Does lifting weights or “strength training” conjure up images of well-oiled men, on a stage competing in a bodybuilding competition? They definitely have a focus on building muscle but, unless you are eating, supplementing, and training in a particular way, you are unlikely to gain the muscle mass of a bodybuilder.
Instead, you will gain a stronger and leaner body. Plus, some other benefits that may surprise you:
- Lifting weights lifts your confidence – I see it every single day. A woman comes into a group fitness or training class feeling completely intimidated and out of place as she stares down the row of barbells and plates stacked around her. It may not be instant but, set a barbell on a gals shoulders and watch her learn to squat with proper form and realize she can do it and she can live to tell about it, is an awesome thing to see!
- Improved Mood – It might have something to do with the confidence boost in having accomplished a new skill or lifting a weight that you didn’t think you could but when we move, our bodies get a little endorphin pump. This stimulates the feel good parts in our brain and elevates mood.
- Muscle boosts metabolism – Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) determines your caloric needs at rest. If you continue to eat less and exercise more (especially all cardio, all the time), your body will burn both fat and muscle as fuel. Over time, less muscle means that your body requires less to sustain it. Simply put, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body requires.
- Weight management – Because we tend to eat the same things and quite often in the same amount each day (creatures of habit), it’s difficult to decrease calories and sustain it over time. When introducing strength training, we make it easier to manage a healthy weight. Rather than relying on willpower, build a little muscle and give your mind and your body a little boost as well.
- Better Posture – building strength in the muscles of your back, shoulders, core and glutes ultimately leads to improvement in how you carry yourself. It also improves how efficient you are at holding yourself confidently upright throughout the day.
- Improved coordination – strength training introduces movement patterns with additional load, making those movements much more efficient and coordinated when done without load. Case in point: doing a weight squat in the gym with proper mechanics, translates to improved movement getting in and out of your car, your desk, the dinner table, overall moving through life!
- Strength for tasks of daily living – hauling up and down the stairs, picking up children, putting them down again…the list goes on. If you do these tasks with load, you are making them much easier when their is less of a load.
- Joint health and integrity – strong muscles means strong tendons that connect muscle to bone. In turn our joints are stable because they have a sound structure around it pulling on the reins and keeping the joint “decompressed” or lifted and aligned throughout movement.
- Improved body shape – running and other forms of cardiovascular activity are great. But, cardio burns fat and muscle which can make you thinner but, it doesn’t necessary change your shape. Strength training increase muscle density and improves overall shape.
- Improved hormone balance – strength training boosts the release of testosterone, growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor and minimizes the release of cortisol.
To get you started, I have created a bodyweight strength workout for beginners. Click here for this FREE workout!