Why Building Muscle is More Important Than Losing Fat for Longevity

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What a great topic to kick off with, as this has been one of my biggest battles to understand, and will for sure be the biggest battle for many to understand on a life changing fitness journey.

Mainstream health knowledge has demonised fat over the years. Fortunately this is changing, but the fear of fat is so ingrained into many of us, that we have no idea what else to focus on. What metrics should we use to judge our progression?

Fortunately the science is clearer than ever, showing that the need to have muscle is more important for health and longevity than the need to lose fat. 

This is counterintuitive for almost everybody of my age demographic, and probably counterintuitive for a majority of people. The first thing most people aim to do when trying to improve their health is to focus on losing “weight”. This in itself is a problem, because “weight” is not even the issue. 

If the focus should be on losing anything, it should be on losing fat. The weight on the scale should never be used as a judgement metric. It can be used for information purposes, but never as a goal for the average person in the office.

What Should the Focus Be?

The focus should not be on losing fat, but should be on gaining muscle. Muscle tissue is metabolically strong allowing you to be more resilient in life. This will make you stronger in everything you do, adding the ability to increase your metabolism and enjoy eating more whole foods than you would have ever thought possible.

Correlation to My Journey

I weigh approximately the same weight on the scales as I did in 2015. But I look phenomenally different. My blog in October last year when I specifically targetted reducing my body fat levels down to 10% shows the difference in where I began in 2015, compared to where I was a year ago in 2022.

But since last year I have changed my focus on reducing body fat, to gaining muscle. Which is allowing me to train more as I recover faster, and feel stronger than ever in everything I do.

Yes, the previous seven years prior I was trying to gain muscle. But I was too worried about gaining fat. Meaning I never truly fueled myself with enough food consistently over long enough periods to allow my body to grow more muscle tissue. This left me in a spiral of minor muscle gains followed by fat reduction.

After 8 years of practice, and particularly the last year when I have gone from 65kgs up to 70kgs, I have learned beyond doubt that the focus on muscle gain far outweighs the need to be a lean body fat percentage.

Feeling Rather Than Photos

Once I had proven to myself last year that I can get a six pack over 50 years old, my philosophy changed. Because I if I did it once, I know I can do it again. It’s just a matter of following the laws of energy thermodynamics. Science is beautifully simple like that.

But realistically this is not the way to live a normal life. It wasn’t easy per-se to get down to 10% body fat. Or let’s say, it was easy for me because when I decide to do something, nothing will stop me. But it’s not easy for most people because it takes planning and dedication which a majority of people do not have the mental space in their lives to manage. Furthermore, it really is quite unnecessary.

Therefore once I achieved that visual body goal, my focus changed from how I looked, to how I felt. How was I recovering? How often could I train? How did I FEEL?

Obviously my food remained whole and my protein remained high. But with these two key simple nutrition factors being followed, I have gained over 5kgs in a year, and feel better than ever.

How You Feel Relates to How You Look

Here’s the most interesting aspect of focusing on how I feel rather than how I look. I now actually look better than ever. I look bigger and stronger than I’ve ever been. That 5kgs of weight gained in 12 months is predominantly muscle. My abs remain visible, albeit with a higher coverage of fat. But nevertheless my muscle definition is more visible than ever.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: The Muscle Centric Medicine Doctor

Dr. Lyon is a doctor who is trying to change the focus of health improvement from losing fat, to gaining muscle. She is the champion of explaining why the gaining of muscle is far more important to health and longevity than the removal of fat.

Obviously too much fat is detrimental to your health as an organism. Carrying around too much metabolically harmful tissue is going to damage us slowly over time. 

But what is being missed from the narrative, and what Dr. Lyons is teaching in her expert methodology, is the importance and focus on gaining muscle first. Because with more muscle you have a higher chance to remove fat. With muscle you have more metabolically healthy tissue to help fight the metabolically unhealthy tissue.

This is a nice simple way to explain it, but it’s logical when you just sit and think about it.

Think about a good steak. Think about when you’ve had a chewy steak with gristle. That gristle is metabolically damaged tissue. Then think about when you’ve had a beautiful grass fed steak. The meat on that steak is clean. Any fat is edible because it is naturally part of the tissue in correct proportions.

This is the same that is happening inside our bodies. We are just a meat-suit with a brain and conscience attached. So we need to keep that meat-suit as healthy as possible to ensure the rest of our body organism remains strong and resilient as we age.

Resources Featuring Dr. Gabrielle Lyon

Here are three amazing podcasts where you can hear from Dr. Gabrielle Lyons: 

Mind Pump 2187: Why Building Muscle is More Important Than Losing Fat

Modern Wisdom 696: Build More Muscle and Supercharge Your Longevity

The Genius Life 335: The Top Foods to Eat Every Day to Burn Fat and Build Muscle for Longevity

She is a wealth of knowledge and a breath of fresh logical air in an industry which continues to focus on the wrong things. Use your logical brain and use your scientific initiative to recognise the importance of her message.

Feel free to reach out to me directly to learn how you can implement a nutritional and movement program to maximise your chances of increased muscle mass as you age.

Live longer, live stronger.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *