When I first started working out, like everyone, I thought that cardio was enough to see results. After awhile, I discovered no changes to my body or muscle sculpting was occurring. In fact, there was a time period when I was running almost every day, and I actually started to gain weight. This is because my body was becoming so depleted of hydration and electrolytes that it was telling my body I was hungry, so I began to eat more than I actually needed. That’s when I started to learn more about lifting and how to get the results I was looking for.
Today, I lift multiple times per week – and I LOVE it! Here are just a few reasons why lifting has become such a big part of my workout regime:
- Muscular Strength: From lifting weights, I notice going up stairs, lifting heavy things, and so forth is much easier for me. I have actually doubled my personal strength, and I feel more confident in myself because of it. I feel strong physically and also mentally.
- Increased Bone Density: Lifting strengthens your bones, which in turn makes you a healthier, stronger person.
- Bone/Joint Health: As we age, our joints are the first parts of our body to feel the effects of movement and gravity. Through lifting, we keep our joints and bones agile, thereby thwarting the effects of aging. As I get older, I’ve started to care more about how to keep myself healthy, longer.
- Weight Maintenance: Muscle eats fat not only while we lift weights but after as well. Unlike cardio, weight lifting increases calories burned while not working out. How? Your muscle needs energy to repair fibers. After you leave the gym, your body grabs fat as a way to repair the fibers that were just exercised during the fitness session.
- Metabolic Breakdown: Adding weights to a workout increases your heart rate, which thereby speeds up your metabolism. During and after the workout, your body burns fats as part of your heightened metabolic breakdown. It makes weight loss and maintenance easier.
Now that you know the benefits of weight lifting, here are the 3 main forms of this type of training:
- Resistance Training: Adding some type of resistance against your natural muscle movements.
- Muscle Strengthening: Focusing on specific muscles and muscle groups during the workout.
- Strength Training: Targeting your overall strength ability and agility.
A mixture of all 3 will produce the most desirable results at the end of your fitness week!
*Be Careful of the Cardio Trap
It’s easy to think that going for a run every day is going to burn those cookies and margaritas off. However, cardio can cause fatigue and overeating, as well as stabilize your body’s resistance to the workout. Our bodies are designed to adapt, so if you do the same thing every single day, the workout will start to lose its value. Lastly, cardio can actually burn off your built-up muscle if all of the available caloric energy is gone. It’s counter intuitive to a weightlifting fitness regime.
Although cardio is still a necessary ingredient in a comprehensive fitness plan, consider the long-lasting and sustainable benefits of switching your focus/adding weightlifting to your routine!