Scared of growing muscles? Alexa Towersey shows us the benefits of strength-training and building muscle.
Does strength training cause weight gain?
“When you start going into the weights room, one of the most common complaints – and again it comes back to women’s fear of getting big – is that when you’re developing lean muscle and your metabolic rate is, therefore, higher, you are hungrier. So you want to eat more, and that’s when you start putting on weight.
“If you want to stay long and lean, you need to do the right rep range with the right exercise in the gym and then you need to support it but not overloading with poor nutrition.”
But what if I gain weight?
“There is a way to train to get smaller and to lose weight, but muscle weighs more than fat, so gaining weight is possible at least before fat loss occurs. The problem with doing only cardio is that while it can promote weight loss, it can create ‘skinny fat’ – the colloquial term for a shapeless figure with higher than expected body fat for weight. If you want to define your body and get shape, you have to understand that scale weight isn’t the be-all and end-all.”
Why doesn’t weight loss make you look firmer?
“The skinniest and lightest people can often be the ones carrying the most body fat; however, you need to lose subcutaneous fat to see muscle definition.
“The training you do in the gym creates the muscle tone or muscle mass, and the correct nutrition allows you to get lean enough to show it off.
“One of the first places to show tone is abdominals. For women, they say you’ll have visible abs when body fat is around 16 per cent.”