Now, you all know that you “should” be lifting weights, but why?

Maybe because it makes you stronger, maybe because it makes you “buff”, sure, but mostly because it makes you fit all around.

Building muscle increases your metabolic rate. What the heck does that mean? Well, it increases the amount of energy it takes to keep your body alive at rest.

Muscle has a blood supply, meaning it is fed by our circulatory system to be kept alive. Fat, unless you are obese for a long period of time, does not have its own blood supply, meaning it just sits there.

It takes more energy to keep muscle alive than fat because of this. Your body has to digest food, get the nutrients into the bloodstream and then send it to the muscles to help the muscles strengthen by growing.

Also, the more muscle you have on your body, the stronger you are, the more weight you can lift, the harder your body works to lift it, the more energy that lifting takes, the higher your metabolism.

Immediately after you have finished a lifting program, your metabolism is increased over your pre-exercise levels and continues to be for up to 48 hours!

After one workout your body is in recovery mode, trying to put all those little muscle tears back together.

Yes, you could do steady-state cardio activities, burn calories and in turn lose fat. This is an important part to an all-round fitness program, decreasing resting heart rate and increasing cardiovascular health.

But, without a proper lifting program, you will end up what I call, “skinny fat”—a smaller version of your former self, but still no stronger and still soft. You will still maintain too much body fat percentage on your frame.

Instead, try explosive power-lifting movements. You will increase your heart rate while under the load, therefore skyrocketing your power output and metabolism.

Incorporate some sprint type, interval training in there and you’ll be a leaner version of your old self in no time.

When starting a strength program, do not go in thinking you are going to gain 15 pounds of muscle in a month.

Be realistic. Depending on your current fitness level, your lifting program and your nutrition regime, you can realistically gain one to seven pounds of muscle in a month.

This will depend on many varying factors.

Do not go in expecting amazing results overnight. Be patient, be consistent and don’t give up.

Remember, if you have not lifted since high school you will want to find a coach or personal trainer to help you set up a program that will work for you.

This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.

This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.