Use It Or Lose It


Keeping your muscles in peak condition is a MUST for optimizing your metabolism

Muscle mass declines naturally with age, resulting in decreased muscular strength and endurance. For each decade after the age of 25, 3-5% of muscle mass is lost. In other words, sedentary adults will have begun losing muscle in their mid-twenties, at a stead rate of up to a pound a year!

As lean body weight (muscle and bones) declines with age, body fat increases. Basal metabolic rate (minimal caloric requirement needed to sustain life in a resting individual) also naturally decreases with age. And if you lose muscle, it gets even lower. As a result, your body needs fewer calories to function. Any excess calories, end up as body fat.

The good news is, even if you’re showing signs of muscle atrophy, you can start reversing the process within a few weeks by performing simple toning exercises.

Muscle is the body’s primary fat burner and energy booster. It is highly efficient at burning calories for energy – far more efficient than fat. For each pound of muscle, you automatically use an extra 50-75 calories a day – and that is just to maintain your body’s normal processes. By comparison, a pound of fat uses just 2 calories a day.

If you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight, you need to be a good calorie-burning machine 24 hours a day. Increase in lean muscle mass will help you burn more calories – even during sleep!

It is very simple - strength training builds muscle. This means using some sort of resistance (resistance training), such as weights, dynabands, water or body weight.

How to perform strength training:

Building muscle strength and tone does require regular increases in either resistance or frequency. Find the maximum level of resistance that you can handle (4-5 out of 5) and then gradually work past it. As you begin to progress, you need to add extra weight or resistance, intensify the tension, increase the frequency or change the exercises. On average this should be done/reviewed every 6-8 weeks. This is to prevent plateau-ing.

If you have started with 1 set of 8-12 repetitions, now strive to perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions per exercise with a weight that causes you to totally fatigue within that range. You can then increase that to 15-20 repetitions or add another 4th set. Rest only about 30-45 seconds in between your sets and drop the resting time as the workout starts to get easier.

Choose 8 – 10 different exercises that make up one program.

It is nice to have 2 different programs – that you can do on alternate days.

And to dispel the myth on women and strength training - women will not bulk up doing the resistance training, for a simple reason of not having enough testosterone to do it! Yes, some do have naturally more tendency to grow muscles bigger in volume and for that reason their workout program would contain higher repetitions to avoid bulking up. Most women however, do not have this problem.

It takes a great deal of work and effort to significantly increase one's muscle mass. The work required is double for women due to their physiological make-up and lack of necessary hormones. Higher intensity strength training will simply allow you to see the desired results sooner - firm, toned, strong and shapely muscles.

A good fitness coach or a personal trainer will be able to devise a good comprehensive program that works the muscles in the right order and fashion to maximize your goals in minimum time.

Happy training…….


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