Strength training. The key to changing your body shape and looking good naked!
Having spoken a bit about strength training, I thought I would elaborate on how important it is for both men and women.
I bet if you asked most people today what they would want their body to look like, more than likely you’d end up hearing a list of actors playing current superhero’s or maybe some athletes.
Women included. I’d say if you asked them to walk into a gym and point out which body they’d like, it would be the girl next to the squat rack doing some strength training (trust me skinny girls use all the weight now) rather than the one reading a magazine on the elliptical trainer.
The fact is, strength or resistance training in the form of free weights, kettlebells, resistance bands or callisthenics (bodyweight exercises) is required to change and shape the body. If you just diet you will only become a slimmer version of your current self.
You can’t shape your body without strength training. Aerobic exercise, stretching and balancing are all important but if you want to be particular about your shape and the way you look you need strength training. You need to challenge that muscle group in order for it to develop.
Here we’ll look at the benefits of strength training to go along with your diet.
If I lift weights I’ll look really muscly
If I lift weights I’ll look like a bodybuilder.
No, not unless you want it to. To change your body to that extend would need a lot of very hard work and a very structured diet.
Strength training used to get a lot of bad press for women, fortunately, it seems things are improving, education about it is helping and you will see a lot more women lifting weights now or doing some sort of resistance training.
Both men and women are realising the benefits of strength training.
- The immediate benefits like the endorphin release after exercise. Endorphins released by the body interact with the brain to inhibit pain receptors and trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine and helps improve your mood.
- Decreases body fat by building lean muscle.
- Improves body image. Studies have found that women and men who strength train have more positive feelings about their bodies after completing resistance training programs compared to those who don’t.
- Stronger bone density, important as we get older to help with mobility and help prevent broken bones.
- Better joint mobility, better tendon and ligament strength and increased metabolism.
Back to losing body fat. Losing fat is all about burning off calories.
While you may be burning calories while exercising you can’t do that all day, so you need help. This is where muscle comes in. As muscle mass increases, so does your resting metabolic rate. This means your body burns more calories simply while resting and sleeping. This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and you should pair your strength training routine with proper nutrition in order to see results
Just think if you were a stronger version of yourself. You could be burning an extra 100-200 calories, potentially even more, a day doing nothing. It may not seem a great deal but if you start adding that up over a week, a month or even a year it becomes a lot.
As I mentioned in my original post, doing situps won’t help with losing belly fat. If you do sit-ups you will strengthen those abdominal muscles but you will only see them once the belly fat has gone.
Sit-ups are not a big calorie burner because they are such a small muscle group. To burn those calories you will need to work the bigger groups as well; like your legs, chest and back. Once you start to feel tired using those muscle groups then you’ll be burning a lot more calories during your workout and this even continues for several hours after your workout. (Working your core is a vital part of maintaining your body’s overall health in terms of support and flexibility, sit-its can be incorporated into your core routine core will be discussed in a later post)
Different types of Strength training:
- Muscle Endurance Training: Higher number of reps and sets, of lighter weights. This builds up a tolerance for more intense training programs.
- Hypertrophy Training: Building muscle size. Lifting medium to high reps of a moderate to heavy weight. This needs to be done consistently to changes to the size of your muscles.
- Circuit Training: Going through a series of different exercises, have a brief rest and then repeating.
- Max Strength Training: Bringing the number of reps down to about 3 to 6 and increasing the weight you’re lifting.
My next posts looks at the benefits of Resistance Bands and Weight Training and as usual please feel free to leave comments below