Q; I’m a personal trainer, and I get a lot of resistance from potential female clients who think that increasing their muscle mass will have no real benefits. How can I answer them?
A: Increasing your muscle and bone mass offers myriad health benefits. The very extreme muscular women you may have seen have had hormone “support” to build their overblown muscles—better known as “East German acupuncture.”
Here’s what you should tell those who frown on gaining a few kilos of muscle mass:
1) The more muscle and bone mass you have, the greater the acid-buffering power you create; that is, you now have more protein, potassium, magnesium and calcium to buffer the acidity in your body. The more alkaline you are, the greater the endurance potential of your body and the greater your immune power, thus the better your chances of surviving cancer or the swine flu.
2) According to research out of Tufts University, the greater your muscle mass, the greater your longevity potential. It is, in fact, the number-one biomarker of longevity, a far better predictor than total cholesterol or blood pressure.
3) The more muscle you have, the more insulin receptor sites you have, and the more sensitive they are. Increased muscle prevents diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Translation: The more muscle you have, the easier it is to have low bodyfat.
4) The more muscle you have, the more you burn calories at rest. It’s estimated that for every pound of muscle you gain, you burn an extra 50 calories a day.
5) The more muscle you have, the more strength you have, which is the number-two predictor of longevity, according to the same researchers from Tufts University. Strength is always empowering. You never know when that new level of strength may come in handy.
6) In my 30 years of experience as a strength coach, for every pound of lean tissue gained, there was an equal amount of bodyfat loss. In other words, the body composition changed dramatically. For example, a female executive weighing in at 132 pounds with 20 percent bodyfat has about 25 pounds of fat. So if she gains about eight pounds of muscle mass and loses eight pounds of fat at the same time in 10 weeks, her bodyfat will be 13 percent at the end of the 10 weeks. Her body will look tremendously better.
Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit www.CharlesPoliquin.net. IM
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