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Lean in and Tone Up

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The benefits of building lean muscle abound – from boosting your metabolism to increasing bone density to improving cardiovascular health. Every age can benefit from strength training. 

Cooper Fitness Center Professional Trainer Patrick Fisher discusses the benefits of building lean muscle, providing practical ways to incorporate weight and strength training into your workout routine.

Weight Lifting Myth Busted
Many individuals avoid weights in the gym for fear of piling on muscle mass and dramatically increasing in physique size, otherwise known as bulking. “Lifting weights will not result in bulking unless you work with that specific goal in mind,” Fisher explains. “The average person's workout and diet, especially a calorie-controlled diet, will not result in the same effects. Bodybuilders spend hours upon hours in the gym lifting extremely heavy weights and eat a very strict diet that promotes extreme muscle gain in order to bulk up.” The truth of the matter is that even though lifting weights promotes muscle gain, the majority of people do not have testosterone levels high enough to gain significant muscle mass. 

Weight training helps your body utilize and burn more calories in the post-workout recovery process by increasing your metabolism. This in turn means the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

How Much is Enough?
When lifting weights, increasing the number of repetitions done in each set is an ideal way to build lean muscle mass quickly. “While it may be true that sets of eight to 12 reps are effective for gaining muscle,” said Fisher, “alternating your training schedule doing between sets of 20 to 30 reps for several weeks and then lower reps for several weeks helps challenge your body and create toned muscle definition.” Dividing your workouts between aerobic exercise and this type of varied strength training stimulates muscle growth. Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, Cooper Aerobics Founder and Chairman, recommends splitting your workouts into the following amounts of aerobic exercise and strength training based on your age group for best results.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends training each muscle group as a set. For instance, alternating strength training workouts focusing on biceps and triceps, chest, shoulders and legs on separate days rather than grouping upper and lower body workouts. No matter what age, incorporating strength training into your fitness routine will propel you in your fitness goals to successfully build lean muscle mass.

The One Size Fits All Training Program
In addition to building lean muscle, numerous benefits are associated with strength training:

•    Boosting metabolism
•    Increasing physical function and bone mineral density
•    Helping prevent and manage type 2 diabetes and chronic pain
•    Improving cardiovascular health and cholesterol levels
•    Reducing blood pressure
•    Enhancing mental health
•    Reversing the side effects of aging

The benefits of lean muscle building go beyond aesthetics and are an investment in your overall well-being. No matter your age, it is not too late to start experiencing the benefits of strength training now and in the future. 

For more information about Cooper Fitness Center or to schedule a session with a Professional Fitness Trainer, visit or call 972.233.4832.