I think most of you who are reading this knows that I'm in the midst of getting my personal trainer certification. The exams are in TWO WEEKS!!! Exams are NEVER ENDING. I'm having my 2nd last paper for my uni exams later in the afternoon and tomorrow's my last paper. You're most probably thinking, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE STUDYING?!" I know... But my mind wonders to where the heart is... So here I am :P
Once I'm done with my final exams, I'm going to go head on with my PT exam prep! Even though there's TONS of exercise science, bio-mechanics and models to learn (and the last time I looked a biology textbook was 7 years ago when I was in Secondary 2), I've been loving every moment of it! I look forward to every class, & just love the way that I can literally apply so much of the things I learn there into my training programs for more efficient goal achievement. PLUS, the friends that I've made there are awesome. We often find a bunch of us hanging outside the classroom during our breaks munching together. AND GUESS WHAT WE MUNCH ON?! Home packed food - tuna, chicken breast, bananas, nuts, sweet potatoes. Or Subway. This is much-needed affirmation that I'm not weird LOL.
I mentioned in a previous post about the importance of diet when it comes to getting the optimal results from your workout sessions. 80% diet & 20% exercise. There are so many facets of fitness but I just want to bring some attention to strength training, specifically weight training.
Strength training is basically working your muscles with progressively heavier resistance to stimulate muscle development.
Weight training is a form of strength training with external loads like dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells (and ding dong bells??? *FACEPALM* LOL. Someone said that I have a strange sense of humor). You can even create your own equipment using bottles, books, bags etc.
Why am I writing about weight training?! Because I'm tired of hearing things like:
"Oh exercise! I need to run!"
When I start doing my strength training outside the gym, people look at me like I'm mad. It bothers me because such exercises shouldn't be so rare that it surprises people. It should be integrated into our overall fitness routines. By the way, Running is NOT bad. Running is GREAT. But it is NOT & should not be the only form of exercise that we engage in.
Contrary to popular belief, weight lifting is not just for body builders or big buff dudes. It's for everybody who's past puberty stage. Modifications and intensities can be easily adjusted to suit each individual. But of course, before starting any exercise regime, it is always important to get your doctor's clearance first.
So if you haven't been engaging in regular weight lifting (or at least strength training),
Here's why you should make weight lifting part of your lifestyle:
It improves your body composition - lower body fat percentage (BF%) But that doesn't mean that you're going to turn into THE INCREDIBLE HULK.
SO GUYS. If you're trying to get big - you're going to have to lift big AND eat big.
2. Look good NAKED.
Losing excess weight makes you look good in clothes. Increasing your muscle mass (toning) would make you look good naked. Or in a swimsuit, mini shorts, sleeveless tops - whatever! (YAY!)
3. Increase your metabolism - Burn more, Eat more.
Muscles are metabolically more active than fats, which means that the more muscles you have, the more calories you're going to be burning even while you're lazing around. Since strength training increases your lean muscle mass (point 1), your resting metabolic rate would increase with regular strength training. Which means that you can eat more & still look incredible! (DOUBLE YAY!)
4. Get physically stronger
Heavy groceries wouldn't be a problem. Neither would carrying your growing child would be an issue. Or you could use your crazy strength to impress people. The idea that you need to be physically HUGE to carry heavy stuff is a MYTH. Your neuro-muscular system comes into play here too. The better trained your neuro-muscular circuits, the more efficient your muscles get.
5. Reduce risk of injury & disease
Imbalanced muscles (one muscle group is relatively stronger than the opposing group) increases the risk of overuse injury. For example, running/jogging uses the posterior (behind) leg muscles a great deal more than the anterior (front) muscles. That's why runners tend to have very tight hamstrings. Some people say that running is bad for the knees... Running is NOT bad for the knees - imbalanced muscles caused by running IS bad for the knees. All these can be prevented by balancing out the training.
Research has also shown that regular strength training increases/maintains Bone Mass Density (BMD), which helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. The risk of cardiovascular diseases such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure is also reduced because of the improved body composition (point 1). Of course, not forgetting the improved practical daily functional ability resulting from better support and control of the body.
Some studies have even shown that weight training reduces depression, especially in older men, which leads me to my next point:
6. Get psychologically stronger
To me, this is probably one of the most valuable things that I've gained from these 2 years of regular strength training. I saw myself getting stronger & more creative with my workouts. I started off struggling with 2kg weights & now I'm deadlifting more than my own body weight. I never thought that I would even be doing standard push ups but now I'm doing elevated and even pylometric push ups.
The thing about fitness is that you'll always reap what you sow. If you train with the correct techniques, frequency and intensity, you're definitely going to see changes in your body and mind - I PROMISE!!! You'll realize that you're capable of so much more than you once imagined. Change up your routine a little and you'd be surprised by how you are able to adapt to unfamiliar things.
Exercise (not just strength training) taught me a whole bunch of things about life and myself that overflowed to every other aspect of my life. I love strength training because you literally see the amount of weight that you're carrying going up, or the number of reps you do increasing. That keeps me going and totally addicted.
That being said, also remember that "heavy" is relative. What is "heavy" to me might be "light" for you. Proper form is THE most important.
A friend of mine recently share with me about how his ego tends to get into the way of his gym sessions, which led him to overload his weights. The painful result was injury. My reply:
Let me warn you of the terrible, terrible things that might happen to you if you lift.
Just watch this:
CAUTION!!! I watched this in my school's library and I tried EXTREMELY hard not to yelp in pain
DOMS = Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. In the layman's term - "muscle ache". Maybe you wouldn't be able to laugh or sneeze without your abs hurting so bad. You might find it almost impossible to remove your shirt without your arms screaming at your. Or maybe your legs would ache so bad that you find yourself walking around like a duck?!
3. You might become obsessed with training
You have that goal. You want to lift 100kg. You want those ripped muscles. You want it so bad, you're so dedicated so you train every day, rain or shine, sore or not.
If you ever get obsessed with weight lifting, I need to break this bad news to you...
4. You really only need to meet your Darling Iron three times each week...
So friends, I shall leave you with the question: