Why strength training is an essential part of a fitness program for everyone!
But I don’t want to get bulky and masculine’ is a common thought for many ladies in the gym when we talk about strength training/lifting weights. I can promise you now – THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN. Unless hormones such as testosterone are being taken, women do not have the genetic make-up to turn them into a she-HULK as soon as they pick up a dumbbell or barbell. And you can’t argue with science!
Increases muscle density and strength and burn layers of fat to give that toned look, accentuating those beautiful curves!
Strength training actually has quite the opposite effect. It increases muscle density and strength and burn layers of fat to give that toned look, accentuating those beautiful curves!
Take a look at the 7 reasons why I think that everyone should make sure strength training is included in their training program!
1. Burns more calories during and after exercise
When put face to face with cardiovascular training, weighted training comes out on top as a calorie burner! More muscles fibers are recruited to a muscle when we strength train it, more muscle fibers means more contractions and more contractions means MORE CALORIES. Even after we stop training, more calories are burnt due to increased muscle fiber density.
2. Burns more fat, keeps those curves and gives us more confidence in our body!
Muscle is metabolically active which means it is a fat burning tissue! The more muscle we build through strength training, the more fat we burn (again during and after exercise!). Yes, cardiovascular training also burns calories but this is typically a combination of muscle and fat tissue (giver a smaller but still ‘soft’ appearance). Strength training keeps your muscle shape to ensure you don’t lose your curves and even helps accentuate them! This is turn makes us feel great about how we look and improves our body confidence.
3. Can be varied and less boring than a long cardio session!
When we talk about strength training, weight lifting and resistance training we mean using some sort of resistance or applied force to exert more pressure on our muscles and make them work harder to resist the natural force of gravity. This can come in many forms such as barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine balls, weighted machines and sandbags to name a few! Therefore, we can constantly vary the type of strength training we do in our program to make it less monotonous! The less boring your training program is the more likely you are to enjoy it and complete it! This in turn means the increased likeliness of getting those results quicker! WIN WIN!
4. Can tailor strength exercises dependent on sport specific goals
If you play a specific sport or have a challenge coming up which favours certain muscle groups, you can target your strength training to improve your performance! I can guarantee strength training will be sure to benefit every sport and athletic challenge there is when executed properly in a well-designed training program. It will only work to make your stronger and more powerful!
5. Reduces the risk of heart disease
Studies have proven than strength training reduces the risk of heart disease by combatting factors leading to a poor prognosis. It has been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in blood (which clog arteries) and the amount of visceral fat sitting in the abdominal area. Doctors have even recommended patients who have suffered a heart attack to begin strength training as little as 3 weeks after the event!
6. Reduces the risk of osteroporosis (especially for post-menopausal woman)
Strength training has also shown to significantly reduce the change of developing osteoporosis (break down of bone) as we age and especially for woman who have been through the menopause and are more at risk due to change in hormone levels. And the earlier you start the better as the more likely you are to maintain good bone health in later life!
A study conducted at McMaster University found that after a year of resistance training, postmenopausal women increased spinal bone mass by 9 percent (1).
7. Makes you more energised throughout the day, boosts your mood, helps with sleep and stress management!
Contrary to popular belief, working out actually makes you feel great! It releases the ‘feel good’ hormones know as endorphins which boosts your mood instantly! It has also helps you feel more energised throughout the day making you more productive!
And when it comes to night time, strength training ensures you get that good night sleep! Studies have shown improvements in sleep quality following a strength training session, aiding in your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake less often during the night. A study published in the International SportMed Journal highlights the increase in quality and length of sleep the night after training (2).
In addition, strength training is a great way to manage stress! Many studies have found that those who regularly strength train tend to cope with stress better versus people who do not exercise (3). And I can speak from experience when I say there is no better way to blow off some steam than to lift some heavy things and get a good sweat on! It is also very interesting to see that resistance-training studies on older adults show that moderate intensity weightlifting improves memory and cognitive function!
Therefore, not only does lifting weights give us a toned and shapely body, strong bones, a healthy heart, a well-functioning and productive brain but also a happy mind and positive attitude! I truly believe that each and every one of us should include strength training in a training program! And if you unsure how to implement this in your training then get some advice from coach who will be able to guide you safely and effectively!
Muir JM, Ye C, Bhandari M, Adachi JD, Thabane L. The effect of regular physical activity on bone mineral density in post-menopausal women aged 75 and over: a retrospective analysis from the Canadian multicentre osteoporosis study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2013 Aug 23; 14: 253
Roveda, Eliana, et. Al. Effects of endurance and strength acute exercise on night sleep quality. International SportMed Journal. 2011; 12(3): 113-124.
Stone M, Stone Meg, Sands W. Psychological Aspects of Resistance Training. In: Principles and Practice of Resistance Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2009. p. 229-241.