The 7 Wonders of Strength
1. Muscle Is the Engine of Youth
Biological aging and the loss of functional strength have less to do with your chronological age than they do with time spent training and engaging the body for physical growth and development.
Strength training is the most effective way to build muscle, thereby slowing down and even reversing the process of aging.
This does not mean you have to train with the goal of developing big, showy muscles. Rather, we need to look at muscle as lean body weight that keeps you active, fit and energized.
2. Strength Training Builds a Strong Foundation
Numerous studies show that adults who exercise have greater bone mineral density (BMD) than less active folks. Weight-bearing activities such as strength training produce greater BMD than non-impact or low-intensity activities such as swimming or yoga.
I’m a fan of swimming and yoga. But strength training is the best way to build strong bones, tendons, ligaments and muscle, which are all essential to your physical foundation.
3. Strength Training Is Good for Your Mind and Mood
Thomas Jefferson once remarked that “a strong body makes the mind strong.” If you’ve studied the life of the third U.S. president, you know he was a true Renaissance man and fitness enthusiast who lived to be 83, well beyond the lifespan of folks born in the middle of the 18th century. Clearly T.J. was on to something when he drew a connection between physical and mental strength.
4. Strength Training Shapes You Smaller
Many people, not exclusively women, resist strength training because they’re concerned it’s going to make them “look big” or muscle-bound.
Here’s the irony: Strength training actually shapes you smaller. That’s because a pound of muscle is much smaller and takes up less space than a pound of fat. A pound of fat is about the size of a cantaloupe. In contrast, a pound of lean muscle is about the size of a baseball. Imagine how amazing you would look and feel if you swap 20 pounds of fat (think 20 cantaloupes) for 5 pounds of lean shape-defining muscle (think 5 baseballs).
Not only that, these 5 lean pounds will be evenly dispersed around your body, not residing, as fat does, in a few problem areas. Five pounds is just enough to give you some shape. It’s not the sort of volume to add size.
5. Muscle Makes the Scale Irrelevant
For some the scale can become like a daily mood ring. The scale looks only at weight—it does not take into consideration the composition of that weight: whether it’s water, fat or precious lean muscle.
A loss of muscle reduces the metabolism and accelerates fat gain even more. That’s why dieting without strength training will never result in permanent weight loss. Not only have you not created additional lean muscle to burn calories, you’ve likely reduced a portion of that valuable resource. This is why most dieters who have lost some fat will gain it back faster.
Begin to see body weight in terms of body composition. A 150-pound woman who has only 25 pounds of fat will fit easily into a dress that a 135-pound woman with 50 pounds of fat cannot.
Use a mirror or be in tune with the way your clothes fit—and be kind. When you have a lean, strong body, the number on the scale is irrelevant.
6. Muscle Is “Money in the Bank”
Having muscle is like having money in the bank. For every pound of muscle you gain, you’re able to burn 35 to 50 calories more per day—with no added effort. That’s because lean muscle boosts metabolism, which in turn can burn fat. One pound of muscle consumes the caloric equivalent of 5 pounds of fat in just one year.
Let’s say you’ve added 10 pounds of lean muscle to your body. Just carrying those 10 pounds around for daily activities, not including exercise or training, can burn on average an additional 500 calories each day.
Does it take effort to add that lean muscle? Of course it does, much like the accumulation of financial assets takes time and effort. But by making a modest investment, as you’ll do in this program, you’ll be rewarded handsomely.
7. Muscle Enhances and Prolongs Life
The list of life-enhancing benefits from adding lean muscle is staggering.
Muscle not only makes you look good, it takes an active role in supporting your well-being. Success begets success, for those with lean muscle tend to get leaner and stronger. The more muscle you have, the faster and hotter your metabolism burns, and the easier it will be for you to swap fat for lean muscle.
When you have lean muscle, you’ve made a long-term investment in your quality and longevity of life.
Until Next Week,
Hear My Latest Strength for Life Audio Interview:
Shawn Phillips Transition Radio Interview