Dr. Peter Attia, a remarkable physician, a highly acclaimed and popular podcaster, a global longevity expert, and a regular KAATSU user, wrote anarticle entitled Why do we lose muscle strength with age?
He summarized recent research and explains that sarcopenia* is due to two major factors: muscle quality and neuromuscular innervation.
Because Dr. Attia understands that muscle mass and strength naturally decrease as humans age, and the loss of both muscle mass and muscle strength accelerates with more years on the planet, he advocates the importance of muscle strength as a determining factor for healthy longevity. He goes into some depth about the reasons here.
Dr. Yoshiaki Sato, the inventor of KAATSU, has also long understood these facts. But one of the reasons why the 73-year-old has dedicated his life to KAATSU is because he believes sarcopenia does not necessarily have to lead to such a dramatic decline in muscle mass and muscle strength. Both he and his lifelong users of KAATSU in Japan have proven this point.**
Dr. Sato uses both the KAATSU Cycle and the KAATSU Constant modes daily – and the results are apparent.
He uses the KAATSU Cycle mode in the Progressive setting – casually, periodically, and purposefully – throughout the day. Those points (casually, periodically, and purposefully) are critical to his long-term strategy and goals.
Casually refers to his use of the KAATSU Cycle mode while he is sitting or moving around in his office, either when he conducts or attends meetings or during his discussions with KAATSU Specialists or Instructors in Japan.
“If I do not temporarily engorge the vascular tissue in my arms and legs throughout the day, I don’t feel right. Because KAATSU is part of my lifestyle and I do it during the course of my day, it is a natural habitual act that is easy to do. I keep my KAATSU devices right next to where I work – or if I travel, I take the KAATSU C3 with me,” he explains. “I have become accustomed to feeling ‘piri piri’ (slight tingling sensation in his fingertips when the capillaries of his hands because optimally engorged with blood.”
Periodically refers to his daily use of the KAATSU Cycle mode during mornings, afternoons, and evenings.
“Doing gentle KAATSU Cycle sets, either during or after sitting in meetings and throughout the day is critically important to maintain my maximum vascular elasticity and regular secretion of hormones. Additionally, my primary workout of the day is in the evening, after dinner and before bed, taking a bath, and doing a cold plunge. Because I do earlier KAATSU Cycle sessions during the day, then by the time I do my main workout at night, my vascular tissue is optimally prepared for a great workout.”
Purposefully refers to his use of both the KAATSU Cycle and KAATSU Constant modes in the evening. He explains,
“I work on all the various muscle groups – chest, shoulders, arms, legs – in a regular six-day cycle. For decades, I used to do a seven-day cycle – which is quite possible with KAATSU and either low resistance or no weights, but now in my 70’s, I do my regular KAATSU workouts Monday through Saturday with some Sundays off. After every workout, I work on my core. I do my core work after I have taken off my KAATSU Air Bands because we know that the HGH secretion is maximized in that post-KAATSU 12-15 minute period. So with the human growth hormone flowing, I like do core work.”
In his recent article, Dr. Attia described the unavoidable change in the distribution of the type I slow twitch and type II fast twitch muscle fibers as we grow older. However, Dr. Sato understands the differences in muscle fibers, he does a wide variety of movements in addition to his standard 4-set KAATSU resistance exercises in his main evening workout.
“With four sets of each exercise, I treat the first set as ‘priming the pump’. I move fast in the first step, quickly pumping out reps. I do a lot of repetitions in this first set; it could be 50, 60 or as many as 70 reps. Then, with only 20 seconds rest, I start the second set where the number of reps falls significantly. Then, another 20-second rest – max – that means the number of reps in the third set significantly decreases again. I do another maximum of a 20-second rest, and then do the final set of four. By this time, the number of reps can be 1, 2, or 3 at most.”
Steven Munatones has seen Dr. Sato workout and knows he works his entire range of muscle types in his workouts,
“It is extremely impressive. He is obviously a very strong man, but he also sustains a very heart rate when he does exercises on the StairMaster for example. He really sprints, pumping his legs up and down almost unbelievably quickly. He also mixing in isometric movements of various sorts that are also very effective.”
Dr. Sato does not waste time between each set – and he does not waste time between different exercises. He will only rest a maximum of 60 seconds. The results are enviable. Munatones explains,
“Using the Masimo MightySat Finger Pulse Oximeter, I found Dr. Sato’s resting heart rate to be low, as might be expected – and he takes no medication, but his nutrition is off the charts healthy. But what is most impressive to me are his oxygen saturation and respiratory rate. With the Masimo, Dr. Sato’s SpO2 hovers between 99-100% and the number of breaths per minute that he normally takes always under 10, and usually at or under 8. With his cardiovascular system so finely tuned after five decades of KAATSU, his physiological data make sense. Since I first met him in 2001 until now, I have never seen him sick – and he talk or meet frequently, like 2-5 times per week.”
In the article, Dr. Attia writes,
“The more a muscle is used, the more neuromotor connections it develops, which leads to improved contractile strength.”
This is a guess on the part of Munatones,
“It is a safe assumption that Dr. Sato is ‘working out’ his cardiovascular, muscloskeletal, and lympathic systems at least 18 times per week. While it does not look like he is working out when he is sitting in a meeting doing KAATSU Cycle sets, his body and brain treat the engorgement and release of blood in his arm and leg vascular tissue are exercise at the cellular level. During this main workouts six days per week, he is either doing all-out, fast leg pumps on the StairMaster, isometric holds, ‘priming the pump’ with fast repetitions, and maxing out with his final set of 1 or 2 reps. He really mixes it up and uses his muscles in a vast number of ways.“
Dr. Sato also works out mindfully.
“I really think about each muscle when I work it out, I am focused and it helps,”
he explains. He also never cheats on his rest periods. He has a 20-second rest maximum between sets and 60 seconds between different exercises. This KAATSU protocol is an outcome of his decades of self-experimentation and observation of innumerable KAATSU users in Japan.
He also taught me little things about maximizing the benefits of KAATSU – like drinking water with a high magnesium content in sips and not gulps, because the body can better absorb in smaller amounts throughout the day, instead of quelching a thirst with lots of water taken in a short time frame. He applies that same thought process to his meals. He always enjoys lots of variety, lots of color, and always seasonal foods: fermented and fresh, boiled and grilled depending on what it is.”
Dr. Sato augments his KAATSU workouts with a nice, relaxing Japanese bath at the end of the evening, followed by 3 alternating hot-and-cold plunges. Even in his sauna, he has a specific method.
“I do not sit upright in the sauna. I lie down flat so my entire body is equally affected by the same temperature.”
As Dr. Attia advocates,
“Keep exercising throughout life. It is unequivocally the very best weapon in our arsenal when it comes to fending off a deterioration in health and extending lifespan.”
And that is what Dr. Sato has always done – and always encourages KAATSU users to do the same.
* Sarcopenia is defined as an age-related, involuntary loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength. Beginning as early as the fourth decade of life, evidence suggests that skeletal muscle mass and skeletal muscle strength decline in a linear fashion, with up to 50% of mass being lost by the eighth decade of life.
** Dr. Sato proved that building muscle can be achieved…even at the advanced age of 104 years: