by Gerard P

Photo Credit: Images by Westfall

Photo Credit: Images by Westfall

In the midst of bathing suit season, a lean, sculpted body is often high on the fitness priority list.  But the benefits of adding weight lifting into your fitness routine go well beyond the physical aesthetics.

It's commonly known that if you lift weights, then you build muscle. However, not everyone knows all the different benefits that building muscle will provide for your body.

Muscle is different from fat when it comes to the effect it has on your body. While fat ultimately harms the body, leading to long-term health problems, muscle helps protect your organs, bones, and even regulates your bodily functions.

You can determine your body fat percentage using different methods. One method you can use is to use the BMI, or Body Mass Index, which will give you a number which shows where you fall on a scale of different healthy percentages. This method is useful in that it requires no special equipment and will give you a vague idea of how much body fat you have. A healthy BMI ranges from 18.5 to 24.9.


A better method is to figure out body fat percentage by using calipers. Another method, which is the most accurate possible, uses water displacement. Water displacement is expensive, however, and probably not necessary unless you are an athlete.

No matter which way you use to determine your body fat percentage, the fact remains that the more muscle you have, the lower your body fat percentage will be. It's important to note that a bit of body fat is needed to protect the organs from bruising; that amount does vary by gender with women needing more body fat than men. So there is such a thing as being too skinny, despite the saying “You can never be too rich or too thin.”

So, we know that having more muscle is better than having more fat. The question remains, why is muscle better than fat? You may say that muscle is more attractive than fat. However, the health benefits are more important than just appearance.

Everyone wants to look good on the outside, but feeling good and having a healthy body on the inside is more important. Therefore, having muscle is important because it will allow your body to benefit from the many healthy benefits that muscle provides to the body.

A prime benefit of muscle is that even when you're sitting, muscle will burn more calories than fat. Most people think you can only burn calories when you are engaging in some kind of activity. This is not true, however, as burning calories will happen even when you're sitting or, sleeping. Your body burns calories just to continue existing.

Therefore, having muscle is good because it will burn calories when you are not doing anything at all. By building more muscle you burn more calories. You can probably see that burning more calories even when you are sitting will lead to a healthier life.

Another benefit of muscle is that it will protect your body from physical complications. By having more muscle you will guard your organs from issues which might occur otherwise. In particular, the muscles of your lower back and abdominal region protect organs in that area from being harmed, as you have no bones in that area to prove the protection they normally do.

There are no doubt many positive factors to weigh-in to your future weight lifting decisions!