Muscles are da Bomb

By Marsha Hudnall on 08/17/2005
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I started strength training a few years ago, and one of things I noticed the most was my ability to put my suitcase into the overhead compartment on an airplane.  No longer did I have to strain to get it up there; I lifted it with ease and felt a good degree of pleasure – and pride — as I did so.

I wager that many of us have only thought about strength training as another step in our weight management efforts.  Recent findings, however, have poked a hole in the theory that we can significantly increase our metabolism – and thereby burn more calories – if we build muscle through strength training.  Sally Squires in her regular column in the Washington Post quotes David Nieman at the Human Performance Lab in North Carolina as saying adding two pounds of muscle will only increase your daily needs by 24 calories.  Not worth the effort in my book.

That doesn’t mean, however, that strength training doesn’t have an effect on our efforts to maintain a healthy weight.  Which brings me to the real reason I strength train.  It makes me feel sooooo good.  I feel strong.  I feel toned.  My aches and pains diminish…and sometimes even disappear.  Because I strength train, I have the energy to follow a healthy lifestyle. In my book, that’s worth all the effort.

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3 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Ellie Dworak says:

    I love your points about how good strength training feels, and I too feel hella proud when I can lift something without straining myself (5 gallon bottles of water, woo hoo!), but I have to disagree vigorously that 24 calories per day per 2 pounds of muscle isn’t a significant number. Check this out:

    Let’s say that you currently weight 130 pounds and are 32% fat. That means that you have 41.6 pounds of fat on your body.

    If you stay the same weight but reduce your body fat to 20%, you now have 26 pounds of fat on your body.

    Presuming that that your fat loss is muscle gain, you have gained 15.6 pounds of muscle.

    By the estimate given in this article (which is low compared to the research I’ve read), you are now burning 187 extra calories per day, which is 1310 per week, which is 68,120 extra calories per year. That translates into 19 pounds worth of energy.

    That’s 19 pounds of extra calories per year that you you can eat. Just being you. Just sitting on your butt. (Of course, maintaining that muscle involves more than just sitting, but unlike cardio training, you get huge gains even when you’re not working).

    That’s a lot of chocolate cake, and by my book, that’s a very significant thing.

  • Marsha says:

    Thanks, Ellie, for your great thinking. The bottom line appears to be that regardless of what the ‘research’ tells us, we know how fabulous strength training is. And that’s ‘da bomb!” 5 gallon bottles of water — that sounds heavy!

    marsha

  • ellie dworak says:

    “The bottom line appears to be that regardless of what the ‘research’ tells us, we know how fabulous strength training is.” -

    Agreed! I’d strength train if it didn’t net me any metabolic gains at all.

    A 5 lb bottle of water is about 40 pounds. Hoo-ya!

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