The Importance of Muscle Building Training

Muscle building training is important for both men and women, for any fitness goal, including fat loss, toning, cardiovascular conditioning, etc.

Why is it so important, you ask? I'll let you know. But first let's get something out of the way.

As a trainer, I hear the following all the time:

"I just want to lose some weight, get toned, etc. I don't want to get bulky muscles."

"I don't want to get too big."

Here's the truth, it takes years of hard work to build extraordinary muscle mass, it's not going to happen suddenly and you're not going to wake up one morning transformed into the Hulk or She Hulk.

Ok, so now that we know, there is nothing to fear about doing training to build muscle, that it is a slow process and even if you did get bigger than you wanted somehow, all you have to do is cut back or take some time off and your muscles will get smaller again (use it or lose it), let's look at the benefits.

Let's say your goal is simply to lose weight, you should just cut back on calories and do a lot of cardio right? Sure, if you don't care where the weight comes from (lean body mass or fat). The truth is, your body will get rid of your lean body mass (muscle) before it will let go of fat. That's the way your body is built, it's made for survival. So here your body is faced with too little calories for maintenance, and a lot of walking, climbing, running, etc. (which requires calories) so it's solution is to burn of muscle tissue since you don't need a lot of that for cardio and to hold on to fat because that's the highest source of stored calories and is very valuable.

Now, when you add in muscle building workouts to your weight loss regimen, you get many benefits. Your body now sees that you need muscle because of this activity (lifting somewhat heavy objects) so it has to hold onto or even build more muscle, so it has no choice but to burn off more of your stored fat.

Also, maintaining muscle mass keeps your metabolism high and building muscle mass (even a little) makes it go even higher thus burning even more calories (even while at rest).

Another benefit is muscle tone, most people have a wrong idea of what this is, they think of it as having low body fat and seeing the muscles, like six pack abs, etc. The correct definition of muscle tone is the residual tension in the muscles, it's what keeps the body strong and firm rather than flabby and weak.

The correct way to get muscle tone is with strength training/muscle building workouts. And the correct way to get low body fat and visible muscle lines (even if the muscles are not that big) is with a lower calorie diet and again training for muscle building.

And lastly, someone that is just training for cardiovascular conditioning, say marathon running, etc. Have you even seen how scrawny and wasted away some of these people are? If your goal is to look like a skinny 90 year old, that's fine, have at it. But if you want to look fit, you're going to have to do some muscle building training along with all your running, etc. You will also find out that the running, etc. is easier and you are faster now that your leg muscles are stronger.

Ok, I now see the many benefits. But, who the hell has time to lift weights for hours every day?

I certainly don't. I lift weights for only 30 minutes 3 times a week, and my goal is bigger muscles.

The truth is weight training is the opposite of cardio training, you do it for short infrequent workouts rather than long daily workouts.

I'm sure you can make time for 20 to 30 minutes of weight training 2 to 3 time a week now that you know the importance of muscle building workouts for any fitness goal.

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The information presented is intended to be used for educational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding any suggestions and recommendations made.