Resistance Exercise and Nutrition to Counteract Muscle Wasting

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009 Oct;34(5):817-28. doi: 10.1139/H09-093.


Loss of muscle mass is an unfavourable consequence of aging and many chronic diseases. The debilitating effects of muscle loss include declines in physical function and quality of life and increases in morbidity and mortality. Loss of muscle mass is the result of a decrease in muscle protein synthesis, an increase in muscle protein degradation, or a combination of both. Much research on muscle wasting has tended to focus on preventing muscle protein breakdown, and less attention has been paid to providing adequate stimulation to increase muscle protein synthesis. In this review, we present evidence to suggest that interventions aimed at increasing muscle protein synthesis represent the most effective countermeasure for preventing, delaying, or reversing the loss of skeletal muscle mass experienced in various muscle wasting conditions. Based on results from acute and chronic studies in humans in a wide variety of wasting conditions, we propose that resistance exercise training combined with appropriately timed protein (likely leucine-rich) ingestion represents a highly effective means to promote muscle hypertrophy, and may represent a highly effective treatment strategy to counteract the muscle wasting tassociated with aging and chronic disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Muscular Atrophy / metabolism
  • Muscular Atrophy / therapy*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Resistance Training*


  • Muscle Proteins