The term “weight-gain” has heavy negative connotations for most people, notably those of the female persuasion. A fair number of individuals tend to automatically assume that any increase in weight is undesirable for health reasons, mainly because it affects one’s body-mass index. However, not all weight is created equal.
We erroneously equate weight-gain to the accumulation of fatty tissue. However, that is not true and neglects the possibility that the changes in one’s weight can stem from an increase in healthy and lean muscle mass. A percentage of said change can also come from water retention, so don’t get too hung up on the number at hand!
If you’ve been conscientiously training towards a leaner and healthier physique, don’t assume that the only evidence of success comes in the form of a smaller scale number. Body composition is more than just about how much you weigh – it’s about what constitutes said weight. If you lose 3kg of fat and gain 4kg of muscle, then you’re much closer to your goal despite being in a weight “surplus”.
Gaining weight healthily can be achieved from strength training. This notion has recently been cast in the spotlight thanks to social media posts from Anne Hathaway, who made headlines for pre-empting fat-shamers who were being critical of her process of gaining weight for a new movie role. Her way of speaking out included posts on her Instagram page which showcased her building muscle by way of lifting weights and using resistance bands, while espousing the benefits of being a strong woman. Her reaction has increased awareness about how weight-gain can be a meaningful and healthy thing, and the responses to her statements have been largely positive and encouraging.
An increase in muscle mass confers many numerous health benefits. In fact, it can even help you to lower your overall body fat. Did you know that for every pound of muscle gained, you can burn 35 to 50 calories a day! This increase in one’s resting metabolic rate means that you become more efficient at using food as energy, as opposed to storing it as fat.
If you’re going to start putting on weight, you might as well make sure it’s the right kind! Despite what some people might believe, putting on muscle won’t end up making you look immediately muscle-bound; the athletic physique is one that carries a significant amount of muscle tone along with a modest amount of body fat. Utilised properly, strength training won’t just make you feel good – you’ll look better too!