Fat vs Muscle: What is the right balance?
At Curves, we don’t believe in one, universally healthy body shape. We understand that, just as our personalities are different, so too are our bodies. That’s why our fitness regime is designed to bring out the best in an individual, and to help each Curvette on her own journey to a healthier, happier lifestyle. A large aspect of this journey is understanding how to be healthier, and much of that is better understanding your body. This week, our experts at Curves turn their attention to understanding the difference between muscle and fat; how they both work for your body and how to use them to bring out the best in you!
Regardless of what you might have heard, all fat is not bad and all muscle is not good. While playing vastly different roles, they are both essential to our body and its functions. Fat is needed for generating chemical reactions in the body such as reproduction and other basic metabolic functions. Moreover, it stores energy, insulates us and helps to protect our vital organs. Similarly, muscle is essential for our body’s movement, balance and even basic bodily functions such as breathing and digesting food. Muscle is also essential for shock and heat absorption. In the case of fat versus muscle, there can be no clear winner; rather we should be encouraging a healthy balance between the two.
To dispel the myth that surrounds the topic, we must state that muscle does not weigh more than fat, nor vice versa. One kilogram of muscle weighs the exact same as one kilogram of fat; what is different is that muscle is more compact than fat, meaning that people with more muscle tend to have a tauter, more toned appearance than those with more fat. Thus we see it is not our weight that really matters, it is rather our general well-being, and physical fitness that counts.
For years, fat has been demonised by fad diets and mainstream media, leaving many with a sour taste in their mouth. However, times are now changing and the word ‘fat’ is no longer synonymous with ‘bad’; in fact there are a whole host of incredibly healthy and nutritious foods, which are high in fat yet are hugely beneficial to our diet. Some of these foods include avocados, eggs, nuts and even dark chocolate! Curves recommends that you work delicious foods such as these into your diet, alongside fibre-heavy and protein-packed ingredients in order to guarantee a balanced and varied diet.
At Curves, our workouts are based around Strength Training, alongside cardio activity and stretches which help to build and maintain muscle. While many people looking to lose weight, particularly women, shy away from the idea of building muscle, they couldn’t be more wrong. While some fear that Strength Training will cause them to “put on” muscle and will make them look bulkier, this is not true. Muscle boosts a person’s metabolism, meaning that even when you’re not exercising, you will continue to burn calories. Moreover, aging tends to cause a loss in muscle mass, leading to older people being less active and physically capable. Building muscle fights these effects, as well improving bone density, an issue many women face later in life.