Muscle mass is important for many reasons. We need muscle to get through our daily routines, walking, lifting, general mobility, even for smiling and kissing. Muscle mass keeps our metabolism high. In general, the average person looses 10% of their muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 40. This can drastically slow down our metabolism, which in turn will put on unwanted pounds, increase body fat percentages, decrease self-esteem, and put us into depression. This simply does not have to happen as we get older. Strength training is the solution.
Strength training, or resistance training, or “lifting weights” is the best way to increase and maintain muscle mass as we get older. Men and WOMEN need to do strength training regularly, that means a minimum of 2 days per week.
I always hear from females about how weight training “bulks me up”. Well, this simply is not true if you are doing the appropriate type of training in addition to regular cardiovascular exercise and cutting back on calories. I often find that when I begin a program with a woman (who is carrying a higher percentage of body fat) and we go through a few weeks of strength training, the client sees her arms and legs getting larger. Many times her measurements around her arms or legs are larger. Then I ask, “Have you been doing your cardio as prescribed and cutting back on calories every day?” Every response back has always been “No”.
Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. If you are not doing daily cardio and not cutting back on calories consumed, then YOU WILL NOT LOSE INCHES! You are building muscle under fat that is going nowhere. Of course your measurements will be higher.
So ladies, strength training is not the culprit for making your arms and legs larger if proper exercises are in place. It is one’s lack of discipline in sticking with recommendations and failure to be patient with your program. Strength training is the key to building and maintaining muscle mass, preventing osteoporosis, keeping our metabolism high, and the list goes on (click on Strength and Endurance at the right to see more). Everyone, men and women, need to strength train consistently in order to have a well-rounded exercise program.