The goal for a lot of people who workout is to build muscle. Is it healthy? Well, surprisingly enough, if you’re eating right and taking care of your body then there’s nothing wrong with being muscular! In this blog post we’ll talk about the many benefits that come from building muscle.
Building muscles helps regulate blood sugar levels by releasing insulin after a meal to get glucose into cells for fuel. -Muscles provide protection against bone loss because they increase the amount of calcium in bones through their contractions and involuntary movements. -It also reduces stress on joints which can lead to injuries or arthritis later in life due to wear and tear on the cartilage between joints.
When people visit the gym, they generally aim to achieve either a bulky muscular body or a lean figure. You can accomplish either body type by different exercise routines, and they each have health benefits and potential risks. So, which body type is best for you?
A lean body is better than a bulky body for these reasons: Is more flexible, grants you a natural-looking toned figure. It’s achieved by the loss of the external fat to reveal underlying muscle. On the other hand, a bulky muscular body might appear attractive, but most of the time achieving it by unhealthy means can have profound health implications.
Fat Vs. Muscle
Not all pounds are created equal. In fact, your total body weight isn’t a clear indicator of how you look or what health risks you may face.
Two different people who weigh the same amount can look very different when one has a high percentage of fat and the other has a high percentage of muscle.
An extra 20 pounds of fat may give you a softer, less toned appearance. But an extra 20 pounds of muscle will look firm and sculpted.
Muscle also serves a different function than fat. Fat helps insulate the body and trap in body heat. Muscle boosts your metabolism. This means the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn when you’re at rest.
We all know how important cardiovascular exercise is — how it’s great for your heart, cholesterol, and blood pressure. And whether you choose to walk, bicycle, or jog, you know that any exercise that increases your heart rate helps you burn calories and melt away unwanted pounds.
But that’s only half the equation.
For a balanced fitness program, strength training is essential. It can slow the muscle loss that comes with age, build the strength of your muscles and connective tissues, increase bone density, cut your risk of injury, and help ease arthritis pain.
“Strength training is very important, not just for your muscles but for your bones,” says certified fitness trainer Debbie Siebers. “It’s preventative for [bone-thinning] osteoporosis and other problems.”
Studies from the CDC have found that muscle-building exercise can also improve balance, reduce the likelihood of falls, improve blood-sugar control, and improve sleep and mental health.
And let us not forget the weight-loss benefits. Not only does it make you look trimmer and shapelier, but building muscle also helps you burn calories — even after your workout is done.
“Three to four hours after a strength-training workout, you’re still burning calories,” says Seibers, a creator of fitness videos including the “Slim in 6” series.
Strength training is especially important for dieters. When you lose weight, up to a quarter of the loss may come from muscle, which can slow your metabolism. Strength training helps you rebuild any muscle you lost by dieting — or keep you from losing it in the first place.
Muscle Helps Manage Blood Sugar
High-carb diets combined with sedentary lifestyles created an epidemic of diabesity (obesity and diabetes). About two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese, and prediabetic or diabetic.
Obesity and diabetes aren’t always paired together, however. About 20 percent of those with diabetes or prediabetes are at a healthy weight.
To fix the blood sugar problem, you could eliminate carbs entirely by following a ketogenic diet. Or, you could eat a more moderate amount of carbs and create space to store them by building muscle.
Your liver and skeletal muscle store glucose as glycogen. However, if you don’t exercise regularly, and more specifically, train with weights, you lose your ability to store carbs. When you don’t have any place to put them, blood sugar rises, the pancreas secretes insulin, and you store fat. The more muscle you have, the more storage space you create for glucose.
There’s also plenty of evidence to show that blood sugar and insulin dysfunction leads to cancer, cognitive problems, heart disease, and accelerated aging.
Bulky Body: A Basic Overview
We refer to the muscular physique common among bodybuilders, wrestlers, actors — picture The Rock by the term bulky body. This body type is trendy for apparent reasons, and many more people are going to the gym to achieve it.
Males more easily achieve a bulky body than females because of testosterone’s contribution to muscle growth and development. The process of attaining a bulky body involves several hours dedicated to the gym, strict diet plans, and in some cases, supplements.
To achieve a bulky body, bodybuilders go through two stages. The bulking phase, where they build their muscles, and the cutting phase, where they work to lose fat and define those muscles.
Bulky bodies are generally viewed as unhealthy because people have gone to extreme lengths to achieve this physique, including but not limited to the use of steroids, harmful supplements, and dirty bulking. Some exaggerated parts of a bulky body can give you an unnatural look — picture bodybuilders with massive arms and thin legs.
Large muscles consume lots of energy, and this translates to burning fat quicker. They also look nice, so it can help people have a more positive perception of themselves. Some research shows that muscle absence could be a useful indicator of depression.
Tips For Losing Weight
Weight loss is about more than just building muscle. Here are some tips to help you lose weight:
Eat a balanced diet full of nutritious foods
Losing weight isn’t just about cutting calories. It’s also about eating the right calories. Increase your intake of fruit, vegetables, and lean protein to help you feel full longer. Reduce or eliminate empty calories like sugary coffee or soft drinks and heavily processed snack foods like chips.
To lose weight, you want to cut calories. But if you cut too many calories, your body can go into starvation mode. This can slow down your metabolism and sabotage your weight loss goals.
Speaking of goals, set realistic ones
Unless your doctor has recommended differently, aim to lose no more than one to two pounds a week.
Exercise every day
Exercise doesn’t have to always include an intense sweat session. Get off the bus a couple of stops early to add in some extra steps or take the stairs. If you watch television at night, try lifting weights during commercials instead of fast-forwarding past them or grabbing a snack.
Avoid the scale.
Sometimes staying off the scale can help keep you on track. That’s because you won’t see those days when extra water weight makes it look like you’ve gained weight. Instead, focus on how your clothing fits.
Are your pantsless snug around the waist and thighs?
Work with a nutritionist. If you’ve been eating healthy and exercising but not losing weight, consider working with a nutritionist. They can help tweak your diet and portion sizes, which may help kick-start your weight loss.
Switch it up.
If you always eat the same things and do the same workout, consider switching it up. That can help you avoid weight loss plateaus and keep you from getting bored.
Talk to a doctor. If you’re concerned about your weight, consider talking to your doctor. They can help you set realistic goals and create a weight loss plan.
Machines Or Free Weights?
Both free weights and weight machines work well, and experts say there’s no evidence that one is superior to the other, so this is largely a matter of choice.
Machines are a good idea for people who are overweight and/or out of condition, since the exercises are generally done seated and with back support, Seibers says.
But if machines are not an option, investing a few dollars in a set of light dumbbells and/or some resistance tubing can give you what you need to start toning those muscles.
Whichever option you choose, keep your moves basic at first, the experts say. For the arms and upper body, try these exercises:
- Chest presses
- Reverse flies for the back
- Overhead presses for the shoulders
- Bicep curls
- Triceps kickbacks or extensions
For the lower body, don’t start out with squats and lunges, which can put too much impact on weak joints. Instead, try:
- Quadriceps extensions for the front of the thigh.
- Hamstrings curl for the back of the thigh.
- Side-lying or standing leg lifts to work the inner and outer thigh.
And don’t forget to work on strengthening your “core” muscles — the ones in your abdominal and lower back area. Core stability is key to avoiding injury, according to Carver. “Somebody with strong upper extremities but no core stability can hurt themselves doing a bicep curl, for example, if they can’t stabilize the trunk,” she says.
You’ll also avoid injuries — and get the best results — by varying your workouts. For example, if you work the biceps, back and legs one day, work the triceps, chest and shoulders the next time you train, Siebers says. Alternating between muscle groups gives the ones you worked plenty of time to recover.
Incorporating stretching in your strength program will also help keep injuries at bay, says Carver. Most important, don’t push too hard. Carver always cautions people that “feeling some discomfort in the muscle is OK, but feeling it in the joint is not.”
If you have a health condition or previous injury, you may need to do modified versions of certain exercises or skip them altogether, she says. That’s when it’s especially important to work with a fitness trainer.
Lean Body: A Basic Overview
A lean physique features lean muscles and little fat — picture a pilates or yoga instructor. A slender body affords you extra flexibility and a natural lean shape. Achieving this body type has more to do with fat loss than actual muscle development.
Everyone has a muscular layer underneath all the fat. By focusing on fat-burning exercises, you can achieve a lean body. You might want to include a diet that supplies fewer calories than the daily requirement as part of the strategy. The body has to revert to fat stores to make up for the calorie deficit, resulting in weight loss.
In addition to the flexibility, a toned body offers long-term fat loss. So cheating on your diet a few times doesn’t undo all your hard work.
Staying With The Program
Success comes from structure and constant support, according to Siebers. “Calendar it up,” she suggests: Chart your week of exercise out in advance so you know exactly what you’re expecting of yourself.
Having a friend to train with is one of the best ways to stick to a program, Siebers says, even if he or she is a cyber-pal.
“Internet chat rooms and support groups really help to motivate,” she says. “There are a million people out there in your same situation getting online every night and encouraging each other. People need that day-to-day hand-holding.”
But perhaps the most important things you need for a successful strength training program — or for successful weight loss — are patience and acceptance, she says.
“The problem is, people look too far down the road trying to see the big picture too quickly,” she says. “You have to try to accept and love yourself today and know that each day, you’re going to get better.”
Muscle May Change Your Emotional State
When you feel sad or depressed, you may unconsciously slouch, drop your head down, and turn your arms in. When you feel an emotion, you take on the posture of that emotion.
Research shows it works in reverse as well: When you take on the posture of that emotion, you begin to feel that emotion. How do most people sit while at work or while using their smartphones? In the very same position they sit in when they’re depressed.
You can do a lot to improve the ergonomics of your workstation, but you can also combat some of the effects of poor posture by building muscle in a balanced way.
For example, when designing upper-body exercises for clients, we often select about 60 percent upper-body pulling or back movements, and about 40 percent upper-body pushing movements. Clients can then focus their muscle-building movements on improving their posture and unwinding the effects of sitting and scrolling.
The research shows that when people improve their posture they can also improve their emotional state.
Which One Should You Choose?
You might want to consider your goals to decide which body type is best for you. Certain sports like wrestling require a bulky physique, and if you’re a participant in such sports, then a bulky body would be the best fit.
If you appreciate the flexibility and versatility of a lean body, then go for it. Activities like ballet and martial arts benefit from the flexibility of a slender body.
Whichever body type you choose, It would be advisable to use only healthy ways to achieve your goals. Consider sticking to a nutritious diet, cutting out steroids, and moderate supplement use.
Bulky bodies and lean bodies both have benefits and potential risks. A toned physique is considered healthier in the long run. In achieving both body types, it’s best to seek expert advice and stick to healthy practices.
If you decide to opt for a bulky body, please consider the possible risks associated. You would benefit from taking only healthy measures to achieving your body goals though it takes much longer and requires more effort.