I have had a few conversations recently with clients about the importance of resistance training. It often gets overlooked in favour of it’s sweatier counterpart, cardio, as that’s what we were always told to do to lose weight, right? In fact, you could be missing a trick by walking past the weights section as it turns out there’s much more to gain than bulging biceps…
1. Lift weights to lose fat
Muscle is your metabolic engine. The more we have, the higher our resting metabolic rate. You will literally burn more calories IN YOUR SLEEP. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat so please don’t get fixated on your scales weight, as they don’t know the difference between fat and muscle.
2. Feel the (after) burn
When we train cardio, our calorie burn is increased whilst we’re doing it, but when we train with weights, our calorie burn may not be as high during the session, but your metabolic rate will remain elevated hours after, as your body torches the calories as it repairs and strengthens your muscles. This sometimes referred to as the ‘after-burn’. Did someone say, ‘post workout pizza’?
3. Core blimey, is that a six-pack?
If you step away from the machines and focus on functional movements when strength training, not only will you be training the big guys you can see (pecs, quads, biceps etc) but unbeknownst to you, the little guys in your core will also be firing up to keep you balanced and stable. Think of it as a no-crunch ab workout. You’re welcome.
4. Protection, protection, protection
Think of your muscles as the scaffolding surrounding your skeleton. As well as moving your bones, your muscles also protect your joints. The stronger your muscles, the less vulnerable you are to injury. Simples. This leads nicely on to…
5. Dem bones
As we age (especially us females, sorry ladies), our bones lose density and become more susceptible to breaks. Any weight-bearing exercise can help maintain bone density. Aerobics-style classes and walking are great, and exercises such as squats, lunges and step-ups with added weight can increase bone density in the legs and hips. Not just for those of the older persuasion, bone density is at its highest between the ages of 20 and 30 so invest in the future, kids and do your squats.