Many people do sports regularly and do not get the results they expect. This can be due to several reasons, from having an incorrect diet to a lack of muscle mass in the body. But what is muscle mass and what is it needed for?
Muscle mass is the volume of total body tissue that corresponds to muscle. Having a good muscle mass helps to minimize injuries, strengthening the tendons, ligaments and, in general, all the connective tissue; improves bone density and also controls body fat. Romina Martínez, a graduate in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences and a personal trainer, answers the doubts and refutes the most common myths that exist around muscle mass and its functions.
What kinds of foods help increase muscle mass? And what exercises are the most appropriate?
Foods that help increase muscle mass are those that have a high content of both animal and vegetable protein, for example in animals we find red and white meats, fish, eggs, and in vegetables they can be chickpeas, soybeans, peas , nuts among others. The most appropriate are strength exercises with weights, there is much talk about the hypertrophy method when we talk about strength, but also Calisthenics is another effective method when it comes to gaining muscle mass because the weight of the body would be the load itself, thus replacing the barbells or dumbbells.
Is it possible to increase muscle mass and lose weight at the same time? How can it be achieved?
The answer is yes. But when we talk about losing weight (body fat) it is something relative, because we have to take into account that by gaining muscle mass with it, the volume of the muscles also increases and it may be reflected on the scale. This is positive because it increases basal metabolism (the energy that any individual spends daily), and consequently more caloric expenditure per day and more ability to burn body fat, so if we want to lose weight it is the key to achieve it. It can be achieved in addition to what we said before with increasing muscle mass and another effective way to burn fat is to perform aerobic workouts in addition to strength training.
Why is it important to gain muscle mass to lose weight?
I would like to replace the word “lose weight” that is always associated with diets to be able to speak more about muscle definition, and muscle mass is important in this sense because we could maintain a healthy weight, losing only body fat. One of the ways to lose weight or define your muscles is to raise your basal metabolism, which is a process of the body by which food is transformed into energy necessary for the optimal functioning of vital needs. In summary, if you do strength exercises to increase your muscle mass, your daily caloric expenditure will increase and help you lose weight effectively and healthily.
Is there a myth related to the increase of muscle mass that we would have to disprove?
There are many but there is one that includes several and that is that if we gain muscle mass “we get fat”, they usually think that because with the increase in muscle mass, the volume increases and visually it seems that we gain weight or the clothes tend to be tighter, This is due to the fact that if we do not complement it with exercises, whether aerobic or high intensity, that burn the subcutaneous fat mass, we will never be able to see a defined and “marked” muscle.
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