Muscle: The Fountain of Youth

Have you ever had an old pair of pants that are finally back in style that you couldn’t wait to wear again? Maybe you eagerly tried them on but found that although you still weigh the same, the pants no longer fit you.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t your pants that “shrunk.” You have five more pounds of fat than you did before, and it takes up more space than the five pounds of muscle that was lost.

How did that happen?

Around the age of 30, your body starts playing a mean trick on you. Even if you eat and exercise the same way you always have, your body loses half a pound of muscle each year and gains half a pound of fat. In fact, it’s a natural part of aging.

Half a pound per year isn’t so bad, you might think. But they add up over time.

By the time you’re 40, you have five more pounds of fat on your body than you did when you were 30. And this process continues every year..

Aging & Body Composition

Much of what we consider to be the effects of “aging” is nothing more than losing muscle and gaining fat. Most adults become less active as they get older. Not only that, but as a whole, we’re under more stress, our sleep schedules are erratic, and we take care of everyone and everything else first, putting our own health needs on the back burner. Year after year, these things put an enormous strain on our health.

As we age, we gradually lose muscle mass and function. This process is called sarcopenia. Every person experiences it, even those who exercise. It’s more pronounced, however, in inactive people, resulting in an average loss of 3-5% per decade after the age of 30.

This fact alone makes a strong case for regular exercise. If we do not use and stimulate our muscles, they will begin to atrophy, and this, in turn, will lower our metabolism. Think of metabolism as the speed in which your body burns calories. The number of calories you burn every day is directly related to how much muscle you have.

The more muscle mass we have, the more calories needed to maintain it.

And if weight loss is your goal, making your muscles stronger will cause your body to burn more calories, even when you are asleep!

Think of it this way: Fat STORES energy. Muscle USES energy.

A pound of fat requires about 2 calories per day, but each pound of muscle (even at rest) will burn about 25 calories per day. Many people have never heard of the concept “building muscle to lose fat.” When you reduce your caloric intake slightly and build muscle, you achieve the double reducing effect and shape your body.

Bones, fat, and muscle are primarily what determines your shape, or body composition.

Bones control the structure of your body.

Muscles control the positioning of your bones.

Fat takes up space both inside in the form of visceral fat around your organs (which is linked to increased risk for diabetes and heart disease) and subcutaneous fat (the fat you can see). Both affect your health and your appearance.

When you build muscle, you improve your mobility, strength, endurance, shape and posture, and when you lower your body fat you improve your health markers and reveal your lovely muscle tone. This combination gives you the “toned and firm” look that you most likely desire..

No matter your age… DO STRENGTH TRAINING!

Gaining muscle is not the same thing as “bulking up.” Do not be afraid of gaining muscle! Our clients often tell us, “I don’t want to look like a bodybuilder—I just want to tone up.”

Realize that more muscle mass won’t turn you into a bodybuilder – it takes a verrrrrry dedicated and fine-tuned program to make that happen. It will, however, make you look better, feel better and perform better.

In fact, it is the most important thing you can do to reverse the aging process.