Why Women Need Muscle Mass
A fantastic change we’ve seen in the fitness space over the last several years is that women have been striving to build muscle mass.
Unfortunately, some women still think lifting heavy will make them bulky (it won’t).
While we shared the benefits of lifting heavy weights in this post, we also wanted to talk about the importance of having muscle mass because the benefits of muscle building go far beyond looking like a badass (though that’s definitely a perk!).
Having a nice booty that fills out your jeans is just a nice side effect, but there are so many more reasons for women to build muscle.
Why Women Need Muscle Mass
Muscle is beneficial for a lot of things, and it has biological benefits, too.
Muscle Mass and Insulin
Having muscle mass directly affects glucose disposal and insulin sensitivity.
Insulin is a hormone that helps shuttle glucose to tissues to be used for energy, which is either used right away or stored.
Muscle is one of the most insulin-sensitive tissues in your body, making it one of the largest glucose disposal tissues.
The more muscle you have, the more insulin sensitive you are, and the more glucose you can dispose of. This is an essential process because excess glucose in the bloodstream leads to hyperglycemia and other diabetes-related issues.
Muscle Mass and Fatty Acids
Muscle mass also aids in the metabolizing of fatty acids.
Fatty acids are the building blocks of the fat in our bodies and our food, and muscle is one of the largest sites for oxidizing fatty acids.
Oxidizing fatty acids is also referred to as utilizing fat for fuel.
The more muscle mass you have, the more fatty acids you can utilize.
Muscle Mass and Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
Your muscle mass provides the largest reservoir of amino acids in the body that can support protein synthesis or energy production elsewhere in the body when other sources are depleted.
The more muscle you have, the larger that reservoir.
Muscle Mass and Myokines
Myokines are also known as “hope molecules.” They are produced when your muscles contract, such as during strength training.
Myokines work at the brain level and can help you be more resilient to stress, so the more muscle mass you have, the better you’ll be able to handle stress.
More Benefits of Building Muscle
In addition and related to the biological benefits listed above, having a decent amount of muscle mass can help:
- Support your joints
- Build strength and stamina
- Improve sleep
- Improve your mental health
- Prevent osteoporosis
- Increase your lifespan
(McLeod et al., 2016; Westcott, 2015).
How to Build Muscle
Another thing to keep in mind is that the process of gaining muscle tissue is responsible for many of the benefits, and it has its own unique benefits, too.
Progressive overload is a concept where you work to continually increase the demands on your musculoskeletal system to gain muscle size, strength, and endurance. You do this when you slowly increase your weights, reps, or time under tension while exercising.
One of the benefits of the process of building muscle is the myokines, as mentioned above. When you’re strength training, the action of muscle contraction releases myokines, which has some happy benefits.
As another example, a benefit of eating enough protein will help you feel fuller and more satisfied, which can help you achieve other goals you’re working towards.
So in these cases, it’s not the muscle itself but the actions that go into building muscle that creates these benefits.
Working with a coach is a great way to learn more about optimizing your nutrition and training habits to build muscle and improve your health.
If you’re looking for some guidance, the team at KJO Coaching would be happy to help you on your fitness journey.
Click here to learn more about how we can help you build muscle and improve your health.
Not ready to step into coaching? We’ve still got you covered!
Check out our FREE 4-week sample training guide. This guide includes videos, common terminology, and other important information you need to start your fitness journey on the right foot.
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McLeod, M., Breen, L., Hamilton, D. L., & Philp, A. (2016). Live strong and prosper: the importance of skeletal muscle strength for healthy ageing. Biogerontology, 17(3), 497-510.
Westcott, W. L. (2015). Build muscle, improve health: benefits associated with resistance exercise. ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal, 19(4), 22-27.