As we now know, having lean muscle mass in our bodies is absolutely essential to the process of losing body fat. Some people take that as the need to have super huge muscles like, say, a body builder would have. Others interpret this as just needing to have strong lean muscle; not necessarily anything big. Is one of these interpretations more correct than the other? No, not necessarily. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have big muscles. To some people, having big muscles makes them feel better. They feel more confident and attractive. Some people just want to have lean muscles; enough to allow the to do the things they love to do without feeling week and out-of-shape. Women, I would venture to say, just want to look and feel attractive or sexy. Whatever your motivation is, the fact remains; we all need to have some form of muscular structure in order to have an over-all healthy body. What we need to figure out as individuals, is, “what does that mean for me“?
I have always been one that likes to go into the gym and lift as heavy as I can and try to build the big muscles. Growing up, I was always kinda scrawny, so, having big muscles made me feel more confident. The down fall to this is, having big muscles, does not necessarily mean that we have muscular endurance. Think about swimmers or long distance runners and bicyclers. Would having big muscles make them better athletes in their particular sport? Probably not. The reason for that is, muscle mass can start to weigh a person down if they continue to add massive amounts. Think of a body builder. These guys usually weigh around 250 lbs (this is not specific, but a generality). Now, imagine Michael Phelps weighing in at 250 lbs. He would probably sink as soon as he hit the water! Or a Tour De France rider trying to push 250 lbs around the mountains of France. The one thing a person like Michael Phelps or Missy Franklin do have is, muscular endurance. They have trained their muscles to be able to sustain a certain movement for a long period of time. Or, as defined: “Performing multiple repetitions of an exercise“. Swimmers, long distance runners, bicyclers, even soccer players; are all involved in sports that would fit this definition. Athletes that train specific muscle groups in order to accomplish a single goal, to be the best they can be, are examples of people who train for muscular endurance.
But, what about regular Joe’s like you and I? Would it beneficial for you and I to have muscular endurance? Well, in my personal opinion, the answer would be an absolute, YES! My wife and I have recently started doing a “Les Mills BODYPUMP” class at the local gym we are members of. The goal of that exercise program is, to build strong lean muscles, using a system that uses lighter weight, more repetitions, and different speeds and variations of movement for that muscle group. We have been to four different classes and each time there has been a variation of exercises and each time we have come away form the class with tired muscles! In case you were wondering, tired muscles is a GREAT THING! That means, we were using our muscles in a way that will allow them to keep growing and changing and strengthening. If we can keep getting those same results, our muscles will get leaner, stronger and we will be able to keep burning body fat! So, to answer the question; “would it be beneficial for us to have muscular endurance“, I would say, if your goal is to be stronger, healthier and more active without getting tired so quickly, it is an absolute YES!
The bottom line is this: each of us will need to make the decision to get healthy, strong muscles, however we choose to do it. The important thing is, we do it. Lean healthy muscles, means a leaner healthier body. With that in play, we will be able to do immeasurably more than we ever thought possible!