10 Reasons Why Non-Lifters Should Strength Train

10 Reasons Why Non-Lifters Should Strength Train

2012 Mera Fitness photo shoot
My fitness competition prep in 2012

When you think of strength training what usually comes to mind? There is a common misconception that strength training will make you ‘big and bulky’ or ‘manly’ but I am here to tell you that is so false!

First of all, what constitutes as strength training? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Strength training is a broad term that is used to refer to any exercise that uses some form of resistance to strengthen and build muscle. You create that resistance and put your muscles to work by using hand-held weights, weight machines, resistance bands, resistance balls and even your own body weight!

Here are a few examples of mild strength training to more extreme:

Mild strength training will consist of yoga, pilates, barre, calisthenics (bodyweight exercises), P-90X, and full body boot camp style workouts.

More intense strength training will consist of weight lifting, HIIT training, sprints, CrossFit, bodybuilding, and powerlifting.

Whether you are trying to improve your running pace or need a boost in short sprint speed for that final kick, or just to change the way your body looks esthetically, strength training is the answer. Athletes in endurance sports such as swimming, skiing, cycling, or tennis will benefit from strength training.  However, If you are not an athlete but enjoy hiking, barre workouts, yoga or pilates then strength training will complement your workout routine and increase your ability to do what you love with ease.

If you are already strength training and not seeing results, it may be because you’re not doing the right kind of training- you may be able to see major results by adjusting your routine slightly to prevent adaptations in the body.

I personally LOVE strength training and I love even more how I feel afterward, both mentally and physically!

I believe that strength training will improve your life in more ways than you know, so here are my top 10 reasons why everyone should strength train:

#1 Look and feel 10 years younger, have more energy and tighter skin!

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Paula, 51 years young and keeping her body youthful with exercise!

This is my favorite reason to weight train! I love seeing my clients that are in their 50’s and 60’s look like they’re in their 40’s!! They have the energy of a teenager, laugh more, are more efficient in business, sharp-minded and even have a better memory! It’s incredible what the body can do when you add a strength training routine to your life. Studies show that 40 minutes of intense strength training boosts natural testosterone (which promote fat burning) in the body  and releases growth hormone (also known as the fountain of youth.) The result? A firm toned and sculpted (bikini) body. Say goodbye to batwing arms and a flabby bum!

#2 Eliminate body aches and pains and prevent injury

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If you are suffering chronic from back, hip, knee or joint pain it may be because of weakness in the muscles that can easily be resolved with weight training. I have worked with numerous clients that have seen tremendous results with reducing and eliminating these pains by starting a regular strength training program. I enjoy seeing my clients get these results and it makes me so happy to hear them say they aren’t experiencing the aches and pains there were before! When you strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint, you get more support and stability for the joint, thus reducing aches and pains.

#3 Mood-Enhancer

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Michelle, 60 years young and feeling happy and energized.

Nobody has ever regretted a workout, at least that I know of! I don’t always ‘feel’ like working out but I look forward to how I’m going to FEEL afterward- that is what gets me out of bed at 5am for exercise. Neuroscience has proved that regular exercise, regardless of whether it is walking or weight lifting, seems to increase serotonin output in the brain. Strength training will boost your metabolism and support hormones involved in fat burning as well as increase the serotonin and endorphin levels in the body; the ‘feel good’ hormones.

Correlated with depression, serotonin is also responsible for mood, appetite, and sleep. When insufficient quantities of serotonin exist in the brain, all of these physiological and mental components are adversely affected. Weight lifting and other exercises generate the release of endorphins in the brain, which serve as an analgesic and contribute to that “feel good” sensation following a workout, Referred to as the “monoamine hypothesis,” which includes dopamine production as well as serotonin and endorphins, these benefits would seem to be an advantageous long-term effect of weight lifting on the brain.

#4 Bone health for over 40 

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Sheila, 63 years young and keeping her bones strong!

Did you know that you can prevent or better yet even reverse Osteoporosis?! Yes, I’ve seen it first hand with my clients that have been diagnosed and have fought it and even reversed it through a proper diet and the right kind of strength training. After the age of 40 bone mineral density starts to diminish 10 percent per year and is down 30 percent by 70 if nothing is done to prevent it.

An article published in the January 25, 2010, edition of “The New York Times” discusses a study at Vancouver General Hospital involving older women and the effect of strength training on brain function. Researchers discovered that older women aged 45 to 77 who performed one or two hours of strength training with dumbbells and weight machines every week experienced improved cognitive functioning one year later. They were given exams testing their executive and planning abilities prior to the study and again a year later, after engaging in weightlifting and other strength training activities. The results showed they scored higher on the tests after one year of performing these exercises.

#5 Increased self-confidence and self-discipline

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60-mile bike ride completed around Crater Lake!

The core essence of building inner confidence and self-belief is setting goals that appear beyond your capabilities and working towards them in a consistent and committed manner until you achieve them. This is lifting weights in a nutshell. In performing challenging exercises and building up a tolerance to the ‘burn’ and staying in the zone of being uncomfortable, something magical happens. Even though working out can be difficult and uncomfortable, you realize that through the discomfort is where you grow both physically and mentally. Through the struggle is when the magic happens and you realize you are stronger than you thought.

Take little steps every day, gradually improving until, all of a sudden, you’re doing things that a few months ago seemed impossible. That gives you a massive boost in confidence. You prove to yourself, not just logically know, but have actual, first-hand experience, that if you set yourself goals and work towards them, you can achieve anything. This is what you’ll get by lifting weights.

#6 Great for recovering alcoholics and help manage cravings by boosting dopamine levels in the brain.

brain on exercise
The brain on exercise.

Drug and alcohol counselors highly encourage recovering addicts to start a weight lifting program and they do for good reason. Exercise produces dopamine production as well as serotonin and endorphins, these benefits have a very positive impact on the brain. Dopamine gives the brain energy, motivation, a switched-on feeling and excitement about new ideas. A surge in dopamine can give a high and pleasurable feeling. Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter involved in the feeling of pleasure, feeling high and euphoric. Dopamine is involved in the pursuit of pleasure whether it be weight training or alcohol- choose weight training!

#7 More energy to do the things you love!

running

I love to do other things than just weight training, but weight training gives me the strength, endurance, and core strength I need to do the things I love like playing tennis, hiking or paddle boarding. I can try a new sport or go out on a hiking adventure with friends without having to worry about being up for the challenge physically. Imagine going hiking near beautiful waterfalls, while walking uneven terrain and being able to look around to enjoy the view with confidence. You can trust that your body is strong enough to provide stability and not having to look down at your feet while missing out on the view. Doesn’t that feel empowering? The confidence you will have been comfortable in your skin and the ability to not be limited by your weight or frailty is very empowering. Keeping your muscles and bones strong with strength training gives you the ability to do anything you want to do with ease!

#8 Fast metabolism and increased fat burn.

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The right strength training program will also help you to lose body fat, providing the benefit of ‘feeling light’ and it will improve your endurance and power. Strength training also provides many health benefits such as improving insulin sensitivity, and higher antioxidant status, making it essential for endurance athletes. A fast metabolism is a great thing, in which you can get away with eating more and not gaining body fat! A fast metabolism is a food lovers dream!  Rev-up your metabolism by incorporating weight training into your routine and increase EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption) and burn calories at a higher rate hours after you leave the gym.

#9 Reduce sugar cravings!

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Do you struggle with sugar cravings? Exercise suppresses sugar cravings by regulating insulin levels and increasing oxygen in the brain which helps you think clearer, more alert and able to make conscious decisions. Exercise also produces dopamine production as well as serotonin and endorphins, these benefits have a very positive impact on the brain and make you feel good. People who don’t regularly exercise don’t get this free boost of happy chemicals so they reach for a chocolate bar for a similar effect, albeit the ‘feel good boost’ is short lived and is usually followed by feelings of guilt and weight gain. Strength training provides the reward your taste buds crave, so next time your craving sugar get outside, your heart rate up, do some squats, pushups, sprints, maybe even some lunges and see if that craving doesn’t go away!

#10 Manage stress.

stress rope

 

Did you know there is actually a positive type of stress?  Eustress is a positive stress applied physically to the body through weight-bearing activities which result in an elevated heart rate and a stimulated nervous system. Strength training teaches the brain how to manage stress by filtering it through the body instead of holding it in. Think of this as ‘blowing off steam’. It is healthy to work through stress, get it out of your system and leave it on the gym floor. Studies show that people who exercise regularly are better at managing stress than people who don’t.

Exercise seems to give the body a chance to practice dealing with stress. It forces the body’s physiological systems — all of which are involved in the stress response — to communicate much more closely than usual: The cardiovascular system communicates with the renal system, which communicates with the muscular system. And all of these are controlled by the central and sympathetic nervous systems, which also must communicate with each other. This workout of the body’s communication system may be the true value of exercise; the more sedentary we get, the less efficient our bodies in responding to stress. In a nutshell, regular strength training makes you better managing stress throughout the day.

If any of these reasons resonated with you let me know, leave me a comment and share this post!

If you are interested in starting a strength training program and not sure where to start, I can help. I offer a complimentary fitness consultation session and would love to get you on the fast track to getting you the fit body you want. Click HERE to schedule on today!

Sources:

Livestrong: https://www.livestrong.com/article/353764-herbal-treatment-for-neuropathy/

Charles Poliquin: http://main.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/806/Ten_Reasons_Why_Runners_Should_Include_Weight_Training.aspx

Balancing Brain Chemistry: http://www.balancingbrainchemistry.co.uk/peter-smith/38/Depression-Treatment-Naturally-without-Drugs-/Dopamine-Deficient-Depression.html

American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/exercise-stress.aspx

Attraction Institute: http://attractioninstitute.com/20-ways-lifting-weights-will-transform-your-life/

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