Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gotta Respect the Muscles

Muscles: have 'em, understand 'em, respect 'em.
Image: Shutterstock
It’s time to get something straight: our bodies are extremely complex pieces of machinery. Even today, with all our technological advancements, scientific knowledge, and thousands of years’ worth of human experience, there’s still a lot we don’t know about how our bodies work. That’s why finding the “best diet” or “best workout” is always a hotly contested topic. The truth is, we don’t really know. We’ve got very educated guesses (AKA hypotheses), but there are still too many variables for speaking in absolutes.

Luckily, though, there’s also a lot that we do know about our bodies. Since we live in them, I think we often tend to forget just how amazing our bodies really are—I know I do. So, today’s post is dedicated to muscles—so that next time you flex, you can do so with a greater appreciation!


…help us burn more calories. Muscles take energy for our bodies to maintain. That means the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn just from existing.

…can be targeted during exercise. While you can’t target areas for fat loss, you can tone specific areas of the body—like the core, arms, and legs. Just remember this: good form is more effective for building muscles quickly than lifting heavier weights. So, be sure to recognize your limits and make sure you are doing exercises accurately to avoid injury and get stronger faster.

…remember movements. Muscle memory is a real thing, and that’s why when you are first getting back into exercising or change workouts you often feel sore. Once our muscles learn those movement patterns, soreness will lessen. But remember, if you take breaks from exercising, you’ll need to ease your way back into it.

… are mostly water. Up to 70 percent water, in fact. That puts “staying hydrated” in a new light—because if you don’t, your muscles suffer!

…make up 30-40% of our body weight on average. So, a person weighing 150 lbs could attribute as much as 60 lbs to muscle. Plus, bones weigh on average 14-20 percent of body weight—which in this example would be up to 30 lbs. Together, that equals out to 70 percent of our weight!