Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fat vs Muscle

If there is one saying I despise, it is
A pound of muscle weighs more than a pound of fat. 
Really?? Because my high school math teacher, Mrs. Leach, always taught me:
One pound equals one pound. - Math 101
Which would you rather have? 

I believe what people mean to say is that, as illustrated by this image of 5 lbs of fat vs 5 lbs of muscle, fat takes up a whole lot more room than muscle does. As you lose weight, it is common for exercisers to lose fat and gain muscle without a change in body weight which can be frustrating if you are monitoring your progress by the scale alone. Taking monthly measurements of your bicep, waist, hips and thighs is the best suggestion I can give to anyone who is attempting to lose weight. During those times where you are discouraged by lack of movement on the scale, the small changes in your body may be just the motivation to keep you on your fitness goals.

Women especially seem to believe a number of myths regarding muscle. I often hear women saying they do not want to lift weights because they are afraid to get "bulky". Unless you are doing low repetitions of heavy weights WHILE eating an excess of protein, you will not build large amounts of muscle mass. Instead the goal should be to create lean muscle by doing light weights or using resistance bands.By creating lean muscle, you are boosting your metabolism. A pound of muscle will burn more calories than a pound of fat.

So you want to lose weight? Yes, the key is cardiovascular exercise. Get in a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio (i.e. cycling, jogging, walking, roller blading) at least 5 days per week, but in addition, try to add in strength training 2-3 days per week in order to build lean muscle mass. Not only will you create the muscles needed for your daily activities, but you will be amazed at how quickly your body changes into a learner version of you.

I can tell you from experience. Last June we launched Body Pump. Over the last year, I have had so many people ask how much weight I've lost. In that year, I hadn't lost a single pound, but the inches were melting away as I stayed true to my healthy lifestyle. My body re-arranged itself into a leaner version of the person I was once and the person I was proud to be. As a result, I don't think I will ever give up Body Pump even if that day comes where I am unable to teach it anymore.

What are you doing to create lean muscles for a happier, healthier you? 

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