Fitness Friday: Build muscle to burn fat

CHICAGO (WLS) -- You made it through the first month of 2016, but have you made it through the first month of your New Year's resolution?

Statistics show only 8 percent of people who set goals for the new year stick to them. If you've fallen off track, ABC7 will help you get back on.

One of the most popular promises people make to themselves in the new year is to eat well and get fit. For the month of February, ABC7 will bring viewers "Fitness Fridays" to learn more about nutrition and exercise trends.

Rachel Pasquini is eight months postpartum. While other new moms are trying to shed baby weight on the treadmill, Rachel is trying to put on mass - muscle mass.

"I'm not there yet, but eight months out I feel a lot stronger, a lot better, a lot tighter," Pasquini said.

She's taking tips from lifestyle expert Jim Karas, who has been telling clients for decades that building muscle burns fat.

"The truth is, strength training makes women shrink. You actually become denser and leaner because those long, lean, calorie-burning muscles help you burn all that fat around the muscle," Karas said.

Don't worry about missing out on cardio. Even a plank done right will get your heart pumping. Do think carefully about how you fuel your body.

"You can't out-train a bad diet. Don't think you can work out three, four, five, six, seven times a week and eat whatever you want," Karas said.

So, should you be counting calories and carbs? And why does everybody have a protein shake after they work out?

"So, as I'm working out I'm actually breaking down or tearing some of my muscle. So, the protein after a workout we often hear is so crucial is helping to rebuild that muscle. But it's not just the protein alone. It's actually protein and carbs in conjunction that are going to help rebuild the muscle by repairing those tears and refueling those stores of glycogen," said Holly Harrington, a registered dietitian.

About half of your calories should come from good carbs, like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. A good 30 percent should be lean protein. No more than 20 percent of your calories should come from fats like olive oil and avocado.

Above all, you need to treat your healthier diet and exercise regimen as a lifestyle change. If you go back to your old ways, you'll go back to your old body.
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