Give The Treadmill A Break: 10 Reasons You Need To Get Into Strength Training

April 14, 2017  |  
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Let me start off by saying that any physical activity that you partake in is something to be proud of. Being active requires a lot of time and energy, and while many people don’t try to make the time or muster up the energy to get moving, you’ve been doing that. Bravo!

However, it’s time to switch things up. If you’re only doing cardio every time you step in the gym, you’re doing yourself a disservice. This is especially true if you’re trying to lose weight but won’t do strength training. The more muscle, the more calories you can burn. And not just that, but building muscle can aid you in maintaining your strength as you get older, which is vital to your health as those years go by. Don’t let the intimidation of the weight room hold you back, sis. Check out 10 reasons you should make a beeline for the weights and give strength training a try next time you’re in the gym.

women strength training

The More Muscles You Have, the More Calories You Burn

As it turns out, an increase in muscle tissue increases your basal metabolic rate. Your BMR is the rate at which your body uses energy while at rest. And, as you probably know, the faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn. So, according to the American Council on Exercise, as your muscle mass increases, the more calories you’re burning at rest, which helps you keep your weight down.

You Won’t Get “Too Muscular”

The major misconception many women have is that doing any strength training will put you on the road to looking like a female version of The Rock. But the truth is, you will only get as muscular as you want. For those of us who aren’t looking to compete in bodybuilding competitions, and instead, just tone, you should know that the high levels of estrogen in our bodies, as women, keeps us from producing very large muscles. Expect an increase in muscle tone, your endurance levels and your strength (those bags of groceries won’t even make you weary). But don’t expect an alarming increase in your size. It ain’t happening, sis.
 squat variations

The Stronger You Get, the More Likely You Will Avoid Injury

According to the experts, muscle protects your joints from injury and helps to greatly improve your balance and coordination. The less muscle, the less balance and coordination, and the higher the likelihood of your clumsy behind finding yourself somewhere nursing an injury.
strength training

The Older You Get, the More You Need to Strength Train

Not only has it helped 51-year-old beauty Elise Neal stay flawless, as strength training is her go-to form of exercise these days, but strength training also keeps you feeling better as you get older. According to the CDC, as we get older, we lose a lot of muscle, making activities of daily living more complicated. Walking for more than a few minutes becomes a pain, climbing stairs causes you to breathe heavily and you just have less energy and strength than you used to. But strength training has been proven, through studies, to curb “the weakness and frailty that can come with age.” Strong bones and strong muscles equals a stronger you.

strength training

Strength Training Helps You to Better Deal With Different Disorders

The CDC says that if you have diabetes, it helps you with glycemic control. Have arthritis? It helps to curb the stiffness and pain. Pesky back pain? Strength training reduces stress on your spine by strengthing the ab and back muscles. Obese? As we previously talked about, the increase in metabolism helps you burn more calories and lose weight. The impact building muscle has on these issues, as well as osteoporosis, heart disease and many other conditions, can not be overemphasized.

woman exercising, fast workouts

You Don’t Always Have to Use Weights

Another misconception is that to do strength training you have to be on your back getting spotted or trying to make it work with dumbbells at all times. Don’t forget about body weight! Using it as resistance is a great way to build muscle. Crunches for the abdominal muscles, pushups for the arms (and core) and wall sits for the legs are just a few bodyweight moves that will help you increase your muscular strength without equipment. Check out 47 others.

Switch it Up

You can rely on bodyweight moves, but switching up your modes of strength training keeps your body guessing and helps you keep up the progress. So do bodyweights one day, check out the machines the next time, pick up a pair of dumbbells or a kettlebell another time, and throw around a medicine ball after that.

strength training

A Barbell Is Your Friend

People sleep on barbells, but as Women’s Health pointed out, because of their length, barbells can take a lot of pressure off of your hands, wrists and the forearms, which are heavily utilized during sessions with dumbbells. Plus, you can lift more weight than usual using a barbell since it’s spread out and you have two hands supporting one piece of equipment.

Muscle Won’t Turn Into Fat

As Alexander Koch, Ph.D., told Women’s Health, if you take an extended break from strength training, the muscles you’ve worked hard to build won’t become fat. However, if you lose muscle mass, you will burn less calories and whatever food energy that’s left behind can then become fat.

Don’t Worry About the Scale

While building muscle can you help you tone up and feel leaner, that doesn’t mean that over time, as you do it consistently, that you will necessarily continue to see a drop in your weight. In fact, the scale may not even budge at a certain point or may even go up a little to account for all of the muscle you’ve built. But a scale number isn’t as definitive as the muscle tone you will see, the looser your clothing will be and the overall increase in strength you will feel.

 

Images via Bigstock 

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