There really is no exercise modality like resistance/strength training. There is no other form of exercise that has as many benefits. This may be my bias, BUT there are also many truths to that statement.
No, I’m not saying you shouldn’t do other forms of exercise you enjoy. What I am saying is that I believe everyone should include some kind of resistance training into their active lifestyle. There should be much more of a push for resistance/strength training in modern life. Here are the TOP 5 reasons why:
1. Resistance Training Builds Strength and Muscle
Maybe this is a bit obvious to some people, but it is one of the main attractions for many people to get into resistance training. You will get stronger. You will build muscle. You will feel more empowered and see drastic changes in body composition. Resistance training is the one form of exercise that can literally change the way each part of your body looks. By focusing on a properly designed resistance training program, you will see changes in every part of your body where you want to see changes. Want a bigger butt? Resistance training can do that. Want your abs to pop more? Resistance training can do that as well. But not only aesthetics improve with resistance training. Gaining better overall body strength and stability makes it much less likely that you will have balance and strength issues as you age. You decrease your risk of injury in daily life by a significant amount by gaining strength and muscle.
2. Resistance Training Burns More Fat
Yes, I do know that in the short term, the best way to burn calories is by engaging in cardiovascular (aerobic) activities. What I also know is that cardiovascular activities do not build muscle. I actually made a post on my Instagram 5 fat loss hacks talking about how there is a difference between weight loss and fat loss. Weight loss refers to total body weight decreasing. Fat loss refers to losing body fat, while retaining as much lean body mass as possible. The big difference here is if your focus is weight loss only, you can cause you to become metabolically adapted (slow metabolism) if you’re doing very intense cardiovascular exercise and restricted calories too much. If your focus shifts to fat loss and lean body mass preservation (or gain if you’re a beginner) you will actually have the opposite impact on your metabolism. The more lean mass an individual has, the more calories they burn at rest. This means you are able to eat more calories to maintain that lean mass because of how “expensive” muscle tissue is. In the long term, this will lead to you being able to burn body fat more effectively so you’re not yo-yo dieting and always gaining weight, then losing it and ruining your metabolism.
3. Resistance Training Improves Hormones
In modern society, stress is inevitable. With the amount of social media and pressure to be the best at work, home, school etc. it is no wonder the amount of anxiety and depression are off the charts. This causes cortisol levels to rise significantly. This can cause lack of sleep, sugary/salty processed food cravings, lack of energy, reduced sex drive, storing fat in “trouble” areas (spare tire) among others. What is so cool about resistance training is that it stabilizes stress hormones. While training, cortisol rises. This is a good thing. Cortisol combines with other hormones like growth hormone to help you release body fat. Resistance training helps you regulate these hormones much more effectively because you’re sending a “muscle building” signal to your body. When you don’t resistance train or you are doing high amounts of cardiovascular exercise, cortisol levels tend to be higher when you don’t want them to be. With less muscle, it makes it harder for your body to regulate hormones that help with sleep, mood, sex drive etc.
4. Resistance Training Improves Balance and Stability
For many of the clients I work with, they just want to improve the overall quality of their life. There is no better modality of exercise for this than resistance/strength training. Cardiovascular exercise doesn’t promote strength, stability or balance. When challenging yourself with resistance training, your muscle tissue breaks down and repairs itself to become stronger. Not only do you get stronger in areas that are very important for future health (core muscle, glutes) but your posture improves as well. This sets you up to have less injuries as you age. The stronger your posture is, the more you promote proper balance and stability throughout your entire body. Especially if your practicing big movement patterns like squatting, hip hinging, pressing and stability exercises like planks, farmer walks etc. Resistance training teaches your body how to contract muscles so you can create tension when doing everyday activities. Again, this will lead to you having less lower back pain, neck pain and other chronic injuries that are prominent in today’s society.
5. Lifting Weights is EMPOWERING
The coolest thing ever is seeing clients do things they never thought they could. This could be a client deadlifting a weight that they never thought they could. Or even something as simple as being able to play and run around with their children after not being able to do so. Something about resistance training and becoming stronger… is just so damn empowering. When you see that your strength in your daily life increases, and then you look in the mirror and see more muscles and less body fat, confidence goes through the roof. This impacts everything in your life. Your mindset, your career and finances and your relationships. More confidence = more passion, power and belief. More passion leads to success in anything you do.
So do yourself a favor and start making resistance training a priority!