By TONY WAGNER Citizen Columnist
Dear Mr. Fitness:
I have been reading your column religiously for several years now and I have a question. Why do you always tell people to lift weights if they are only interested in losing weight? I thought all you should be doing is aerobics and dieting. Won't lifting weights make you gain weight? Most people want to lose weight.
-- Heavy Duty
Dear Heavy Duty:
You know Heavy, I believe you have written to me in the past. I am glad you are still tuning in! Here's why you want to lift weights if you want to lose body fat: The more lean muscle tissue you have, the easier it will be for you to permanently (yes, for good) lose the fat! After all, that is what we wish to accomplish, the total shedding of the fat, and not have it come back. At least I hope that's what people wish.
If you were to rely on a diet, then you can be assured of one thing: The weight will come back on you. Countless folks can attest to this truth.
If you rely on aerobics only, you won't have the fat burning potential that muscle provides you. Aerobics do not build fat-burning muscles. Always remember that it is your muscles that burn your body fat. Fat gives your muscles energy, not just carbohydrates.
If we were to compare the fat burning of two individuals that weighed exactly the same, but one of them had 10 percent more muscle than the other, guess what? The individual with the 10 percent more muscle would be burning fat at almost twice the rate as the other person. Isn't that great?
This person would be burning much more fat, even at rest, when compared to the "skinnier" person. (That's skinnier in terms of muscle mass). Your lean body mass, which comprises mostly skeletal muscles, needs fat to perform all of its activities.
If a person possesses a large amount of muscle, their bodies are always on the search for fuel to feed those muscles. The muscles will be continually scrounging around for something to keep them functioning at a high level.
This looking around for fuel to feed the muscles is called having a high metabolic rate. You know the type, someone who can eat just about anything and still be lean. High metabolic rates can be genetic, but you can mimic these fortunate people by lifting weights and getting some muscles.
So, if you wish to be that person that everyone envies, add a weight-lifting program to your fitness regimen and begin to reap the benefits.
-- Mr. Fitness
Tony Wagner, aka Mr. Fitness, has more than 30 years of fitness and nutritional expertise. A certified personal trainer and fitness author, he has helped thousands of people get into and stay in shape. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook us, and stop by Bodyzone Fitness Center, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 305-292-2930.