Many of us lead busy lives, and we don’t have hours to spend at the gym. So, how do you get the most out of the time you have? How can you be most efficient with your workouts and actually get closer to the results you want? Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or just be healthier, resistance training should be at the forefront of your fitness routine.
Resistance training, also known as strength training, involves muscles working against a force (weight), which causes the muscles to contract. The goal is to increase the strength, mass, and/or endurance of the muscles involved, but it’s not just for body builders. Everyone can experience benefits from this style of training.
IMPROVE BODY COMPOSITION. Resistance training strengthens your muscles. As your muscles become stronger, they grow. (Ladies, don’t worry. You will NOT get bulky!) As you develop more muscle, your metabolism increases, and you burn fat more efficiently. Over time, your body composition changes and your body fat percentage decreases.
BURN MORE CALORIES. When you do cardiovascular exercise, such as running, your body burns calories during the activity. Once you stop the activity, you stop burning calories. On the other hand, when you do resistance training, you burn calories during your training and afterwards. Following strenuous activity, several processes take place in order to restore your body to its resting state. This is known as EPOC, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or afterburn. In other words, your body is burning calories while you’re doing nothing!
AVOID PLATEAUS. Your body adapts to the stresses you put on it. If you consistently do the same activity over and over, your body will stop responding. This is what happens if you spend 20 minutes on the treadmill, at the same pace, three days per week, for several months. To continue seeing benefits, the only answer is to increase the intensity or increase the time. But again, your body will continue to adapt, and there are only so many minutes in a day. With resistance training, on the other hand, it’s much simpler to avoid plateaus. As you get stronger, you continue to challenge your muscles by increasing the training volume (reps x sets x weight) and/or varying the exercises. You can break through plateaus without having to dedicate more time.
REDUCE RISK OF INJURY. As we age, we lose a small percentage of bone and muscle each year, if we don’t do anything about it. Resistance training increases muscle mass and can stop, prevent and even reverse bone loss! Strong bones and muscles are less likely to be compromised under stress, making you less susceptible to pains and injuries. Greater bone density can also improve balance, decreasing your risk of falling.
GAIN CONFIDENCE. This one, you will just have to take my word and experience it for yourself.
After three years of running 4+ days per week and taking several aerobics classes, I was frustrated to see no change in my body. I hired a coach who taught me how to lift, and my life was forever changed.
If you want to get the most out of your workouts, and actually start seeing results, ditch the treadmill and pick up some weights. It’s one of the greatest things you can do for your health, your physique, and your overall well-being.
For more information, contact Courtney Tucker, Courtneytucker143@gmail.com.