Gaining Muscle to Lose Fat-Tommy Doran
When I ask others what fitness goals they have for themselves, they will almost always tell me they just want to lose weight. We live in a society that looks just at the number on a scale to determine our fitness, and we fail to take into consideration all the other progress markers for fitness, like our medical results, how we feel, our energy levels, how our clothes fit, or how others see us. In the quest to lose weight we forget that with all the drastic diets and methods of losing weight, sometimes the weight we lose is not only fat, but muscle too.
This muscle loss almost certainly will set us up for failure down the road and destine us to gain the weight back and more.
What if you could lose 15 pounds, but look like you lost 25? How can you do that? That’s simple, gain muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat, so five pounds of muscle takes up less volume than five pounds of fat. This photo shows replicas of the volume that both five pounds of muscle and five pounds of fat occupy. Incredible isn’t it?
So this means that if you lost five pounds or even ten pounds of fat and made up the difference in weight by gaining muscle, you would still weigh the same, but you would look smaller and more fit.
Let me illustrate the effect muscle has on our overall fitness and appearance. Below are two people in two stages of their fitness development.
Gaining Muscle. Gaining muscle is an easy thing to accomplish. Exercise! Not just any exercise, but resistance training with weights. To build muscle you must lift heavy. Find a weight that allows you to do 8-10 repetitions for each exercise while maintaining the proper form, and allows you to start to feel fatigue in the last two repetitions.
Along with lifting weight, you must have the proper nutrition to fuel your muscles while lifting and to help repair them and build more after the workout. You need the proper balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates along with other nutrients to replenish energy stores following your workout and to provide the building blocks that will allow your body to add more muscle mass.
The other part of the equation is rest. Lifting tears down muscle, nutrition fuels the body to rebuild, but it is while resting that the repair and muscle building mechanisms and process of the body take action. The right amount of sleep will make or break you. Try to get at least eight hours a night.
Women and lifting heavy There seems to be this fear among women that lifting heavy weights will cause them to develop muscles like a man thus losing their femininity. This is a myth pure and simple. Women bodybuilders who appear masculine do so because they not only train hard and eat right, but some also use performance-enhancing substances that cause this effect. The reason men grow muscles bigger than women is that they produce more testosterone than women. Women who lift will develop some muscle growth, but the lower levels of testosterone in their bodies will only allow so much growth. Muscle is very attractive on a woman. The saying going around now is, “Fit is the new skinny”, and also “Skinny girls look good in clothes, but fit girls look good naked.” Which do you prefer?
Advantages of increased muscle mass 1) Muscle burns fat It’s a simple concept. Added muscle mass requires more energy to maintain itself, so it will burn through the body’s fat reserves faster than a body with less muscle. Don’t believe me; look at the eating plan of any bodybuilder. While training they will consume in excess of 3000 calories a day. If the average sedentary person with less muscle mass consumed 3000 calories a day they would certainly get fatter. The bodybuilder requires much of this energy just to maintain the muscle he already has. The remainder goes to fuel the building of more muscle. Thus muscle increases and also improves the metabolism.
2) Muscle supports the joints Many who suffer from pain caused by injuries to the joints, or from age, are always told by physical therapists that the best way to relieve pain associated with pressure on the joints is to strengthen the muscles around those joints so that they better support the joints. By building the muscles before such problems occur, we will avoid injury and age-related problems later in life.
3) Muscle Improves posture By strengthening and building the core muscles, those in the abdominal region, the lower back, and the upper hips and thighs, we maintain a better posture. This helps keep the back in alignment and pulls in the gut area.
All of these advantages add up to an improved quality of life and an overall healthier appearance for years to come.
Help! I don’t know how to do this on my own. All this advice may sound great, but where do you go from here? How can I get access to weights? What exercises do I do? What foods do I eat? How much do I eat? What supplements do I need to help me gain muscle?
You could research it all, but that would take months, and actually getting the effects you desire could take years with all the conflicting information out there. You could also join a health club and enlist a personal trainer and maybe get the help of a dietician, but that can get expensive. If you’re like me- an average person with enough income to do some of this but not all, why not look to what works already and try that. Look to the experts at Beachbody, they have the fitness routines like P90X and Body Beast designed to help build the muscle you desire while losing the fat all in the time you have in your busy schedule and in the comfort of your home. They have the nutrition plans especially suited to your needs, and the supplements like Shakeology that provide all of the nutrients needed to help build and maintain your changing body. Most of all they have an entire team of coaches (over 100,000 strong) ready to support you along the way and answer all your questions.
Muscle is your friend Don’t be afraid of the weight training to build muscle. Increased muscle mass has many long-term benefits on your health, while losing weight just to see the number on the scale go down will most certainly come back to bite you in the rear in only a short time.
Be Fit and God Bless!