It Starts with Body Composition: Lean Muscle vs. Body Fat
When considering utilizing the services of a personal trainer, first ask yourself the question “what’s my main fitness goal?” If your answer is fat loss, strength gain, improvement in cardiovascular condition, flexibility increase or injury prevention, then you may want to hire a fitness professional. Working with a personal trainer can provide added:
- Customization to your fitness routine
Lean & Mean
An ideal body composition is one that is low in body fat and high in lean muscle. Proper resistance training is the safest and most efficient way to improve body composition. In terms of fat loss, strength training is the best and only way to increase lean muscle and speed up your metabolism.
Consistency is Key
In order to stimulate the most lean muscle growth, full-body strength training workouts should be performed every 48 hours using compound movements such as squats, chest presses, and rows – all while applying strict form and slow rep speed and with progressive resistance. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast – it doesn’t happen overnight!
Women will sometimes overestimate how much muscle they can build for fear of “getting too big and bulky.” This is a myth. On average, women can gain about .5 to 1 pound of muscle per month. The bad news is that if we don’t strength train, beginning around the age of 30, most of us lose about 1% of muscle per year. The good news is that muscle is 3 times more metabolically active at rest than fat! So, this is where employing a professional fitness coach will serve to be most beneficial.
Accountability & Motivation
Your personal trainer can keep you on track, prevent you from getting discouraged and push through the mental and emotional blocks that can stand in your way of transforming into a fat-burning machine. A certified personal trainer will design and implement a proper, customized strength training program to maximize the time you have set aside to exercise. Your personal trainer should also address any limitations, such as any past or current injuries that you may have, take measurements at regular intervals (including bodyweight and body fat percentage) and modify your workout routine accordingly. She or he should also educate you and hold you accountable for appropriate nutritional habits in order to achieve optimal results.
Some Common Misconceptions
In case you were wondering, jogging outside or on a treadmill, using an elliptical trainer, biking or any other form of steady-state aerobic activity does not build lean muscle. Rather, it typically burns up the muscle you’ve worked so hard to obtain. Nor does it burn fat – it burns calories, but has no real impact on speeding your metabolism or increasing your resting metabolic rate. Yes, running or biking is much better than sitting on your butt doing nothing – but our time is precious. We all lead very hectic, busy lives – and since we only have a limited amount of time devoted to exercise, I’d want to make darn sure that every second is optimized for potential fat loss by performing proper resistance training.
In the next few articles, I’ll be keeping with this topic of the benefits of proper strength training. Stay tuned for advice and helpful tips on how to improve your cardiovascular condition, gain strength and flexibility and prevent injury. Until next time!