Why muscles matter most

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    Dec 04, 2007 5:47 AM GMT
    Why Muscles Matter Most
    As seen at www.sheknows.com

    Are you one of the many who feel that your fate is just to be fat? Does it seem like you are doing everything right but success is never seen? Don’t you wish you could have that 20 year old body back—no effort involved? The answer for most of us--absolutely! The truth--it isn’t going to happen—at least not without some consistent commitment to routine and exertion and the longer we wait, the greater the stakes.
    The Consequences of Decreased Muscle Mass

    The average number one fitness problem for most women is loss of muscle mass. Muscle mass diminishes with age and if you don’t use it, you loose it. It’s that simple. Decreased muscle mass can rob you of your health, mobility, self-esteem and independence. Decreased muscle mass leads to slower metabolism and consequently increased fat storage. It can lead to increase risk of osteoporosis and skeletal fragility.

    Males and females increase their muscle size and strength through growth and development until around the age of 20. Unless strength building techniques are practiced beyond that age, on average, ½ pound of muscle will be lost each year and after the age of fifty that amount increases. If you continue to eat the same approximate number of calories per day, this loss of muscle will be replaced by subcutaneous fat as well as fatty tissue infiltration of your organs and existing muscles.

    Muscle tissue is active tissue and has high caloric demands-even at rest. Under resting conditions, one pound of muscle tissue, on average burns about fifty calories per hour. Without strength building, by the time you’re forty, you’ve already lost approximately ten pounds of muscle and lowered your metabolic rate by about 10%. If you’re like the majority of the population, you’ve also gained at least twenty pounds (this number on average is low). Where does that leave you? With an extra thirty pounds of fat and an out-of-shape body! You’ve heard the common aging compliant, "my metabolism is slowing down." Metabolically we don’t slow down because of increasing age but rather because the amount of lean muscle mass decreases without proper stimulus to our muscles.
    What is Strength Building?

    Do not buy into the misconception that all we need to do is move our bodies to become stronger. Much of the movement that our bodies experience is against a random resistance such as the Earth’s gravitational pull. Movement is good for many reasons but in order to improve our muscle mass and therefore strength, resistance is what counts.

    Muscles will increase in size, strength and endurance only when that muscle is forced to work against a measured amount of resistance. If gains are to be continued, the resistance must be made harder and harder. When a muscle is overloaded, it adapts by becoming stronger. More specifically, muscles respond to stress (force) by increasing their protein content and thus developing larger fibers, which then produce larger muscles that have greater strength capacity and have a higher energy (caloric) demand.

    Where does the “resistance” come from? Resistance force can include Nautilus type machines, free weights, stretch bands, ankle and wrist weights and even your own body weight. Yes, even our own body weight--which makes starting a program at home easy. Training on average 2-3 times per week is ideal. This allows the muscle fibers time to heal and rebuild and be prepared for the greater demands of a higher force (resistance) next workout. Factors that influence our rate of muscular growth and strength are genetics, age, nutrition and the technique for resistance training applied. The Slow Burn Technique

    "Slow Burn" is a resistance training method that guarantees results--if done properly. Working specific muscle groups ‘super slow’; minimizing momentum and gravity provides a safe, effective, and efficient way of achieving muscular growth and strength. Using the Slow Burn technique, the time “under load” with a given amount of resistance that a muscle works until complete failure or fatigue, is ideally 60-90 seconds. At this point the muscle fibers send out a cascade of chemical signals that stimulate growth, increase strength and stimulate metabolic processes.

    Engaging five to seven different muscle groups per session completes your entire workout in about 30 minutes. The precision and speed at which the movement against a force is applied is crucial. Most conventional weight resistance techniques incorporate fast, jerky movements where momentum is utilized to complete each set. This sets you up for potential injury and can take its toll on your knees, ankles, hips, and shoulders. The Slow Burn technique requires that you take ten seconds to complete both the contraction and extension movement of each muscle, not allowing the skeletal system to relieve the muscles of the workload. Strength training techniques done properly will strengthen your muscles, joints, bones and conne
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    Dec 04, 2007 5:48 AM GMT
    Engaging five to seven different muscle groups per session completes your entire workout in about 30 minutes. The precision and speed at which the movement against a force is applied is crucial. Most conventional weight resistance techniques incorporate fast, jerky movements where momentum is utilized to complete each set. This sets you up for potential injury and can take its toll on your knees, ankles, hips, and shoulders. The Slow Burn technique requires that you take ten seconds to complete both the contraction and extension movement of each muscle, not allowing the skeletal system to relieve the muscles of the workload. Strength training techniques done properly will strengthen your muscles, joints, bones and connective tissue while also improving your overall health. Strength training should build you up, not tear you down.
    Why should I start a Slow Burn Strength Building program?

    It's no secret that most of us could benefit from shedding a few pounds, a spare tire, love handles, or heavy thighs. The development of muscular fitness is specific to the muscle trained although there are overall fitness improvements to a strength-building program.

    Strength training influences our resting metabolism as well as our exercising metabolism. Our muscles are responsible for over 25% of our total caloric utilization. The calorie burning effect of added muscle mass and the body’s increased sensitivity to the hormone insulin can have a positive and long term effect on loosing fat and controlling your weight forever. Strength training will give you a leaner, firmer and stronger body.

    Strength training can maintain and even increase bone mineral density, decreasing your risk of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures. When bone is stressed through proper muscle movement, it gets stronger. The stress applied to the muscles is transferred to tendons, ligaments and bones. This produces more collagen proteins and osteoproteins, increasing structural strength. The result is a balanced, strong, well-developed musculo-skeletal system that protects you from back pain, injury, and even overuse injury for you hard-core athletes out there.

    Strength training can also be good for your heart! Remember, our hearts work as our pump and our muscles our engine. The stronger our engine, the more effectively and efficiently they draw oxygen from the blood and therefore reduce the demand on our pump--or heart and lungs. The cardio-pulmonary benefits from an aerobic program come from the increased strength and endurance of the specific muscles used.

    Muscle strength enhances flexibility. How? A well-trained muscle is stronger moving the joints through a full range of motion; it is more supple, well hydrated and has improved circulation allowing for optimal and stable flexibility. Scientists have discovered that the increased strength of ligaments and tendons through strength training techniques allows for greater flexibility of the joints without the dangers of dislocations, sprains, or tendon ruptures.

    A workout program--it’s an attitude. An attitude that says, "I care about how I look and feel." You’ve got to work at it and you’ve got to believe in what you’re doing. Consider the sobering alternative….health, mobility, independence, self esteem--dwindling away like an aging engine that has lost it's power and strength.

    Trust me--you’re definitely worth it. Engage yourself in a strength-building program.

    About the author: For more information and products to support your Slow Burn workout please visit www.proteinpower.com or call (800) 549-1667. Debbie Judd, RN, is an expert panelist for LowCarb Energy magazine and works closely with Drs Michael R. and Mary Dan Eades, authors of Protein Power, the Protein Power LifePlan, the 30- Day Low Carb Diet Solution and the Low Carb Comfort Foods Company

    From: http://www.bodytrends.com/articles/strength/mattermost.htm
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    Dec 04, 2007 10:26 PM GMT
    Interesting article at:
    http://www.thefactsaboutfitness.com/news/cals.htm

    The Myth about Muscle and Your Metabolic Rate

    According to Adam Zickerman, author of Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution, "three extra pounds of lean muscle burns about 10,000 extra calories a month.''

    Zickerman also says that three extra pounds of muscle "burns as many calories as running 25 miles a week, or doing 25 aerobic workouts a month without leaving your couch.''

    You've probably read similar claims that muscle "burns calories around the clock just to maintain itself, even while you are sleeping or sitting at a desk."

    The idea is that for every pound of new muscle, your body will burn an extra 60 calories per day. Add five pounds of new muscle and you will automatically burn an additional 31 pounds of fat in a year... or so the theory goes, anyway.

    When you gain muscle, your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories your body burns at rest) does go up. But, this increase is a lot less than the 50-100 calorie figure you'll often see written.
    So, where did the 50-100 calorie figure actually come from?

    I have no idea. It just seems to be one of those myths that have been around for so long that its accuracy is no longer questioned, and probably exists for the same reason we have misconceptions about a lot of things. Somebody says something, somebody repeats it, and then we repeat it. Suddenly it's established as fact.

    In studies that have tracked changes in muscle mass and metabolism, it might appear that the metabolic rate of muscle is somewhere in the region of 50-100 calories per pound. But when you take a closer look, you'll see that things are not quite so simple.

    Let me give you a couple of examples...

    The first comes from an 18-week study of 26 sedentary men published in the Journal of Applied Physiology [3]. During the first eight weeks, the men gained roughly 2.8 pounds of fat-free mass. The average daily metabolic rate increased by 263 calories per day.

    Dividing the increase in resting metabolic rate (263 calories) by the increase in fat-free mass (2.8 pounds) gives us a figure of 94 calories per pound. However, we can't assume that this figure represents the metabolic rate of muscle.

    Why not?

    The first problem is the daily metabolic rate includes the energy cost of physical activity. We can't say for sure that the increase in calorie expenditure was because of the extra muscle alone.

    But that's not the only problem.

    From week 8 to week 18, the men gained another 1.8 pounds of fat-free mass. If muscle had such a big impact on metabolism, we'd expect to see another rise in the men's metabolic rate. But this didn't happen. Nor was there any change in sleeping metabolic rate during the study.

    In another trial, women who trained with weights three days a week for six months gained 2.9 pounds of fat-free mass [1]. In that time, their resting metabolic rate increased by an average of 60 calories per day.

    Dividing the increase in resting metabolic rate (60 calories) by the increase in fat-free mass (2.9 pounds) gives us a figure of 20.7 calories per pound.
    However, even this figure overestimates the metabolic rate of muscle.

    Methods for measuring resting metabolic rate and body composition vary widely in their precision and accuracy. We don't know for sure if the change in resting metabolism was because of the extra muscle, or whether it was due to measurement error. The control group in this study did no exercise, yet their resting metabolic rate increased by 31 calories per day.

    In addition, other studies show an increase in resting metabolic rate even when gains in fat-free mass are taken into account [2]. Researchers think that mechanisms other than the increase in fat-free mass (such as changes in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system) are partly responsible.

    And fat is not simply a "dead" tissue. It secretes proteins such as leptin and cytokines, which can affect your metabolism [4]. According to some estimates, fat has a daily metabolic rate of two calories per pound per day, with muscle clocking in at just six calories per pound [5].
    Organ or tissue

    Daily metabolic rate
    Adipose (fat)

    2 calories per pound
    Muscle

    6 calories per pound
    Liver

    91 calories per pound
    Brain

    109 calories per pound
    Heart

    200 calories per pound
    Kidneys

    200 calories per pound

    In other words, losing two pounds of fat and replacing it with two pounds of muscle will increase your resting metabolic rate by less than 10 calories per day.
    As is often the case with these things, not everyone agrees on the exact figure.

    Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Robert Wolfe, Ph.D., Chief of Metabolism and Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Texas Medical Branch, points out that, "every 10-kilogram difference in lean mass translates to a difference in energy expenditure of 100 calories per day, assuming a constant rate of protein turnover."

    That's 10 calories for one kilogram of muscle, or a little less than 5 calories per pound — not too far away from the previous estimate of 6 calories per pound.

    Wolfe does mention that this number assumes "a constant rate of protein turnover." Most types of resistance exercise will increase protein turnover (an increase in the rate of protein synthesis and breakdown), which is going to increase calorie expenditure in the hours (and, in some cases, days) after exercise.

    It's also worth mentioning that unless they're very overfat, returning to exercise after a layoff, or just starting an exercise program, very few people gain a lot of muscle and lose a lot of fat at the same time. Your body just isn't that great at doing both things at once. That's why I recommend you focus on one of two goals when you're trying to get in shape — building muscle while minimizing fat gain, or, losing fat while preserving muscle.
    What does all of this mean for you?

    Despite the fact that the resting metabolic rate of muscle is not as high as previously doesn't mean that training with weights is pointless if you want to lose fat. Far from it. In fact, resistance exercise will improve your body composition in a number of different ways.

    Firstly, with a properly designed weight-training program (see How to Fight Fat and Win II in the Members-Only Area), you'll burn more calories and more fat in the hours after exercise, although it's my opinion that the light-weight, high-repetition "toning" workouts most people do have only a minor impact on post-exercise metabolism.

    Second, if you don't do some kind of resistance exercise while you're dieting, a lot of the weight you lose will come from muscle rather than fat.

    If you are fortunate enough to gain a significant amount of muscle while you're losing fat, the impact of the extra muscle on your resting metabolic rate will be small, and certainly won't amount to 10,000 extra calories a month.

    About The Author
    Christian Finn holds a masters degree in exercise science, is a certified personal trainer and a regular contributor to Men's Health, Men's Fitness and other popular fitness magazines.

    If you're stuck in a rut with your current exercise and diet plan... fed up with only losing a pound here and there... or still skinny after months (or even years) of trying to build muscle and gain weight... Christian can help you achieve your goals once and for all. Click here now to find out how Christian can help you
    Related Articles

    * Belly Fat and How to Beat It
    * How to Fight Fat and Win II (Members Only)
    * The Maximum Muscle Plan (Members Only)
    * How To Burn More Fat In Less Time

    References follow in next post.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 04, 2007 10:27 PM GMT
    References
    1. Poehlman, E.T., Denino, W.F., Beckett, T., Kinaman, K.A., Dionne, I.J., Dvorak, R., & Ades, P.A. (2002). Effects of endurance and resistance training on total daily energy expenditure in young women: a controlled randomized trial. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 87, 1004-1009
    2. Pratley, R., Nicklas, B., Rubin, M., Miller, J., Smith, A., Smith, M., Hurley, B., & Goldberg, A. (1994). Strength training increases resting metabolic rate and norepinephrine levels in healthy 50- to 65-yr-old men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 76, 133-137
    3. Van Etten, L.M., Westerterp, K.R., Verstappen, F.T., Boon, B.J., & Saris, W.H. (1997). Effect of an 18-wk weight-training program on energy expenditure and physical activity. Journal of Applied Physiology, 82, 298-304
    4. Wajchenberg, B.L. (2000). Subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue: their relation to the metabolic syndrome. Endocrine Reviews, 21, 697-738
    5. Wang, Z., Heshka, S., Zhang, K., Boozer, C.N., & Heymsfield, S.B. (2001). Resting energy expenditure: systematic organization and critique of prediction methods. Obesity Research, 9, 331-336