So many times, people don’t want to lift weights or focus on strength training because they’re afraid they will bulk up and look like a bodybuilder. It takes a lot of work and the right combination of food and workouts to accomplish that look.
Putting on muscle and knowing your muscle mass is important in achieving your fitness goals. And don’t worry, you won’t look like a bodybuilder during the process.
What Is Muscle Mass?
Muscle mass is the amount of skeletal muscle found in your body. The more you work out your skeletal muscles through resistance and weight training, the more your skeletal muscle mass grows.
There is an entire exercise and diet routine designated for bulking up, but that’s not what we’re talking about today. We’re simply talking about muscle mass as a whole and why it’s important.
Why Is Muscle Mass Important?
Muscle mass is important because it helps you live a healthy, active lifestyle. When you have little muscle mass and more body fat, your body can overwork itself. Plus, your organs and arteries can be surrounded by body fat, causing damage to them. When you have a high percentage of muscle mass, your body can stay healthy.
Here are the main reasons why muscle mass is important:
Keeps Your Body Active and Healthy
As we age, our body breaks down. This applies to muscle mass, too. Your body can lose muscle mass over time, especially when the muscles aren’t used as much as they should. The less muscle mass you have, the more quickly you will find yourself being unable to perform normal functions that you could previously perform.
Muscle mass helps prevent you from being overexerted by performing the simplest task. The more muscle mass you have, the easier it will be to perform normal and strenuous activities for longer periods without being winded.
Another reason that muscle mass is important is that it protects the bones and keeps them from being injured. Without muscle mass, your bones are more susceptible to osteoporosis, a bone condition that breaks them down and makes them brittle. Lifting weights and strength training can help increase your bone mass to keep your bones strong and dense.
Helps Improve Your Cardiovascular System
Whether it’s your blood pressure or your resting heart rate, having high muscle mass helps both of these areas. Your blood pressure is more likely regulated through strength training and muscle mass-building. This can also cause your resting heart rate to be lower, which puts less stress on your heart when you are sedentary.
The spike in your heart rate and blood pressure through weight lifting helps your cardiovascular system as a whole. Think of strength training and building muscle mass to build the muscles in your heart to make it function better.
Helps Lower Your Body Fat Percentage
When increasing muscle mass, you are burning fat. Many people think that fat can be turned into muscle. While this isn’t exactly true, what is true is that during strength training, you are turning your fat cells into energy that your muscles will use to grow.
So, in a roundabout way, the fat turns into muscle, but not the way you might think. You must first turn the fat cells into energy, and then your muscles have to use that energy to grow.
Building lean muscle mass helps you lower your overall body fat percentage. But don’t think you’ll start seeing the number on the scale go down. Muscle mass is heavy, so if you’re building muscle mass, you can easily see your body weight on the scale increase. You won’t notice much weight loss but will have increased muscle mass.
What matters is how your clothes fit and what your body fat percentage and muscle mass percentage say on your body composition scale.
How to Build Muscle Mass
Muscle mass is built by straining the muscles during rigorous and intense workouts. It can be resistance training or weightlifting, but the muscles must be broken down during the process.
During intense strength training workouts, the muscle fibers undergo many small tears. These tears are healthy and required for muscles to build. Without these tears, the muscles couldn’t repair themselves, muscle mass wouldn’t increase, and muscle health would decline.
To build muscle mass and keep it, you can do a 20-minute weightlifting routine two or three times a week. You can focus on your whole body, or you can spot train the area of the body you want to work on that day. For example, you can work out your arms and chest during one routine and focus on your legs and abs the next time.
Ensure you increase your protein intake to help your muscle fibers repair themselves after a workout or weight training. This is important for building and keeping muscle mass.
Muscle mass is important because it can help improve your body's systems to keep you healthy. You should focus on strength training two or three days a week for 20 minutes to build muscle mass. Eat or drink plenty of protein after every strength training session to repair your muscles appropriately and improve muscle strength.