Strength is for everyone: 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Strength Training Right NOW!
Written by Sajan Patel
What do you see when you think of the word ‘strength’? Is it a huge Arnold Era bodybuilder pressing hundreds of pounds overhead? Is it carrying groceries from the car without getting tired? Or maybe it is a circus act and a clown balancing a beam on both hands? Or a cheerleader holding her friend above her?
There is the perception among American society that strength is relegated for anyone that simply wants bigger muscles, while stretching and cardio are for more general and older pop. In my life I have often believed in the saying, “Work smarter, not harder”. I was validated in this belief when I was introduced to the Pareto Principle.
The Pareto Principle states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. The truth is that we as a society major in minor things. The top companies know this principle, and thus focus most of their effort on things that are force multipliers. Things that by focusing on tend to get MORE results than less.
However most Americans have this backward. Most Americans are not doing the ONE thing that could save them trips to the hospital, extend their lifespan, and make them more confident in themselves and their appearance.
What is that thing? It is called Strength Training.
When I introduce people to strength training, I get a plethora of reactions. Women think I want to get them bulky, Men think I can get them to look like Arnold, and Older folk tend to get turned off completely by the idea.
The truth is that modern fitness culture is diluted with cardio and intensity based workouts. I’m not knocking those types of training, every style of training has its place, but too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
The truth about strength training is that it is for everyone. Young, old, girls, boys, and everyone in between. Strength training is a fantastic way to not only teach physical awareness of one’s body but also mental toughness and resilience. These are the top three reasons why YOU should be strength training.
Strength is how you prevent injuries
One of my old coaches had this saying: “Strong fixes Wrong.” While I think it is dangerous to completely agree with that statement, it is on the money for preventing injury. Think of the body like a series of chain links. If one part of the chain is weak, the other parts have to come in and help. And if worse, one part of the chain link snaps, your left with an overall weaker chain. You are only as strong as your weakest link and by strengthening weaker and underused areas, you can prevent injury and improve not only on quantity of life, but also quality.
Most falling injuries occur not because someone is old or their bones are brittle, but because their muscles are not strong enough to stabilize in a certain plane of motion. Strength training doesn’t have to look like constantly pressing weight or curling dumbbells, with many of my older clients I have adopted a resistance band type workout, constantly working on areas where they feel weak or have had previous injury.
When you add on to the face that constant strength training can stave off osteoporosis (loss of bone mass as we age) and sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass as we age), the benefits speak for themselves.
You’re not just strengthening your body, your also strengthening your mind
It is no secret among eastern and now some western practitioners of medicine that the body and mind are connected. Simply by clearing your mind and adopting healthy practices like mediation and positive thinking can enhance your biology. But the reverse is also true. By adopting things like deep breathing, you can calm down your mind. And by constantly strength training and pushing to your limits safely, you can adopt a mental toughness that carries over into your everyday life. Many of my clients have not only looked better through strength training, but also felt better as well. And when you feel better, you make better choices in your life and how you live, which in turn feeds the whole process.
Increased Caloric Burn
Simply put, a pound of muscle is more expensive for your body to maintain than a pound of fat. By strength training and increasing the overall amount of lean tissue, you increase your caloric burn and thus make it easier to eat the foods you want and burn fat. This effect also compounds on itself because strength training in general tends to burn more calories than cardio, which also leads to more fat burn and less muscle loss.
Strength training is a fantastic way to work out, and by adopting it you can slingshot yourself into the numerous health and wellness benefits. I love seeing new clients not only get strong, but look and feel better to throughout the whole process.