Mighty Muscles: Unlocking the Metabolism-Boosting Powers for Women
Did you know that your muscles play a crucial role in your metabolism? In fact, they could be considered the biggest (by weight) endocrine organ in our entire body, making up 40% of our body weight. In this blog post, we’re getting into the fascinating connection between muscle and metabolism, particularly how muscle mass affects insulin sensitivity and overall body composition. We’ll also explore how incorporating resistance training into your routine can help build muscle, maintain a healthy metabolism, and promote a balanced body composition as we age.
Your muscles are metabolic powerhouses, and they have a significant impact on your metabolism. They are responsible for the majority of energy expenditure in your body and play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy metabolic rate.
Having sufficient muscle mass is associated with improved insulin sensitivity. When your muscles are strong and healthy, they efficiently utilize glucose from the bloodstream, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. In fact, muscles becoming more insulin resistant may be a red flag / precursory indicator of future diabetes if no interventions are implemented.
Additionally, as we age, we tend to become more insulin resistant. The science is still unclear if it’s because of aging itself, or if it’s because of the decrease in body composition measures (ie loss of muscle as we age – we lose 3-8% per decade beginning in our 30s). Through resistance training, we can actually increase insulin sensitivity without changing diet though, which is why I consider it the most underutilized treatment for insulin resistance.
Resistance training, such as weightlifting or using resistance bands, is key to building and maintaining muscle mass. It stimulates muscle growth, increases muscle fiber size, and enhances overall muscle strength, which, in turn, positively impacts your metabolism. Note it doesn’t have to be MORE muscle all the time (as in, you don’t have to be a bodybuilder) but instead the quality of your muscle tissue matters as well – think wagyu beef versus lean venison.
Resistance training also offers numerous metabolic benefits. It helps increase lean muscle mass, which raises your resting metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories even at rest. Additionally, resistance training promotes fat loss while preserving muscle mass, leading to a healthier body composition.
Not just for show…
As we age, we naturally experience a decline in muscle mass, known as sarcopenia. I wrote about it in this blog post, but in short, this loss of muscle mass contributes to a decreased metabolic rate, making weight management more challenging. However, resistance training can help counteract age-related muscle loss and support a healthy metabolism.
Despite what ‘fitspo’ posts on social media tell us, our muscles are not just for aesthetics; they are the key to a healthy metabolism and overall well-being. Through resistance training, you can build and maintain muscle mass, enhance insulin sensitivity, and achieve a balanced body composition. When you embrace resistance training and everything that comes with it, in addition to properly fueling your muscles, you can unlock the metabolism-boosting potential within you!
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