tendency to develop civilization diseases such as obesity, diabetes and hardening of the arteries. You can’t overdose on plant protein because you can’t overdose on vegetables.

Nutrition Doc: How to Counteract Muscle Growth

In old age, there is a risk of muscle loss if you don’t eat enough protein. “So if you chronically eat too little protein, you lose muscle piece by piece. The natural course of our muscles is this: In youth, muscle forms on its own. From the mid-20s, it stagnates. From the age of 30, this natural muscular constitution weakens. By the age of 50, if we are not physically active, the musculature is already broken down, and from the age of 70, it is even stronger. This means that if you don’t move at 70, you will automatically lose muscle.”

This means an unsteady gait, tremors and a lesser degree of independence. “And that ultimately leads to falls with all the complications.” That’s why strong muscles are essential to be able to stay in your own home in old age.

High protein products make you want to overdose

Riedl thinks you should avoid high-protein products as well as protein shakes, so you don’t suddenly oversupply yourself. “I recently ate a pudding with 50 grams of protein”, explains the nutritionist doctor, “this is the protein requirement of a woman for the whole day. What should it? And above all, if I cover my protein needs with pudding, I’m full, and it keeps me from eating other healthy things.

In the end, these are finished products that give the impression of being healthy. “But it’s pudding that you want to wash down healthy with a ‘high protein’ label and of course make a lot of money off of it.”

Riedl cites a new study that found people who eat lots of processed foods have higher rates of depression and anxiety. “We also know that from animal experiments such a small mouse is more likely to hide after eating all of this and isn’t as eager to experiment.”

How much training is needed per week

Incidentally, you’re never too old to start exercising and doing sports, Riedl encourages: “It’s never too late, whether you’re 50, 60 or 70, it always has an effect positive. Unfortunately, sport is a “medicine” that must be used regularly. Typically, he mentions weight training at least once a week to maintain muscle mass.

If you want to build muscle, you have to train at least twice a week and also increase the intensity: “And I recommend endurance sports twice a week. It is good for the heart and the circulation. If you really want to take it a step further, you can do something like ball sports once a week because it really puts a strain on our brains.

Nutrition Doc: What helps build muscle – and why it’s better to bake cookies yourself

The diet can also help your body build muscle. Not only the right amount of protein is important, says Riedl, and cites other effects that can be used. For example, beet makes the muscles work more efficiently, “it’s a natural doping, allowed, so to speak”.

And those that are well supplied with omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in nuts, fish and algae oil, are less prone to muscle soreness. “The explanation is very simple: sore muscles are minor injuries. And injuries always mean a little inflammation in the body. And this inflammation can be exploded or enlarged. Either the body cleverly slows them down and shortens this inflammation time. And this is the effect of omega-3 fatty acids. They are, so to speak, a quenching oil for excessive ignition.

For the pre-Christmas period, the nutrition doc advises, “It’s better to make cookies yourself – reduce the amount of sugar a little, add a little more spices and almonds.”

Update: Wednesday 04.01.2023, 10:00 a.m.

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