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Diet & Exercise: Weight training – Abs of marshmallow or steel?

I truly love celebrating with clients as they lose weight, but what really thrills me is to see my clients 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 of or spending calories.  

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 sent a modeling student who had already paid for an upcoming photo shoot (you pay for most photo shoots when you’re a student).  

We were up against the clock with this student, so we had to train five days a week. I monitored her weight very carefully. She went from a size 13 to a size 6, and she only lost 1 pound of weight. Did you get that? She went down that many dress sizes, but only lost 1 pound of actual weight.  

How was that possible? Simple! She lost fat and gained muscle. It’s like comparing a 1-pound marshmallow with a 1-pound piece of steel. Even though they weigh the same, a 1-pound marshmallow would be much larger in size than a 1-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.  

Diet or exercise question? Email me at dwcrocker77@gmail.com or text me at 864-494-6215. David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 29 years.