Last week I gave you the only foolproof formula for building muscle there is. And, as I alluded to in the intro to that article, muscle building is nary given its due respect these days.
Today, I’m standing up in defense of “The Muscle”, my friend and confidant, with the hope that those who’ve been guilty of disrespecting his value in their lives might realize the error of their ways.
I estimate about half of you reading this chuckled at my reference to “The Muscle”. I must admit that as I was writing it I heard Butthead from Beavis and Butthead saying, “He said ‘The Muscle’. Hehehe. Hehehe.”
Sexual innuendo aside, I’d like the opportunity to convince you that building more muscle is almost always beneficial, with very few exceptions.
Without further ado, here are 13 reasons men and women ought to start giving “The Muscle” a little more love:
#1: Muscle Looks Awesome (duh)
I could stop at that and be done, because I think we’d all agree on this point. Before moving on, though, I do feel a disclaimer is necessarily in order.
I’m talking about natural amounts of muscle here. There are even some steroid users that don’t go too overboard and still look fantastic.
However, there is a point at which one begins looking freakish and unnatural. This is not what we’re going for people.
I guess the header should have read: “Natural Muscle Looks Awesome (duh)”
If you’re building muscle without the use of unnatural implements, having more of it will only serve to make your body look better. Not like these two:
#2: Adding Muscle Mass Is The ONLY Way to Permanently Increase Your Metabolism
For those of us who aren’t skinny hardgainers with a lightning fast metabolism, enhancing our metabolism can only be a good thing. The higher our metabolic rate, the easier it is to get and stay lean.
This is why entire fat loss programs are centered around maximizing one’s metabolic output. I believe this to be overkill, but it emphasizes the lengths to which people will go to increase their body’s natural fat burning mechanisms.
This may come as a surprise, but the ONLY way to PERMANENTLY increase your metabolism is to build more muscle mass.
All other methods aimed at improving the metabolism are only temporary in their results.
The body expends a certain number of calories per day just to maintain every pound of muscle it’s carrying. I’ve seen estimates in the 50 calories per day range, but this doesn’t add up and I therefore don’t trust it.
It doesn’t add up because it precludes the use of common sense. Think about it this way:
I currently have about 165lbs of lean mass on my body. If I were burning 50 calories for every pound of muscle, my metabolic rate would be 8,250 calories just from maintaining my lean muscle mass, and doesn’t even include other factors like, exercise, breathing, digestion, etc.
I can tell you that my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is nowhere near that number.
I have yet to see a study definitively quantify the impact muscle has on one’s metabolic rate, but it’s obvious that there is a correlation. And it’s a correlation that lasts as long as the muscle is present.
#3: More Muscle Means More Self-Confidence
When you look better – and know you do – this can’t help but manifest itself by improving your self-confidence.
Self-confidence is a big deal. It governs how you carry yourself. It effects how others perceive you (and your abilities). It can even impact your ability to love and feel loved.
Apart from their outward appearance being transformed, an improved level of self confidence is the next most obvious transformative aspect in the lives of those that make significant improvements to the composition of their body.
More muscle makes you look better, feel stronger, have more energy – all of which overflows into an improved level of self-confidence.
#4: Perform Better at Sports
The more muscle you have, the greater the force you can potentially generate.
This translates into running faster, hitting harder, jumping higher and being more resistive to outside forces, like an oncoming tackler.
This one’s fairly obvious, so I’ll end it at that.
#5: Muscle Increases Fat Burning
I already addressed the relation between muscle and the metabolism.
But it’s also worth noting that the more muscle you have, the more calories you can potentially burn through exercise.
More muscle fibers being recruited to perform a given lift or movement results in a greater caloric expenditure while performing said movement.
In addition, greater muscle mass generally means greater strength. Remember, the more weight you’re effectively pushing or pulling, the more calories (energy) will be required.
In other words, squatting 300lbs for 5 reps will require more calories than squatting 200lbs for 5 reps.
More muscle equals more strength. More strength equals more calories burned while training. More calories burned while training equals greater fat loss.
This obviously assumes no change to the nutritional component, but I think you get the point.
#6: When You Have More Muscle You Can Eat More Food
This results from a combination of #2 and #5 above. As you build muscle, your metabolism builds and your caloric expenditure while training increases, creating a greater net calorie burn on a daily basis.
This means you will be able to eat more food while still shedding excess body fat (or maintaining your current body fat percentage, if you’re already lean).
I don’t know about you, but I like to eat. So getting to put more food in my mouth without compromising my ability to improve my physique is always a good thing!
#7: Muscle is Directly Correlated to Raw Strength
The more muscle you have, the stronger you’re generally going to be. This all goes back to the fact that the best way to build muscle is to consistently apply the principle of progressive overload.
While some have an unwarranted fear of building too much muscle, I think we can all agree that possessing more strength can only be a good thing.
After all, the more people we have in this world that can screw the lid off a pickle jar, the better.
#8: Muscle Fills Out Your Body and Makes Your Clothes Fit Better
“Gosh, Becky! I wish I had a butt that could fill out a pair of jeans like that.”
Ladies, if you want to look good in a pair of jeans, there’s more to it than just being skinny. You’re going to have to fill those jeans with some muscle.
Squats, rear-leg-elevated split squats, lunges and barbell glute-ham raises will do the trick. Mix a couple of these in 2 or 3 times per week and don’t be afraid to go heavy (5-8 reps).
And guys, shopping in the youth boys shirt section to make your chest and arms look bigger isn’t cool!
Start hitting the weights with a purpose, eat clean, don’t skimp on your calories too much, build some muscle and save yourself the embarrassment.
#9: Muscle & The Sexiness Factor
While obviously related to item #1, sexiness is distinct from the fact that muscle looks awesome.
It’s what muscle affords us in the eyes of others that motivates men and women alike to hit the gym. The #1 reason people train their bodies is to look better; To be more attractive; To look sexier.
Maybe there’s a guy or gal in the office you’ve had your eye on and want to get their attention. Maybe you’d like to put the sizzle back into your marriage (more on this in a moment).
Whatever your reasoning, looking your sexiest requires muscle. That’s just the way it is.
Shedding fat and getting skinnier helps, but being skinny and soft with little muscle definition isn’t exactly what most would consider sexy.
This goes especially for the ladies. Guys understand that women like their men to possess muscle and strength.
Women, for some reason, think men are most attracted to women that possess little of either. At least they train like they believe this.
Five hours on the treadmill every week doesn’t build the ideal female physique. It’s built using the same principles that men use.
To be honest, there is very little difference in the way men and women ought to train.
The bottom line: Both men and women should want more muscle for a variety of reasons, the least of which certainly not being the desire to enhance their sexiness, which having more muscle will certainly do.
#10: Muscle Helps You Age Better
Looking like he does at 67 years of age, I could think of nobody better to epitomize this point than my man, Sylvester Stallone.
Time wears on us (and on our muscles). After the age of 30 our testosterone levels begin to decline and muscle loss will occur if nature is allowed to take its course unfettered.
That is why I recommend fettering it, as doing so will keep your testosterone levels primed and allow you to take plenty of muscle mass with you into the later years of life.
Regular weight training and high intensity conditioning (like interval sprints) will keep your hormones at optimal levels – even as you age.
When I talk about weight training, I’m talking about strength training (i.e. the application of progressive overload) with weights that lead to failure somewhere in the 4-10 rep range.
Sly Stallone looks like he does at 67 because of the groundwork he laid throughout his life.
The lesson to be taken here: The earlier you make training a regular part of your life, the better.
It only gets harder to build muscle as you age, and the more you can build while you’re younger, the better your potential will be to age gracefully.
#11: More Muscle Makes You More Money
Whether you like it or not, all people are influenced by your appearance. This includes those that hold positions of authority in the workplace.
So having more muscle and looking your best can’t help but spill over into your ability to earn a living.
In fact, research has determined that people who are perceived as being attractive make more money than their less attractive counterparts.
While attractiveness is subjective to a certain degree, I believe there are certain traits that are indelibly associated with looking good – like being lean with at least a decent amount of muscle.
It should also be noted that studies have found that overweight individuals make less money and are more likely to be perceived as less intelligent.
Of course I don’t agree with this. I know a number of people that would be considered overweight that I deem to be much more intelligent than myself.
But this is reality. You can whine and complain about how unfair it is, and hope human psychology will suddenly rewire itself, or… You can use it to your advantage.
I prefer the latter.
A study by Professor Vasilios Kosteas at Cleveland State University, published in the Journal of Labor Research, found that people who are rated as being “in shape” make an average of 10 percent more in salary per year than people who aren’t.
Your muscle is tied to your wealth, so you’d do well not to ignore it, and instead use this reality to your advantage.
#12: More Muscle Makes Getting “Toned” Easier
“Toned”, or having a high level of muscle definition, is a look we should all strive to develop and maintain.
From a body fat perspective, we’re talking somewhere in the ballpark of 10-15% for men and 12-17% for women. These are good goals for an everyday body fat percentage and most will have some amount of abdominal definition in these ranges.
You will obviously want this number to be as low as possible if you plan on competing in a physique competition.
Despite popular regurgitated opinions, toning has nothing to do with lifting light weights for a seemingly infinite number of reps. Muscle definition is a function of body fat. Period.
If you want to be toned, and have muscle definition, you have to lean out to the point that your muscles are no longer hidden under layers of fat and can show through with ease.
That being said, the more muscle you have, the easier it will be to see with the naked eye.
So having more muscle will increase your muscle definition – even while maintaining a similar body fat percentage.
#13: Improve Your Sex Life (oh yeah!) and Maintain a Healthy Marriage
Regular sex is a critical component of a happy and flourishing marriage. It’s certainly not the end-all-be-all, but a couple’s relational intimacy is directly tied to sexual frequency (and vice versa).
Lack of sexual intimacy can also lead to a host of problems. Everydayfamily.com says, “When couples stop having sex, their relationships become vulnerable to anger, detachment, infidelity.”
According to a 2003 Newsweek study, between 15% and 20% of couples are living in a sexless marriage, where couples make love no more than 10 times a year.
What?!? 10 times a year? Are you kidding me? Hi mom!
The reasons behind this are obviously vast and complex and I’m not even going to try to pretend to be an expert on human sexuality.
That being said, having more muscle will only serve to make you that much more physically desirable and can do nothing but make your spouse want you more intensely and more often.
But remember, having more muscle and looking sexier isn’t going to make your spouse any more likely to engage in sexy time (as Borat would say) if their emotional needs aren’t also being met.
While I understand that physical attractiveness and regular sex are only two factors among a number of variables that factor into having a happy marriage, these are still BIG factors that are dependent upon one another to some degree and ought not be neglected.
Are You Convinced You Need More Muscle Yet?
If not, I fear that you’re probably a lost cause. I’ve appealed to everything from your self-confidence, to your ability to earn a living, to the frequency you and your spouse do the dirty.
Building a respectable amount of muscle will impact your life in more ways than you can imagine. In fact, my original list for this article was well over 30 reasons long.
I felt compelled to cut the list down in order to keep this from turning into a novel, but I hope I’ve done my friend, “The Muscle”, the justice he well deserves.
Has building muscle and strength impacted your life? Feel free to share your additions to my list of reasons to build more muscle by leaving me a comment below.
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