Over the weekend an acquaintance of mine told me he was tired of being flabby. That’s his term, not mine. He said he lost a bit of weight and is now at his college weight, but he doesn’t like what he looks like. He’s only in his early 60’s, and says he doesn’t understand why he looks so differently now since he weighs the same as years ago.
I wasn’t sure if he really wanted me to give him the reasons why his body looked differently from years ago even though he is at the same weight, so I listened. In the paragraphs below, I tell you what I was thinking.
Me Thinking Out Loud
When you start to lose muscle and lay down fat around the belly, it’s the first sign that your metabolism is off-track and your health is taking a path towards poor health. Storing fat and losing muscle is one of the biggest signs of aging, and worse yet, belly fat (also known as “visceral fat”) is metabolically active, sucking out your ability to maintain testosterone and build muscle while increasing your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
While this is ominous sounding, muscle actually makes you a better fat burner and more resistant to metabolic problems. The more muscle you have, the better your body balances blood glucose; the better you balance glucose, the better you will feel, the easier it will be for you to maintain and or lose weight, and the healthier you will be.
I Knew He Did Loads Of Cardio Exercise – So This is What I Was Thinking.
He probably knows that lifting weights will burn calories, but what he doesn’t know is that even though he burns 500 calories on the treadmill, muscle building, as in weight training, actually makes us better fat burners day in and day out 24 hours a day.
Not only that, increases in muscle size means not only increases in metabolic processes for a longer time after your workout but there is a direct correlation between muscle mass and basal metabolic rate or called BMR. BMR is the amount of energy expended daily by humans and other animals at rest. Of course the more energy expended, the higher our daily calorie burn is. And who doesn’t want this? I like to call this burning energy or calories in our sleep. And this is just one of the nice things that muscle mass does for us. So the question becomes… Why wouldn’t my acquantance or anyone want increased muscle mass too? Not only does it look good, but it helps us maintain a higher metabolic rate.
You Need To Know
Increased muscle mass for both men and women not only makes us feel better, move better, look better, but allows us to continue to eat in abundance all the nutrients that we are designed to take in, and without gaining weight. This is what normal is. It is not normal to consume miniscule amounts of food while appearing rounder as we age. We can put a stop to this and we can improve our body composition considerably.
Increased Muscle Mass Also Makes the Rest of Life Easier
Muscle makes routine tasks less cumbersome and reduces injuries. Our day-to-day life often involves lifting and moving heavy objects, and when your body is equipped to carry these burdens, it is much less prone to injury. It’s hard to imagine (a young) Arnold Schwarzenegger throwing out his back taking the trash out, yet this is a common injury precisely because so many people don’t build the muscle to support the daily or weekly tasks they need to perform!
Muscle also provides your golden ticket if you want to improve your sex life, boost immunity, and reduce your risk for dementia. In fact, studies at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that building and maintaining muscle improves your: Balance, Fall risk, Blood sugar levels, sleep, and mental health.
And More! Hormonal Advantages…..
Strength training has another big advantage over endurance training athletes. In a recently published clinical trial, athletes who strength trained over 12 weeks reported the greatest testosterone to cortisol ratio while endurance athletes experienced plummeting testosterone levels. Increased testosterone is key to building more muscle, maintaining anabolism (growth), and it also helps with sex drive.
To keep this in perspective, just realize I am not suggesting one eliminate cardiovascular workouts. Our heart muscle is central to good health. What I am suggesting is that you would be wise to focus on more strength training as a means to reach your desired weight and body composition rather than cardiovascular workouts. Or in other words if you are pressed for time, and your heart is in good shape, then avoid the temptation to jump on the elliptical, treadmill, bike or other cardiovascular machines, thinking that a good sweat is going to burn more calories. In the long run, and often in the short run, weight training trumps cardiovascular workouts in weight loss/maintenance, body strength, and overall functional living capacity!
Note: Controlling inflammation after working out (particularly during strength training) is important because it controls the muscle repair process that ultimately causes one to gain lean muscle.
Eating is super important for growing muscle and getting rid of belly visceral fat so tell me what you eat and what you do not eat. I bet you will be wildly surprised that many “health foods” are keeping you from reaching your body composition goals.
Congratulations to Brandon Van Dermark and his fiance Robin Cleary – 30 Days to Lean is not over for them yet but together they have already lost 35 lbs! So much good is going on everyone! People are tired of eating crap!
All My Best,