Turn Your Body Into A Fat-Burning Machine In 2 MinsTruth: Muscle Is The Secret To Burning Fat After 50
I once received a frantic text from a friend… “Kathy, I’m desperate. It’s my thighs. I don’t know what’s going on—they’re exploding! The fat is flooding everywhere! There’s no shape, there’s no tone. I can’t stand them anymore! It must be because of my age!” Why do so many women seem to gain weight after 50? Is it hormonal? Some researchers have theorized that, because fat tissue produces small amounts of estrogen, the body stocks up on fat to compensate for the decline in estrogen production from the ovaries. And, recent science shows that a drop of estrogen may cause the body to less effectively use blood sugar and starches, which increases fat storage and makes it more tricky to drop pounds.
The main reason we gain weight around this time is that menopause occurs when we just happen to be turning fifty. By that age, we’ve had about two decades during which we’ve been losing our skeletal muscle mass – a process I like to call the Great Decline. Every decade, we lose muscle mass, and as we age, the percentage of loss just keeps accelerating. By age 60, the average person will have forfeited one-third of his/her muscle mass. The good news: you can reverse it with strength training.
There’s no age limit on our ability to add muscle and stop “The Great Decline.” Without adequate muscle, our metabolism plummets, and it’s much harder to burn calories. My desperate friend is an avid walker—practically religious about it. But aerobic exercise by itself isn’t enough anymore. Here’s why.
The Real Secret To Burning Calories
First, forget about exercise burning calories. What really burns calories is muscle. More importantly, muscle makes you stronger so you’re naturally more physical throughout the day. And, your other activities…from walking, to hiking to climbing up the stairs can be performed at a higher intensity, which means you’re burning even more calories in your workout and your daily life.
Muscle Burns Calories Three Ways
• While working out—more muscle gives you the strength and stamina to work with greater intensity.
• After working out—training at a higher intensity raises your metabolism, and causes it to stay high for several hours afterward. That metabolic bump will cause your body to burn more calories between workouts than you would otherwise.
• Around the clock—Your muscle tissue is like a furnace, burning more calories all the time. So if you want to lose excess weight, stop focusing only on the calories you burn during exercise, and start working to increase your body’s overall calorie-burning potential, by increasing your muscle mass.