Body Analysis Part III – What Gives?
With all of the different measurements readily available to us when we do a body analysis, how do we know what we should be focused on? Easy: think lean. That’s right, take a look at your lean body mass.
What is lean body mass? Simply put, it is everything on your body, minus your lipids, or fats as we like to call them. That being said, your lean body mass is not the same thing as your muscle mass. In fact, your lean body mass accounts for much more than just one simple category. Imagine all of the pieces of your body that do not belong to the “fats” category: muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, water etc. There are actually quite a few things to be accounted for there, and they are all of equal importance.
As a trainer, I like to think of your lean body mass as your lifestyle indicator. Rather than become obsessed with the one simple number like your weight, or your body fat, why not focus on the positive? All of the pieces of your lean body are what enables you to function everyday.
Your muscles, for example, are not only responsible for your strength, but also your balance, coordination, flexibility, shape, and endurance. I know often times increasing strength in the gym seems like a moot point. If you’re not a strength athlete or meat head, why care? Because it’s not always about the gym. The more capabilities your muscles allow you, the more opportunities your life provides you. Imagine something adventurous that seems fun to you – is it possible without muscle? No, not really… even if your answer was VR, you still have to be able to stand up and move. Not only are muscles the reason you can step off a curb and not shatter into bits, but they’re also what makes you confident jumping into the ocean on vacation! Muscle allows you to live your life functionally, and beyond. But that’s not all we’re working on…
The systems of your body also show improvement with exercise and contribute to your lifestyle. Your cardiovascular and respiratory systems are responsible for every breath you take, and can easily be strengthened with training. Imagine, walking up the subway steps and not breaking into a pant. Now imagine hiking a beautiful mountain and enjoying each breath of dewy, fresh air, and not gasping for it.
How about our bones? Did you know regular exercise can prolong degeneration and keep your bones from becoming porous and weak? Did you think I was kidding when I said step off the curb and shatter? I’ve actually seen that before!
The benefits of focusing on strengthening the parts that make up your lean body mass are endless. Everything you do in life requires this vessel you travel in: your body. Why wouldn’t we want to make it capable of keeping us safe, or truly having fun? Don’t let your body define your lifestyle, change your lifestyle and define your body! Now, go have some fun!