We all have our own reasons for working out and getting fit but do we really understand the importance of building lean tissue for long term health, not just an improved physique.
A lot women want to lose weight to look 'skinny' and are scared of looking too 'bulky' when it comes to building some muscle. What they don't realise is that in order to look lean, muscle has to replace body fat in order to increase metabolic rate. Recent research has made a very strong case that building lean body mass has benefits far beyond aesthetics and athletic performance.
You don't have to lift the heaviest weights in the gym to build muscle, but getting adequate protein and exercising regularly will significantly improve your health now and as you get older.
Building lean body mass can:
1) COMBAT OBESITY
To lose weight, women especially, embark on restrictive diets without exercising to control calorie intake to an extreme deficit. They lose weight fast but unfortunately muscle mass goes with it. This is detrimental to the longterm results. The more muscle mass you have, the greater your BMR (basal metabolic rate- the amount of calories you burn at rest). This inevitably means that the people with more muscle mass will burn more calories whilst doing nothing, helping to avoid calorie imbalances and ultimately weight gain. Exercising to build muscle while keeping to a SLIGHT calorie deficit is a much longer process but steady and consistent in the long term.
2) CONTRIBUTES TO STRONG BONES
Definitely an important one to remember as we age. Maintaining a sufficient amount of lean body mass throughout our lives and staying strong can massively prevent the onset of osteoporosis and frailty in general as more muscle means greater bone strength and density.
3) HELP WITH HORMONE BALANCE
Exercising and building muscle mass helps reduce the excess fat tissue which cause oestrogen levels to be too high. It increases metabolism which helps burn body fat and naturally lowers the amount of circulating oestrogen by minimising aromatase enzymes. To achieve optimum hormone balance, a combination of strength training, cardio and flexibility exercises are recommended. High intensity exercise is an excellent fat burning method but should be applied in moderation as it may cause excess stress to the body. Stress secretes cortisol which decreases the levels of the balancing hormone to estrogen,progesterone.
Building Lean Body Mass is an investment to your future. The more you build when you are young and healthy, the more you will have in reserve when you really need it.