When we think of the term ‘building muscle’ your mind may wander to images of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his huge 23 inch arms. Or perhaps a ‘bulky’ woman who has wash board abdominals you could grate cheese on. These physiques don’t happen by accident. In fact they require years of training, restriction and dedication. For the average person, building muscle means something completely different and should be a goal of everyone, whether you call it ‘toning up’, ‘getting lean’ or ‘prolonging life’, it all means the same.
Before you stop reading and think you don’t want to build muscle, only lose weight, shift fat or change shape, hear me out.
1lb of muscle weighs the same as 1lb of fat, obviously. However the size of each tissue is very different as is their function. Having some fat is needed in order to have a healthy functioning body. Fat provides energy, protects from injury, absorbs vitamins, maintains your body temperature and is required for brain function. However too much fat, as we know, can have a negative impact on your health.
Muscle however, produces movement, maintains your posture, stabilises joints, generates heat and protects the bones and internal organs. So next time you hear someone say they don’t want to build muscle, politely remind them that they need a good amount of muscle to live and move properly.
That’s not all. Muscle is expensive! To build and maintain muscle requires energy from the body in the form of calories. The more amount of muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be, in order to maintain your muscle tissue. So you will burn more calories at rest which is a good thing.
One of my favourite stories from a client was that she initially needed to lose a lot of weight and had no idea that adding muscle would even be possible for her. She managed to lose over 5 stone and has built up enough strength to lift her grandchildren above her head and play with them without tiring (too much!). It just goes to show that by taking care of your body, and being in the best shape you can be will not only add confidence and make you feel better about yourself, it will also enable you to live life to the full.
I feel this is of upmost importance for everyone, no matter their fitness levels, age or circumstance. I have decided to offer a free ‘muscle building/toning up’ exercise programme that you can do at home with or without equipment. If you would like your free exercise programme, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, age, exercise history, any injuries and if you have any equipment.
One last thing, you don’t need to wait until gyms reopen to start adding muscle. Both myself and my clients have been training over the past year without gyms and have still been able to make great progress!