June 29, 2017

Weight Loss?

Why the question mark? Because weight loss does not truly identify an authentic “end result”. Everything we weigh is weight. Water has weight. Muscle has weight. Body fat has weight. We certainly don’t want to lose valuable muscle tissue, but sometimes that happens on a “weight loss” program. Ideally what we want is to lose as much body fat as possible while still maintaining functional muscle tissue, or even gaining some new muscle.

Better stated the real end result that most of us would want is to decrease body fat. When we decrease body fat we will lose weight as a result. But more importantly we will change our body composition to less fat and more functional muscle.
Muscle is functional because it contracts and moves and the more muscle we have the stronger we are and the more we can move. Fat does not flex or contract so it does not add to function.

The Larger Engine Concept: An Illustrative Parallel

engine

 

 

When it comes to illustrating how Strength Training works the best picture I can give is that of comparing a bus to a car. It is a fact that a larger muscle is a stronger muscle when it is on the same person, on the same frame. Those same larger muscles also consume more calories when in use, while exercising, and even at rest.

A parallel example is the bus and the car illustrated here. The larger engine of the bus is more powerful than the smaller engine of the car, and it uses more fuel while in use and even when idling.

The parallel looks like this:

• The larger engine is stronger = the larger muscles are stronger.
• The larger engine burns more fuel in use than a smaller engine = a larger muscle burns more calories in use than a smaller muscle.
• The larger engine burns more fuel even while idling = a larger muscle burns more calories at rest than a smaller muscle.

Realistically that means that if one increases muscle size, the muscle size increase alone can actually burn more fuel, more body fat even at rest!

We know that the smaller engine of the car will not transform itself into the larger engine of the bus, so how can we transform our smaller muscles into larger muscles?

The most effective means of increasing muscle mass and strength is the proper application of progressive resistance. As we exercise with weights and other different forms of resistance, our muscles adapt from the use, once they adapt we gradually increase the resistance and with proper rest, nourishment, and recovery we increase the strength and as a result the size of our muscles. We can do what the car cannot do. We can change our strength, size and even appearance with the proper application of progressive resistance.

This is why it’s a good thing when we welcome the increase in resistance because what it really means is that we have mastered the present exercise and are now moving on to greater gains in strength, size or appearance- whatever the end result is that we have set. The process whereby we accomplish our end result is to continue to do what produces the results that we desire.

So while cardiovascular or aerobic type exercise is excellent for endurance and health, the addition of strength training can actually help burn even more body fat.