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The battle of muscle versus fat

Published in Weight Management, For the Health of It, Exercise Author: Dustin Henkelman

Does the thought of strengthening your biceps make your toes curl instead? Does lifting a medicine ball make you think about the medicine you’ll need to take to recover?

Strength training may not be your preferred activity at the gym — but the benefit of making barbells and weights part of your regular exercise routine can add up over time. Consider the following:

  1. Resistance training protects the muscle you do have — whether you are in weight maintenance or seeking weight or fat loss.
  2. Muscle is what gives shape to your physique — your appearance is largely a reflection of your muscle mass.
  3. Functionality of your body, strength and protection of joints is largely a function of muscle strength.
  4. Research shows that a pound of muscle burns roughly 10 calories per day, whereas fat is shown to burn two or three calories per day. But add that up over the course of a few years and this difference becomes more significant.
  5. If you are not doing something to maintain your muscle mass, you’re going to lose it. This is especially true for those after age 30. In turn, this will negatively affect the amount of calories you can burn. And — as noted above — over time this difference can be significant
  6. Strength training also offers immediate impact. On average, individuals burn about 150 calories for every 30 minutes of strength training that they do.

In the end, the most effective way to capitalize on the calorie-burning potential of your muscles is to actively use them. The best analogy I’ve found for describing this is comparing muscle to and idling engine, which burns energy (fuel) just to function.

Dare to make strength training a priority and your body won’t just be able to burn more calories today. But to possibly be able to do so months and years from now, too.