Add Muscle to Your Game ... and Your Life

Andre Agassi's rise to the upper echelon of professional tennis, TV commentators contend, is due in part to a strengthening program that packed 15 pounds of muscle on his physique.

In the days of Rosewall, Laver, and Ashe - not that long ago - a tennis player would just as likely play without strings in his racquet as he would build muscle mass. They mistakenly equated muscle up with slow down.

Even if you're not a million-dollar professional athlete, physical strength is still important in your life.
Man holding his back having pain while working at the officeOkay, so how strong do you have to be to sit at a desk during the day and lounge on a sofa at night? You can flip the switch on the computer, dial a cellular telephone, operate a TV/VCR remote control, punch the dials on a microwave, pull the tab on a soft drink can, and be patient enough to wait for elevators.

What good are bulging biceps in the society of the micro chip?

The machines made by man can't replace the machine that is man.

Muscles are the engine of the body; they perform work. Arthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus equipment, told us so a couple of decades ago. And it's true.

Muscles get Andre Agassi from baseline to the net, and they either pack more power into his strokes or provide a greater number of powerful strokes before tiring.

Muscles are where energy is released, power is produced, and where movement originates. Because the condition of our engine has a lot to do with the way we look, feel, and function, strong muscles are very advantageous.

As the engine of the body, our muscles burn fuel (calories). It's estimated that each pound of muscle requires 37.5 calories for sustenance at rest (basal metabolic rate).

If you're not putting forth a serious effort in the strength-training room at least twice a week, you're forfeiting approximately one-half pound of muscle per year. That how much will waste away or atrophy. This lowers your metabolic rate. If there is no corresponding reduction in caloric intake, the result is a gradual gain of body fat.

Excess fat is unhealthy - and, to most people, unappealing.

The body's shape is determined by bone structure and muscle-to-fat ratio. More muscle and less fat improves most people's physiques. Within genetic parameters (about which you can do nothing), muscle adds shape and firmness to the body.

Strength training is the best way to simultaneously increase muscle and decrease fat.

There's a common misconception that to shed body fat you must do aerobics. Doing aerobics, it is thought, burns fat as fuel, while strength training utilizes carbohydrate energy. What's not often recognized is that it really doesn't matter what type of fuel your body is using. The bottom line is that it requires calories. More than any other single factor in fat loss, calories count: dietary calories, exercise calories,
and metabolic-rate calories.

That's why during strength-training exercise, even though the body relies largely on carbohydrates for energy production, you still lose fat. Those carbohydrates expended during exercise are replaced by foods eaten, and fat stores are mobilized to supply energy needs created by the deficit from your exercise performance, dietary restrictions, and elevated metabolism.

In addition to being the engine of the body, muscle is also the shock absorber. Strength enhances the integrity of the joints, guarding against painful tears in the connective tissues of the knees, neck, shoulders, elbows, ankles and - above all - the lower back.

More and more elements of our society are awakening to strength training's benefits: improved physical capacity, increased metabolic rate, reduced risk of injury, and enhanced physical appearance. Make sure you do, too.

Your performance will improve in your play, your work, and many other aspects of your life. Get involved today.

Updated on: 07/19/16