Are you someone who has avoided and is still avoiding the weight rack? Are you someone who fears bulking up or looking masculine? Are you someone who still subscribes to the misconception that only cardio can help you lose weight? This article might just be for you. You’ll be amazed to discover that weight training plays a vital role in maintaining your overall health, especially as you age.
If your healthy goal includes fat loss, we are here to tell you that having increased muscle mass amounts to increased metabolic burn and improving your muscular strength helps you achieve just that! How? The more you have lean muscle, the more your body is burning calories efficiently! Developing your muscular strength also helps support your balance, coordination, agility. It moreover empowers you how you do your everyday activities as well as reduce your risk of injury.
Are you now seeing strength through a new lens? You’re about to explore a whole lot more of why you should add strength training to your overall health and fitness routine.
What is Weight Training?
Weight training is a kind of strength training that utilizes weights to develop resistance. These weight training exercises enable your muscles to be activated and strengthened by building stress to your muscles either through free weights like barbells and dumbbells or weight machines.
However, like all other exercises, effective weight training has got to do with the proper technique. Why? Incorrect or improper weight training techniques can result in fractures, sprains, strains, or other unnecessary injuries that might just render your weight training efforts useless.
Health & Fitness Benefits you get from Weight Training
If you want to reduce those fats and get in shape, strength training can be your best friend! If you’re still thinking about it, here’s a list of both health and fitness benefits that will make you want to lift those heavy dumbbells and put your muscles into shape!
1. Burn more body fat
With the proper weight training technique, you can build more muscle and, at the same time, keep your body burning fat all throughout! Why? Studies suggest that lifting weights help you increase your lean body mass, which in turn increases the overall number of calories you get to burn. Want to burn those extra calories and build muscles? Get your dumbbells ready to achieve the body you want!
According to one study, it involved the study of obese adults aging 60 and over. Results showed that a mix of a low-calorie diet and weight training proved to be more effective in reducing fat loss than a series of low-calorie diets and just walking exercises. Those individuals who walked in place of weight training indeed showed a comparable amount of weight loss. However, a substantial portion of the weight they lost included lean body mass. Simultaneously, those individuals who performed weight training instead of walking developed muscle mass while at the same time burned fats!
This study indicates that if you want to burn those fats and also develop muscles, strength training may be the best exercise for you instead of doing cardio.
2. Lose those belly fat
It is especially true that your body has default areas it wants to store fats. A study conducted by the University of Alabama involving women showed that those who performed weight training lost more deep belly fat as compared to those who purely did cardio.
Why? Weight training is not only beneficial for losing weight and building a more toned and shaped body. It is also particularly helpful in reducing your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cancer. And if you want a bonus, lifting heavy weights also helps you effortlessly work on your core and shape that abs you’ve been dying to come out!
One of the common misconceptions women have about lifting weights is that it can make them bulk-up and look more masculine. This thinking is not only false but also outdated! According to statistics, women have 15-20 times lower testosterone levels than men.
Why is this important to point out? This means that the chance of women becoming “bulky” just by lifting and doing weights is highly unlikely. This can be attributed to women’s natural physiological makeup, that we are just not made to build the same muscle mass as our men counterpart.
If you are a woman, adding and lifting weights instead empowers you to tone your physique and shape those curves you want to flaunt. At its core, the more you add weight from muscles instead of fat, the smaller and fitter you’ll be. And to live up to your misconception, you pretty much need to live in the weight room to get the bulk size you’ve had imagined for years.
3. Define those muscles
Do you envy the lean and defined-muscles you see on fit women? An exercise physiologist and author, Jason Karp, shares the secret on how you can achieve this. The secret? Lift heavier. Again, this is because we have low testosterone levels, so lifting heavier at most has the potential to make women’s bodies more defined.
4. Burn more calories than cardio
We have nothing against cardio, but if you want to just sit on your butt and burn calories, weight training is your answer to that. According to a research published by The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, it found that women who did regular weight training burned an average of 100 more calories after a session than those who did a 1-hour cardio session.
In another study published by the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Metabolism, it found that after a 100-minute strength weight training session, young women burned more calories after the workout. This can be attributed to the 2.3 percent basal metabolic rate spike for 16 hours after the workout.
Not only that. Experts also say that the calorie-burning effect is amplified as you increase the weight. A study published in the Journal Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise found that women who lift heavier weights for fewer repetitions burned nearly twice as many calories after the workout as compared to when they did more repetitions with a lighter weight.
5. Strengthen your bones
In addition to training your muscles, weight training also trains your bones. For example, when you perform a curl, your muscles toil on your arm’s bones. The cells in those bones respond by developing new bone cells. Hence, your bones become stronger and denser over time. But just like all other exercises, it is important to note that the key to this is consistency.
6. Increase your strength
If you want to increase your strength, you may want to increase your weight load. You can add a combination of exercises to do this like deadlifts, squats, and rows to your heavyweights. If you do this properly, your body will just amaze you how fast you are able to build strength. Want an extra payoff? Everyday activities like carrying groceries and heavy things will feel a whole lot easier and will make you feel a whole lot better.
7. Prevent injuries
Are you sick and tired of having achy hips and sore knees as your morning run companion? It doesn’t always have to be that way. You can strengthen your muscles around your joints to help you maintain good form, strengthen your joint integrity, and help you prevent injuries.
Go ahead, get those dumbbells you have been ignoring, and your knees will love you. By maintaining good form and strengthening your joint tissues, say goodbye to having injuries as your morning run companion.
8. Be a better runner
Need I say more than stronger muscles equals better performance? When you build stronger muscles, your core will be able to support your body weight better and maintain an ideal form for other exercises. As a plus, your arms and legs will be more powerful.
9. Increase your flexibility
According to the University of North Dakota researchers, full-range resistance workouts can enhance your overall flexibility just as well as doing your typical static stretching regimen. So, what does this mean or you? This means that you can now forget that super-ripped person screwing up in yoga class.
However, note that the word here is “full-range.” This means that if you cannot commit to the full motion with a given weight, you may have to use a higher weight and work your way to it.
10. Boost your heart health
It is important to note that cardiovascular exercise is not the only activity that works your cardiovascular. Strength training, too, can help improve your heart health condition. In one study, it involved individuals who did a 45-minute moderate-intensity resistance exercise.
At the end of the study, results showed that individuals lowered their blood pressure by 20% percent. This result is actually as good, if not better than the benefits you can get from most pressure pills.
11. Feel more empowered
According to Jen Sinkler, an Olympic lifting coach and well-renowned in the weight training field, “Strength has a funny way of bleeding into all areas of your life, in the gym and out.” She says that you can grow your confidence by constantly pushing yourself beyond what you think you can only accomplish.
Proceed with Care in Weight Training
If you are new to weight training, always remember to start and proceed with the utmost care. To do this, you can start with a lighter weight. This is key to make you work on your form and technique gradually before having a full-blown workout using brute strength. Once you master this, you have a lesser chance of getting injuries and more chances of doing weight training effectively.
If you are not sure you are doing it right, acknowledge that and do extra reading and research to clarify your doubts and answer your questions. You can also seek the help of fitness professionals to help you with your form and technique. These professionals are also very useful to help you come up with an appropriate program for your body size and type. Having a customized program not only makes sure you get to achieve your goals but also takes into account any medical condition and limitations that should be noted.
Choosing your Weight Training Method
Weight training is only as effective as selecting the right weight training method that works for you. The success of every weight training method depends on a number of factors, including:
For starters, it is often best to start with a simple weight training method and gradually modify the method according to the progress you exhibit. When you feel stronger and more confident, you can gradually advance with more advanced techniques.
Here are a few Dos and Don’ts to help you get a jump start on your weight training journey.
Weight Training DOs
Make sure to keep your back straight when lifting.
Make sure to use proper lifting techniques when moving weights around the room.
Make sure to wear shoes with good traction.
Make sure the equipment you use is in good condition.
Do not hyperventilate or hold your breath when you lift heavyweights. You may faint and lose control of the weights. Breathe out when you lift.
Weight Training DON’Ts
Do not continue lifting if you feel pain. Modify your workout to suit how you feel.
Do not lift heavier weights than you can handle.
Do not lift heavy weights without someone assisting you.
For beginners, it is better to set an appointment with your personal trainer before starting off your weight training program. Make sure you disclose whatever allergy or a medical condition you have so your trainer can craft the most effective and well-balanced program for you.
If you have already started doing weights for quite a while but still see no improvement, it’s also best for you to see a personal trainer to assess your progress, see where you did wrong, and correct your form and technique. It’s time for you to take your weight training professionally and take it to the next level.