Today, we are bringing you the ultimate guide to muscle & fat - the two power players for a strong and healthy body shape.
Muscle, Say What?
Everyone has two different types of muscle: type 1 (slow-twitch) and type 2 (fast-twitch) fibers. The slow-twitch fibers control endurance; they are they what you use when you run long distances, or any low-impact aerobic activity like Zumba.
Fast-twitch fibers are used for shorter more explosive movements like squat jumps or sprints. They fatigue faster than slow-twitch fibers and require more time for recovery. Both types of fibers stay the same size even after toning, only difference is type 2s get larger as they get stronger, so if your goal is muscle definition then working them is key!
Fat, Who Be That?
Now fat, on the other hand is a bit more complicated. We have white fat, which includes subcutaneous and visceral kinds, and brown fat. Subcutaneous fat is the pinchable stuff around your hips, breasts, butt, belly and thighs that gives one curves. This layer of fat is your largest energy reserve, it regulate our body temperature and cushions our internal organs. This type of fat is so essential that our bodies are wired to hold onto it, which can make loosing it a little extra tough.
Visceral fat hides under the white fat in your midsection, it serves to protect organs like your liver and intestines. Too much visceral fat however increases inflammation, raising your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.
Lastly, we have brown fat, now this the one you actually want more of, it burns calories instead of storing them and exercise may help stimulate the production of more brown fat cells.
Muscle & Fat. Are They Connected?
Like a car engine, our muscles require fuel to move. In fact, a large portion of the energy we use in your day is for powering our muscles, which serve several other purposes besides helping you crush it in the gym; i.e keeping your heart pumping and maintaining your balance. One of the best sources of energy is fat.
However, our bodies are fickle and like to pick and choose its source of fuel. You tap into fat for energy when doing low-intensity activities like typing on your computer or going for a walk. But as the intensity of the activity increases and the muscles start demanding fuel faster, your body switches to burning carbs, which are break down faster into energy.
Here are 4 ways you can build muscle and burn fat more effectively.
1. Get moving early. You can burn up to 20% more fat by exercising in the morning. The trick: Eat your breakfast after your workout. When you wake from a fasted state your body has less glycogen (a.k.a energy) from carbs, so it will have no choice but to use fat for fuel.
2. Sleep more. Aim for at least 7 hours a night, anything less than keeps the levels of the stress hormone cortisol elevated which may sabotage the results of your workout. Cortisol slows muscle growth and it may also cause the body to hold onto fat. Our bodies see stress as a threat, so our body begins hoarding fat so that it has energy stores particularly in the abdomen.
3. Follow the 1:3 rule. One hour, three times a week. If you try sticking to that workout schedule for 3 months, you will definitely experience a change.
4. Push harder. The best way to build lean muscle mass is by incorporating weights into your workout or doing body weight exercises until you're tapped out. Push yourself during every session and if you feel like you need help, get in touch with us at SWEAT FITNESS!