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What’s your 1%?

What’s your 1%?

1%. During a recent interview on the Catalyst 360 podcast, we were reminded that’s the approximate loss of muscle mass most of the population loses each year after the age of 40. Except it’s rarely phrased as such. Typically we are told we “lose 10% a decade” or that by age 80, we “lose almost half” our muscle mass. Whoa! Then what chance do we have?!? How are we supposed to make up for those dramatic losses??

However, it’s not dramatic at all. It’s 1%. Knowing that in advance, we have two choices: either accept the loss or plan for it. The 1% rule of muscle mass loss is based on “all things remaining equal.” Hint: they don’t have to remain equal! If you meet w/ a credible financial analyst to talk through your investments and budget through retirement, they’ll likely share some details about what % of your savings you can afford to spend each year without running out of money. However, that amount will vary significantly depending on whether your investments and earnings are “remaining equal” or receiving inflows over time. The same thing holds for our physical wellbeing.

Under the age of 40? What physical “nest egg” are you building? What strength and cardiovascular baseline are you creating from which the annual (potential) withdrawals will occur? If you’re over 40, what additional physical investments are you making to balance out the 1% annual muscular withdrawals? Folks – we’re talking 1% – remember? ONE percent. You’ve got this!

Maybe you’ve spent the past decade with little to no physical activity. 1%? Maintaining your current strength and cardiovascular baseline might involve as little as a few lunchtime walks, a dozen pushups (which take < 1 minute) and a 30 second plank in the morning. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’ve been hitting the gym 3x/week consistently over the years, adding 1% to your (3 hour for our example) routine involves adding… drumroll please… 1 minute and 48 seconds/week.

The takeaway is clear. While maintaining strength and conditioning requires purposeful effort, it doesn’t necessitate significant adjustments—provided we resist falling for the deception of “all things remaining equal.”

So, what is your 1%? What small steps can you take today to counteract the 1% annual fee that time imposes on us after age 40? Alternatively, are you currently in your physical earning years, actively making deposits into your baseline strength and cardiovascular “retirement fund” for a more robust future? In either scenario, the path to not ending up “old and frail” is within reach. With few exceptions related to health conditions, “old and frail” is a reversible choice made one year at a time.

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