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Muscle Mass and Weight Loss

We were doing some strength training in class recently. My mom was discussing a woman whom, many years ago, only did cardiovascular exercise and never managed to drop weight. This brought up an interesting topic about weight loss and why muscle mass is key.

“My husband dropped fifteen pounds, and I’ve only dropped five pounds.” Why is that? Men have more muscle mass and therefore burn more energy. Women are cautious about developing strength, and the usual reason is purely aesthetic. They don’t want to look ‘manly.’ It’s not physically possible for women to be THAT muscular without steroids. It takes many years of training to develop strength. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. It’s just that simple.

Cardiovascular exercise is necessary. The problem is it actually hinders muscle growth if done excessively. Once you become efficient, the fewer calories you expend during cardiovascular exercise. Strength training allows you to burn calories days after a workout. Why? During a strength training workout, the muscle is ripped. It takes time to repair the muscle fibres. You require energy to repair the muscle. Once the muscle is repaired, it is therefore stronger. It is a longer process for females to gain muscle mass due to lower levels of testosterone. Compared to males, who have higher levels, this hormone fuels muscle development. The message here is, muscle mass is a good thing! Especially if you’re a woman trying to lose weight; it can become your best friend. It is also noted that as you age, you lose muscle mass. This can leave you prone to osteoporosis and other degenerative diseases.

My advice is don’t be shy and try to incorporate strength training into your routine.

Here’s to finding your strength!

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