Until my late twenties, strength training was foreign to me. I was terrified of that gym section where the various machines were confusing, and the thought of asking for help was overwhelming. During that time my workouts consisted of running/different forms of cardio, and no matter how much I worked, it felt like I wasn’t getting the desired results.
A few years ago, my now husband and I bought a car tent, and when I tried to help him lift it to put it on the top of his Xterra, it almost crushed me, so I realized I needed to improve my upper body strength even if it was just for everyday tasks.
Today, my body has never felt better, and I went from being terrified of strength training to making it the bulk (no pun intended) of my workout regimen.
Below are four reasons why I implore and encourage you to start incorporating lifting into your workout routine
#1. You will feel like a beast.
Recently one of my childhood friends was in town, and we went out for dinner. For some reason, push-ups got brought up, and I mentioned that I could do quite a few “real” pushups.
The next thing I knew, we were on the parking lot’s pavement having a push-up contest, and I was amazed when I surpassed ten… then fifteen… then twenty.
I’ve never been one to count my pushups, but I went from being unable to do one a few years ago to be able to complete them in the double digits.
Not going to lie…. it felt incredible.
#2. More muscle = more calorie burning
For years I did cardio and didn’t see much change in my body. After I started doing more strength training and HIIT with weights, the difference was almost immediate.
How is that possible? Increased muscle mass means more calories are burnt at the same body weight than less muscle mass.
“Muscle is metabolically active tissue that requires energy to maintain, whereas fat tissue is not. Building muscle through strength training increases your calorie burn to help you burn fat as well.” – Verywellfit
All-in-all, there is no reason you shouldn’t be building muscle, and no, ladies, it won’t make you bulky (another myth), I promise!
#3. Aging will be a better journey
I love seeing someone in their seventies, eighties, and even nineties run still, jump, and crush it at the gym.
Muscle mass decreases as we age; that is simply a fact. However, strength training can help regain lost muscle and aid in good joints and flexibility.
Bonus: It also keeps bones strong, which is extremely important as it can help sustain injuries as we age.
#4. Improved mood and self-worth
We live in a time of crisis for mental health. Exercise is proven to help with anxiety and depression and can allow for better sleep; the benefits are endless.
If I don’t make it a point to find movement throughout my day, I become irritable. I do have one or two rest days a week; however, on those days, I’m not just lying on the couch all day. I am still walking, doing yoga, or hiking.
Ultimately there is no question whether or not strength training should be part of a workout regimen. The health benefits are enormous, you will avoid injury if you carefully follow proper techniques and forms, and it will transform your physical and mental health.
The days of endless cardio are waning. Let’s embrace time-effectively workouts that can make us stronger, feel better, and truly transform our bodies.