Verve column: October 2013
Is Strong the New Lean?
Have you felt your pants grow a little tighter each year? You say “But I am eating and exercising the same! Why am I picking up weight?” Well girls I have great news – I know WHY you are feeling like your body shape has changed and why you would have started to notice a change in your body over the last few years.
The Answer is: Sarcopenia.
“Sarco what?” I hear you say.
Well simply put, Sarcopenia is the gradual loss of muscle due to ageing. Somewhere between the age of 25 and 30 we start losing muscle tissue and this continues as we age.
There are many ways to explanations why this happens but in basic terms – From about 25yrs onwards our bodies stop being “growth” orientate. Also we tend to continue consuming the same amount of calories and our physical activity significantly reduces as well. Our bodies no longer recognise the need to maintain the level of muscles we once had.
Since we lose about 250g of muscle a year, we only really notice the change in our bodies around our mid 30’s. One day you see a bit more fat where there used to be muscle.
The great news is: You CAN rebuild muscle!
Muscles burn calories – all the time – so your fitness routine should always be aimed at regaining and/or maintaining your natural muscle mass. Ladies this means you too! Think of it like this: compare what 500g of firm toned muscle looks like compared versus 500g of flabby fat – ps. muscle is also denser so it takes up less space, making you look leaner.
Simple fact is: By rebuilding some of your muscle, it will automatically help you burn off more of the unwanted fat.
So what are you doing to be strong? What are you doing that is re-building muscle? And I hope you didn’t just say “Cardio”.
I have seen many woman add 1 strength training session a week to their current fitness regimes and gain amazing results. It is all just biology – Strong is the new Thin (. . . actually is has always been, we all just forgot during the aerobic craze of the 80’s).
Melissa – Anne Smit
Director 101 Fitness