Trends & Features

Why building muscle is more important than weight loss

While it’s important to set goals which are right for you, if you want to achieve both weight loss and muscle definition, building muscle should be the initial focus.

To expand on this further, Dean Zweck, Product Development Manager at Total Fitness, the leading health club brand across the North of England and Wales has shared his insights on the importance of building muscle and how incorporating strength training can help you reach your goals efficiently.

Firstly, it can be challenging to achieve both muscle gain and weight loss at the same time – achieving muscle definition typically requires a small calorie surplus, while losing weight requires you to be in a calorie deficit, making it difficult for these two situations to co-exist. However, this is not impossible if you put in the hard work and focus on building muscle first.

1. Toning
It’s common for people to use exercise to help them look toned, but to do this, you need to have some level of muscle development. To help achieve this, it’s important to do an element of resistance training, whether that be body weight exercises or lifting weights in the gym. If you prioritise weight loss before focusing on building muscle, it’s likely you will be disappointed with the results.

2. Strength
As you start to build muscle, you will notice that your strength begins to improve too. Building up your strength can help you during your day-to-day life, from simple tasks like keeping up with the kids to walking up the stairs, which shows how fundamental incorporating strength training into your workout routine is.

3. Balance
Your muscles are also important as they help to support your balance. Balance is an integral part of our daily lives, both when we’re in and out of the gym. It’s essential for reducing the risk of injury and also helps the body to stretch, which improves posture and coordination.

Building strength and muscle around your joints, such as your glutes and quads, will help to stabilise your hips and knees and ultimately improve your balance. This is extremely important as you age, as not only do your muscles help you stabilise, but they also add some cushioning should you slip, which will help to protect you further.

4. Confidence
Building muscle, increasing strength, and seeing the weights you lift increase, session by session, can also have a profound effect on your mental health and is bound to boost your confidence. This will build your self-esteem throughout all areas of fitness, meaning you’ll be inclined to keep it up, and set regular goals that challenge you.

5. Lose Weight
Finally, building muscle can ultimately help you to lose weight. Muscle is around three times more metabolically active than fat, meaning the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. These calories will mainly come from stored body fat helping you lose weight.. This is why it’s important to focus on achieving muscle definition first, as this will help you to lose weight and will leave you happier with the results.

If you don’t regularly use your muscles, you can quickly lose the strength and definition you have built. Regular resistance training is required to maintain and build muscle so it’s important to factor this into your workout plan. Try incorporating 2-3 full body resistance sessions a week as this will help you build muscle and tone your body.

Looking at the best exercises to help you achieve this, I’d suggest focusing on the ones which target multiple muscles at once, such as squats, lunges, press ups, bench pressing and deadlifts. For those less experienced, most gyms will have resistance machines that can help to guide your movement and show you exactly which muscles are worked.

If you prefer to be guided by other people, classes such as Body Pump at Total Fitness focus on lifting weights to help build muscle and are a great option for those who prefer to train with and feel motivated by others. There’s also the option of a personal trainer too.

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