Naturopath tip of the week - Gain muscle, gain health


Gain muscle, gain health

woman lifting kettlebell outdoors

If you were to gain 10kg of muscle and lose 10kg of fat in the same time period, you would look slimmer and your clothing would feel loose, but your progress would be invisible on the bathroom scales.

In conversations about weight management people regularly talk about losing the kilos, but the type of weight lost is arguably more important than the total weight lost. Healthy weight management has a few determining factors: lifestyle, diet/nutrition, genetics and muscle mass. All these factors are important, but the most commonly overlooked may be muscle mass.

Building muscle mass isn't just for gym junkies. There are several broader health benefits for everyone:

  1. The more muscle you have, the more energy/calories you burn at rest and during exercise. Adding extra muscle mass enables you to consume more calories without putting on extra weight.
  2. Active muscles store glutamine, an important anti-aging amino acid. Adding muscle raises the levels of glutamine that can be stored in the body. Glutamine is used to support immune function, digestive function and energy production.
  3. Building muscle also strengthens your bones. Load bearing exercise places strain on your bones, promoting increased bone density.

Many people get discouraged when they go to the gym and work hard on their diet but do not measure differently on the scales. But that single number isn't a complete measurement of your health. The best way to look at weight management is to take a broader view. How do your clothes fit? How do you feel? How are your energy levels? The more aspects of your health you measure, the more you'll spot the gains. And every gain can bring with it a feeling of progress and fresh motivation to continue.

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