10 Reasons to Lift Weights
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you’ve probably noticed that lifting weights has gone from a fringe activity to the mainstream in a big way.
Unfortunately, some people still haven’t gotten onboard with the idea - or at the very least, are skeptical.
And while weight lifting is on the rise amongst women, some are still resistant to the idea, seeing activities like cardio as the defining method for losing weight, toning up and getting healthy.
Today we’re going to talk all about the benefits of weight lifting, why it’s become so popular - and why, regardless of age or gender, you should absolutely be doing it
1 - You’ll Have an Easier Time Losing Fat
This is by far one of the most compelling reasons to lift - if your main goal is to lose body fat and get lean, you’re seriously shooting yourself in the foot by not training with weights.
A lot of people seem to think of losing fat as a simple matter of calories in verses calories out.
And this is absolutely true. The process of gaining and losing body fat is primarily a result of the amount of calories consumed in relation to the amount of calories used.
The piece that’s missing here, however, is the fact that calories aren’t just used for physical activity. They’re also used to keep your body functioning at a basic level (referred to as your “basal metabolic rate”).
It works like this - the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day. This is because muscle tissue, along with your organs, is included in your basal metabolic rate and requires energy.
No, it won’t help you burn 500 extra calories per day like some of the “experts” claim, but it is enough to make a difference.
And when it comes to the war on fat, every advantage counts.
2 - You’ll Look Better Naked
This is something that most men have known intuitively for years - more muscle and less fat makes you looks better.
What you may not realize, however, is that this principle applies to women. Unfortunately, most of them haven’t quite caught on yet.
And it’s really too bad. Because if you’re a woman, and you’ve been struggling to improve your body for a while now, lifting weights may very well be the “missing piece”.
Here’s the deal - aesthetics are kind of a smoke and mirrors show in a lot of ways.
The most extreme example of this is the world of bodybuilding. These athletes all gain muscle strategically - in areas like the shoulders, lats and lower thighs, creating the illusion of a powerful “X-shaped” body.
And believe it or not, this concept can be used by women as well. By performing not only glute and hip exercises, but also working your torso and upper body, you’ll create the illusion of a feminine “hourglass” physique that so many women are looking for.
3 - Lifting Weights WON’T Make You “Bulky”
One of the common objections amongst women is that they want to get “toned” rather than “bulky”. This fear of gaining too much muscle mass leads them to either a.) not lift weights at all, or b.) spend all their time lifting tiny, two kilogram dumbbells.
Here’s the reality ladies - lifting weights won’t make you bulky. Lifting HEAVY weights won’t even make you bulky.
The reason? Hormones. The VAST majority of women simply don’t have the testosterone required to seriously bulk up.
Hell, lifting heavy won’t even make MEN bulky half the time. For your average man to get to the point where he’s “too big” he’d have to spend years in the gym and be blessed genetically (either that or using steroids).
For 99% of women, it’s next to impossible.
In reality, the “toned” look is the result of two things - low body fat and increased muscle mass.
Bottom line - don’t fear the weights. Lifting heavy and dropping fat will result in a slim, lean, feminine body - not a bulky one.
4 - You’ll Increase Your Lean Muscle Mass
One of the single best things anyone can do for themselves is to increase their lean muscle mass.
And when we say everyone, we mean EVERYONE - men, women, elderly - more muscle mass is beneficial regardless of who you are.
Apart from the obvious reasons, muscle also helps preserve bone density. One study found a correlation between low amounts of skeletal muscle and weak bones in elderly men.
It’s also been shown to improve recovery times in certain illnesses, and may even protect against diabetes.
So, if you think that muscle is just there to look good, think again.
5 - You’ll Prevent Injury
Despite the increased popularity of weight training over the years, it unfortunately still gets a bad rap in some circles. And one of the misconceptions that just won’t seem to die is the idea it’s a “dangerous” activity that will set you up for injury.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, lifting weights with bad form can definitely hurt you. But a proper, well executed strength training routine will do the exact opposite.
Remember, resistance training doesn’t just build up the muscles, it also builds up the tendons, ligaments and bones, making them far more resilient and resistant to injury when placed under pressure.
It also helps prevent trauma injuries because it uses natural human movement patterns that will improve your coordination.
All of this is important enough for young, active people, but it’s ESPECIALLY important as you start to age. Which brings us to our next point…
6 - You’ll Age Better
As we start to move into our elderly years, our priorities start to shift - and one of the biggest shifts is our focus on health.
It’s no great secret that the older we get, the more vulnerable and susceptible we become to illness, disease and injury. And while this is a fact of life, there are things you can start doing now to stave off the effects of aging.
One of the greatest risks facing elderly populations is the risk of a fall, leading to broken bones and fractures (MUCH more difficult to recover from at 75 than at 25).
One of the best things you can do for yourself now to prevent this from happening is to lift weights and build your strength - particularly your leg strength (a major determining factor in life expectancy).
7 - You’ll Think Better
Lifting weights doesn’t just strengthen your body - it sharpens your mind as well.
During intense exercise, your body releases “endorphins”, hormones that act almost like natural painkillers.
These endorphins have a number of effects, but one of them is an increased sense of wellbeing (both aerobic exercise and resistance training produce these hormones, explaining where the whole “runners high” comes from).
And really, there’s no question about - a better mood makes us happier, healthier and more productive.
It can also reduce anxiety, improve sleep and may even help boost memory (even in younger trainees).
8 - You’ll Prevent Cognitive Decline
We’ve talked all about the physical effects of aging, now let’s switch gears and talk about the other side of the coin - cognitive decline.
Alzheimers and dementia are devastating. According to the World Health Organization, these illnesses affect 50 million people worldwide, with 10 million new cases being discovered every year.
And while the causes of cognitive decline are by no means simple, new research on exercise and dementia prevention has been very promising.
What’s particularly surprising are the potential positive benefits of resistance training in particular. One study found that weight lifting among seniors may improve executive cognitive functions and reduce the risk of cognitive decline and illness.
And while the study was specifically conducted with the elderly, there’s absolutely no reason to put lifting off that long. By starting now, you’ll make it easier to form a habit around working out that will carry on into your older years.
9 - You’ll Create a Growing Sense of Accomplishment
While weight training has grown in popularity over the last decade, cardio has taken a bit of a hit.
In fact, a lot of people (particularly men) are under the impression that it’s no longer “necessary”, and all they need to do is lift weights to be fit and healthy.
This is a HUGE mistake, because both are critical to your long-term health.
With that said, there is definitely one thing that weight training has over cardio - the motivation of potential improvement.
At the end of the day, you can only run so much before you start to hit a wall. But the beauty of weight lifting is you simply have so much more room to grow.
A good, well-structured program will allow you to continue making progress for years - perfect for keeping you motivated to hit the gym.
10 - You’ll Be Tougher
There’s absolutely no question about it - weight lifting makes you tough, both physically and mentally. Going into the gym each and every week with the mindset of improving and lifting more weight is something that builds character and resilience - attributes that are sorely lacking in our culture of instant gratifications.
In summary, weight training is hard work. It requires dedication, commitment and the ability to push through temporary discomfort. But it’s something that pays off enormously in the long run.
So, if you want to look better, feel better and age better, consider adding weight training to your fitness program.
We promise you won’t regret it!!
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