Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Add Muscle to Lose Fat

As the New Year approaches, people make resolutions about weight loss and most of them start a low- calorie diet in January to accomplish this goal.  By the end of February, if they can hold out that long, some people will have lost a significant amount of weight and will return to their old eating habits.  "Let's face it, we are creatures of habit".  However, when they begin eating the same things they did before starting their diet, they quickly find the scales zooming past their original weight, and wonder, "what is happening to their body"?

The above scenario happens millions of times each year.  At any given time more than half our adult population is dieting, only to be disappointed with the results when they return to their normal eating habits, and here's why.  You have to add muscle in order to lose fat.

On a typical low-calorie diet over 25 percent of the weight loss comes from muscle and this is detrimental to maintaining weight loss in the long-run because muscle is key to having a high resting metabolism (the calories your body burns just to survive).  Think of it like this; if you were an automobile, your muscle mass would be the engine that provides the power for your movement, and the bigger the engine the more fuel you consume.  Just as in this illustration, the more muscle mass you have the more calories your burn on a daily basis.

Adding muscle mass has a two-fold effect of increasing both physical capacity ( a larger engine), and resting metabolism (daily caloric requirements for survival).  Thus, the more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn both when you are active and when you are at rest.  And your muscle's favorite fuel at rest, and during low intensity activity is body fat.

So, how do I add muscle your ask?  Here's the answer, research clearly demonstrates that regular strength training can add muscle to your body at any age.  Results of studies show that people who engage in a strength training program 2 to 3 times each week that addresses all the major muscle groups on average gain 3 pounds of muscle and lose 4 pounds of body fat in a 3 month period. As a result of the increased muscle development and energy requirements of strength training, they increase their daily caloric requirements by approximately 15 percent.  For the average person that's equivalent to burning an extra 250 calories each day.

As you can see from the above, the best approach to long-term weight loss and an improved body composition is to add muscle, and the best way to build muscle is by regular strength training.  If you are convinced that this is the way you want to lose weight while improving your strength, checkout my strength training routines at Forever Fit and Firm.