Resistance training is a form or physical activity that is often a bit misunderstood. Many ‘experts’ have said that resistance training is beneficial, but that if you want to burn calories it isn’t as good as cardiovascular exercises, such as running. Some women feel that lifting weights is going to make their muscles get too big and they will start to look a little too manly for their tastes.
However, I’m here to tell you that resistance training is as beneficial AND as important as any component of a healthy and active lifestyle, for EVERYONE! The trick is to know what you are trying to achieve and tailor your resistance exercises accordingly.
So let’s start with the benefits of strength training. You can do a google search on the topic, and read countless articles on all of the benefits of strength training. One huge benefit of resistance training is the effect it has on your metabolism. After a good, full body strength training routine, your metabolism is elevated for hours. This means that you are burning calories at a faster rate WHILE YOU ARE LITERALLY DOING NOTHING after you complete the workout. A cardiovascular workout, on the other hand, has very little effect on your metabolism after the workout is completed. Strength training also helps to lower your blood pressure and reduce your stress. Just make sure to keep breathing while you are pushing out those last few reps.
There are many different components to a strength training program as well, and any good personal trainer can easily advise you in the way to combine these components in a way that will help you achieve your ultimate goal. While some may have the goal of increasing their muscle mass or gaining lots of strength and power, others may simply want to tone their muscles and improve their muscular endurance and the look of the muscles. The way to achieve these rather opposite goals often require performing many of the same exercises. The difference, though, is the amount of weight lifted and the sets and reps performed.
All things considered, weight training is every bit as important as cardiovascular training in any well rounded fitness plan. While very few plans will have an even split between cardio training and lifting weights, any plan that doesn’t include both should be called into question.
And remember, no matter what your goals are, doing some form of resistance training needs to find its way into your program.
If you need help incorporating resistance training into your workout routine, or if you are unsure how to best utilize resistance training to meet your goals, visit my website or send me an email and I’ll be glad to help you on your path towards improving your health.