You might already know my story of losing 60kg. If you know a little more about that story, you’ll know that I only have one regret: not strength training. I lost nearly 40kg before I started any kind of strength-based exercise and, in that time, I simply became a smaller but still flabby version of my former self.
If you want to lose weight, what you eat will dictate the bulk of your success but if your goals go beyond weight loss and include better overall health, strength-based exercise is going to go a long way to help you achieve those goals.
I know what you’re thinking: ‘Weights are for gym junkies’; ‘I’m too old to lift weights’ or ‘I want to be slim, I don’t want to look bulky’.
These are all common myths but you know what’s actually true? When you pick up heavy things your muscles get stronger. When you pick up heavy things and maintain good eating habits, your muscles get stronger and denser AND you burn the fat sitting on top of your muscle.
Strength training isn’t just for gym junkies
We’ve all seen the images: beautiful people in tiny clothes lifting weights in the gym. The media often sells beauty as the benefit of exercise.
The reality is that improved health is the real benefit of exercise and strength-based exercise can help correct all sorts health-related issues. Research suggests, lifting weights can have a significant effect on cholesterol and blood pressure – major contributors to heart disease.
Also, increased muscle mass helps you burn glucose which can prevent, control, or even reverse type-2 diabetes. Put simply, the health benefits of strength training are huge!
You’re never too old
Think you’re too old to lift weights? Think again. The sad reality of getting older is that we actually lose muscle. It’s called Sarcopenia, it happens to all of us and it generally sets in by the time we turn 40. By the time you’re 50 you’re losing 1-2% of muscle mass every year.
Lifting weights has been shown to halt and even reverse the effects of sarcopenia. If you think you’re too old, then you could probably benefit the most from taking up some strength-based exercise. The truth is, lifting weights may very well keep you out of a rest home.
Think lean and strong, not big and bulky
Perhaps the biggest myth that surrounds strength training is that it makes you big and bulky.
It can, but achieving the muscle-bound hulk look is very intentional. It requires huge weight, huge amounts of food, a range of supplements and years of dedication. If that’s your thing, then that’s cool but, typically, people that strength train while maintaining a healthy, balanced diet get lean and strong, not big and bulky.
If you’re still not convinced, think about this: strength-based exercises have a much higher rate of exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC) than other exercise. So, unlike running and walking, your body actually keeps working after you stop exercising. Studies have shown this can boost your metabolism for up to 36 hours after you finish your workout. What’s not to love about that?!
Whether you’re 127kg or you’re just looking to lose those last few pesky kilograms, strength training is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and build muscle.