The Benefits Of Weight Training You Might Not Have Known
People often ask, “What is the best exercise to do for fat loss?” “What’s TRX like? What about Zumba? What about running?” and the answer is the same to all of them: the best exercise to do is one you enjoy.
We are much more likely to stick to the exercises we enjoy doing but there are of course some that have a better impact on fat loss than others.
No two people are the same and not everyone wants to train the same way. We are all individual beings with different bodies, goals and desires. Maybe you prefer running or conditioning over strength training. If you enjoy it then do it. Just because everyone is jumping on the Zumba bandwagon doesn’t mean it’s the next best thing to shed the pounds. If you enjoy something enough to keep doing it, raise your heart rate up enough to generate output then, yes, you will see results. If your goals are specific like you want to do a bodybuilding competition or you want to get stronger, then you would need to do specific training for it. But for those who just want to get healthy or burn calories just do something you enjoy. Training should be fun but it’s also good to trying new things and spice it up every now and then. Variety is the spice of life after all.
However, I am a firm believer that weight training should be part of every ones training programme. When I say “part of” I mean you should try including a weight training day to your current cardio session as well. The body works best with variety and weight training provides an assortment of exercises.
Women in particular have a very unrealistic view of training weights. Resistance training will definitely make you stronger and stand a little taller! But lifting weights does not have to mean hitting the gym with an all male crowd, intimidating machines and heavy dumbbells. There are plenty of women that already lift weights as part of their exercise programme and you certainly won’t be alone.
Here Are Just Some Of The Many Benefits To Weight Training:
1. Burn Body Fat Quicker
Let’s not beat around the bush, nearly all women exercise to lose weight. Here is the science behind it: as your muscles increase so does your resting metabolism. Higher metabolism means you burn calories longer. Therefore the more muscle you have the more calories you burn just to keep it there. You will even burn calories in your sleep! Imagine that. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn up to 35-50 more calories a day.
2. No Bulk / No “Man Muscles”
Women do not have enough testosterone so we cannot build muscles like men! Those images of muscular women you see in magazines are drug enhanced. Stop believing this will happen. If you have a good diet, lift weights and sufficient cardio you will develop muscle definition and get lean.
3. Improved Performance
I read Michael Johnsons book Gold Rush recently and he explains how much he hated weight training. He just wanted to be on the track all the time. However, his coach encouraged him to complete weight bearing exercises as part of his training thus improving his technique, endurance and to reduce injury. Although he hated it, it played a huge part in his performance. Running long distances is hard on the body. Many runners begin to lose lean muscle tissue during training, but a good weight training program can help you stay strong throughout. Many boxers, footballers and other sportsmen and women use weights to assist their overall sport performance.
4. Physically Stronger
Daily tasks like lifting children, opening jam jars, lifting boxes will become easier. Who wants to depend on someone else?? I have spoken to many women after childbirth who have struggled to lift their babies without back and core pain. It takes time. It is a slow process but lifting weights can help. Make sure your abs and pelvic floor muscles are ready. Depending on your delivery it may be some time before you can start or resume weight training. Be patient. Plus being able to open your own wine bottles is certainly a plus!
5. Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis
Weight training increases spinal bone mineral density. Women specifically should include in regular strength exercises to assist the maintenance and development of bone density. Because of hormonal differences, as women get older, we naturally lose density in our bones. The stress that lifting weights places on bones slows deterioration and can even cause bones to grow stronger, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
6. Reduced Injury
I was first introduced to weight training to heal an injury and back pain. I am happy to say that ever since I introduced weights to my training programme my back pain has reduced significantly. This is something that I would not have been able to achieve with cardio workouts. Weight bearing exercises not only build stronger muscles but stronger connective tissue and increase joint stability. This acts as a reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury.
7. Improves Sex Life
Lifting weights not only makes you feel more toned and sexy but it can also create a surge of testosterone in both men and women which increases sexual pleasure. Studies have shown that the overall feeling of increased arousal is caused by the fact that exercise brings a greater blood flow to the genital area (in both men and women).Testosterone combined with the endorphins and adrenaline released when training can lead to the perfect boost your sex drive craves! Body fat tends to reduce testosterone production. Along with burning body fat, resistance training also increases performance, endurance, flexibility, range of motion, confidence, energy levels and make you feel healthier, younger and feel sexier.
Still not convinced? Here are some further benefits of lifting weights:
Reduce risk of diabetes and heart disease
Reduces risk of back injury
Improve immune system
Lowers blood pressure
Improves mood and helps fight depression
If you want to learn more about Elysia and her journey, listen to her podcast here.
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Elysia Doody is a Functional Nutritionist & Exercise Coach specialising in female health and wellness and the founder of The Female Wellness Hub.
She’s embraced Functional Medicine to address her health concerns, and is now helping as many women as possible in a similar position. Taking everything she’s learned through education, her own health, and working with clients, she’s keen to share it all through online programmes.