Update: How I Reversed Sarcopenia, Added Some Muscle and Lost Some Fat

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by Nils Osmar. Updated 4/30/2023. Medical Disclaimer

In the fall of 2020, I realized that I was both gaining some unwanted body fat (mostly around the waist) and slipping into sarcopenia. My muscles were getting weak and flabby.. I was eating a good diet but as you can see in the image on the left, I was losing muscle mass.

“I’m becoming my father”

I had seen the same thing happen to my father when he was in his sixties, and realized that if I didn’t make some changes, I’d be heading in the same direction as he had, and as many people in my age group do.

So I started following an anti-aging, anti-sarcopenia protocol, which included some dietary changes and doing full-body resistance training three days a week.

Fat and muscle

To lose the excess body fat, I cut back on carbohydrates (particularly fruit and grains); and started eating more high quality protein, mainly from animal sources such as sardines, salmon, anchovies, grass-fed beef, poultry, whey and pastured eggs.

When buying meat, I look for products from small family farms where the animals are treated well and have access to pasture. I drink (raw) goat’s milk and A2 cow’s milk, and make my own L. Reuteri yogurt.

My other staples include vegetables and fermented foods, jasmine rice (chilled to make it a resistant starch), and small amounts of fruit and berries.

Working out

I had never worked out before in my life, but realized that it made sense to. I thought about joining a gym, but this was early in Covid and most of the gyms in my neighborhood were closed down. So I bought some home gym equipment and started exercising at home. I started researching the equipment and made a couple of key purchases.

A power tower (for body weight exercise)

One of the best decisions I made was to buy a power tower. I had researched different types of gyms, but wasn’t ready for a complicated one. I liked the idea of a tower I could hang from and climb on and do a bunch of random arm and leg and shoulder exercises on. I really wished I could find an adult jungle gym like the ones on the playgrounds when I was little. So it was a step in that direction.

The tower I bought was less than $200, so within my budget. In this video I show some of the exercises that I did on it that people in my age group could easily do. I made the video when I’d only been using it for a few months, but you can see some progress taking place already.

I then bought a stack weight gym

Using the tower made a difference and was encouraging, but there were exercises that were hard to do on it, so I next bought the stack weight gym below. I show some of the exercises I do on it in this video. (I’ll be making a new video soon showing my more recent workout.)

Alternate-day fasting

In addition to working out, I started doing more fasting. For my first year on this protocol, I was doing alternate day fasting. I ate ample protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, then fasted either 24 or 36 hours every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. (Sunday was my day to kick back and do whatever I wanted.) I was also taking supplements, including NAD boosters, testosterone boosters and hGH boosters.

Changes in 2021

In 2021, at the age of 67, I began losing excess body fat and adding a significant amount of muscle. This was all a new direction for me, as I had never buff or muscular in the past.

Changes in 2022

My alternate day fasting routine worked well in 2021, but around the beginning of 2022 I started thinking I might be fasting too much for my long term health. So I stopped doing the 36 hour fasts and switched to doing more intermittent fasting, i.e., an eating window between noon till 8 pm (a 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule). I’d been losing fat rapidly in 2021; I started gaining some back in 2022. I currently weigh 188 pounds, which is a wee bit (about ten pounds) more than I want to.

My current routine (April 2023):

  1. I get up around 6 most mornings, and drink some decaf coffee and take Ca-AKG . (I stopped drinking regular coffee once I realized that even drinking it early in the morning was interfering with my sleep.) I like taking two types of AKG together, DoNotAge’s Ca-AKG and Double Wood’s plain AKG. There’s some evidence that AKG interferes with other supplements, so I like taking it by itself. I take the immediate release kinds; its half life is only five minutes.
  2. I wait an hour or two, then take my NAD boosters and sirtuin activators (NMN, NR, SIRT6 activator and black elderberry, low dose lithium, krill oil and several other supplements)
  3. I wait another hour, then work out. (I’ll sometimes have breakfast first, but I usually prefer working out fasted.)
  4. An hour or two after exercising, I eat a meal high in animal protein (such as scrambled eggs with sardines or anchovies) to activate mTOR (the growth pathway), and take my testosterone boosters and hGH boosters.
  5. Later in the day I take glutathione boosters (NAC with glycine).
  6. In the evenings I take metformin or berberine to ease my transition back into AMPK after the mTOR activation of my high protein meals.
  7. I recently started taking rapamycin; I take it on Sundays, a day when I’m usually not taking any supplements.

Activating mTOR and AMPK

  • High protein meals activate the enzymatic pathway called mTOR, which is good for muscle growth.
  • Fasting activates AMPK, which has been shown in lab animals to be good for longevity.
  • This schedule give me about 6 hours of mTOR activation a day, and 18 hours of AMPK, a ratio that’s working well for me.

Why I’m not taking testosterone (yet)

I’ve been asked in the past if I take testosterone injections. The answer is no. However, one of my supplements (DHEA) is a pro-hormone which naturally increases the production of testosterone in the body. I was cautious about using DHEA though because it can also sometimes raises levels of estrogen. But (at least when taken with my other supplements) the result has been in increase in testosterone instead.

My testosterone levels were pretty low when I started; they went up a little when I took supplements, then went up higher again when I started exercising.

I have nothing against testosterone replacement therapy in theory. In my opinion it’s a legitimate anti-aging intervention. I might actually have made more progress, and faster, if I’d done TRT. But for a number of reasons, including the fact that men’s testes shut down their production of testosterone if we take the injections, I wanted to avoid them if possible. So far I’ve been able to do so.

Video update – December 2022

Self-evaluation (end of 2022)

As 2022 draws to a close, I feel like I am still making progress, though my muscle growth has slowed a bit. I’ve also gained about ten pounds of belly fat back, which was not what I had in mind. So I’m not sure if it was wise to cut back on the fasting.

Video update – April 2023

Self-evaluation (April 2023)

I’m continuing to focus on building muscle and losing belly fat. I don’t have a huge amount to lose, but am still about ten pounds over my ideal weight. My health is very good in other respects.

Want to support this website?

If you like the content of this website, you can support it in two ways:

  1. Donating through my Buymeacoffee account: buymeacoffee.com/nilsosmar
  2. Buying anti-aging supplements and products from DoNotAge.org using the discount code PATHWAYS. (DoNotAge is my channel’s sponsor; when you use the discount code, you’ll be buying high quality supplements developed to support healthy aging and life extension, and the channel will receive a small payment, enough to keep us going)

Other resources

You’re welcome also to check out my Youtube channel (Pathways to Longevity) — and the Anti-Aging and Life Extension Facebook group

Not medical advice

This article is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. I’m not advising that people follow any particular regimen, eat any particular diet or take any particular supplements, just sharing information and reporting on what I’m doing. All supplements can have side effects; I would encourage people to research both possible benefits and side effects before starting on any supplementation regimen.  See full Medical Disclaimer

P,P.S. A few months after buying the power tower, I bought a Marcy gym. I found it helpful for developing some muscles that were hard to isolate on the power tower. I’m still using both machines. I work out three times a week.

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One Comment

  1. Paul Kiesow says:

    Hello Nils, I am your age (70 this June) and my supplement ‘stack’ seems quite close to yours. I understand that you feel a surge of energy after taking fucoidan. Two hours ago I ingested my first SIRT6 activator; 25 minutes later an odd-yet-not-unpleasant sensation washed over me. I will be waiting for my arm hairs to turn color in about two months! . . . Since March 2003 I have taken one gram/day of metformin, and my health and appearance might be thought of as outliers by some. Recently I communicated with DoNotAge’s CEO Alan Graves by phone. He said my photos resemble a forty-something. People might relegate metformin to the back burner because they can’t easily obtain it, because it is such a long-term effort, and because conflicting reports of its efficacy and safety have muddied the waters. My feeling is that over the course of two decades metformin has contributed to my healthspan and youthful appearance. —Paul Kiesow

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