STRENGTH – Part Two
‘People are afraid to start DOING until they know HOW; start DOING now and the HOW will become a necessity’
Brendon Patrick - TOTEM FITNESS
It’s hard to deny, cardio training definitely has its place in any weight loss journey and, running even sits at the top of the pile when it comes to calories burnt during a session.
So, why’s it that strength training should be considered, as the go to exercise for all over body conditioning, that even die hard runners can benefit from picking up a dumbbell.
Linking back to my previous article on structured exercise, I spoke about goal specific exercise. Connecting this topic to weight loss and, making this ambition goal specific; having specific goals becomes highly relevant when you’re seeking results such as muscle tone and a flat stomach for your body.
To put this into a bit more perspective, muscle tone and your dream body are typically realised as a result of multiple factors.
One of those factors, being weight loss, is a step among several other processes that enables body shaping to occur by stripping away excess fat to reveal muscle tone.
The remainder factors that complete the body shaping process include nutrition and some form of resistance training.
The Role of Muscle Development in the Body Shaping Process
Once again, cardio should fit into your schedule as a step that aids weight loss; however, it ideally wouldn’t be used as a primary tool to ascertain your goals.
Muscular development forms one of the most critical steps in this overall body toning process. As a fibre, or cell within your body, muscle plays a significant role in boosting your body’s metabolism.
In total, if your body maintains optimal levels of lean muscle through adequate nutrition and strength training, your metabolism begins firing on all cylinders to turn your body into an efficient fat burning superstar because it requires more energy to fuel the developed muscle cells.
At this point, strength training really comes into its own and begins to stride away from cardio training as an isolated training mode. I will explain why in the following 5 key points.
Too much cardiovascular training can have a catabolic effect on your body
This simply means that your body will begin to breakdown muscle fibre as a result of cardiovascular exercise.
Long distance runners are a perfect example of this as they generally carry minimal levels of lean mass on their bodies.
Knowing now that muscle development boosts the metabolism and shapes the body, we can ascertain that a catabolic effect can be detrimental to the muscles efficiency in boosting the metabolism.
Strength training increases coordination and function
Functional training has become the buzzword of the Personal Training world in recent years. Its popularity has become a welcome change to an industry that is saturated in flashy short term trends.
Functional training isn’t anything fancy or high tech though; it simply refers to the fundamental movement patterns that we use every single day, E.g. standing up, sitting down, lifting items up of the floor or placing items over head.
All of these movement patterns are easily replicated in the gym environment where our movement efficiency can become greatly enhanced.
Strength Training Increases your bone density and combats Osteoporosis
This one becomes more important as we age; however, because our bones are still actively growing cells, we’re still required to place stress or stimulus on our bones just like we would our muscles.
Cardio activities such as such as running can have a negative effect on the bone strengthening process, simply because of the impact that is sustained through the bones and joints while running.
Strength training offers a low impact solution to bone strengthening in a safe and controlled environment.
Strength Training lowers your risk of diabetes
A study funded by the National Institute of Health and published in The Archives of Internal Medicine found that adults who lifted weights for 150 minutes or five 30-minute sessions each week, had a 34% lower risk of developing diabetes. This figure decreased to 59% when supplemented by cardio.
Functional Strength training prevents lower back pain
If you work in an office, you know that sitting at your desk all day can wreak havoc on your lower back, leading to stiffness and pain.
Functional strength training, in particular, squatting helps strengthen the muscles of your lower back and core that support your spine to lessen the discomfort and undo some of the rigidity caused by sitting all day.
Despite each of the benefits, strength training in gyms remains an intimidating scenario for most women.
However, the tides are beginning to turn and, more and more women are showing up to gyms each week to improve their health for the simple fact that strength training remains, hands down, one of the most empowering exercises that is available to everybody.
Whether you’ve been leading a mostly active or sedentary lifestyle, chances are that you or someone you know has experienced an exercise-related injury.
It’s safe to say that most gym-goers have encountered the dreaded feeling of gym intimidation at some point in their life. For some people, overcoming anxiety about the gym may be harder than the workout itself!