I have a love/hate relationship with muscle.
I oscillate almost daily between wanting more and wanting to throw what I have out the back window and down the porch steps.
The girly, image-conscious side of my brain whines:
“Muscle is buuuulky.” (in a nasally voice)
“Muscle ups the scale too much because it weighs a lot moooore.”
“Muscle makes me dense and heavyeeeeee.”
The rational side of my brain says:
“Wah wah wah, man up or shut up.”
As Big Fisch likes to point out, I am quite internally afflicted.
More often than not, however, my rational side wins. And here’s why:
- The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn…even at a resting rate. According to WebMD, “every pound of muscles uses about 6 calories just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories daily.” The difference in those two numbers may seem small, but over time it adds up. Your metabolism is the rate you burn calories at rest. So, the more muscle you have, the more your metabolism speeds up. (livestrong.com, webmd.com)
- Stronger bones, stronger body…more capable. At a young age, you may not think twice about bending over to move your heavy couch across the room on your own, or sprinting down the street as fast as you can. But as you get older, these kinds of movements become difficult for those who have not built up muscle to protect their bones, liagments, and tendons. Your body can handle much more stress at a lower risk of injury when you’ve built up a solid base of muscle, so you tend to feel all around more capable. And it never hurts being able to do more pull ups than the guy next to you at the gym… (weightlossresources.co.uk)
- While the scale may not decrease by much, your waist line still will. Ladies, we’ve got to get over this obssesion with the number we see on the scale. If it were up to me, I’d gather up all the scales in the world and throw them out. Especially the ones at doctors’ offices. With a healthy diet and regular exercise involving weight training, your body composition will begin to change, giving you a tighter, toner look. Muscle weighs more than fat. It just does. So noting how your clothes fit is often a better way to measure your progress than the scale.
- A naked body with little muscle next to a naked body with much muscle. That visual just speaks for itself.
Yes, sometimes added muscle can make you look “bulkier” than you would have otherwise. I’ll be the first to admit that. BUT usually if you find that you or someone else is looking “bulky”, there is something else going on. An increased percentage of body fat, taking “the pill”, consuming creatine, bloating, swelling, steriods…all these factors and many more can give your body a puffy, bulky appearance.
Learn how your body reacts to what you put in it, strive to be the healthiest you can be, and over time you’ll learn what works best for your body.
Getting in shape truly is a life long journey. Unless you are one of the few people blessed with freakishly good genetics, a fit body is a continual process; not a one time goal that once conquered will last you the rest of your life.
Building strong muscle is a big part of developing a healthy and fit body. How you choose to go about getting it, I don’t care so much about. Find routines that work for you.
Just don’t shy away from building muscle. I promise it won’t bite.
Well, it won’t bite you anyway. That annoying little guy in the gym? Yeah, it might end up biting him.