Muscle = Survival

When it comes to gaining muscle, the lazy move is to categorize it as solely a pursuit of vanity, or worse, to pretend as though it’s easy (I’m looking at you, “if I lift heavy weights, I’ll get bulky” crowd!).

But those who have thought about their future, about their quality of life in their final decades, know that muscle is far more important than that just a physique goal.

Falls & frailty are the leading cause of injury related death for individuals over 65.  That slip and fall you had in your 30’s?  The one that simply left you with a sore bum for a couple days?  Without adequate muscle, that same fall in your 60’s could end very differently.

This is the reality on everyone’s horizon.  Whether your later years are in view, or a far-off idea, consider all the investments you’ve made in your health and wellness.  When the time comes, they’ll need to be cashed in for you to thrive through your final decade of life.

At RCTF, we love writing kick-ass programs that make you strong and capable for right here, right now.  But make no mistake; we’re also OBSESSED with making y’all the most bad-ass crew of centenarians around!

Part of that magic formula is spending some time each year with a program catered more towards building or maintaining muscle.  Sarcopenia, or “loss of muscle with aging” begins around age 30 (gasp!).  With all factors remaining constant, you’ll start out by losing 3%-8% muscle mass each decade.  That percentage greatly increases each subsequent decade.

Key phrase: “all factors remaining constant”.  We’re not gonna let all factors remain constant!  We’ll alter those factors by focusing on building muscle for an entire training block each year.  Whether you build some additional “armor” to improve your health or simply work enough to maintain your current muscle, it’s a win either way.  What you need to be concerned about is not doing enough to maintain your muscle mass and that relative percentage of your body mass going down.

To get the most benefit out of the Build & Blaze (or Deadcember!) training program is to view the sessions as an effort to achieve the most metabolic stress, rather than just move the heaviest weight.

This means finding a balance between moving a solid, heavy weight and limiting your rest time between sets.

The pendulum can of course swing too far either way here.  We’re not looking to take zero rest time and as a result, move really light weights.  On the other hand, if you need 5+ minutes between sets, you’re not driving enough muscular fatigue, and that’s an important component here.

The easiest term to think of is “Strength Endurance”.  Ask yourself the question: “what’s the heaviest weight I can do for multiple sets with no more than a minute rest between sets?”.

Now; might you fall off and need more rest before your final set?  Sure!  But as long as you hit that set as soon as possible, you’re still kicking ass.  You kept the intent, and that’s the most important thing.  If you find that by setting this rest parameter for yourself you don’t feel any fatigue or “burn”, then you likely need to bump up the weights to drive more “stimulus”.

Remember; there is a minimum threshold you need to hit to drive meaningful adaptation in your body.  This current program makes it SUPER easy to do that, but you do need a teaspoon of grit to do it properly.

This program is an absolute blast if you view each session as a challenge to find the perfect weight for you!  

*A note on the rower & SkiErg: In our technique video for this newsletter, coach Danny will go more in depth on the Erg and what you need to do to keep building towards a killer 500m time!

*A note on Protein: In addition to resistance training, it’s essential that you consume an adequate amount of calories, and specifically, protein to build or maintain muscle. We’ve had numerous conversations in the gym and can confidently say: everyone overestimates their protein intake. We’ll provide additional information in coming newsletters and you can start right in this newsletter with our Macros/Protein 101 video lesson!


A Day’s Worth of Protein

*This is NOT medical advice.  The information below is displayed simply for educational purposes.  Everyone’s nutritional needs will differ.  You can make decisions about the


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