Muscles – Get to know ‘em, love ‘em, and grow ‘em!!
Our bodies are comprised of 3 types of muscle: Skeletal, Cardiac, and Smooth. Over half our body weight consists of muscle (give or take). Right now I want to focus on skeletal muscle. There are approximately 600 different skeletal muscles in your body. That’s a lot of different muscles.
So why should you care so much about your muscles and their mass, you may be wondering? Muscles, aside from looking hella strong and sexy, are super important for more than aesthetic purposes. Muscles are critical to providing support to our connective tissues, the kind that helps increase bone density. This lowers the chance of injury and the risk of osteoporosis later in life, and possibly staves off arthritis. In other words, this tissue-muscle powerhouse helps fight off the effects of aging…boom!! So building and maintaining muscle mass is pretty darn important.
If that’s not reason enough to love your muscles, think about this statistic: 10 lbs of muscle burns 50 calories vs 10 lbs of fat that burns 20 calories, and that fat takes up quite a bit more real estate on your body. Not all of it the prime kind. Wink wink.
If you’re still not sold on building muscle yet, read on. In addition to burning more calories at rest, muscle provides what is called an afterburn effect (aka a post workout bonus). The afterburn effect is often referred to as EPOC, which decoded, means Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. This basically means that in addition to the calories burned during your workout session, there is a duration post workout — even if you are just sitting around — when you have an increased caloric burn. Translation: cha-ching!!
There are certain factors that increase EPOC, such as lifting weights, the intensity of your sweat session and your percentage of lean muscle mass. And that’s not the only perk of building and maintaining muscle mass – there is also increased balance, mental health, better sleep, as well as improved blood sugar control. Woo hoo!
So now that ya know ‘em and love ‘em… how do you grow ‘em?
Building muscle requires hard work, dedication, and intention. The main way you build muscle is by lifting weights. Lots of women are phobic about lifting weights. The biggest concern or objection I hear is, “I’ll look bulky if I lift.” The fact is that in most cases you absolutely will not look bigger. And if for some reason you don’t like the results you’re getting, you simply stop, and it will go away. Like I said, it takes hard work and intention to build muscle, but when and if you stop lifting, muscle tissue will simply go away if you aren’t putting in the work to maintain it.
Lifting alone won’t do the trick to build muscle though. You have to eat purposefully, too. Increased protein consumption and proper timing of carbohydrates are key in supporting muscle growth.
Last, but certainly not least, is rest. Recovery and rest days are incredibly important. More is not better when comes to building muscle. Rest days are where the magic happens. Rest days are when the muscle tissue repairs itself (aka muscle growth) from the micro tears created during a lifting session. That recovery period is the key ingredient in the recipe for building muscle.
So go ahead lift those weights, build those muscles and burn some fat!!
Let me know how you do, and if I can help. Contact
Love and Lunges