So you’re here to learn about why you should gain muscle? Maybe you are skeptical and trying to decide if it’s really something you should work on. Or you’re convinced that there are better health goals to have. Maybe you have been focused on building muscle for a while and are looking for some motivation. Whatever your case may be, the best thing you can do for your health is to build muscle.
Some of the benefits that come from adding muscle to your body include:
- Stronger bones
- Better coordination
- Helps prevent injuries
- Shapes your body and makes you look more fit
- Makes fat loss easier
- Makes everyday life easier
- Helps improve posture
- Helps reduce back pain from things like sciatica
- Boosts your confidence
- Reduces your risk of heart disease
- Strength in old age
- Makes it harder to gain fat
- Reduces your risk of all-cause mortality
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but you can see that there are some very compelling reasons to build muscle! The reason that building muscle is the single best goal for an average person is primarily that they aren’t doing it. Even if they are lift weights, most people when they lift weights, do a strength circuit which is really just cardio in disguise. Strength circuits won’t get you very far if you’re trying to build muscle.
Before we get into how to build muscle, let’s go deeper into how building muscle will benefit you by explaining the points listed above.
Building muscle involves moving heavy things. This action of stressing the body by putting heavy weight on your back or carrying it, causes your body to adapt by increasing the density of your bones and strength of your connective tissue.
This adaptation results in a long-lasting change that will help you age better and help injury-proof you in the future.
The more you try new movements and practice them the more connections your brain makes and the better you are able to move through space. The greater the variety, the more beneficial. Try some mobility movements, weighted movements, bodyweight movements, animal flow, etc. The more you try and practice, the better your coordination and balance will become.
Helps Prevent Injuries
The increased balance and coordination that you get from working to build muscle is a big part of helping you prevent injuries. Another reason building muscle will help prevent injuries is it strengthens your connective tissue making you less brittle. Finally, practicing muscle-building movements like deadlifts, farmer’s walks, squats, rows and overhead press, you learn how to move in a way that will help prevent injuries.
Shapes your Body and Makes you Look More Fit
Words like “tone” are marketing sleaze that have people convinced that they just need to do 100’s of reps with lightweight to look more fit. This has little to no effect on making you slimmer or more fit. However, it is very much possible to shape your body with heavy weight lifting. Want to have more curves? Lift weights. Want bigger legs? Do heavy leg exercises. Want bigger arms? Do heavy arm exercises. Want a bigger butt? Do hip extension exercises with a heavy weight. These will grow the muscles in their respective areas.
Someone who lifts heavy will always look more fit than a runner, yogi, or someone who only does HIIT training.
Makes Fat Loss Easier and Fat Gain Harder
Regular weight training builds strength and muscle. It also speeds up your metabolism. The faster your metabolism, the more you can eat without gaining fat. This isn’t a ticket to just eat more but it is insurance against modern life.
If you continue lifting, with a faster metabolism and not greatly increasing how much you’re eating, you will lose body fat. Guaranteed. You might not see the scale change much but that doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress, most likely you are changing the composition of your body by losing fat and gaining muscle. This is why weighing yourself is not the only thing to track when you are trying to lose fat.
Makes Everyday Life Easier
Life is hard. The more mobile, strong, and healthy you are, the better you’ll be able to handle the challenges that life will throw at you.
More muscle means more strength and more strength means you can carry that extra bag of groceries or hold your toddler that much longer. More mobility means you can easily play around on the floor with your kids or pick up some awkwardly shaped furniture.
Helps Improve Posture
Smartphones are attacking our posture. Everywhere you look, shoulders are rounding forward and unless something is done to combat it, it will cause a lifetime of pain. Work to strengthen the opposing muscles to improve your posture.
Helps Reduce Back Pain from Things like Sciatica
Speaking of reducing pain, you can also reverse the pain caused by sciatica through resistance training. This is connected to your posture as well, work on your posture and your leg strength if you are dealing with sciatica.
If you have other back pain, resistance training can also help alleviate it. First, you should always go to the doctor to ensure that you are only to lift weights. Once you are cleared to lift, things like rows, pullups, overhead press, deadlifts, and good mornings will all help your back. It can’t be overstated the importance of correct form with these. Correct form will help you. The incorrect form will only make it worse.
Boosts Your Confidence
The mental benefits of weight lifting are arguably as important as the physical ones. It teaches you to work for something and to not have an instant gratification mindset. Lifting something heavier than you did the week before shows yourself that you not only can do hard things but that with practice, you can do things that you have never done before and reach your goals.
Seeing results from your hard work is so gratifying. It might take 6-8 weeks before you start seeing changes in the mirror but when you do, it can be very encouraging that your hard work is paying off.
Reduces your Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is consistently one of the biggest killers in America which is why I encourage everyone to get a reliable blood pressure machine and test their blood pressure regularly.
Exercise is a huge factor in maintaining healthy blood pressure and other causes of heart disease. It strengthens your vascular system and increases blood flow.
Strength in Old Age
Decreased strength is a big factor in difficulty and disease in old age. It’s natural for muscle mass and strength to slowly decline as you age. Weight training can very easily reduce or even reverse this. Building muscle while your young will make having it and keeping it as you age much easier.
Strength in old age will also help you avoid bad falls that could break bones, which will hospitalize you and open you up to the possibility of more deadly secondary infections/diseases.
Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Muscles use glycogen to function. The more your body can use the glycogen you eat, the higher your insulin sensitivity which means the lower your risk of diabetes. Carbs aren’t bad and neither is insulin. Understanding how they work in your body is important and can prevent you from becoming pre-diabetic.
Reduces your Risk of All-Cause Mortality
Exercising and building strength and muscle have been proven to increase your chances of living longer. But just living longer doesn’t necessarily mean a better life right? In this case, it does. If you want to live a long life and be able to enjoy life as you age, resistance training needs to be an integral part of your life.
The amount of muscle on your body is a better indication of long life than your blood pressure or cholesterol levels! How crazy is that?
Why does it matter for you and me…
The goal for you and me (average people) isn’t to get absolutely shredded and reach the genetic limits of how much muscle we can build in order to compete in a bodybuilding competition. We’re just trying to live our best lives. Be the best for our family, be productive at work, be helpful to our neighbors, have the energy and strength for the demands of life.
This is why you and I work to stay healthy and strong. Only until the past decade or so building muscle has been viewed as something only strongmen or bodybuilders do. Thankfully this perspective is changing.
What is your experience with strength training? Have you found success with a specific program or training method? Is there a way that you have trained that you haven’t been gotten the results you’ve wanted? I’d love to hear from you and help if I can! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.