WHY SHOULD YOU BE STRONG? STRENGTH IS MORE THAN BEING ABLE TO RUN 5K OR DO 20 BURPEES. STRENGTH NOT ONLY KEEPS YOU LOOKING FANTASTIC BUT IS IMPORTANT FOR A HEALTHY, PAIN FREE AND LEAN BODY.
6 reasons from UFIT's Personal Trainer Rachel Harling on why you should get strong...
1. Look awesome and burn calories.
Almost everyone has this as one of their goals. Want a beautiful back? Or some abs for the beach? A nice butt for your new jeans? Lift weights, build some muscle, lose some fat. Lean muscle burns calories, even at rest. Having more muscle increases your metabolic rate. "Muscle tissue burns more calories - even when you're at rest - than body fat" Dr George Bray, American obesity researcher.
2. It's engaging and fun with measurable results.
Achieving your first unassisted pull up or push up are accomplishments to be proud of and have fun whilst working towards. You can always set new goals after you’ve accomplished your first ones targeting different areas of your body.
3. Build muscle (and no, you don't have to bulk).
"Toning" is actually just building muscle and losing fat. Strength training doesn't necessarily mean you're going to bulk up. Yes, it is possible, but it requires serious effort. Women don't produce enough of the muscle building hormone testosterone to pack on lots of muscle. The correct programme will ensure you build the right amount of muscle in the right places. As you age, muscle also wastes away, so it's important to keep up weight training to stay strong and lean. This loss of muscle mass "is one of the most important causes of functional decline and loss of independence in older adults" Jeremy Walston, 2012.
4. Don't get injured.
Strength training improves your bone, muscle, tendon and ligament, joint strength. Have you pulled your back when you picked up something heavy? Injured your knee in playing tennis? Lack of strength leads to many injuries and ongoing pain. Most back pain is caused by weak core and glutes (i.e. bum). Time to get strong! The American College of Sports Medicine report that the improvements to bone, connective tissue and muscle achieved through regular resistance training can reduce risk of injury.
5. Prevent disease and illness.
Did you know strength training can help prevent and combat illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, depression and many more. One of the reasons I train is precisely this, to hopefully prevent illnesses suffered in my own family such as osteoporosis, mental health issues and cancer. Studies by the Cooper Institute found that muscular strength indicated a reduced cancer mortality rate of up to 40%.
6. Improve your athletic performance.
Runners, tennis players, cyclists, swimmers, golfers. Whatever your sport, strength training can assist in improving your performance in other areas. Our clients who include strength training in their programmes report better running times, improved golf swing, less injuries, and better endurance.
HOW DO I TRAIN...
Most of my workouts are strength based. I'm not currently training for any event, my goals at the moment are to get strong, work on my weaknesses and look great.
I train on average 5 times per week, which includes 3 x strength sessions, 2 x short high intensity cardio sessions.
An example strength workout:
- 5x5 heavy deadlifts (100kg current)
- 5x5 pull ups
- 3x8 dumbbell shoulder press 12kg
- 3x8 single arm rows
- 3x16 weighted lunges 16kg each hand
- 3x10 v sits
My cardio does not involve long slogs on a run or a bike. I spend approximately 30mins busting a gut with e.g. burpees, running intervals, swinging heavy kettle bells, jumping squats, push ups, moving heavy weights fast.
My advice to you?
Lift some weights, do short high intensity cardio and have lots of fun whilst doing it.
"How do I get started?"
At UFIT we are specialists in fitness and strength training. We are qualified to help ensure you meet your goals. But you can of course train on your own too. Aim for 2-3 strength training sessions per week. Learn some fundamental moves, don't be afraid to ask others to help you. Pick up a basic strength routine and go from there. Include upper body, lower body and core exercises. It doesn't need to be fancy moves, squats, push ups, crunches etc are all fundamentals of strength training. If you want some great reading on the basics of lifting weights, try looking at "The New Rules of Lifting" by Cosgrove and Schuler. Or better still come in and see one of our great trainers at UFIT!
About the author
Rachel Harling is a personal trainer at UFIT. She is also an NASM certified personal trainer and ACE certified fitness instructor. Her background is in swimming, running and dance. She has previously been based in New York teaching rowing at a boutique studio and also in Bootcamps in Central Park.
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