When I first started working out 3.5 years ago, all I did was cardio. My favorites were Step and Body Combat classes that were offered at my local gym. I would do those every other day and then run on the treadmill. I was in okay shape back then, had few pounds to lose and whatever I was doing in the gym was woking for me. One thing that always bothered me though was the fact that my body shape really never changed. I did slim down but I still had “extra” in certain areas such as belly and hips. But I was persistent and believed that the change will happen.
So few months into my start, few friends suggested taking a Body Pump class which involved weights. It was not up my alley at all but I gave a shot and loved it. It was something very new to me, but every time I would take the class I noticed I would walk differently, I would have the enormous energy and somehow I would feel slimmer! And of course, having an amazing instructor helped as well. I learned so much from her and that is why I kept coming back. She had a way of keeping us engaged at all times.
As time went by I started doing more and more weight training. I would read about it online and watch YouTube videos and practice what I learned at the gym. Also, I started training with the instructor mentioned above, who also became my friend, once a week. This is when I really started learning about weight training and appropriate nutrition. This is when my weight training journey started and body shape that I had for 30 years was actually changing.
Today after 3 years, I love it even more and I cannot imagine having it any other way.
Here is why you should consider adding weight training to your exercise routine:
Burn more fat and boost your metabolism
The more muscle you have the more fat you burn. Muscles burn about 5 times more calories then fat does. Also, when you do cardio activity you only burn the calories during the activity. But when you do weight training, you burn calories for hours to come after you train. Even the next day. The muscles actually require energy so they are active even when you are not. Fat is pure storage and it doesn’t do anything while you are at rest. The more muscle you have the faster your metabolism is. When we get to 40s an 50s, our body (metabolism) naturally slows down and we start loosing muscle mass. So doing weigh training is important so that we can slow down that natural aging process (ref. bodybuilding.com, webMD).
Build stronger bones & reduce injuries
The same way we build muscle during weight training, we build bones as well. In other words, our bones get bigger and stronger with use, just like the muscles do. With strong bones and increased muscle mass our joins do not need to bare all the weight and work overtime to support us (ref. WebMD).
Reduce anxiety (stress)
Weight training is great for reducing stress and anxiety. Just like with cardio activity, during weight training our body releases chemicals called endorphins that interact with our brain cells in a way that we feel “less pain”. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in our body which helps with alleviating stress (ref. WebMD).
According to American Heart Association, lifting weights lowers your blood pressure and reduces your chances of the heart disease. So keep on pumping! (ref. American Heart Association).
Get stronger and more confident
Ever since I can remember I used to slouch. I was one of the tallest kids in school so I started slouching so that I can be at the same eye level with other kids. By the time I was in my 20s, my slouching became worse and my back started hurting. I tried wearing these “straightening” back belts and doing some floor exercises but that didn’t really do anything. This is where strength training came into play.
When I started lifting weights I used to do split body training so that each of the big muscle groups would get enough attention. This is how I strengthened my back muscles ,upper and lower, developed shoulders caps (which rolled my shoulders back) and fixed my posture. I am so grateful for my trainer who pays a lot of attention to posture and proper form in anything we do. She played huge role in my life over the past 2 years while I was strengthening my body. Having strong body definitely gave me more confidence in every day life but my biggest accomplishment is that I walk tall and straight.
To some of you weight training may seem intimidating but you know what? It was very intimidating to me at first as well! I always thought people would watch me at the gym but quite frankly, everyone does their own thing. Starting out in a group setting really helped, gave me confidence to start doing it on my own as well. Also, my best friend was a pro already at lifting weights so I would tag along and do workouts with her. If you have a friend like that, tag along! Or if there is a class that involves weights at the gym that you go to, give it a shot and sign up. And I can promise you, if you are consistent the benefits will show in no time.
Happy lifting but don’t forget your cardio and stretching as well!