So I am relatively new to the world of weight lifting and strength training. I wish I could tell you all that I can bench press my own body weight and do 30 chin ups in a row – I can’t…yet, but I have fallen in love with lifting weights and building muscles. There are so many benefits to strength training and I was to talk about them and be very frank with the changes that have happened to my body.
They* say: it’ll help you lose weight
I say: this isn’t why I started weight training but I know it is important for a lot of people. I have found, especially in my arms that they are leaner, and stronger. I don’t use a scale (and haven’t in a long, long time) but I know in my arms at least there is a lot less fat.
Strength training helps to burn more calories and even though I am a runner through and through even I can’t argue with the fact that I would have to run a lot to burn the same amount of calories I do when lifting. Just by doing one week of classes at Barry’s a couple of weeks’ ago I noticed a massive difference.
They say: your clothes will fit better.
I say: What no one told me what that becoming leaner doesn’t necessarily mean becoming smaller. From running and squatting my thigs are bigger, my bottom more pronounced, and from weight training my arms and shoulders are also more developed. My waist size has increased as the muscles increased and my whole core is so much stronger. When I look in the mirror naked I feel incredible – my reflection looks so powerful and it makes up for having to buy a lot of new clothes to fit my new shape. (Also shopping is so much fun that this isn’t all that much of a chore. But I made a rookie mistake today and am wearing snazzy green trousers which I haven’t work in ages. The look amazing but I can’t breathe in them – I definitely need to retire these.)
They say: your diet will improve
I say: Only if you already have a healthy, balanced diet. Strength training makes you hungry and I still eat the same foods just more of it. I think I have a healthy, balanced diet and this includes snacks and junk (because they are delicious). So while I now eat more food I need to make sure I eat more apples rather than croissants.
They say: you will handle stress better
I say: YES, YES, YES. So much yes. By knowing I can do a whole hour of strength training and not only survive but thoroughly enjoy it means I can definitely survive and enjoy work. I can take on the challenges life throws at me and slay them all.
They say: you’ll be happier
I say: again a massive yes and definitely related to the lack of stress.
Of course these are only some of the benefits and as I said at the very beginning that I’ll be really frank in this post some of the other benefits I have found include more regular bowel movements (always a yes), and more regular periods (but this is also because of the running). Strength training should also help increase bone strength and decrease the risk of osteoporosis, and increase heart health – but I have no way of measuring these yet! Imagine if you could measure your bone density whenever you liked….I am more likely to become addicted to this than knowing the number of steps I take.
But more than this I think weight lifting and strength training is fun. I enjoy the challenge and LOVE the rewards. It is so much fun and this possibly trumps every other benefit that I talked about above. Yes, it’s wonderful that my body shape has changed and that I burn more calories but it is EPIC that I enjoy the process.
I urge you all to give it a go! Start with smaller weights or bottles of water or cans of beans if you want to try at home. Or go to a class – don’t be intimidated by anyone there – and try and enjoy the whole thing. This is an exercise where you get better at it really quickly and you see results pretty fast – win, win!
*this is a combination of google searches and what people have told me.