I have only done this one other time on this platform, but I am in the middle of a workout program that is totally kicking my butt in the best possible way and I decided I wanted to dedicate a post to it, more specifically the philosophy behind it! The program, which is actually a two-part program, called Muscle Burns Fat and Muscle Burns Fat Advanced, operates on the premise that the more muscle you build the more calories you will burn, even while you are at rest! For more details on the program itself and to see my results so far, check out my page MBF/MBFA under my Workouts tab, but today I want to mainly talk about this idea of how building muscle and strengthening your body is such an effective way to shed some pounds, lean out and of course get healthy.
Up until a few years ago, you would not have caught me doing this or any other workout that involved weight training. I had no desire to build any real muscle or get any stronger. My goal for a really long time was just to fit into a size 0 jean, and it honestly it didn’t really matter how I got there. I didn’t want to be healthy; I didn’t want to be fit; apparently, I didn’t want to be happy; I just wanted to be thin. Strike that, skinny! I have mentioned in previous posts how all I used to do was endless amounts of cardio, mistakenly thinking that was the only way to shed pounds and get the lean body type I was after. I completely avoided picking up any weights at all, exclusively sticking to the treadmill, bike, and occasionally when I was feeling adventurous, the Stairmaster.
Sure, I was skinny for a while. Too skinny. But looking back I attribute that more to the fact that I probably only took in about 500 calories a day in the form of coffee and crackers. I cringe looking back on that time in my life because I was so misguided and honestly downright unhealthy. Three years ago, when I set out to lose the extra pounds I had put on, I started down that same ridiculous road. Not knowing any better, I jumped right back into doing nothing but cardio, hating every minute of it, and what comes as no surprise to me now, not seeing barely any results.
Long story short, I was on the verge of throwing in the towel due to sheer frustration and honestly boredom. Thankfully, I was committed enough this time around that quitting wasn’t an option. I knew I needed to find a better way of working out and I also knew enough to know I didn’t know enough. So, I researched. I watched videos. I followed “influencers” on Instagram. I tried to replicate what I saw them doing and I gained enough information to learn that I needed to incorporate strength training into my routine. But how?
I tried doing it on my own. I tried coming up with routines to follow and while I did see some preliminary results start to happen, I quickly plateaued and even ended up injuring myself. Enter a friend of mine who referred me to BOD and the programs that were changing her life and I finally broke down and gave it a try, thinking I really had nothing to lose and everything to gain!
The very first program I did on BOD was LIIFT4. This program combines strength training with HIIT training (High-Intensity Interval Training) and it is where I fell in love with picking up and putting down heavy things. Over the course of six weeks, I saw and probably more importantly felt my body change one muscle group at a time… and I was hooked! I was hooked on how much stronger I was feeling. I was hooked on how much quicker I was leaning out. I was hooked on seeing muscles grow in places I didn’t even know I had muscles. I was finally hooked on working out and was having a blast doing it!
Fast forward a couple of years to today, several rounds of LIIFT4 and a handful of other amazing programs later (you can take a look at all the programs I have completed on my Workout page), and here I am finished with #MBF and midway through #MBFA. I am stronger, happier, healthier, and in better shape than I have ever been in my entire life and I attribute so much of it to the fact that I fell in love with weight training over these past three years.
#MBF and #MBFA have taken my results and are kicking them up even one notch higher…maybe two!! The principle behind #MBF and #MBFA is pretty simple, yet so effective…the more muscle you build the more calories you can burn each day. You guys, you do not need endless hours of cardio and crash-dieting to lean out and lose weight! A much more fun and healthy way to go about it is to build lean muscle. How exactly does building muscle translate into losing fat though? Great question! For starters:
- The very nature of muscle tissue makes it more active than fat is, metabolically speaking. What does this mean in terms of losing weight? It means the more muscle we build, the more energy we are expending. This is because as you build more muscle, your resting metabolic rate raises which is just a fancy way of saying you burn more calories doing everyday things…think breathing, and blinking, and yes, even when you are at rest and sleeping!
- Building muscle itself is a calorie-burning exercise! Enter, afterburn! The beauty of strength training is that even after your workout has ended you keep right on burning calories in a process called afterburn. Afterburn, very briefly summed up, is how your body returns itself to its pre-workout state. During this period you are burning more calories than you normally would and it can last as long as 72 hours!
- You can’t starve yourself and build muscle at the same time. So no need to crash diet or be crazy restrictive! This was an especially hard one for me to wrap my head around, but in order to build more muscle, even lean muscle, you need to eat. Train more, eat more, healthy, nutritious food of course (the majority of the time) but you need to keep up your calorie intake in order to maintain the muscle you have and continue to gain more if that is your goal.
- If you do find yourself losing weight but also losing muscle at the same time, the best way to combat that is to up your protein intake. It isn’t unusual to lose muscle right long with fat if you are trying to shed pounds. The best way to ensure the most amount of muscle sticks around while the fat does not is to make sure you are hitting your protein goals each day.
- The number on the scale might not change, but you will look leaner! This was also a hard concept for my former self who was weight and scale obsessed to accept but it is very true. Muscle in fact takes up less space than fat does, so you can appear thinner without the scale moving. Fun fact: I threw my scale away years ago and it was one of the best, most freeing, decisions I have ever made!
Incorporating strength training into my workout routine has been nothing short of life-changing for me, and not only in a physical sense. Weight training has given me a level of confidence I didn’t use to have, it has given me a brand-new appreciation for my body and what it is capable of and it has helped me find a healthy way to meet my goals that don’t include starving or torturing myself with horribly ineffective workouts. It has also, and possibly most importantly, allowed me to find and keep the motivation to workout consistently for what I am positive will be the rest of my life. I don’t dread working out anymore. I now, in fact, love the feeling of picking up those weights, pressing play, and watching myself get stronger, healthier, and happier than I have ever been!
Ready to give it a try?! Click below for a FREE sample workout….just be prepared to sweat! Go press play then be sure to come back and let me know what you thought!!