Fight Flab by Understanding Lean Muscle Mass Manisha Sharma August 23, 2012 Nutrition & Fitness views: 7754 As unfortunate as it is, once you’ve crossed your 30s, your body starts to show your age. Specifically in the build-up of flab, especially on your arms and around your waist. And you think to yourself – I’m going to do something about it. Which mostly translates to dumping sleeveless tops for longer sleeves. Your gym trainer is often of little help, recommending general workouts that do little to resolve problem areas. So what is it that you can do? Well, for starters, you must enlighten yourself about lean muscle mass. Lean body mass makes up to 80% of your composition and as people age, their skeletal muscle, also known as lean muscle mass, starts to deteriorate. Research has found that we all lose 0.6kg of muscle every year after the age of 30 which actually reduces our basal metabolic rate. This means that our bodies use less food and eating the same amount of food that we did before only makes us larger and bigger. However, the good news is that we can reverse this process – by watching what you eat and through strength training. Eating proteins and healthy fats and cutting down on simple carbohydrates is the best way to build lean muscle mass. And incorporating strength training into your exercise will help increase the amount of calories burned. With strength training, muscle tone and metabolism will improve. This gives you a fit appearance, improves your self-confidence and increases the number of calories burned each and every day, even while your body is at rest. However, lean body mass does not mean that you will lose weight, but you will surely lose inches. This is because muscles are heavier than fat. For example, an athletic person will be heavier because of the muscles he/she has in place of fat. So strength training will enhance our muscles and reduce body fat which helps prevent sagging in all the wrong places! And isn’t this exactly what we want? As an added bonus, strength training helps improve bone density and reduce the likelihood of osteoporosis. Improving our lean muscle mass also decreases the risk of sustaining an injury. Strength training also reduces the risk of coronary disease and aids in the rehabilitation and recovery of injuries. Researchers have even found that strength training can offer the same benefits as cardiovascular exercise. So if you’re not into running or that early morning jog, pull out your yoga mat instead, sign up for a Tai Chi class or take up Pilates. Very soon, you’ll be looking and feeling much younger than your 30+ years. And that’s a promise!