Gabrielle Lyon, MD has shifted the discussion of wellness to a focus on skeletal muscle as the key to long-term health. She is the founder of Muscle Centric Medicine and treats patients from all over the world in her New York City office. She is board certified in family medicine and geriatrics and studied nutritional sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and at the University of Illinois. Mark Hyman, MD considers her his go-to resource for all things protein and muscle.

Dr. Lyon argues that skeletal muscle is the largest organ in the body and about much more than twitches and strength. Skeletal muscle is metabolically active and helps control blood sugar and body fat. The more skeletal muscle you have, the healthier you will be. In her book, she describes how gaining muscle strength will help you “burn fat, fight heart disease, reverse diabetes, stay mentally sharp, boost energy and age well.”  These are large claims, and she backs them up with science. Obviously, there are other important factors as well, especially quality nutrition beyond protein. 

In Forever Strong, Lyon repeatedly calls for a “Mindset Reset” away from the focus on sugar and fat to an emphasis on protein and muscle. Protein is required to build muscle, so she recommends a 100-gram protein diet and two or more hours of exercise daily. Her patients spend a lot of time in a fitness center.

Her exercise prescription is 150 minutes of aerobic exercise weekly, followed by resistance training to the upper body, core and lower body at least three days a week. She recommends getting started with a personal trainer.

The book is loaded with specific training exercises and recipes for the high-protein diet depending on your food preferences. The program is adaptable to diets that are plant-based, omnivore and carnivore. Progress is measured by meeting your strength goals and improved body composition.

In general, I am a convert to her way of thinking, however, I will not stop looking at visceral body fat and the importance of low carbohydrate nutrition with intermittent fasting to burn off body fat (ketogenesis). Building skeletal muscle is a synergistic complement to these elements and improves metabolic health. 

Since adding Forever Strong to my functional medicine library, it has become one of my most recommended books.

Dr. Scherger is founder of Restore Health Disease Reversal in Indian Wells, a clinic dedicated to weight loss and reversing chronic medical conditions. To schedule a consultation, call (760) 898.9663 or visit

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