Focusing on weight-bearing exercise a few times per week can help increase lean body mass and decrease adipose tissue (fat mass). This doesn’t mean only focusing on strength training or completely avoiding aerobic exercise. The other component to bulking up to the level of muscle many are resistant to is protein intake. Most of us can not consume in a normal diet the amount of protein it would require to build bulky muscle or maintain it.
The other part of this narrative that it is important we discuss is the idea of “strength”. Having a strong body can help you accomplish daily tasks with less effort and for a longer period as you age. For many years the idea of being thin and frail was a cultural idea. There is a very healthy change that is currently happening where we are focusing on strength instead of thinness. So while you may not bulk up like strong bodybuilders by adding in strength training, I encourage you to think of gaining strength as a very positive pursuit.
How Can I Increase My BMR The Most Efficiently?
Your main focus during your workout should be the large muscle groups. Think of muscles from your shoulders to your knees, front and backside. This includes the abdominals, chest, back, glutes, quads, and hamstrings. These muscles are the largest and require the most energy (calories). That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add in some bicep curls or calf raises- simply make the majority of your routine focused on those bigger muscles.
When you’re ready you can start adding weights such as dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, and anything else you might have access to. Remember that building muscle takes time and consistency, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results overnight.
Experts are worth the investment. You wouldn’t go ride a sailboat for the first time without someone that knew how to sail. Working with fitness experts can help you get the most out of the time you are putting into sweat and help you avoid injury. When and where possible, consider hiring a trained professional to help guide you in your fitness journey.
Increasing Your BMR Is Not Just About Exercise – Food Matters Too
It’s also important to remember how to fuel our bodies for this type of goal. Your body will not be able to increase muscle mass if you are eating inadequate amounts of protein or inadequate amounts of calories. You can’t make matter out of nothing and you need protein to build muscle.
One of the worst mistakes people make to lose weight is they exercise without eating enough. Your body has a primary objective to keep you alive. This is more important than gaining muscle or helping reproduce. If resources are limited, your body will not signal muscle tissue building or cycle regularity. While you need to consume enough protein to build muscle you also can not enter too large of a calorie deficit and expect redistribution to come in the form of muscle and lean tissue.
Please don’t confuse the loss of fat as “fat turning into muscle”, this is another marketing fib, fat cannot convert to muscle and muscle cannot magically turn into fat; they are separate components of your body composition. Another great outcome of adding resistance training to your workouts, other than increasing lean muscle mass and BMR, is you will likely lose body fat. Wahoo!
The real magic here is that by building muscle through resistance training you are increasing your basal metabolic rate AND burning more calories with your workout routine. Essentially you burn more calories during exercise and at rest.
Remember, you are also burning through and using some of that testosterone. It’s a win-win-win. So, be patient, be consistent and keep moving forward. You got this!
Body Composition Changes Impact Insulin and Androgen Levels
As your body composition changes and adipose tissue decreases your levels of insulin, leptin, testosterone and estrogen can all decrease. This is really powerful for symptoms of PCOS including weight gain, cycle irregularity, hair loss, excess hair growth, acne, and more.
Adipose tissue is not very metabolically active, meaning it doesn’t take a lot of calories to keep it around. Yet, adipose or fat tissue is very hormonally active. It can create hormones like estrogen and testosterone. It can also impact the creation of leptin. Leptin is the “I’m full” hormone. It tells your brain to stop eating. As adipose tissue levels increase, so does leptin, and leptin resistance can follow.
As lean muscle mass increases it is normal to see average blood sugar levels decrease. While lean muscle does weigh more than adipose tissue, it is more dense and can actually help with losing weight in the long term.
Improving blood sugar levels and lowering insulin levels can decrease overall insulin resistance which is incredibly helpful for resolving symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) including menstrual cycle health and fertility.