Muscle mania: Strength training changes everything
The key lies in your muscles. At rest, 1 pound of muscle burns three times as many calories every day just to sustain itself—and a lot of those calories that muscle burns off come from fat storage units. Muscle is constantly burning fat off!
Now before I go any further, I know most women are afraid to hear the word muscle, because that means getting bulky like men. One must realise, muscles can get stronger without getting bigger. Women have very low testosterone (the hormone responsible for making men bulk up). This is why when women weight train, their result is a natural lean and tone shape. For men who crave to get big: increasing the size of the muscle almost inevitably increases strength. So it all comes down to the specific training technique as per your body's need.
Why be obsessed with muscle?
Muscles are essential for maintaining how we breathe, how we move, metabolism, and posture. It's simple, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism.
Decrease depression —
Resistance exercise training was associated with a 45 percent reduction in multiple depressive symptoms (according to a meta-analysis of 33 randomized controlled trials).
Boost brain performance
Training for muscle increases neurotrophic factors in the brain. Just 30 minutes of exercise increases this 2-3 fold. These cause your brain to make new neurons in areas involved in learning/memory. They also repair damaged neurons.
Fight fat storage
Muscles are more metabolically efficient than fat mass, allowing you to burn more calories at rest. Clinical data shows that your metabolic rate is increased up to 72 hours after strength-training exercise. This means that you are still burning additional calories hours and even days after your workout.
By partnering the powerful combination of whole food nutrition with strength training, insulin resistance can be reversed. Strength training stimulates greater glucose metabolism during and right after a workout.
Weight training triggers an adaptive response for more muscle and thus greater metabolic potential for the next workout. This compounding effect leads to improved insulin sensitivity due to the improvements in muscle strength.
Three must-do muscle building exercises
I am obsessed with three specific moves. And I know that once you learn it and see just how strong you actually are…you will fall in love with weight training too.
Nothing challenges your central nervous system more than a squat. It pushes you to the edge and helps engage your entire system. This full body compound exercise is a tool for gaining strength, and mobility. Learn the correct form and practice daily.
Sounds scary but this compound exercise is crucial for lower back strength. Weak back muscle is a dangerous condition we must prevent. Beginners should start with low weight and work with higher reps to build balance in lower back, hips, and leg muscles.
This is a functional upper body exercise for women and men. Bench-press exercises comes in several variations used to target all large muscle groups.
Strength training means slowing and reversing the aging process at the cellular and genetic level, increase your energy, protect against the effects of aging, improve insulin resistance (the kindling for all sorts of diseases), and improve brain function.
Exercise can reverse your biological age by nearly a decade, give you more energy, maintain a healthy lifestyle, help you avoid aches and pains, and protect your brain and cognitive ability.
A busy lifestyle has become the new definition for success. Sleep deprived, back pain, and fatigue are the new normal. And off course, everyone hates their tummy fat, right? This harmful thought pattern has become the unseen poison of our society. But you can start the change from today. Strength changes everything. Be a muscle maniac!
Photo: Marina Farook
Marina Farook is the co-creator of marinafarook.com, and Total Transformation Programs. She coaches global women with nutrition, supplement and functional exercise to reach long term sustainable fitness goals. Follow her on Instagram: @wondermama_