Weight training will transform you
It sounds like sensationalism, I know. But weight training really can make a huge difference to your health and the way you look and feel. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re a man or a woman, the benefits can be realised for everyone.
It has many benefits
Would you like to
- Find it easier to maintain a healthy weight?
- Flatten your stomach?
- Improve your strength, movement and capability?
- Tone up?
- Improve your posture?
- Help prevent osteoporosis and arthritis?
- Improve your hormonal balance?
- Develop mental fortitude?
- Create a positive body image and improved confidence?
That’s quite a collection of benefits. I suspect you’d quite like all of those! Weight training can do all of this.
And it won’t bulk you up
So, you may be thinking ‘I’ve seen those female bodybuilders, I do NOT want to look like that!’. Don’t worry, you won’t. You have to dedicate your life to lifting and eating in the right way, work extremely intensely in the gym and take illegal drugs to look like a ripped and over-muscled female bodybuilder.
If you work as hard as you possibly can every time you go in the gym, you should develop an attractive feminine tone. But that’s about it. As a woman, you simply don’t have the hormones to get any bigger than that.
We’ve had one female client who put muscle on whilst losing weight at the same time. All 0.3kg of it. Had she been in calorie surplus rather than trying to lose weight then she may have gained a little more, but we’re talking 1 or 2 kg and improved tone. Femininity, not bulk.
Not convinced yet? Let’s look at some of the benefits in more detail.
Helps you maintain a healthy weight
That’s because muscle consumes energy, even at rest. How much energy? Estimates are around 6-10 calories per day per lb of muscle. It doesn’t sound a lot does it? But it makes a difference.
Consider this data from our female clients. There is a 17kg difference between our female client with the most muscle and our female client with the least. That’s 37lbs of muscle. Being conservative, that’s 222 calories per day or 81,000 calories per year more that our most muscled female is able to burn compared to her least muscled colleague. What does that mean in terms of weight? There’s an often-used figure that 3,500 calories are equivalent to 1lb of fat. That means our most muscled lady has the potential to lose 23lbs of fat more than the other lady.
In practical terms, if you carry more muscle, you’re going to find it easier to maintain a healthy weight because you will be burning more calories.
So how do you end up with too little muscle? Simple – just don’t use your muscles and eat too little to maintain them. On the flip side, to keep your muscle or put it back, lift weights and eat enough calories – including plenty of protein – to maintain or grow muscle tissue.
It’s also worth pointing out that muscle has many other benefits, among them being that it is healthy to have muscle. Have a look at our previous article about the importance of muscle for a more in-depth look at the benefits.
Will flatten your stomach
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, a good lifting programme will include core strengthening exercises, including those for the all-important Transverse Abdonminis. That’s the one that helps you hold your tummy in.
Second, to lift well you have to have a strong foundation. Lifting will strengthen your core because you’ll need to engage your abdominals on every rep of every set.
Improves your strength, movement an capability
It almost goes without saying that it will make you stronger. But let’s be clear, you have to put the work in and you’ll need to progress your lifts if you want to gain strength.
Not so obvious is that weight training will make you more capable. Improvements in strength, mobility, balance, posture and movement will translate into everyday life and help you take on more challenging activities, with more aplomb and less effort.
Weight training will improve your movement due to improved strength and better joint alignment arising from posture improvements.
Will tone you up
Even if you don’t gain muscle, you will develop tone.
How come? Tone is the result of unconscious residual firing of the muscles. The postural muscles that help us stand upright or adopt the correct anatomical shape have residual tone. But so do the muscles that are associated with movement. If you train, they do a bit more residual firing. They develop tone.
Improves your posture
Good posture will make you look taller and younger. It will reduce joint pain. It will help you move better and breathe better. I could go on. But suffice to say, the body has a certain anatomical orientation where it is most efficient and healthy. Deviations from this orientation can lead to a whole host of complications.
Weight training improves posture because it strengthens the postural muscles of the core, spine, back and so on. Note, however, that it will only achieve this if correct posture is adopted whilst lifting. If you use poor technique and adopt the incorrect positioning, you will just reinforce bad posture.
And of course, any good lifting programme should include specific exercises to strengthen postural muscles.
Helps prevent osteoporosis and arthritis
You’ve all heard that weight bearing exercise helps to strengthen bones.
In fact, the biggest contribution to the maintenance of bone mass is the pull of muscle tissue on their attachment to the bones. Put a bit of force through your muscles and you’ll help strengthen your bones and prevent bone loss. In a previous blog, we commented on a news article relating to bone health and weight training.
Weight training will also help to prevent arthritis and other joint problems. As this linked article from arthritis.org notes, weight training ‘keeps muscles around affected joints strong, lubricates joints, decreases bone loss and helps control joint swelling and pain’.
Improve your hormonal environment
There are many hormonal benefits. The two worth noting for an article of this length are testosterone and growth hormone. Studies have shown that weight training improves both.
And before you skip this section thinking it’s a ‘man thing’, be aware that women have testosterone too, just less of it. But it does the same things and has the same benefits as in men, so read on.
Why is it a good thing to have improved levels of testosterone and growth hormone? Because as we age our levels of these hormones decline, and that’s a bad thing! Below is a list that will show you why you’d want to keep their levels as high as possible.
Although testosterone and growth hormone are very distinct, there are similarities in their effects on the body so, in the interests of brevity, I’m going to list the benefits together. They include
- Reduced body fat
- Increased muscle
- Slower ageing
- Improved sleep
- More energy and ‘vitality’
- Better sexual health
- Better mood
- Reduced anxiety
- Improved memory
- Stronger immune system
- Improved type 2 diabetes and insulin sensitivity
- Stronger bones
- A long list of improved health markers
You get the gist I’m sure. These are good hormones. And weight training helps to keep their levels higher.
Helps develop mental fortitude
It does this in two ways. First and foremost, when you lift weights, you’ll really need to take your exercises to the point where you can barely lift the weight another time. You are taking the muscle to the point of fatigue. It takes determination to take yourself to that point. A lot of people, when they first start lifting weights, stop short of this point. Once it gets uncomfortable, that feels hard enough. But after a while, and especially with the right coaching and encouragement, you’ll be taking every set to the point of fatigue. That’s when you will have developed that mental fortitude.
That determination, that drive to finish the job translates very well into everyday life. No longer will you give up when the going gets tough. You’ll battle your way to success.
Second, the idea of lifting weights can seem a little intimidating and daunting to start with. Just stepping into a gym environment and committing to a programme of lifting requires mental strength for some. And lifting weights is a lot of effort, it feels uncomfortable at first. You’ll need develop a certain amount of resilience to get through this phase.
Helps create a positive body image and improved confidence
We’ve already mentioned some of the transformations to your body that are possible. You’ll develop a better silhouette, a flatter stomach, improved posture and you’ll stand more upright. You’ll feel better about the way you look and give off more positivity.
There’s also something about being strong and capable that we all enjoy. In the animal kingdom, the strong, capable and healthy individuals get the mate. Weak and ill looking get rejection. We are animals too. If you feel strong, capable and healthy then you’ll look strong, capable and healthy. You’ll not only feel more attractive, you’ll look more attractive. That’s great for self-confidence.
Ready to start weight training?
I hope you understand a little more why weight training will transform you. I hope you feel inspired to start lifting. It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t enjoy it once they get into it. Start lifting and before you know it, you’ll be transforming your body, your mind and your health and enjoying it at the same time.
We would say this, but if it seems a little daunting to get started, get yourself a good coach to show you how to lift. You’ll soon be reaping the rewards.
Go on, go for it!