Have you been told by yourself, a physician or someone without a filter that you need to lose that extra weight?
There may be truth in it, but have you considered why the weight has crept on you over the years? Let's pause… And think about how the extra weight got there in the first place.
You may have answers for these questions, but let’s dive deeper into focusing on building muscle and strength while creating a healthy physique and feeling amazing.
Why losing weight is the flawed approach
We have all heard the story that as we get into our 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond, our metabolism drops. Retaining muscle and gaining muscle is difficult. Focus on aerobic exercise. Watch your caloric intake. And increase your overall activity. Now, these statements aren’t wrong, but… they are not preventative of the inevitable… muscle loss.
Muscle loss occurs from not applying the right amount of stimulus to the muscles to grow or to be maintained. As your muscle decreases so does your metabolism. As the metabolism decreases while your calorie consumption stays the same as you were in your 30s, weight begins to creep up and TAKE OVER! Just kidding…
In general, we focus on wanting to lose weight, but then gain it back at a later date. This has only led to more problems.
Caloric deficits are for the short term not forever
When cutting calories, you are telling your body that there is a period of less food. The body begins to slow its metabolism matching the lower caloric intake. Metabolism is made up of your resting metabolic rate which keeps your body basic functions alive and running well. The body adapts to whatever is thrown at it. You’ve heard of varying your workouts to keep your body on its toes. A similar concept applies to your metabolism. In this case, it varies depending on how much you eat.
When cutting your calories, your body can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to adapt. After that, your metabolism matches your caloric intake. For example, if your RMR (RMR is based on… you guessed it, your muscle mass) was 1700 kcal, you reduced your calories by 10-15% about 200 kcal for 2 months, your new adjusted RMR will be 1500 kcal. This could affect your mood, your workouts and your sleep. A refeed can fix this. Consume your normal RMR of 1700 kcal, unless you lost muscle on the 2 month long calorie deficit journey, for one week. I have my clients do an occasional refeed to keep their workouts pumping and to give them a reprieve from dieting.
Cardio should be paired with a regular resistance training program
Cardio on its own burns calories, but does not retain muscle. Cardio in excess will lead to muscle consumption. Cardio in excess with a calorie reduction from your RMR is death to your metabolism. Cardio plus a resistance training program is better.
Adding in 2-3 moderate to difficult resistance training sessions a week will tell your muscles to stop decaying. Your muscles are either growing or decaying. By adding muscle to your body, you will have more engines hungry for energy, which it can take from your fat stores when you are or are not exercising. It is a way to burn calories passively. More muscle, higher metabolism, increased fat metabolism, decrease in fat mass, increase in mood and well being and closer to your goals.
Muscle builds joint stability and shape… good shape
When focused on losing just weight, the body weakens, loses strength, stability and shape. The muscles support the joints like a toothpick held up by jello. Less muscle, less stability. Muscles also become deflated because of the lack of use. This will make you appear to have loose skin. With a few days of resistance training you can keep deflated muscles at bay.
I thought walking to work and my daily activities at work is enough
I know our jobs may require us to move more than the average desk job or our commute is walking or biking, but the problem is that these are not the right stimulus on the muscles to create growth. Of course if you are sprinting around the office and biking up hefty hills this can add some muscle over time as your body adapts to that stimulus, but the rest of the muscles in the body will need stimulus too. You can easily get this through a structured program like my 12 week build program.