If you wish to stay slim and graceful for your whole life, it’s time to get powerful.
Let’s begin with a few facts about muscles. The amount of muscle you have determines how many calories your body uses when you’re inactive. Muscle burns more calories than fat. Many studies show just 500 gram of muscle burns 30 calories a day just being there, whereas 500 gram of fat burns just 2 calories a day! Hence, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.
Regular weight training can increase your basal metabolic rate ( BMR ) by as much as 15%. Your BMR is the rate at which your body burns calories even when just sitting down, sleeping and breathing; the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.
Then there are the bone-strengthening benefits of weight training. Studies show that after six months of weight training, your spine bone mineral density could increase by 13%. If you have better bones, they will help to boost your posture and make you look leaner. Besides, regular weight training can help lower your blood pressure, fight diabetes and improve your mood.
Lean muscle also fills out your skins, so saggy cellulite tissue could be transformed into neat, toned, taut buttocks in a matter of weeks. As you work on building and firming your muscles and reducing body fat, this effectively helps to lift the skin, which can help prevent that puckering that takes place when the fibres pull downwards. This means an end to the soft, flabby skin that is a part of growing older. Recently, there is a study that found about 70% of women said their cellulite improved in just six weeks by doing weight training in their legs.
The problem with muscle is that when we reach our late thirties, we start losing it — about 250 gm of muscle a year according to some figures. That means you risk losing 2.5 kg of muscle while gaining 7.5 kg of fat every ten years if you don’t do anything to counter the muscle loss. So if you were to carry on eating the same amount of food, you inevitably gain weight.
What to do about it?
Our aim is to build in three sessions of resistance work a week. To get the benefits, you need to work until the muscles are fatigued. If you need to do dozens of repetitions to get to that stage, then you need heavier weights (more resistance) .
Even using your own body weight as resistance counts, so you can even build your muscles at home — good exercises include sit-ups, press-ups, lunges and squats. The lunge is a good exercise to master and can be done without weights to begin with. Stand with your feet together holding dumbbells by your sides with your palms facing in. Take one step forward with your right leg. With your right foot on the floor, slowly lower your left knee towards the floor, keeping your right knee at a 90-degree angle and your back straight. Press into your right foot and push yourself back to the starting position. Repeat on the other leg. Aim for twelve, building up to two or three sets over time.
Turn your daily walk or cycle into an effective resistance workout by incorporating hills or walking with an ankle or wrist weights.
Gym-based classes such as step, spinning or body conditioning involve resistance work.
If you want to build your muscle, you should cut back on fatty foods.
Eat more lean protein as it will help your body to repair the muscle fibers you may have damaged along the way. You can have chicken, tofu, lentils or nut.
Say no to margarine, butter or cheese spread. Swap those with mustard as spreads. Use tuna or low-fat turkey ham as fillings for your sandwiches.
Really really cut down one RED MEAT.
Keep away from food preserved in oil. Stick to brine or fresh water instead.
Drink clear broth or vegetable soup rather than creamy ones.