“I do not think about being beautiful. What I devote most of my time to is being healthy.”

- Ann Bancroft

Thursday. I know we talk a lot about meat on the Daily Tonic, but when was the last time we wrote something for the meatheads? That’s right, we are referring to the ladies or gents that love going to the gym, making gains, crushing protein shakes, getting big, and taking mirror selfies. Meathead or not, we should all be thinking about building and maintaining muscle mass. Why? Let’s dive in.

“But I Don’t Want To Look Bulky.”

Me neither, but that’s not what this is about.

Now, we aren’t saying that everyone needs to be clamoring for chest day here, but building muscle matters, and it takes a lot of very hard work to look “bulky.” Most people will not be able to get that type of body composition change with occasional resistance training and adequate protein consumption.

However, everyone does need to prioritize building and maintaining muscle. The most straightforward reason why is because you want to build strength. The stronger you are, the more of a hedge you can build between where you stand now and when you may start needing assistance for things as simple as carrying the groceries in from the car, loading your luggage in an overhead compartment, or picking up your grandkid.

For some people, the inability to perform these tasks may seem far away and strange to think about now. Like with anything else health related, it is the actions you take now that will pay huge dividends as you age.

Building muscle also helps with our coordination and helps improve our bone density. Weak, brittle bones are something else we want to avoid as we age. It turns out building muscle aids in that as well.

Even if you don’t want to get “too bulky,” but you do want to lose a little bit of weight, or “tone” like the fitness influencers like to say, building muscle can help. The more lean body mass you can build, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be. This means you will burn more calories more efficiently, therefore facilitating fat loss and “toning.”

Ok, enough with the “toning”—what’s the solution to building and maintaining a healthy amount of muscle?I am so glad you asked. It is actually pretty simple—resistance training and adequate protein intake.

Now it may come as no surprise to you that lifting heavy weights and eating plenty of steak is all it takes. However, it is important to note that even if you do not have access to heavy weights or even a gym, building and maintaining muscle is very doable by incorporating bodyweight movements like pushups, squats, or even inverted rows using your kitchen table if you are feeling adventurous.

You can even spice up your resistance training by slowing down the movements with an intentional tempo. This type of “super slow training” also has the added benefit of reducing injury risk. Whether you have access to no weights or light weights, moving very slow can elicit a powerful response for anyone looking to put on some muscle and make some strength gains.

Check out this article for some more info on how to train for muscle mass at home and how you can determine your daily protein needs based on your activity level.

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Wine? Yes Please

Torn About This One…

Mental health is an issue and the pandemic hasn’t helped. More and more Americans are seeking help for addiction, depression, and a slew of other mental health issues.

With that said, it should be a good thing that CVS is joining several retailers such as Walgreens and Walmart that are experimenting with offering counseling services in our nearby stores. Making help more accessible is a good thing, right?

I don’t know. On the one side, yes—counseling should be made as accessible as possible for anyone that seeks it out. On the other side, though, is this sentence from the Wall Street Journal article linked above:

“CVS is betting Americans will get therapy at the same place they buy their snacks, soda and prescription drugs.”

Are these big corporations really looking out for the mental health of their customers or are they just trying to cash in on the mental health crisis our country is going through? Should these hubs of all things unhealthy (snacks, soda, prescription drugs), really be the place where people seek out therapy?

Will this approach to therapy help people tackle their mental health issues with a holistic approach that addresses lifestyle, diet, and exercise, or will they just write you a prescription that you can then conveniently pick up right on site, along with a bag of Doritos and a diet coke?

But maybe this is a step in the right direction. Maybe we are meeting people where they are at, and that could be a good thing.

Tonic Shots

  • Therapy is great. So is breathwork. Give it a try with our friends at Inward.
  • Something worth splurging on? An ice bath is definitely worth it. So many benefits to cold exposure. Check this out.
  • You are going to want to foam roll after all that resistance training you are going to start doing. Get the most bang for your buck with this rumble roller from TRS.
  • The ultimate tool for fitness at home or in the garage—the NCFIT mat. Stop using a yoga mat or a towel. Burpees suck less on one of these!