There are more benefits to resistance training than just weight-loss perks. Unfortunately, so many people (especially women) are nervous about getting started with any kind of strength training for fear of getting too big (you can check out podcast episode 26 to dispel those shenanigans!). If you want to get fit, prevent injury, play with your kids, and generally feel better day to day, start resistance training!
Strength training is something I fell into, not something I aimed to dominate. You can read more about my fitness journey but if you follow me on twitter or Instagram you know that I adore resistance training. Specifically, lifting heavy weights.
I have found my greatest self in resistance training and experienced all of the benefits below. In the ten years, I've been a coach I have found that adding in some form of resistance training into clients programs not only helps them achieve their immediate goals but it helps them surpass them.
Resistance Training Does Not Always Mean Heavy Weights.
There are many reasons why I love resistance training (read below!) but before I get you all motivated there's one thing I'd like you to keep in mind: just because you train with weights doesn't mean they have to be uber heavy.
I think what most people fear when starting a strength training program is that they don't want to be one of those people lifting what equals their body weight on a bar off the floor- and that's okay!
I am personally one of those people but you don't have to be. Instead, what you need to focus on is using external resistance that challenges you.
- Resistance bands
You don't need to consistently add weight to a bar but you do need to progress your workouts (volume, tempo, isometric training, eccentrics, etc. There are a lot of ways).
This also means that it is 100% possible to reap the benefits of resistance training at home. With so much at-home gym equipment available, this is a great option for beginners.
Regardless of the resistance training method you choose, when you stay consistent the benefits of resistance training are immeasurable.
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Benefits Of Resistance Training: It Helps Increase Your Metabolism
In simple terms, resistance training stimulates your muscles so they require fuel to repair, perform, and grow (in a good way). Because muscles then use the fuel instead of storing it your metabolism increases.
Cardio is normally a staple for people who have weight loss goals however (though weight loss goals really require a four-pillar approach), it only burns calories at that moment. One of the benefits of resistance training is that it helps you build muscle which then burns calories all day long.
Reason #2 Day To Day Activities Become Easier
The stronger you get the easier it is to perform daily tasks like picking up kids, carrying groceries, and moving furniture.
This is easily one of my favorite benefits of resistance training and especially true when you focus on building strong glutes. Of course, there are specific movements to help with this but in general, the stronger you are the easier daily stuff becomes.
Reason #3 Injuries Are Prevented
Not only will you understand how to use proper form when performing daily tasks thus reducing injury but you'll also know how to recruit the necessary muscles to complete the task and provide less risk to joints, ligaments, and tendons by being strong.
The biggest example of this is from strengthening your glutes. Glutes are one pillar of back pain and by keeping them stronger you're less likely to injure yourself.
Reason #4 You Need To Work Out Less
As your body adjusts to lifting weights it needs time to recover and improve. During this process, you're still burning calories.
This means that you don't need to lift weights as often as you would have to work out if you were just say running. Cardio may burn calories while you do it, but that's it. Resistance training allows you to burn calories long after you've completed your workout.
Reason #5 Your Body Will Look Leaner/More Toned
To be honest, there is not a word I despise more than "tone". But I'll succumb to the fact that people resonate with it. "Toning" is not actually possible but that's a rant for another day.
Regardless, strength training is what gives you the look so any people seek: one with defined muscles. Believe it or not, we need muscle, It is muscle that gives the "toned" look.
Benefits Of Resistance Training Reason #6 Your Quality Of Life Will Improve As You Age
If you don't use it you'll lose it. It' a true statement! As we age we tend to use our muscles (and our bodies in general) less. Our muscles naturally atrophy (get smaller) and thus our metabolism slows.
If you continue to stimulate your muscles though you'll be able to keep doing the things you love as you age instead of experiencing limitations that are becoming all too common.
Reason #7 You'll Sleep Better
Just like fresh air for children, lifting weights takes a lot of energy. This means that you're going to need your rest in order to recover. Your body knows this and helps give you the best sleep it can.
Reason #8 Resistance Training Helps Your Bones
Progressive loading on your skeleton helps prevent and improve osteoporosis (along with the necessary nutrients). Just like muscles bones can breakdown, recover, and repair. Just at a much slower process.
When you challenge them outside their normal activities they respond and become stronger.
Reason #9 To Improve Performance
If you're a sports enthusiast, lifting weights will improve your performance. Even if you have no intention of doing anything professional, it's nice to know that cross-training works!
Likewise, if you want to add running (you can learn to run here) to your regime you'll be better able to perform it just from being strong.
Reason #10 You'll Improve Your Posture
So long as you place your focus on the appropriate areas (posterior chain, glutes, upper back muscles ), stronger muscles help pull your body into alignment and help you stand and sit easier. Learning to activate the proper muscles and really use them will improve your posture.
Reason #11 Resistance Training Is A Great Way To De-Stress
This is actually the main thing I use resistance training for. People who lift weights are shown to respond more calmly in stressful situations (you can listen to one mans journey out of depression). It could be all the endorphins hitting your brain (yay) or just that you have an "outlet' for when you are stressed.
While yoga for anxiety can help immensely, strength training can do. Different forms for different people 😉
Reason #12 Improved Balance
The stronger you are the better your balance. Basically, because your body is able to maintain balance (due to your muscles working properly) on unstable surfaces. This is perfect as you age as you're less likely to receive injuries from falling.
So there are you are! Twelve amazing benefits of resistance training. Strength training isn't just for those of us who want to max out our pulls. It's for everyone. It improves the quality of life, keeps you strong, and will help you live longer (and be able to keep up with your kids). Figure out what works best for you and start picking up some weights!