The Importance of Muscle for Overall Health

Most people still believe in the mindset of Resistance Training as an application to build large muscles or only appearance (physique) improvements. What about we have a look into this modality of exercise and the physiological adaptations that are happening while proper resistance training is applied.

What is resistance training?

Resistance training is a physically challenging task where you engage mechanical work with muscle against any form of resistance. Considering adequate biomechanics movement patterns are applied, muscle fibre activation will occur sequentially to the point that the target muscles involved in the particular exercise can no longer function (MMF – Momentarily Muscular Failure) stimulating an adaptive response for strength and muscle mass.

Right, now that we understand what resistance training is, let’s make sense of the role of having “muscle” on the process of becoming a healthy human, longevity, weight loss and function ability plays…

Muscle and the role it plays

Muscle is metabolic expansive tissue to the body meaning it takes more from the energy system production of your body to keep muscle mass intact. Muscle loss is a considerable fact after our 30’s specifically when the hormonal environment changes due to evolutionary reproduction timeline. Over the years humans will lose muscle mass progressively, and more likely to increase in body fat as muscle mass is lost. This is the reason why difficulties in maintaining a normal (healthy range) body weight will be experienced by most people.

Let’s imagine your skeletal muscle system (the large sub-system of the human body) is your bucket of energy. As you maintain muscle strengthen and fully functioning, your energy is high, but as you decrease your muscle mass, you will also decrease your function ability. Consequently, your energy level drops, humans call this natural process as ‘ageing’.

Think about a human who is considered unfit: they climb a large set of stairs and when they arrive at the top quite fatigued, they are breathing heavily.

For that to happen, that human had to access a large component of the energy production system. Muscle activation was also high to complete that simple task. Now let’s say we can get this same human and we only strengthen their muscles for a 12 week period and they are now stronger.

Eventually the subject climbs up that same set of stairs. Now the muscle activation is required less and the energy production system that supports muscle activation is also required less. Now we just saved a percentage of energy to be used throughout the day with different tasks or simply with the feeling of having energy or being ‘fit’ for simple tasks.

Quality muscles = More ENERGY!

It is one of the common overall goals of every human – MORE ENERGY!

Think for a second, if strength and muscle mass consequentially function, our ability is the key ingredient/secret for more energy. So why are most people still wasting time and the health of their joints exploring aerobic predominant activities as their primary source of exercise?

Or better, could we consider those options: running, swimming, yoga, pilates, dancing – real exercise?

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe those are all great activities BUT are they delivering the desire adaptations you really want while investing time and money to achieve your goals/results such as being strong, lean, productive, fully functioning and having a healthy body that has more ENERGY to perform simple tasks or every single task you enjoy.

Recreational activities should be performed for enjoyment purposes, which are facilitated through proper exercise. Having quality fully functioning muscles in your frame will make you perform better at any given activity you put your body through.Proper exercise is different from recreational activities! Proper exercise Resistance Training:

  • Will protect you joints, performing as a cushion from the inherit impact from recreational activities.
  • Will make you a more metabolic flexible human; which will help you in terms of glucose control and glycogen storage system to maintain this metabolic expensive tissue – “Muscle”
  • Will burn more calories without you having to be way more active in trying to lose weight.

Muscle mass and weight loss

Yes, having more muscle in your frame will make you burn more calories just to maintain it, working in your favour in a weight loss strategy.

Think for a second – You are going for a 45min or 1hr session in an acrobatic class, in a one hour session how much energy is expended, a lot or a little?

A lot right, and this high energy expenditure will more likely leave you hungrier, but you are in a caloric deficit because you are trying to lose weight! This is an unfair battle and that is the reason why most people struggle to lose weight!

In fact it doesn’t take much longer to effectively stimulate the desired adaptations from proper exercise, so the minimal effective dosage of exercise to maintain or improve muscle mass over time is the best approach in a weight loss strategy. This is simply because you are making your body work in your favour and not against you, while favouring the “ENERGY bucket” increase (more muscle) in the process of eating less (Caloric deficit) to lose weight and body fat percentage.

Rocket science or simple human physiology?

So tell me why weight loss is the most significant health problem our society faces as a species, if it is not even that hard? Our DNA stores fat for survival and for 2.5 million years, this was the reason why most humans would survive periods of scarcity of food or the heavy winter in some places.

Now as a species, humans have being around on this planet and have evolved for 2.5 million years relying on real food sources and no significant health problems were faced (chronic/ metabolic disease). The changes over the last 10.000 years however, have made us sick, overweight, weak, depressed and ultimately caused us to live shorter lifespans. 

Better ENERGY;

* Looking good and more toned becomes a BONUS if the application is performed in an EFFECTIVE / EFFICIENT & SAFE manner

Marcelo Mesquita – Founder/ Director

Intense Health Clinic / HUMAN. Remastered.