Muscle! Many women find that work to be scary. They don't want to bulk up or look manly; this is why they stay away from resistance training. However, that will NEVER happen due to the lack of testosterone hormone in our bodies. Physically, what will happen is a more lean look.
Stepping on a scale can tell you your weight, but it does not give you the bigger picture of your wellness. At Sphericality and The Limitless Lifestyle Academy, we focus on body composition.
What is body composition? Body composition refers to everything in your body, split up into different elements. Two elements that are commonly used are fat mass and fat-free mass. Fat mass refers to all the fat tissue in your body. Fat-free mass is everything else, including muscle, organs, bone, and fluid.
The most important things we look at are fat mass and muscle mass and their ratio. This ensures your body is as healthy as possible, which is why we work out and eat right in the first place! Research and evidence show that maintaining a healthy body composition increases longevity and reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases. Another reason for focusing on body composition is that it shows your coaches whether your program is working. For instance, if you're not losing any weight, you may think you're doing something wrong, leading to frustration. However, if you knew you built muscle and burned some fat while maintaining weight, wouldn't you feel more motivated and confident in your wellness program??
Muscle is an essential element of body composition. Many people think muscles are for looks and strength, but it can do many more things for your body.
1. You will get stronger but what is important is the functional strength that comes with exercise. Examples of this would be, having the ability to do yard work, carrying groceries, or lifting your grandchildren.
2. You will become more coordinated. When we work our muscles, we engage the nervous system. Eventually, your nerves learn to turn on and off the muscles. This will create more effective and efficient movement, which will help in your exercise and daily tasks. Also, depending on the type of exercises you do, you can create new pathways and connections in the brain.
3. Strong muscles equals strong bone. Our skeletons take some of the stress during weight training, and this helps stimulate bone growth. Many physicians recommend plyometric and weight-bearing activities for the management and prevention of osteoporosis.
4. Less risk of injury and improvement in joint health if you add resistance training to your exercise routine. The stiffness in tendons means they are prone to injury, but you will increase your tendon thickness and make them more resistant to injury. Strong muscles allow your joints to do their jobs. On the other hand, weak muscles lead to injuries and can put increased stress on the ligaments and joints.
5. Your blood will flow better the more you exercise. The more you use your muscles to lift, push and pull during exercise, the more oxygen will need to be delivered. This will lead to overall improved circulation throughout your whole body. Not only will the vascular system deliver oxygen more effectively, but it will also remove waste products more efficiently.
6. A better metabolism. Your resting metabolic rate (how many calories burned just by living) will change as your body composition changes. Muscle produces heat and is highly responsive to hormones that effectively use what we eat – both energy-consuming processes. On the other hand, fat tissue is highly inactive when it comes to metabolism. Therefore, the more muscle you have, the more calories you use both at rest and during exercise.
We don't get to keep our muscle forever, it will decrease as we age if we do not work to build and maintain it. You lose 5% to 8% of your lean muscle every ten years after you pass 30 years old, and that percentage increases once you turn 60.
Why does this happen? Muscle loss is caused by an imbalance between signals for muscle growth and signals for tearing down. Balanced muscle-building required growth hormones to act with protein-destroying enzymes to keep muscle steady through a cycle of growth, stress or injury, destruction, and then healing. This cycle is constantly occurring, and when things are in balance, muscle keeps its strength over time. However, during aging, the body becomes resistant to the standard growth signals, tipping the balance toward catabolism and muscle loss.
We can do things to prevent this so we can continue to do day-to-day tasks, stay injury-free, have a great metabolism, reduce the risk of falling, and ward off disease.
1. Include enough protein in your diet. We recommend that our clients eat 100g of protein a day, 30g at each main meal, and supplementing with snacks. Getting protein in your diet directly signals your muscle tissue to build and strengthen. As people age, their muscles become more resistant to this signal, so they need to consume more protein to increase muscle growth.
2. Having a balanced exercise routine is important. We must include resistance training at least three days a week. Resistance training includes weightlifting, pulling against resistance bands, or moving part of the body against gravity. When you perform resistance exercise, the tension on your muscle fibers results in growth signals that increase strength. Resistance exercise also increases the actions of growth-promoting hormones. It's important not to skip your resistance training sessions, especially for long periods of time.
3. Get enough sleep; this helps with muscle growth, but it will also help you recover. When the body enters its deep sleep stage, known as non-REM sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormones that stimulate muscle and growth. When the body doesn't get enough rest, the secretion of this growth hormone declines, and it can become harder for your body to recover from injuries or repair muscle.
We've seen many women participate in our challenge and change their body composition drastically in 6 weeks. We provide the right combination of exercise, nutrition, and mindset to make this happen. Learn more here!