Diet & Exercise: Creating lean muscle through weight training

Published 1:51 pm Friday, April 14, 2017

I truly love celebrating with clients as they lose weight, but what really thrills me is to see my clients really change the shape of their bodies.

Good eating habits and aerobic exercise are important when trying to lose body fat, but they won’t change the shape of your body much at all. You’ll usually just end up with a smaller version of the body you had before you tried to lose that weight.

Increasing lean tissue (muscle) is absolutely necessary for body sculpting and consistent fat loss. The best way to go about creating lean muscle is weight training. You see, muscle is active tissue. Unlike body fat, which is mostly sedentary and requires little maintenance by the body, muscle needs constant care and attention by the body. This requires the use, or spending, of calories.

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For every ounce of muscle you gain, your body burns extra calories 24 hours a day to keep that muscle healthy. Also, muscle-building exercises (weight training) keep your body burning calories and fat hours after you stop doing them. Don’t worry. Since muscle is so much denser than fat, it is actually possible to lose many inches, and not lose much actual weight at all.

I was once lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency. That agency has produced many world-class models, whom I’ve trained and taught. I was once sent a modeling student who had already paid for an upcoming photo shoot (you pay for most photo shoots when you’re a student).

Well, we were up against the clock with this student, so we had to train five days a week, and I monitored her weight very carefully. She went from a size 13 to a size 6, and she only lost one pound of weight. Did you get that? She went down that many dress sizes, but only lost one pound of actual weight.

How was that possible? Simple: she lost fat and gained muscle. It’s like comparing a one-pound marshmallow with a one-pound piece of steel. Even though they weigh the same, a one-pound marshmallow would be much larger in size than a one-pound piece of steel.

The best part was the change in this modeling student’s body shape. She wasn’t just smaller in size, but her body was much more tapered and streamlined. When it comes to weight training, some ladies worry, but shouldn’t. It’s a myth that as a woman, you will “bulk up” if you lift weights intensely. I’m not suggesting that you do weight training to the exclusion of aerobic training nor am I suggesting that either of these is a suitable substitute for a clean diet. You need them all in their proper portion.

Do not under any circumstances start a weight loss, aerobic or weight training program without first consulting your physician. So many times I’ve evaluated clients before beginning their training program, and found their blood pressure was high, but they had no idea. With proper balance of diet and exercise, you will be amazed at the great changes you can make to your body.

With spring here, so many are wanting to get started on a fitness program. I will be taking on a few new clients. This will strictly be on a first come, first served basis. Just email me.

Diet or exercise question? Email me at David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 29 years. He served a strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC Upstate baseball team, S.C. state champion girl’s gymnastic team, and the Converse College equestrian team. He served as a water safety instructor to the United States Marine Corps, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught for four semesters at USC Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.