Strength training is more than just pumping iron. It can help you lose weight, gain strength, and stay healthy.
Strength training involves using weights, resistance bands, machines or even your own body weight to build muscle and strength.
As we age, our muscles naturally weaken, making strength training all the more valuable in helping us stay strong as we get older. Given the endless benefits of strength training—including improved mood and sleep—it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most common forms of exercise among adults in the United States.
Scroll through to find out why you need to include strength training in your life and fitness regimen.
Strength training is one of the best ways to build stronger bones. The force of the weights makes your body adapt to the external pressures and loads, growing stronger in order to cope. Consequently, your bones will grow stronger.
Strong, dense bones can help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones so much that they break easily. When you have osteoporosis, it can be hard for doctors to treat because there’s not much they can do about brittle bones other than prescribe medication or surgery.
A balanced strength training program will make you a tougher and more resilient organism, as a result you will be harder to hurt and injure.
It can also help you avoid future injuries by increasing your core strength, balance, posture and coordination.
Your body is more likely to get hurt if it’s weak — especially if you engage in repetitive activities like running or cycling for many miles at a time. If an injury does occur, strength training may be able to help speed up your recovery time by keeping muscles strong during the healing process.
Strength training is not only good for your central nervous system, muscles and bones, but also for your metabolism.
It boosts the number of calories you burn throughout the day by increasing your total muscle mass.
Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it burns more calories than fat does. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be both at rest and during exercise. This means that even when you’re not lifting weights or hitting another workout, strength training can help you stay lean and keep off excess body fat.
In addition to its immediate effects on strength and muscle tone, weightlifting also helps keep metabolism high after a workout ends because of an increase in resting metabolic rate (RMR).
RMR accounts for about 60% of daily energy expenditure; this means that if someone has a lower RMR than others their bodies will burn fewer calories than those with higher RMRs even if they aren’t doing anything active.
As you strengthen your body, your mind also develops. You start to realise new things about yourself:
These mental benefits carry across well to other areas of life as well.
The confidence that comes from lifting heavy has been known to boost self-esteem, improve mood and even increase focus and productivity at work.
Strength training can help to improve your sports performance by:
As you get stronger, you also increase your ability to produce force—the push that allows you to lift heavier weights or move objects with greater ease.
Your muscles will be able to generate more power, which means your movements will become faster and more efficient both in and out of the gym.
Strength training is a great way to boost your mood and overall well-being. The effects of strength training on your body can include:
You’ll also experience better body image, which can help you feel more confident about life in general.
Even if you don’t see immediate changes in the mirror, strength training will make a difference over time that will become noticeable as you continue with this routine.
When you participate in strength training, your body becomes more efficient at using oxygen to break down food and store it as energy.
This creates a natural boost in how much energy you have throughout the day. Just by adding one or two extra sets to your workout each week, you can increase your overall capacity for physical exertion.
This doesn’t mean that if you start strength training today, you’ll instantly be able to run marathons or have endless supplies of energy; however, regular exercise does help your body make better use of the nutrients it consumes so that they’re more readily available when needed by the muscles during workouts.
Testosterone is a hormone that is responsible for many male characteristics, including body hair and increased muscle mass. It also plays an important role in maintaining the sex drive.
Testosterone levels peak at puberty and decline as we age, which leads to muscle loss, decreased sex drive and other health problems. As such, men who want to maintain their sexual health may want to focus on increasing testosterone levels. Weightlifting has been shown to increase testosterone levels by almost 15 percent on average within 24 hours after a workout session. This effect can last up to two days after each session or until you work out again.
The increased release of growth hormone during exercise also stimulates the production of insulin-like growth factors 1 and 2 (IGF-1), both of which are essential for normal bone development as well as cell regeneration. These factors play key roles in improving your overall strength while also stimulating new muscle tissue growth!
It’s no secret that sleep is critical for recovery. If you don’t get enough, or if you’re not getting the quality of sleep necessary to recover from exercise, your body won’t be able to perform as well on the next day’s workout.
Strength training (done properly) will leave you tired and satisfied, and help you drift off to sleep at night.
But getting better sleep doesn’t just impact how you feel during workouts—it also affects your testosterone levels and cortisol (the stress hormone).
A study in PLOS One found that higher testosterone levels were associated with more hours of sleep each night, while lower cortisol levels were associated with less time in bed each night.
So, if it seems like all those late-night Netflix marathons are catching up with you at work or the gym, now there’s scientific evidence to back up your suspicions!
Another excellent benefit of strength training is that you no longer have to waste time on long, boring cardio sessions.
Cardio has its place in any workout routine and can be a great way to get into shape. But it’s not as necessary for fat loss or muscle gain as many people think it is.
In fact, doing too much cardio can actually hinder your progress in the gym by draining energy levels and making you less motivated to train hard during weight training sessions.
If you want more energy for strength training then short, intense burst of cardio will get the job done for you.
If you are serious about your fitness, strength training is a key component. It’s not enough to work on cardiovascular fitness and endurance; without strength training, you won’t achieve the full benefits of any exercise routine.
Strength training is essential for muscle growth and repair, which is absolutely necessary for long-term health and wellness. Strength training also helps prevent injury by building up muscles that support joints and absorb shock from movement or impact during exercise or daily life activities. Finally, strength training improves posture so that you stand tall throughout the day—even when sitting at your desk!
This next section will outline a selection of the most popular and effective strength training programs so that you can get started.
The 5×5 strength training program is a workout routine designed to add muscle mass, increase strength and reduce body fat.
When following this program, you will be doing five sets of five repetitions for each exercise in each workout.
For example, if you are working out your chest on Monday, you would do five sets of five reps for bench press. You will rest at least 60 seconds between each set and at least two minutes between each exercise.
The first few weeks you should start out with relatively light weights until your muscles get acclimated to the new routine.
As time goes on, add additional weight to your lifts until eventually you’re lifting at least 80% of your maximum capacity for each lift (your one rep max).
Jim Wendler’s 531 strength training program is a popular program with bodybuilders and powerlifters.
The Wendler 5/3/1 is a strength cycle over 4 Weeks. Starting with 5 reps in the first, 3 in the second, and a mix in the third week, before deloading in the last week.
The last set is always an AMRAP. Out of the results you get in this AMRAP, the program calculates your new 1 rep max.
Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength Program is a strength training program designed by Mark Rippetoe to get novice lifters strong in as little time as possible.
The program has been around for years, and it remains popular because of its simplicity.
The program has three main components: the squat, press and deadlift. These are all compound exercises that allow you to lift heavier weights than isolation exercises like bicep curls or triceps extensions.
By focusing on these three lifts for two days per week, with one day off between each workout day, you’ll get stronger over time with minimal risk of injury—and who doesn’t want that?
What to Eat to Refuel After Working Out
Eating to refuel your body after a workout is just as important as working out itself.
You need to eat protein, which can be found in meat, eggs and fish. You also need to eat complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bread and brown rice.
Carbohydrates replace depleted glycogen stores and give you energy for your next workout.
Protein is a macronutrient that helps you build muscle. It’s an essential nutrient, meaning your body needs it in order to function properly. Protein is found in foods like meat, seafood, eggs and dairy products.
However, there’s a lot of debate about how much protein you should be consuming on a daily basis for optimal health benefits. Some experts say that 0.8 grams per kilogram (2 pounds) of body weight per day is the minimum amount required for healthy living; others believe the ideal amount is 1 gram per kilogram (2 pounds), which will help you build muscle faster during workouts and repair damaged cells after they’ve been broken down by exercise.
The importance of getting enough protein after a workout cannot be overstated: It can assist with muscle growth as well as bone health because it provides amino acids—the building blocks of protein—to help rebuild damaged muscles after exercise sessions such as weightlifting or sprinting.
You should consume a variety of protein-rich foods. Some examples are:
Complex carbohydrates are digested slowly and release energy slowly, and they tend to have a low GI value.
This means that the body will store less of the energy from these foods than it would if you were eating simple carbohydrates. This is good news for your overall health and fitness goals because complex carbohydrates provide more fibre and nutrients than simple sugars, which means you will also feel fuller for longer.
They help to avoid energy spikes and lulls.
Simple Carbohydrates often contain high levels of harmful trans fats (which contribute to heart disease), while complex carbs usually only have small amounts as part of their chemical structure.
Examples of Complex Carbohydrates Foods
Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains and cereals, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta.
Simple carbohydrates are found in foods like white breads and pastas, processed breakfast cereals, soft drinks and fruit juices that have been heavily processed or sweetened.
Complex carbohydrates break down slowly into glucose (blood sugar) which means they provide a steady supply of energy to the body for longer periods of time than simple carbohydrates do.
Strength training is one of the best ways to build lean muscle mass, reduce body fat, improve your physique and sports performance, increase testosterone levels, strengthen bones, balance hormonal levels and make you look and feel much better in general.
Written by Hafthor Bjornsson, CEO of The Outdoor Fitness Society.
Stanislaus Okwor is the Chief Editor @ https://www.greenhealthblog.com
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