Skepticism is a characteristic that only serves one purpose; to hold one back from attaining levels never before seen accomplished. It is this skepticism that has often cast a negative shadow over the world of weight training and caused many to miss out on an opportunity to reap the rewards of regular resistance training. For those who believe weight training only leads to increasing bulk and decreasing flexibility, limiting cardiovascular endurance and making women too muscular, take heed of the following benefits of weight training and allow yourself to be open to the possibility that your prior beliefs may be flawed, and you have been misinformed.
Showcasing the Benefits of Weight Training
For those of you who are already in the right frame of mind, bear with me and join in with me in educating the people around you who need to know this very important aspect of training. The reasons are plentiful and here are more great reasons to pick up that dumbbell and start banging out some serious reps.
Bigger, Stronger, Faster
Weight training is not just for bodybuilders, powerlifters, and strongmen; no weight training will serve you very well in any of your respective sports. The majority of players in today’s game are getting bigger, stronger and faster at a record pace due in large part to the emphasis put on weight training by coaches and coaching staff. Many teams and clubs now have a specific strength and conditioning coach assigned to do one thing, and that’s put muscle on the players, get them to an appropriate size for their position and keep speed levels up. This is done in the weight room. Lean muscle tissue in the form of fast twitch muscle tissue is responsible for power, quickness, and speed. The more lean muscle mass you have, the bigger, stronger and faster you are. If you don’t believe me, next time you watch the 100m sprint at either the World level or Olympics, check out the physiques on those runners; then you’ll believe me.
Increased Bone Density
Bone strength is something you may never even really think about, but your skeletal structure is what is keeping you upright and what all your muscles are attaching to. Strong, healthy bones will help you when you are going heavy in the gym and will ultimately keep you healthy in the gym as well. The load you put on your muscles while resistance training also transfers to your skeleton and as the resistance increases so does the strain on your bones. Your bones have to respond somehow so they increase in density making them stronger. Why else is this important? Well as you age osteoporosis can become something you begin to worry about, and by weight training all through your early years, you give yourself a good chance at maintaining relative good bone strength right to the end.
Improved Metabolic Function
If staying lean is a priority for you (and it should be) then weight training is the solution to all your problems. Weight training leads to an increase in lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass is extremely metabolically active and requires a lot of energy to feed. This muscle will feed off of the food you eat and also the excess calories in your body making for a furnace like environment in your body. The more muscle mass you attain and maintain the more calories you burn at rest which is a great thing for keeping body fat levels in check.
Helps Fight Obesity
The last point was a perfect segue into my next reason for weight training. The obesity epidemic is no joke and something anyone in an influential position should take on to try to make better. Our younger generation is suffering from something that they do not need to suffer from. Being overweight and obese is a terrible burden and is holding many people back from doing what they enjoy and ultimately being healthy. Introducing these people to weight training could be the key to ending all of this. As a professional who works with young people every day, I am constantly preaching the benefits of weight training for their health, and I have seen many take my challenge and transform their bodies and lives. The hope is that the message gets passed along and someone who is overweight and hates to run or can’t run because they are too heavy will come down to the gym and get some sets in rather than just giving up altogether.
Feeling good about yourself can only lead to increasing your self-esteem and giving you more courage to do the things you want to do and take on challenges you wouldn’t normally do. Seeing yourself getting stronger, seeing your muscles grow and take shape and then getting that burst of healthy endorphins after a hard training session is just what everyone needs to feel good about themselves. Weight training will do this each and every time you hit the gym.
You Will Live Longer
For all the reasons I have listed above, you can and should expect to live a much longer life than those who decide to stay away from weight training. Regular weight training and exercise has proven over and over again to add years to your life by adding quality to the life you live. Unless you encounter serious disease or a fatal accident, keep pumping away in the gym. The additional things you do as a result of weight training (i.e. eating healthy, getting your rest, staying away from drugs and alcohol and living clean) probably helps add those additional years to your life so stick with it!
Life Long Activity
When I started out weight training, I received some advice that has stuck with me ever since, and I am very happy to have received it when I did. I was told that “You aren’t always going to play team sports and there will come a time when being part of a league or team will not fit in with your lifestyle. The benefits of sport are plentiful, but you won’t always have the number of people or equipment you need to play it. However, weight training is a solitary endeavor, and you don’t have to depend on anyone to do it. The gym will be there when you want it, and you can go as hard as you want for as long as you want.” This advice changed everything I thought I believed in and even though I played every sport going, I gradually moved away from them all and focused solely on my weight training, and I am grateful for this every day.
If I haven’t convinced you about the benefits of weight training, then there is no hope for you. If you are having difficulties figuring out where to start, check out the AST Sports Science website and sign up for the free Max-OT training program that will give you everything you need to know starting out and throughout your training. If you are already knee deep in it like I am, then spread the word and change the minds of those opposed to our ways. Skepticism will always be there, but our skeptics won’t, and we’ll still be lifting weights!