Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Have you ever wondered why fitness professionals keep harping on about the benefits of strength training?
You know it's good for you and you should do it, but do you know why?
Here are my top 10+ reasons to make lifting weights apart of your life forever:
1. As we age (especially after age 30) our muscle mass decreases every year....we can lose up to 10% every decade if we do nothing -we get fatter even if we eat the same amount of calories everyday because we have less muscle over time, AND our bones get weaker due to a reduction of growth hormone produced in our bodies- lifting iron changes this!
2. Lifting weights boosts mental health, focus and mental clarity. There is something therapeutic about lifting heavy iron that makes you feel strong from the inside out. I also enjoy the focus that is required in lifting to maintain the best technique - you can only think about what you are doing in the present moment.
3. Strength training builds strength and being able to lift heavier weights, builds self esteem. By constantly challenging yourself to do things you never thought possible, your confidence grows- lifting weights with intention EMPOWERS you.
4. Lifting weights builds muscle, and having more muscle on our body means an increase in BMR (basal metabolic rate). This means it takes more energy (calories) for your body to work on a daily basis- you burn more calories even when resting!
5. Strength training is the best cure to prevent osteoporosis or other bone density related diseases. Start now, don't wait until the diagnosis. Lifting weights grows bone cells. A higher bone density and stronger joints and muscles around your skeleton means you can reduce the risk and severity of fractures/ falls especially as we get older.
6. Strength training increases joint flexibility and joint health by moving them under load often and in full range of motion.
7. Strength training can also help balance and proprioception to prevent injuries. Single leg exercises are especially beneficial for this reason- single leg deadlifts, single leg squats, even standing on one leg and balancing works.
8. Strength training improves glucose regulation, carbohydrate metabolism and insulin action. The ability of your muscles to store and use glucose increases with your strength, making your body better able to regulate blood sugar levels. This can help to decrease the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
9. Cardiovascular activity is not the only exercise that benefits your heart. Lifting weights regularly also strengthens the heart muscle which decreases blood pressure by up to 20% (that's as good as or if not better than the benefits associated with most BP pills) and decreases the risk of heart attack.
10. You will be a better runner/cyclist/swimmer/sports person. Stronger muscles means better performance -period. Your core strength and stability will be better able to support your body's weight and maintain ideal form during other exercises -like running, and your arms and legs will be more powerful.
11. You will get stronger obviously! By increasing the weight on big compound movements you will be amazed at how quickly you can gain strength. This then transfers into everyday activities. Daily tasks become much easier- carrying groceries from the car, lifting children, household chores to name a few.
You CAN have the body you want- weight training is an incredible tool that you can use to sculpt your body or change your body composition, because it allows you to stop focusing on "losing weight" and to start building the shape you want by increasing your lean body mass.
Lifting weights comes in many forms and you don't have to go to a gym to do it. You can do traditional body building, Crossfit, HIIT sessions, yoga, climbing, gymnastics, bodyweight training and more. Find a style you enjoy, with people you like and master it.
I have been lifting for nearly 20 years and over the past 5 years much more consistently and with intention than ever before, and I see and feel the benefits. My body continues to gain muscle and strength every year and I can look in the mirror daily and say I truly love this body that I created and worked for. You really don't have to smash yourself every session to achieve the body that you want. If you combine strength training 3-4 days a week with moderate intensity, follow a well written periodised program that emphasises the big basic movements and combine it with a nutrition plan in a slight calorie deficit focusing on whole foods, adequate protein to build muscle, plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and some whole grains, you can also achieve the body you want- everything is possible with patience, time and consistency.
If you want to lift but are unsure of what to do and where to start, hiring a coach is the best way to begin. I am here for you for accountability, structure, support in both strength training and nutrition, whatever your goals may be. I believe hiring a coach is the best investment in your physical and mental health now and for the future 100%. If this is the sign you have been waiting for- go for it, just do it, it is worth it!