Weight loss has always been difficult. If it was easy, no one would be overweight, right? The hard part, as with any other worthy goal, is that weight loss can usually only be accomplished if the person is willing to tweak their own behavior and do what works.
We all know that there are no shortcuts in our fitness journeys, but there is one simple exercise that works every single time: the squat! How and why, you ask? Keep reading.
The Calorie Factor
Let’s do a review about calories to help you understand why building muscle is important.
Every time we do a challenging physical activity, we can feel how our bodies become more excited. Our hearts start racing and our focus becomes sharper. I(t’s a great feeling!) When the body is doing any type of exercise, multiple types of nutrients within are quickly consumed – carbohydrates, glucose, protein, and enzymes. These nutrients are the source of our calories.
A calorie is an energy unit that represents the fuel that keeps us alive and moving.
The source of your calories is important. Eat quality, healthy food that supports your weight loss and health goals. For example, a candy bar and a soda don’t provide quality, clean fuel. They provide calories in the form of sugar which gives you energy quickly and then fizzles out. A lean protein source and veggies provides calories that support your health and fitness goals in a more positive way. Common sense, right?
When we have a high-calorie diet and a sedentary lifestyle, the number of calories we don’t use during our day will be stored as fat deposits.
So, the simple answer here is to burn all calories and create a deficit. To do that, having a low-calorie diet isn’t enough. The number of calories our bodies demand to properly function needs to increase.
More Muscle to Burn Fat
Most people ignore how many calories their bodies need to properly function. Truth be told, it’s not easy to determine that number. In the “how-many-calories-should-I-have”equation, muscle mass represents the most important factor. The more muscle you have, the more calories the body will need every day.
Let’s use a bodybuilder as an example. This athlete needs to have an expansive, clean diet in order to maintain his or her body mass. The food intake must increase exponentially if the goal is to build even more muscle. More muscle = more calories burned.
People that are struggling with weight loss tend to ignore lifting weights most of the time. This could be the most counterproductive strategy ever! If you want to burn fat, you need to build muscle. It’s that simple.
The Squat as the Definitive Solution
If you were looking for a simple exercise for weight loss, the squat is it!
Obviously, squats will help to build your leg muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves), but they also create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building.
Squats can be so intense that they help facilitate the release of testosterone and human growth hormone, which are vital for muscle growth. This also helps to improve muscle mass when you train other areas of your body aside from your legs.
This is a great description of the squat: Start by standing up tall, with shoulders back, feet about shoulder width apart, and toes pointed forward. With all your weight on your heels, inhale as you squat back by bending at the knee and sticking your butt back as you lower. Keep your head and chest up, and your eyes looking forward.
To maintain good form during the squat, you can also visually focus on a spot on a wall in front of you. Once you feel comfortable, you can increase reps and add weight gradually. Sneak in squats during commercials or while your kids at playing at the park!
Have fun and happy squatting!
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