Resistance training, strength training, weight training, whatever you want to call it, more and more people now know when done in a high intensity manner it is the best way to lose body fat, and change your body composition due to the massive metabolic effect it gives you.
Gone are the days when people thought lifting weights was just for ‘meat-head’ body builders…
Gone are the days of doing long, slow, boring cardio for fat loss. This is outdated training advice and we’ve got a good couple of decade’s worth of research to prove that things have changed since then. I’ve certainly noticed even in the last few years how much more accepted and mainstream weight training has become, especially for women.
BUT there’s a lot of other benefits to strength training which you may not have thought of.
So in light of this, I thought I’d give you 10 bite sized nuggets of info about some of the benefits you get from strength training…
–Fat Loss: A weight training session leads to an elevated metabolism for a good 24-48 hours afterwards, as well as a long term increase in lean muscle. This increase in muscle size demands that more calories be burned at rest in order to fuel the body sufficiently. As a result of this short term and long term ‘double whammy’ of increased caloric expenditure, high intensity weight training is the most effective exercise for losing body fat.
– Improved Function & Reduction in Injury: Strength training increases the strength and endurance of your muscles, your tendons and ligaments also become stronger. When these structures are stronger, your body is more able to protect itself from the stresses of everyday life. You’ll also find it easier to do everyday tasks and not so everyday tasks like: picking up heavy things, carrying your shopping/kids, pushing a broken down car, walking up hills/stairs, running when needed, climbing up things, jumping off things, hunting animals, and any unexpected occurrences in your day requiring some fitness, strength and athleticism.
– Increased Bone Mineral Density: With consistent resistance training, your bones adapt to the forces placed upon them, and will produce extra proteins – resulting in stronger, thicker bones. This will decrease your chances of osteoporosis and decrease your chances of serious injury if you fall over or have an accident.
– Improved Blood Cholesterol Profile: Studies have shown that HDL levels (good cholesterol) increase and LDL levels (bad cholesterol) decrease as a result of participating in a strength training program.
– Less Stress & Decreased Blood Pressure: Weight training can be very effective at reducing stress, and you can also experience significant reductions in resting blood pressure after consistent strength training.
– Increased Energy Levels: Many people feel more energetic and less tired when performing normal daily tasks after beginning a strength training program. A part of this is just being healthier, and a part of this is it’s actually easier to do things, and generally move around when you’re stronger. The stronger you are, the lesser percentage of your maximum strength you are using to complete any given task, and the less effort is needed.
– Improved Cardio Fitness: Everyone always thinks about ‘cardio’ like jogging or bike riding to improve ‘cardio fitness’. However you can greatly improve your cardiovascular fitness by doing some high intensity weight training. If you think about it, the typical effects that you think about when doing cardio – like increased heart rate, heavy breathing etc., only occur because of your muscles extra demand for oxygen when producing repetitive movement. So if it comes down to your muscles working hard to get that ‘cardio’ effect, it stands to reason that you can get your muscles working even harder with extra weight or resistance, and therefore work your heart and lungs even more effectively.
– Improved Posture: A properly designed program can assist in correcting posture and muscle imbalances, this can make it easier to perform daily tasks, reduce pain in certain areas that have come about from poor posture and stop you from looking like a hunchback. So for most people, stronger upper back muscles, stronger glutes, and a stronger ‘core’, along with some appropriate stretching where necessary can really help to improve posture.
– Aesthetic changes: Strength training has the potential to alter your body composition and therefore how your body looks. Increases in lean muscle and decreases in body fat will significantly alter body size and shape for the better in both men and women.
– Improved mood: Research shows that regular exercise improves overall mood and feelings of depression. This is at least partly due to increased levels of endorphin’s in your brain which is a ‘happy’ chemical and induces feelings of well-being. In fact studies have shown that exercise including strength training was as effective at fighting depression as taking an anti-depressant.