Yes, strength training can help you to look like a jacked superhero. I’m going to talk about some of the lesser known or even more important reasons we all SHOULD be strength training. Time to dive right in.
1) Body awareness- We learn much about our bodies while exercising, and weight training might be teaching us the most. Learning to move well, with a good range of motion under load, teaches us coordination and movement patterns that will keep us limber.
As an example: We pick up objects up off the ground all day long, and probably use our lower backs every time. When you strength train, you learn through dead lifting how to move through your hips and pick things up with your legs, instead of your back. By bracing for external loads, strength training teaches body awareness better than any other type of exercise.
2) Calories in/calories out, right? Not so fast Batman. Intense strength training also helps burn more calories in EPOC than most other forms of exercise. After a heavy strength training session, your body now has to repair muscle fibers which is metabolically demanding on your body. This in turn means your body continues to burn calories long after your workout has finished. It also helps you keep your muscle during a “cut” or “fat loss” period. As my friend Tony Gentilcore says, “What makes muscle, keeps muscle”. Strength training does both pretty well!
3) Weight lifting helps your body use and burn off extra blood sugars and gives your body a better response to insulin. Blood sugars are the main sugars in your body from the foods you eat. Your body uses these sugars for most of its energy production. Weight lifting helps your body normalize blood sugars better than someone who is not strength training. Insulin is the hormone that controls how your body uses your glucose (blood sugars). Strength training improves your body’s sensitivity to insulin, thus creating a properly functioning system. When these things get out of whack, you increase bodyfat. (I am not getting into Type 1 Diabetes here).
4) Self confidence. Like I said above, strength/weight training obviously helps you look more like a jacked superhero. But, even if this isn’t your aesthetic goal, you will notice differences in the way you carry yourself. Either from the pure fact you will be strong(er) and lifting some good weight, or from the small changes in your body composition, you will hold your head a little higher overall. Trust me, start hitting PR’s in the gym and see how your confidence goes up. Start seeing some muscles pop where they didn’t before and see how your confidence goes up. And to all this I say, “It’s ok to want to look better!” Working out doesn’t just have to be for your health (although that is an important reason)! Looking better and increased self confidence are amazing side effects as well.
There you have it, part 1 of my blog on the benefits of strength training. Join me back here soon for part 2!