Gaining muscle is key to burning fat

BY Caterina Passarelli

Guest blogger

Do you ever notice that women at the gym tend to use the cardio machines like the treadmill and the elliptical, and that men are usually in the weight room? That’s because somewhere along the line women got the idea that lifting weights would “bulk them up.” I am here to dispel that myth. Ladies, have no fear, that’s not true — you CAN lift weights! In fact, you should be lifting weights because the key to burning fat is gaining muscle.

By lifting heavy weights you can improve your resting metabolism, which means you will be burning more calories than you normally would when you are just hanging out. According to Chalene Johnson, the creator of workout systems Turbo Jam and ChaLEAN Extreme, “Muscle is the fountain of youth. It’s what makes you look younger, it’s what makes you feel younger and it’s what makes you leaner.” When women reach their 30s it’s natural for their muscle strength and their metabolism to decline. To stop this decline you just need to add muscle to your body.

According to Fitness Magazine, “Since muscle burns an estimated three times more calories than fat, adding two to four pounds of muscle can translate into an extra 100 calories burned each day. A high-intensity strength routine has been shown to bump metabolism by 20 percent for several hours post-workout.”

There are many other great benefits to adding strength training to your cardio routine. According to Fitness Magazine, “Some of the benefits, like improving muscle tone, bone density, athletic performance and strength (about 30 to 50 percent more after three to six months of training), are obvious. But there are a few surprises: Resistance training helps women fight the aging process by maintaining lean muscle tissue. Women who regularly lift weights have better self-esteem and get sick less often. Others have found weight training improves the way the body processes sugar, reducing the risk of diabetes.”

So why won’t women get bulky muscles like men? Because men and women are different! Women do not have the same kind of testosterone to get big muscles like men do. Men will get bigger and stronger muscles while women become stronger and leaner.

Next time you are at the gym pick up a weight or two and try adding strength training to your routine. And don’t be shy about using the machines either, ask a trainer for help on how to use them, that’s what they are there for. Remember, the key to burning fat is gaining muscle.