You might think fitness falls into two separate areas. On the one side, cardio is the go-to for weight loss and health. On the other, weight-training is just there for big, bulky muscles and strength gains. Cardio has its place for cardiovascular benefits, however i truly believe we are underestimating the value and huge benefits that strength training can bring to the table.
Resistance training is physical exercise using any resistance against your muscle, making it contract to push against the force. Your muscle builds in strength, density and size (males) by having to match the force of the weight pushing against it. To continue to build muscle you need to increase the weight of resistance to always challenge the muscle, making your muscle work hard to contract and push the weight.
If you’re wondering what makes all this hard work worthwhile, here are my top five reasons you need to be resistance training.
1. It burns energy and fat
You’d better believe it! This is partly because of the EPOC effect: Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Your body uses extra oxygen to help recovery and return to a pre-exercise state, which in turn raises your metabolism, so you keep burning calories even after your workout is done. It turns out that resistance training, particularly high-intensity, provides the best EPOC effect (yes, even better than jogging). Plus, when you build lean muscle, it is more ‘metabolically active’ than fat, meaning that your body burns more energy just to stay fit. How great is that?
2. It shapes your body
If you want to guide your body transformation and overall shape, muscle-building is the only way to go. This DOES NOT mean you’ll end up bulky like a bodybuilder. Women tend to have lower testosterone than men, which makes building bulging muscles more difficult, so you can’t really do it accidentally.
3. It helps protect your joints
When muscles have the strength and functionality to take the brunt of your body’s movements, they’ll actually help to protect the joints too! Not only is this great news for people who want to do high-impact physical activities safely, it can also reduce everyday pain or discomfort caused by a sedentary lifestyle. For example, strong glutes and core can protect you against back pain by keeping your posture correct and taking pressure off the spine – if you’re someone who sits at a desk all day, you’ll really need this.
4. It will give you everyday strength and confidence
If you’ve just been sticking to cardio, you might not be very strong. This means you probably struggle with everyday tests of strength, like lifting heavy things, carrying bags, even climbing steep inclines. Resistance training makes you more capable and strong, and that does amazing things for your confidence. Resistance training is about more than having the best-looking bod possible. It’s about finding the best version of yourself and seeing how much you can achieve.
5. It increases bone density
It’s a fact of life that our bone density naturally decreases as we get older. But you don’t have to take that sitting down: when you get up and start lifting, pressing and pulling weights, the impact of resistance training forces the bones rebuild and become more dense. Resistance training is one of the only ways you can actually improve bone density. This means you have a better chance of staying healthy and active further down the track.