Lean muscle mass. It just sounds like such a wonderful thing to have. Wouldn't it be nice if you could take a magic pill and have a plentiful amount of lean muscle on your frame. It definitely doesn't work that way but the good news is that one particular form of exercise is especiallay good at building muscle. Strength training, weight lifting, and resistance training all mean the same thing and are the best way to add muscle to your frame. Sorry, cardio and yoga are not going to do it for you! You are actually going to have to take the time to do specific exercises and concentrate on the workout itself. Physiologically, strength training causes an increase in muscle size, improved muscle tone, increased muscular strength and an increase in tendon, bone and ligamental strength. The purpose of this article is to raise your awareness on exactly why it is so important to maintain the lean muscle on your frame and how adding lean muscle will help you look and feel the way you want.
Weight lifting boosts physical performance but you don't have to be an athlete to benefit from an increase in physical performance. Physical performance varies from person to person, but regardless of whether you're a mother having to constantly lift her child or a man trying to improve his golf game, having more muscle will improve your performance in daily living activities.
Cosmetically, resistance training will improve your appearance which will in turn affect your self- esteem and self-confidence. Additionally, lean muscle will boost your metabolism causing you to burn more calories on a daily basis even while you're at rest. For every pound of lean muscle that is added, you will burn an extra 50 calories/day at rest. According to the Mayo Clinic, we all lose one half of one pound of muscle every year after the age of 30. This muscle loss (catabolism), actually reduces our basal metabolic rate. As a result, our bodies will use less food and if we continue eating the same amount of food as before, we'll start to pack on the pounds!
Strength training will also help to improve bone density. As we age, our bones degenerate at a faster rate than they're rebuilt. The added loads on the bones will cause an accelerated response in the bones ability to regenerate.
Adding lean muscle will also decrease the likelihood of sustaining an injury. Whether you participate in sports or not, you will be at a greater risk of injury, even climbing the stairs to your front door, when your lean muscle mass is lower. Another cool thing about our muscles is they tend to serve as shock absorbers and also play a major role in balance. Having good muscle condition will lessen the repetitive landing forces when doing weight-bearing exercises such as playing pickup basketball or going for a long walk with your significant other.
Strength training also helps in the rehabilitation and recovery from an unavoidable injury and reduces the risk of coronary artery disease (having a heart attack). Not only does muscle help in preventing an injury, but it will also enable you to rehab quicker.
Last, I'd like to debunk the myth that some women have in thinking they will become big and bulky from lifting weights. This simply isn't true. Women do not have enough testosterone to support a major gain in muscle mass but by virtue of adding some muscle, she will look better in her clothes, appear more toned and fit as well as walk taller and stronger.
About the Author
Gym Owner and Personal Trainer, Keith Diedrich has a B.A. in Exercise Science and has been professionally involved in health and fitness in various capacities since 2005.
"My initial thought about Keith was that he seemed very casual and not as frenetic as other professionals. I quickly learned that he was gauging my stamina, movements, and technique. He wasn't after a fast burnout, but he wanted to exhaust every muscle every time. He said we were working on a "mind to body connection." With this connection I'd be able to gauge whether a set was 15 reps or 20 reps regardless of the initial "goal of 15!" I believe much of my gains came from Keith always seeing my potential even when I couldn't." ~ Saul "Mr. Biceps"