17 Sep 2007
Building A Better Body
There are countless books on weight-training and body-building. To cover all aspects would be an impossible task. Instead, the focus of this chapter is on the important basics of weight-training. IT also will outline the principles behind resistance training for improved overall health fitness.
"Muscular fitness" is paramount to achieve a particular weight-management goal. It can only be achieved through a systematic weight-resistance training program. These programs can be designed for a variety of purposes such as power lifting, body building, rehabilitation or just simple muscular conditioning and toning.
Your may already be engaged in a weight-training program. On the hand, you may not feel a need for weight-training. Many people have pre-conceived notions and stereotypes about weight-training. As a result, they have no interest in this type of exercise program at all.
Training for All Reasons
Strength and weight-training is important for fat-burning or muscle-building. The most apparent effects of weight-training (resistance) are increased strength and muscular endurance. These gains often are accompanied by an increase in size of muscle fibers. This is known as muscular hypertrophy.
Sometimes an increase in muscular size is due to an increased number of muscular fibers. The increased number of fibers results from what is referred to as longitudinal fiber splitting. It's generally accepted, however, that increases in muscular size is a result of an increase in the size of existing muscle fibers.
Weight Training and Fat-Loss
A structured weight-training program is the most effective way to increase and improve the quality of muscle. This should be of particular importance to anyone interested in achieving optimal fitness and health. It should particularly be of interest to anyone interested in losing body-fat.
Why is weight-training so important to the reduction of body fat? To answer that question, refer back to metabolism.
Muscle requires energy to function. Fat can only be burned in the muscle. Therefore, the more muscle mass you have, the more fat you can burn. Improving your muscle condition will improve your basal metabolic rate (BMR), thus, increasing the body's ability to burn calories.
Anaerobic or Aerobic?
Since most weight-training activities last less than 3 minutes in duration, (regardless of actual workout time), weight-training is an anaerobic activity. This means that the primary fuel sources will be either ATP or glucose. The aerobic (oxygen/fat) fuel system does not come into play. Therefore, fat isn't burned as a fuel source during weight-lifting activities. Remember, even though weight-training does not burn fat, it does increase the body's fat-burning potential.
Ladies Lift Too
The thought of increased muscular size may not appeal to some. In the past, women were reluctant to weight-train for fear of becoming too muscular or bulky. For most women, however, muscular fain is not as great as in men, even when they make the same relative gains in strength.
A study that compared muscular size between men and women, demonstrated that "muscular hypertrophy in women as a result of weight-training programs will certainly not lead to excessive muscular bulk or produce a musculinizing effect" (Wilmore, 1974).