Muscle – Your Secret Weapon
Everyone knows that eating healthy and working out are the two key factors in losing weight, but working out does not need to mean an hour on the treadmill that you despise. Believe it or not, the most powerful addition to your total body makeover is lifting weights. I know, I know, you don’t want to bulk up, muscle weighs more than the natural cushion we have on our thighs, and you have no desire to look like the Hulk. I don’t care; strength training is still your answer. Yes, cardio gets a lot of attention and popularity in the weight-loss world, but why not have your body work for you? Yes, you read right, let your body do the extra work: muscle burns fat. True, an hour of cardio is going to burn more calories than an hour of lifting weights, but after the cardio is done, so is the fat torching. With strength training, your body is still burning calories for the next 24 hours!
Strength training is important for everyone. In an article on the Mayo Clinic website, Edward Laskowski, M.D. a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center says, “If you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you’ll increase the percentage of fat in your body,” he continues, “But strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass — at any age.”
Now, before you get any sneaky ideas, baby 2lb dumbbells aren’t going to cut it. Lifting heavier weights will get you the best results. Obviously when you first start I don’t expect you to have a 35lb dumbbell in each hand. But start with 5lb or 8lb dumbbells and gradually keep working your way up to 12 or 15lbs, then keep going heavier if you can. Don’t worry, this won’t break my promise of not turning into the Hulk, well for females at least (and you boys seem to like looking like that so have at it!). Women don’t have a ton of testosterone like our male counterparts so the more we lift, the stronger, longer, leaner we get. Plus your body starts to be on your side in the weight loss battle burning more fat while you go about your day or even sleep! No matter how many arguments you’ve had swearing your body is somehow working against your weight-loss goals (girls, I know you’ve all said this), lift heavy weights and the battle is over.
Not that you need any more reasons to believe me and start strength training, but I thought I’d share a few more benefits in case you aren’t sold yet:
- muscle drives your metabolism
- boost muscle, boost self-esteem; building strength is empowering and you’ll notice improvements in your attitude
- strong muscles prevent injuries
- lifting heavy weights helps fight Osteoporosis
- heavy weights build muscle definition faster
- muscle’s primary energy source is fat (so let the torching begin!)
- muscle burns calories—all day long!
Please just trust me and do not worry about what number pops up on your scale. Honestly, when I started strength training my weight didn’t change. I got questions and compliments, but my weight stayed the same because 10lbs of muscle is much smaller than 10lbs of fat. It makes sense though because it’s so powerful, just like you’re going to be: tiny but powerful!