A 2022 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise states, “greater time spent being sedentary was associated with worse physical functioning outcomes.” This isn’t good news for those who become more sedentary as they approach middle age and beyond. In 2019, people with an average age of just over 45 were found to spend a whopping 82 percent of their leisure time sedentary. (1)(2)
On the Aug. 18, 2023, episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show, the show’s namesake sat with fitness model and American Health & Fitness host Clark Bartram to discuss how men can retain muscle mass into their 70s. Check out the interview below, courtesy of Generation Iron’s YouTube channel:
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. Talking to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine is always a good idea.
Bartram specializes in training men over 50 and revealed that most of his clients want six-pack abs. However, he diverts their chase for abs to a journey focused on overall health.
Bartram emphasized the importance of blood work to know one’s health markers. Bartram has consistently had his blood work done for over a year. “You could look [jacked] and still be diagnosed with something nefarious,” Bartram said.
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O’Hearn has his personal training clients undergo regular medical checkups, revealing that two of his clients found irregularities in their blood tests. Still, the doctors caught them early enough, and O’Hearn’s clients fended off their respective health scares unscathed.
Looks can be deceiving in the fitness industry, particularly for those who are past middle age. Bartram knows many people who look shredded throughout the year but are not physically or emotionally healthy.
What we want is quality of life.
Bartram has learned much about blood test intricacies while working with a healthcare lab. He opined that the blood tests are not as accurate as they should be in some cases, such as testosterone testing, Bartram explained that a lab could send a tube of blood for three back-to-back tests on the same machine with the same calibration, but it could return three different results.
To combat this while still obtaining the value of knowing one’s health markers, Bartram recommended using averages of multiple blood work tests done within a short period for more accurate results.
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Bartram’s Four Health Markers
O’Hearn asked Bartram if there were any health markers worth special attention. Bartram outlined four variables to monitor: HDL/LDL cholesterol ratio, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, waist circumference, and testosterone.
Per Bartram, an individual should be on top of their HDL–LDL ratio, remarking that this ratio is more important than the overall cholesterol levels. The PSA level, used to screen for prostate cancer, is second on Bartram’s list. Bartram closely monitors his PSA levels as they are not in the normal range.
Bartram recommended a tape measure to assess one’s waist circumference. “If your waist isn’t what it was in high school, there’s a problem there,” Bartram said. He advised constantly monitoring energy levels throughout the day. He recommended taking some time off to recover if you feel lethargic or experience mental fog and unclarity of thought.
As testosterone levels decrease with age, it’s common for men to experience a decline in muscle mass. However, O’Hearn noted that Bartram maintains his muscle mass, despite running a calorie deficit for most of his career. He asked Bartram for tips on how others can replicate his results:
Bartram mentioned that he has adapted to a lifestyle of small, infrequent meals. Furthermore, Bartram has adjusted his lifestyle to be conducive to his diet allowing for fewer calories. In his words, “It all comes down to lifestyle, so lifestyle trumps everything.”
Gilchrist, S. C., Bennett, A., Judd, S. E., Akinyemiju, T., Howard, V. J., Hooker, S. P., Cushman, M., & Diaz, K. M. (2022). Sedentary Behavior and Physical Functioning in Middle-Age and Older Adults Living in the United States: The Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke Study. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 54(11), 1897–1903. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000002983
Matthews, C. E., Carlson, S. A., Saint-Maurice, P. F., Patel, S., Salerno, E. A., Loftfield, E., Troiano, R. P., Fulton, J. E., Sampson, J. N., Tribby, C., Keadle, S. K., & Berrigan, D. (2021). Sedentary Behavior in U.S. Adults: Fall 2019. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 53(12), 2512–2519. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000002751
Featured image: @clarkbartram on Instagram