Your fat-burning machine has been with you for your whole life. It makes you athletic and strong when up through your 20s, but starting in your 30s, it may not work as efficiently as it used to. You have to give it the right maintenance. I’m talking about what impacts your resting metabolism the most: your muscles!

Your muscle mass declines anywhere from 3% to 8% each decade once you hit your 30s. So, this means that what represents up to 40% of your total body weight–the muscles—and is the most powerful contributor to your metabolism weather lying down and/or jogging will be affected if you don’t keep this machine working at its best. Indeed, up to 70% of the calories you burn at rest are driven by the muscles.

Instead of wasting your efforts trying to find the latest diet to lose weight, put your efforts into keeping your muscles at their best. This will not just help keep your weight down, but will also reduce your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and bone mass loss. And the visible benefits will be a strong and toned body!

Muscle-Up Laundry List

Keeping your muscle mass up and running may seem high maintenance, and certainly it does takes some knowledge and action; but the sooner you put these tips into practice, the easier it will soon become. Hopefully, once you finish reading this, you will be ready to amp up your fat-burning machine!

jLdtqfpCHq15MZ73r_KibH9V0qztVMIlJAXAXO-te-41. Three things to keep an eye on: testosterone, estrogen and insulin. These three can make your body take on an apple shape. Have you wondered why you have the pesky chest and belly fat while you can barely show off your guns? Have you wondered why you lost your nice and sexy pear women shape to a round apple shape? Well, chances are that for men, your testosterone is low and your estrogen may be high.  Surprised? Studies show that xeno-estrogen may be the cause.  These are external substances that mimic estrogen that are found in plastics and animal (not grass fed or organic) proteins.  For women, both estrogen and testosterone may be in decline. Both hormones affect not just the fat-site deposits, but also muscle quality and strength.

Usually, these hormones changes are accompanied by a rise in insulin that exacerbates the problem by increasing the fat deposits, and decreasing growth hormones. Thus, the deteriorating the body fat/body mass ratio.

Your RX:  regardless of your gender, plenty of studies conclude that both resistance training and cardio exercise keep the muscle mass while reducing body fat.  This calls for lifting moderately heavy weights, with 3-4 sets and 10-12 reps each. Do 8-10 exercises that work more than one muscle at a time, such as the chest press, squats, and pull-ups. Combine this exercise routine with a short, moderate-high interval-training cardio workout for 20-30 minutes at least once a week, and two, low to moderate-intensity longer for 40-60 minutes cardio sessions.

And do not forget that not just abs are made in the kitchen, your whole body is made in the kitchen. Increase the lean protein sources – preferably grass-fed, organic sources to avoid toxic hormones in animal protein foods. And cut out sugar and white carbohydrates.

2. Watch out for cholesterol and anti-inflammatory drugs: you may be among the 25% plus of adults age 40 and older who take a prescription statin drug to decrease cholesterol. Plenty of studies show how effective this drug is to prevent this waxy substance from oxidizing in your body. However, muscle weakness has been reported as a statin side effect. Some experts attribute the effect to the fact that a very important coenzyme – CoQ10 – needed for energy production in the muscle – is diminished by the decrease of blood cholesterol. CoQ10 is transported in lower density lipoprotein particles (LDL), which is known as the bad cholesterol, targeted by statins.

And if you are used to popping a non-steroid anti-inflammatory pill such as Advil, Motrin, or Aleve, (among others) to manage aches and pains, this can work against muscle improvement at exercise time. When you work out your muscles, part of the desired effect is to create a fiber micro-trauma and slight inflammation. This ignites hormone and cellular response that make muscles stronger. This is what you actually want to happen when you exercise. However, taking these pills on a regular basis will interfere with the process of muscle adaptation and growth.

Your Rx: by no means should you stop taking your medication for high cholesterol without consulting with your physician. But, do talk to your doctor about how to manage it through exercise and diet. In many cases, lifestyle changes are all you may need to show an improvement. Start by eating more fiber-rich vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. Switch the saturated fats to omega-3 and mono-saturated. Start doing some cardio workouts and throw some resistance whole body training into your workouts twice a week.

Equally, ask your physician about supplementing your prescription medication with CoQ10. In a recent study, cholesterol drugs reduced the coenzyme Q10. The energy process disruption from low levels of this coenzyme showed an increase risk of Type 2 diabetes.

You don’t always need OTC painkillers either. Instead look for natural food high in antioxidants such as cherry, blueberry, broccoli, ginger, strawberry, flaxseeds, almonds, walnuts and salmon to decrease muscle inflammation and free radical stress.

Read Part 2 here.