The importance of building muscle and fuelling the body

The importance of building muscle and fuelling the body

As you know exercise is good for you, however you may not know the importance of building muscle through strength training.  If your workouts purely focus on cardio or aerobic exercise, you're missing a key component of overall fitness.  Gaining muscle mass offers plenty of benefits for everyone.  Being strong and fit will do wonders for your health, confidence and energy.  A stronger body is a leaner, fitter, metabolism-boosting machine.

Strength training increases lean muscle mass, which helps your body burn calories more efficiently and improves your quality of life.  The higher percentage of muscle in your body, the more efficient your body will be at losing weight.

Stronger muscles help support your joints - this can help you lead a more independent lifestyle as you age.

Building muscle also helps protect your joints from injury.  This is particularly important to note as you age; balance may become an issue that can lead to fractured hipbones or other injuries related to falls.  Stronger muscles help support your joints - this can help you lead a more independent lifestyle as you age. Increased muscle mass makes you stronger so you'll have more stamina when you perform physical activities.  As you become more active, your quality of life will most certainly improve.  Stronger muscles also counteract the side effects of weak muscles, which may cause instability and structural pain.

Tips for building stronger muscles

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Photograph by Oly Barnsley

Lifting heavier weights will increase the overall fat burning effects, but the key is to start light, maintain good form throughout and progress to heavier weights to challenge your sessions.  Try a combination of pure weight training, then weight training paired with some cardio (Bi30 - sweat & sculpt workout video) as this will help you burn twice as much fat as cardio alone.

Try different ways of working with weight.  You can burn fat and maintain muscle when training with resistance weights, resistance bands and bodyweight training. Mix things up to keep you muscles guessing.

Pre-workout fuel should contain easy to digest foods and protein paired with natural fats and slow release carbohydrates.

Eat the right fuel to build muscle.  Nourish your body with good, nutrient-dense food so you’ll feel energised to do good workouts.  By adding more protein into your diet, you will fuel muscle retention and growth.  Protein is needed for growth, formation and repair.  Your body can’t store protein so it must be supplied on a daily basis from the foods you eat.  Increase your protein levels to compensate for the increased muscle breakdown that occurs during and after intense exercise.

Pre or post workout fuel – what to eat

bare-biology-healt-better-in-30-the-importance-of-building-muscle-and-fuelling-your-body-by-louisa-drake

I always advise eating before training but it really depends on what type of workout you’re doing, so you can match the best nutrition to support your performance and recovery.

Certain foods can really maximise your workouts, like beetroot, maca or spirulina for extra energy, stamina and endurance.

Pre-workout fuel should contain easy to digest foods and protein paired with natural fats and slow release carbohydrates.  I like to include a mix of lean meats such as chicken or smoked salmon with spirulina, eggs, avocado, nuts, full fat yoghurt and oats, quinoa, spelt, brown rice and vegetables.  Certain foods can really maximise your workouts, like beetroot, maca or spirulina for extra energy, stamina and endurance.  These are available in powder form which you can easily add to a juice, smoothie or shake.  Snack smart with apple slices or banana topped with nut butter, a handful of nuts or you could try a protein or energy bar.

Post workout should also include a protein and carb combo as this will allow your muscles to repair better.  Complete protein powders such as whey, plant derived soy or hemp contain all the 9 essential amino acids.  Try adding Omega 3 sources such as Bare Biology Lion Heart, chia or flaxseeds, to a juice or smoothie for extra recovery.  Rehydrate and replenish by adding cucumber, coconut, birch or maple water and blueberries, acai (my favourite) or leafy greens for an antioxidant hit.

Doing the #betterin30 challenge? Use the hashtag to tell us how you’re getting on, and you could win a personal session with one of our experts! 

bare-biology-health-better-in-30-free-lifestyle-plan-fitness-expert-and-personal-trainer-louisa-drake

Louisa Drake is your Better in 30 Fitness Professional.  She’ll stretch you out, tone you up and have you feeling your best by day 30.  Louisa is the Founder of the Louisa Drake Method and a fitness teacher at several of London’s hot spots including Equinox, Shoreditch House and The Detox Kitchen.  She’s worked with some of Hollywood’s leading ladies including Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham.  And now you.

Main photograph by Oly Barnsley. 
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