Exercise Physiologist Explains How to Keep Muscle while Loosing Weight

In was October 2006 in Newton, MA when I first heard about Shaklee’s Cinch protein shake (now called Shaklee 180) .  The event speaker, Shaklee’s Clinical Nutritionist, Dr. William Martin shared the results of a 12 week clinical study where a group of middle-aged men and women had retained 100% of their muscle on the Cinch Inch Loss Plan!  The amino acid leucine contained in the beverage and bars was shown to sustain muscle.  As an exercise physiologist and fitness researcher, I could hardly contain myself.  “Finally, a safe and effective product backed by science.” 

Physiologically, when you lose weight, you lose fat and muscle, especially if you don’t strength train.  Since muscle is key to our metabolism, there’s a significant reduction in metabolic rate as a result of muscle loss.

In Shaklee’s initial study participants did not engage in exercise and were only on the Cinch Plan.   They lost just fat and inches preserving essential lean mass (muscle), a highly metabolic tissue.

So we asked, “What would happen to muscle if strength training

was added into the mix?” 

My dream to collaborate with Shaklee on a research project was about to come to fruition.  I approached Dr. Martin and introduced myself as the Associate Fitness Research Director at the South Shore YMCA, Quincy, MA with colleague Dr. Wayne Westcott, a world renowned strength expert and fitness researcher.  Together , we conducted  studies in strength trainingcardiovascular exercise, stretching and nutrition for over  25 years in our adult Keeping Fit Research programs and could guarantee large numbers of subjects.  “Would Shaklee sponsor a study using Cinch in combination with resistance exercise to see what effects it might have on muscle? “ Aware of  our history examining  the effects of strength training on body composition, Dr. Martin agreed.  I couldn’t wait to share the news!

Briefly, the results of our Protein & Body Composition Study:  46 middle-aged men and women participated in our six-month study in our research facility at the Y.

  •  Half (24) consumed the protein/carbohydrate Cinch right after each strength session 2 or 3 days/week.
  •  The  other half (22) subjects were not provided the post-exercise shake.

Our exercise protocol followed guidelines by the American College of Sports Medicine.  All subjects performed the same exercise program on 11 weightstack machines for each major muscle group, 20minutes of endurance exercise, along with a 20-second stretch after each strength exercise.

Study subjects who ingested the Cinch shake lost more fat (83%) and gained more muscle (41%) than those who did not drink the shake.

Our article was published in Fitness Management Magazine, May 2008 issue.  Protein and Body Composition: A new study shows the benefit of ingesting protein after a workout for increasing muscle mass and strength.

What effect did this Protein/Carb shake Have on Muscle Mass?

While both muscle gain and fat loss were significant, we were now curious what effects the protein/carbohydrate shake might have on bone.   I discussed the new research  idea with Les Wong, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Health Sciences at the 2009 Global Conference  in St. Louis and he presented our proposal to Roger Barnett and Dr. Jamie McManus..

Here are the results of our follow-up study:  57 middle-aged adults completed a nine-month study to determine if consuming a post-exercise  protein/carbohydrate shake would increase muscle mass and bone density after  performing resistance and aerobic

exercise sans dietary restriction.  Subjects were placed in three groups:  an exercise only group, an exercise plus shake group, and a non-exercise/non-shake group.

Like our previous study, resistance training consisted of 12 weightstack machines for each major muscle group and 20 minutes of aerobic activity.  Half of the subjects consumed the protein/carbohydrate shake after each training session (Cinch contains 24 grams of protein and 36 grams of carbohydrates).  The non-exercise group lost 2.1 lbs in lean weight and experienced a  1% reduction in bone density.  The exercise-only group lost 3.9 lbs in lean weight and experienced no change in bone density.


“Notably, only the group that ingested the Cinch shake  had an increase in bone mineral density.”

Follow-up Bone Density Study Results

The exercise plus the  Shaklee Cinch shake group added 5.2 lbs in lean weight and a 1% increase in bone density.  While everyone in the exercise group added lean weight, only the post-exercise shake made a significant improvement..  Notably, only the group that ingested the Cinch shake had an increase in bone mineral density.  This is good news for anyone at risk for osteoporosis!

RECOMMENDATIONS:  Based on our two studies we highly recommend two to three strength training and endurance sessions each week and the addition of a protein and carbohydrate source that contains 24 grams of protein, 36 grams of carbohydrates and the amino acid leucine to build muscle and strong bones.   Although Vitalizer was included for the extra calcium and Vitamin D in addition to Cinch,  for purposes of  this Newsletter emphasis is on the protein and carbohydrate source for enhancing both muscle and bone.  For complete synopsis of this study, see:  Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, 14, No. 4 (2011): 120-133.  

We continue to conduct fitness and nutrition research at Quincy College where policy does not permit promoting any particular product.  For example, if a study includes a nutrition component with higher protein intake, subjects may consume a protein/carbohydrate source of their choosing.  Based on our research results with Shaklee, however, we are permitted to suggest this product along with any other commercial brand.  It is then up to the study subjects to decide which product they prefer.  We hope to conduct future studies with Shaklee and appreciate their support of our research.



ON A PERSONAL NOTE … I  have observed individuals who chose Shaklee shakes as their protein/carbohydrate beverage tend to hold on to muscle and not put on additional fat weight compared to individuals who fluctuate between diet programs or consume lesser quality commercial brand shakes. This is in line with Shaklee’s premise  losing the right weight and keeping it off, happily ever after.   Trust me, Shaklee 180 works!

Article by  Rita La Rosa Loud, an exercise physiologist and fitness researcher at Quincy College.  Rita, an international  presenter is also a  Shaklee 180 Specialist









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About the Author

Caroline Heinemann has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Concordia Teachers College in Seward Nebraska. She has coordinated a variety of educational programs in her local community and conducts regional business training events and teleconference training calls. She become personally interested in health when she experienced some personal health issues and found that alternative medicine has been the key to her health. She shares tips on staying healthy. She is a former and teacher and has owned her own health education business for the past 30 years

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