Here's The Real Skinny On
Why We Get Fat As We Age
So, I just got home from the gym and am feeling so good after an awesome strength training workout and it got me to thinking. People who don’t strength train truly do not know what they are missing. It energizes you and just makes you feel so good. True, it is a big effort to fit it into an already busy day. Get dressed, go to the gym, find a parking spot, enter the sometimes crowded gym and actually do the work. But the rewards make it so very worth it!
And then that got me thinking…why not make this month’s newsletter all about strength training and the benefits of a regular strength training regimen? This I can do! So without further ado…
THE MORE MUSCLE YOU HAVE, THE HIGHER YOUR METABOLISM EVEN AT REST!
Does muscle really burn more calories than fat? YES! While the myths and controversies fly around this question, the popular consensus among fitness specialists confirms it. Like two to four times more!
Dr. Cedric X. Bryant, the Chief Science Officer for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) says, “Muscle tissue has been observed to burn roughly seven to ten calories per pound per day, compared to about two to three calories per pound per day for fat.”
While those numbers may not seem astronomical, they definitely add up. In fact, they end up computing out to a three-pound weight loss per year just by building and preserving your muscle loss via resistance or strength training.
Every year after the age of 25, the average American gains one pound of body weight, yet loses one-third to one-half pound of muscle? "The average sedentary woman may have lost nearly 15 pounds of muscle by the time she reaches her late 50s, a change that could cause her to gain nearly the same amount in body fat," says Wayne Westcott, PhD, a Prevention advisory board member and the director of fitness research at Quincy College in Massachusetts.
Hmmmm…let’s do the math. Do
you now see how if you strength train for a three-pound weight loss yearly versus 1 pound of fat gained by doing nothing yearly makes those small numbers add up over time? See, every little bit does truly count!
It turns out that there are several scientific reasons we tend to gain weight as we age. And disgustingly enough, I am talking about beginning after the ripe old age of 25, not 40, 50 or 60; although it gets worse after 40 for sure. Get this: Our resting metabolism decreases approximately two to five percent every decade after 25 years of age? Consequently, our resting metabolism decreases approximately one-half percent every year.
The problem is compounded by the fact that instead of eating less to compensate for this cruel fact of our biology, we continue to eat just as much as we ever did (if not more) before the slowing metabolism began. To make matters even more difficult we are living in an age where fast food and processed food choices seem to
trump whole food and healthy choices; combine all the above facts and you get a fatter and sicker American population. It’s sad but true!
And it gets worse: we tend to move less as we age. It’s not rocket science. To quote my wise old dad who’s 84 and has never been overweight in his entire life, “I have a brilliant theory on how to lose or maintain your weight, EAT LESS, MOVE MORE!” And he is, of course, absolutely correct. But unfortunately not everyone has the resolve my father does with just saying no and pushing away from the table. I have never witnessed my dad ever overeat, and he still puts out a full garden every year, remaining more active than most people half his age. But for most of us, though it should be, it is just not that simple and so I digress…
Let’s face it! Once we are born we are ALL getting older. In the blink of an eye you are in your 50s and wondering how it happened? That’s life! I agree with the old adage, “It beats the
alternative!” However, instead of focusing on what we cannot change, we need to focus on what we can so that we can truly enjoy the gift of life to its fullest extent. We can actually fight back by implementing a regular exercise and fitness routine that includes smart STRENGTH TRAINING, cardio, and wiser nutrition choices.
By adding/preserving muscle through strength training we rescue our ever decreasing metabolism, keeping it higher, therefore fighting the onslaught of not only weight gain but the hoard of other health issues that the aging process so mercilessly forces upon us.
The benefits of strength training reach far beyond weight loss or weight control through increased calorie burn. To name a few, it helps you improve your appearance and self-esteem, remain strong and independent, decrease joint pain, strengthen your bones and, therefore, prevent injury due to weak and brittle bones. For a more extensive list of the benefits go to
strength training benefits.
If you are not currently strength training, you should be. Cardio and proper nutrition simply are not enough. I hope through this month’s newsletter I have helped open your eyes to the importance of strength training. It is more than weight control that we are talking about. It is quality of life both now and as we age. Do it because you want to do more than survive. Do it because you want to thrive.
For more tips and info that can help you get better results from your fitness plan, be sure and check out my new eBook
So You Joined a Gym...Now What? Part II
Essential Workout Tips & Secrets for Beginners: How to Exercise & Train Smart." The information in this book will kick your workouts into overdrive, no matter what your level of fitness. Because it matters HOW YOU WORKOUT! This book will show you how. Go to
for any other format that isn't covered at Amazon.
EXERCISE OF THE MONTH
Everyone wants nice guns, right? And nice guns make your want to exercise your right to bare arms for sure. Of course, I am talking about biceps here. What did you think I was talking about??? The Biceps Cable Curl is great for shaping your biceps because you can focus on the negative part of the move by lowering slower than you raised it. Go on, try it out on your guns and see what I mean!
Biceps Cable Curl
Primary Muscle Groups Worked: Biceps
To see a video of this exercise
Preparation: Stand with your feet about hip width apart and your knees slightly bent. Think good posture with shoulder blades retracted throughout the move. Grab the cable bar at shoulder width and keep the elbows close to the torso. The palm of your hands should be facing up (supinated grip). This will be your starting position.
Execution: Exhale as you squeeze your biceps while curling the bar as far up as you can without moving elbows forward, keeping the upper arms stationary and elbows aligned below shoulders throughout the move. Hold the contraction at the top of the move for a second and slowly return while inhaling to the start position. Repeat for the recommended amount of reps.
TIPS: 1) Be sure to keep elbows back and in, moving only the forearms. 2) Keep wrists straight. 3) If your gym has an EZ bar
attachment, try using it. It seems to help my wrists feel more comfortable with this move.
HEREIN LIES THE CHALLENGE: Emphasize the negative by lowering the weight slower than when you lift it. Try a 2-count on the lift and 4-count on the negative. It's an awesome burn. Enjoy!
THE PONDER POND
Okay, peeps! You know I usually like to make you think, cry, or laugh with these vids, right? This month's video shows how when one good turn deserves another, it just makes for a kinder, more loving world. I hope this video inspires you to do a good deed the next time you get the chance because you never know how much one seemingly small thing means to a person. It truly can make a huge difference. And you'll be surprised how good it makes you feel. :)
Click here to view.
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From my heart to your health,
Linda Burke, CPT