One of the most under-looked aspects of most weight loss programs is weight training. People don’t realize that muscle is very metabolically active, meaning that it burns calories 24/7, even while you sleep or watch TV. That’s right, you CAN burn fat in your sleep! And even if some weight loss programs include weight training, most people are afraid of having muscle…they are afraid of bulking up and becoming “too big” and they just want to “get toned”.
What they don’t realize is that being toned means having a good percentage of muscle mass and a small percentage of body fat. Being lean is what actually gives you that toned and sexy look. And building lean muscle mass is REALLY difficult! You don’t just lift weights for a few times and suddenly become big. Those huge bodybuilders you see in magazines have been lifting heavy weights for many years and most of them are also using anabolic steroids. They would definitely laugh if they would hear a beginner saying that “building muscle is easy”.
The only case when you can become bulkier than you were before is if you don’t change your poor diet! If you gain muscle AND fat at the same time, of course you will look bigger and bulkier. But with a proper diet you can actually lose fat WHILE building lean muscle mass.
Most people only rely on the scale to measure their progress. Yet this is definitely not the best tool! If your weight remains the same you might think that you haven’t made any progress. But if you followed the diet and the training program carefully, you probably lost a few pounds of fat and gained a few pounds of muscle instead. So your weight is the same but your body composition is totally different (and you definitely look better now). And isn’t this what you really wanted? Don’t you want to burn the fat and to get that “toned” look? So stop using the weight as the only method of measuring progress and use fat calipers or body fat scales as well. Keep track of your body fat and muscle percentage and also take before and after pictures for a better appraisal. Don’t compare pictures made a few days or weeks apart, but compare them in the long term (for example 3 months apart).
After and intense session of resistance training (aka lifting weights), your muscle will tear itself down and then start building itself back up, bigger and stronger than before. And this process requires a lot of energy, meaning that you will burn calories long after you worked out. And it also means that you can eat more food and still lose weight, so you won’t need to starve yourself with a diet that is very low on calories. The basic idea is to be in a slight caloric deficit over a long period of time.
So make sure you include weight training in your program and a lot of protein in your diet (these two are the main conditions for building muscle). Don’t be afraid because you won’t get too big…you will actually look better, be healthier and get through the daily tasks much easier.
While some of these aspects may not apply to highly overweight people that need to lose A LOT of weight, they will work really well for those in a pretty good shape that just want to “get toned" for the summer. For ladies looking to get that lean and sexy look, we definitely recommend the “Curvalicious Workout Program” while for men interested in building quality muscle we recommend “The Muscle Maximizer”.
Article by Craig Wilson