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How Building Muscle Helps You Lose Fat

Mar 15, 2008
Want to lose some of that unwanted body fat? If so, you may want to start hitting the weights.

That's because the more lean muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn at rest, as well as when you're active. The more muscle tissue you possess, the more energy your body will require to maintain that muscle.

It gets that needed energy from burning and utilizing calories. And again, the more calories you burn, the more likely fat loss to occur.

Muscle is a very metabolically active tissue. It takes a lot of work for your body to maintain it. Fat, on the other hand, takes no work to maintain. It just sits there, lumped together like, well, fat.

This is an important concept in fat loss because the more lean muscle tissue you can build, the more calories that will be burned off, without you having to do any extra work. Your muscle will burn off more calories 24/7 than if you didn't have that extra lean muscle.

This makes the case for why weight training, also known as resistance training, is so important to include in any weight loss program.

So if you can add a couple pounds of lean muscle to your frame, you're going to burn off more calories, even while sleeping, than if you didn't have that extra muscle.

The more calories you burn off at rest, the more likely that the calories burned off during exercise will create a calorie deficit in your body. A calorie deficit is a must for weight loss to occur.

Weight gain occurs from consuming more calories than your body burns off during the day. Since there is no deficit of calories, your body does not have to dip into stored body fat to get energy. In fact, due to the surplus, it stores the extra calories as body fat.

If you create a calorie deficit, meaning, your body has used all of the energy from calories it has received from food and it still needs more (like to support muscle tissue) it is going to go after your fat stores to get that energy.

Fat is a highly condensed form of energy. So, when your body starts taking fat from fat stores to use as energy, that is how weight loss occurs.

Weight training may benefit any weight loss program, possibly more than any other component.

Weight training can be a future investment for permanent weight loss and weight maintenance because as you continue to lose stored body fat and gain lean muscle, your muscle will continue to aid in the calorie burning process.

As there becomes less stored body fat to use as energy, the muscle tissue will start to directly utilize the calories you consume on a daily basis.

Since there is now more muscle tissue than there is fat to utilize calories, chances of storing any excess calories as body fat is greatly reduced.

Resistance training may offer the most benefit of all to women past the age of menopause. It can help prevent or reverse the effects of osteoporosis by strengthening and maintaining bone density often lost by diet alone.

So how much resistance training is necessary for long-term weight loss to be successful and to increase your lean muscle and strength?

Not as much as you would probably think. In fact, any more weight/resistance training than 2 to 3 hours a week may be counterproductive.

The best results I have witnessed while in the personal training field come from 3 sessions a week with weights, less than an hour each session.

Most people like the Monday, Wednesday, Friday approach to weight training. This leaves Tuesday and Thursday for cardio, which should be done separately from weight training.

The key to proper weight training is to establish a good foundation in which to build upon, much like building a solid foundation for a house.

So hire a trainer or check out a good program online. You can find my proven muscle building and fat loss program below.

Bottom line, if you want to lose stubborn body fat, start building muscle and you'll soon see the pounds disappear.
About the Author
Shawn Lebrun is a fitness author and personal trainer. Make this the year you build more muscle, lose more fat, and get the lean, muscular body you desire. Check out Shawn's proven program to help: Muscle building and fat loss program
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