Summer officially starts this month (June 21st) so in order to maximize your potential this year, it is important to understand that your words matter. For example, has a doctor ever told you or someone you know to lose weight? These two words are so common but we never pause to consider whether losing is the best approach.
Today let’s flip the script. I’ll make the case for why we should talk about building muscle - not losing weight - for health, physique, and feeling great too.
"Build Muscle" should replace "Lose Weight"
If you browse any online discussion around health and fitness you might see phrases like "lose weight", "intense cardio", or "avoid muscle mass" in fear of getting bigger. It will also talk about eating less and moving more which isn't wrong but the majority of the time those people will regain the weight they lost and it comes down to a number of factors. 1. Calorie Deficits Can't Last Forever The culture of losing weight often leads to an unsustainable calorie deficit. Cutting calories and creating substantial deficits has become the norm in an attempt to cut weight quickly. When we dramatically cut calories and focus on losing weight, our metabolism adapts. Things start to slow down. Our bodies burn “less hot” and we stop expending as much energy. If you eat less, eventually you are going to start moving less as a function of survival. 2. Cardio Alone Is Not The Answer The culture of losing also promotes cardio as the movement of choice. Why? Because cardio burns energy and it doesn’t make you “bulky.” (More on that below.) But excess cardio, combined with calorie deficits that are short on protein, leads to burning muscle for energy. When we lose muscle, we directly lower our metabolism. Muscle is our metabolic oven so to speak. Muscle is where calories go to be burned. The more muscle you have, the more calories you'll naturally burn. 3. Muscle Builds Shape and Function The culture of losing also doesn’t translate to a more functional life. Building strength, muscle, and functional movement patterns allow you to get more out of your years ahead. Who wants to lose a bunch of weight to only be met with a body that is weak? No one! Should our fitness program lead us to be limited in life? Absolutely not! Hence my tagline of "Train Better, Live Better." Building muscle enhances our life. 4. Will I Get Bulky? I’d like to ban the word bulky - but I understand the concern. No one wants to put energy and time into the gym and not look the way they like. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with building as much muscle as you please. No matter your gender, visible muscle is a sign of hard work, strength, and vitality. Unlike every other measure of status, it can’t be bought or given - only earned. But for better or for worse, building visible muscle doesn’t happen overnight. You are likely many years, and a lot of hard work away from looking like a stage-ready bodybuilder. If you aren’t building functional muscle mass, your body SHAPE won’t change for the better. Sure, you can still lose weight but if you lose muscle with the fat, you will simply look like a smaller version of your old self. In truth, a muscular body can be any size - from a gymnast to a strongman. It is not building muscle alone that makes a bigger body. It’s the relationship between muscle building and nutrition that makes the difference.
Change The Message: Build Not Lose
Over the years I’ve been a fan and supporter of any fitness approach that gets people excited to move. Incorporating more resistance training and muscle building is a plus in almost any form whether it's group fitness, personal training, solo workouts etc. There is still a lot of work to be done in order to lower the obesity rate in the US (36%) and I believe it is largely because we haven’t changed the narrative from LOSING to BUILDING. This is why I created the PR Training App. All of the methods and approaches I bring to the programs are designed to put resistance training, strength, and building muscle at the forefront. We do this with a layer of aerobic capacity work and movement variety and fluency. The combination ensures that we all continue to focus on the most important thing in the aesthetics, health, and longevity game… which is MUSCLE! I put everything I know about helping people build muscle into my online training programs. You can check it out for free for the first week. Keep training hard and fueling your body the way you deserve so you can continue to crush it in the gym and in life!