When you hear the term “Strength Training” what immediately pops in your mind?
Somebody that looks like this guy, perhaps?
For those of you unaware, that gentleman is Chris Bumstead, the reigning and defending Mr. Olympia Classic Physique champion. The Olympia award is the most prestigious award in the world of competitive bodybuilding. While not all of us have an interest in being Mr. Olympia, it doesn’t mean we should stray away from or be intimidated by strength training. It’s a term that overwhelms some folks, and in turn, it scares them away from the benefits they could otherwise utilize. My goal with this article is to demystify strength training and hopefully provide some insight on how it would be a benefit for you.
Every one of us has a unique physical build, different life and fitness goals, different everything. However, one area I can say with great certainty is that we all have a skeletal system. Given that we have that common ground, would you have guessed that strength training protects our overall bone health? We all possess a certain amount of lean muscle mass too. Well, get this… Once we enter our 30’s and beyond, our bodies start losing as much as 3 to 5% of lean muscle mass per decade thanks to the aging process.
The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research published a study concluding that a mere 30-minutes twice per week of high intensity resistance and impact training was shown to improve functional performance, as well as bone density, structure, and strength. Even more impactful, the study showed zero negative effects to the skeletal structure. In other words, physical activity helps preserve and increase muscle mass, strength, and power, which are essential for bone, joint, and muscle health as we age.
Ok, if that tidbit of info isn’t enough enticement for you to consider strength training, how about it helps your body burn calories more efficiently. All exercise helps boost your metabolism, which is the rate your body burns calories throughout the day. Strength training continually burns calories after your body returns to its more restful state. It’s a process called "excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.”
I’ll simplify this concept for you… When you perform cardio activities, like walking, running, endurance based exercises, your body is burning calories for that specific duration of time in which you are performing those activities. However, once your heart rate slows back down to its normal level, the calorie burning halts.
On the flip side, when you perform strength, weight, or resistance training exercises your body demands more energy based on how much energy you’re exerting. To put it another way, the harder you’re working, the more energy is demanded, thus the more calories are burned. The more calories burned during the workout; the more calories burned after the workout too while your body is in recovery mode. And when are you in your most efficient recovery mode? When you are asleep. Yes, resistance training helps you burn calories while you are catching some Z’s. It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that, folks.
If bone health, calorie burning while taking a siesta, and muscle enhancement aren’t enough for you, what about if I told you that strength training increases your energy levels, it boosts your mood, enhances your body image, improves cognitive function, increases flexibility and mobility, and will help you live longer! Need I say more? In summary, strength training is a beneficial part of any fitness regimen, even if being a bodybuilder, athlete, or personal trainer isn’t necessarily one of your goals. Strength training is a massive boost for anyone and everyone.
Curious to hear more? Give Coach Mike a shout! I’ll be happy to help you navigate through your fitness journey.