Almost everyone can benefit from some modality of strength training; whether you are using your own bodyweight, free weights, resistance bands, weight machines, etc. Do you want to lose weight? Strength train. Do you want to gain muscle mass? Strength train. Want to get toned? Strength train. Does your grandparent want better balance, coordination and prevent falls? Try strength training with functional aging exercises. Want to become a faster runner, while keeping injuries at bay? Incorporate strength training. Do you want to strengthen your core and make your low back pain go away? Strength train. Trying to get over a heartbreak? Strength train.
Strength Training Benefits:
Burns fat & increases metabolism. Increasing your muscle mass through strength training is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and keep it off in the long term. Not only will the actual workout boost your metabolism for 24-48 hours after your workout to repair the muscles, but in the long run, increased muscle mass makes you a high-calorie fat burning machine. Double win. Muscle is calorically more expensive than fat; the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you can eat without gaining weight, as the calories are required to maintain your muscle mass. It reigns supreme to the traditional steady-state cardio session where you only burn calories for the duration of the workout, and maybe a couple hours later. Cardio does not do anything for the long term metabolic metabolism, as it does not increase your basal metabolic rate. In fact, too much cardio can actually decrease your muscle mass overtime if not properly managed (with strength training, high protein diet, etc.), which can make it harder to maintain your weight loss.
Maintains bone health and can increase bone density. Loading the body with heavier weights or performing bodyweight movements that stress the bones causes the bone to gain strength (like our muscles). The body adapts to stresses in order to withstand the
Empowerment. Hitting a PR (personal record) is exhilarating. Learning a new skill and gaining the ability to pick up heavy weights is empowering. If you can beast it out in the weight room, you can carry that empowerment over to other areas of your life.
Everyday chores become easier. Gaining strength in the gym makes carrying groceries, doing everyday activities, moving luggage, mowing the lawn, picking up the heavy FedEx parcel, picking up children, etc. so much easier.
Time efficient. You can perform an intense 20-minute strength training workout that is more effective on your body than an 60-minute steady-paced cardio session.
Look better naked. Ever heard of skinny fat? People who are skinny and small, but are soft and flabby? If you are just doing cardio, you may fall in this category. Strength training will build the muscle and make you look tight and toned (in conjunction with a proper diet that puts your body in a caloric deficit; see Why I am Tracking My Macros). [Note: Women you will not get bulky by strength training. Women can gain strength without increasing size. Most women do not have the testosterone levels to become bulky. If you happen to look a bit bulkier, it just means you fat surrounding the muscle – solution: burn the fat through a healthy diet].
Improved mind-body connection, balance and coordination. The first effect of strength training occurs in your mind, literally. New motor neurons and pathways are created when someone performs a new movement, then the muscle benefits a few sessions later.
What is your favourite form of strength training and
what’s the greatest benefit you get from it?