We all have seen the magazine headlines -‘Lose 20 Pounds in Four Weeks’ ‘Get Thinner Thighs in 9 Minutes a Week’ or ‘Diet Your Way to Wealth and Happiness’. They vie not only for our attention but our dollars as they try and goad us into digging deep into our wallets. Weight and more importantly weight loss may be our greatest obsession.
It is not surprising the most people give weight loss as the reason for starting an exercise program and it is one method that assists with weight loss. Attempting to reduce food intake is the more common approach. Diets, diet pills and supplements are very big business. It is estimated that in the US along more than thirty billion dollars is spent each year on weight loss programs and products.
That is a lot of money when you consider that losing body fat is not that difficult to do – well in principle anyway. If we take in more fuel (calories) than we use each day we will end up storing the excess as fat. And the opposite occurs when we eat fewer calories that we use our body will utilize some of our stored body fat to supply the short-fall.
This all sounds right in theory but when we reduce our food intake such as in a diet it can have some serious drawbacks. Our body does not like being denied food and will use precious muscle tissue for energy rather then use up all its fat stores. The reduction in muscle tissue lowers the metabolic rate putting the brakes on fat loss and makes ongoing fat loss very difficult.
Follow-up research of people who have been on diets show that any weight lost is usually regained within a few months of the diet being over. The human body is not very tolerant of change and tends to counter and adjust itself against any shift. It does everything it can to hold on to its fat stores and we are wired this way for protection from famine situations of times gone past from our ancient history.
A better approach to losing weight is to boost our metabolism (our bodies engine) so it burns more calories every minute of the day and night. Unlike dieting which leaves us feeling short-changed and deprived, proper strength training exercise adds something positive to our health and well-being – the physical activity that we are engineered to do.
Toning up your muscle tissue offers a double whammy against excess flab. Firstly, it is vigorous physical exercise and burns a significant number of calories during a session. Secondly, toned muscle tissue created by strength training exercise increases the metabolic rate which over time will burn up any excess body fat. Our muscle tissue is highly active tissue and has high energy requirements.
Like the magazine headline says dieting your way to happiness is an unlikely a prospect as getting thinner thighs in 9 minutes a week is. But developing a healthier functioning metabolic motor by firming and toning your muscles is an achievable goal – one that will reshape your body, improve your appearance, increase physical capacity and ultimately boost your self-esteem.…