Sunday, November 11, 2012

Strength Training: Why is it Important?

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a gentleman about weight lifting. And as you know, every conversation leads me to think about Eights & Weights readers and what your perspective is. And so midway through our conversation, my mind had wondered on to how readers approach the two major sects of exercise: cardio and strength training. 

I talk to a lot of people from both sexes about exercise, and one thing is very clear: there are individuals from both sexes that have a misunderstanding about the need for a balance of cardio and strength training. A lot of males seem to focus too much on strength training but not on cardio, and a lot of females seem to focus too much on cardio and not enough on strength training. 

Let's talk a bit about why strength training is important and we can focus on cardio another day (although I think I've beat that topic down).

Age: Have you realized that when you do extreme cardio now you hurt yourself much easier than you did a few years ago? As we grow older, we lose muscle mass. What does muscle mass have to do with cardio? A whole lot. The strength from your muscles is what helps you propel, balance and push yourself as you swim, run, spin, etc. The stronger you are, the better you can perform (Note that I said 'stronger', not 'bigger').

Protection: Also, as you lose muscle, the muscle gets replaced with fat. So though you may not see the scale go up or down, it doesn't mean you are fine. If you are carrying a lot of fat and forcing your body to still move at a certain level, the impact of all those cardio exercises could go straight to your joints because your muscles are not strong enough to protect those joints. The more cardio you do, the stronger your muscles need to be.

Weight: That is not to say that muscle mass does not help to control weight. Building strong muscles helps the body burn fat because obviously, your muscles are constantly doing work and in turn, burning energy. Just do not rely on muscles alone to burn fat though, like a lot of men do. You need both.

Looks: I mean, we are all vain on here, right? You do know that a toned bottom looks better than a soggy bottom. You need to constantly firm up your muscles as you burn fat to look healthy, fit, and more confident. There is a reason we women are always doing squats and lunges...

Strength training is not just about weight lifting though. You don't have to be lifting a thousand pounds at the gym to be fit so don't be intimidated. Sometimes, your body weight is good enough to help strengthen particular muscles in your body. I actively support body-weight strength training exercises (i.e. pushups, donkey kicks, lunges, etc.) because you can literally do them anywhere. Any exercise you do to tone your muscles rather than simply burn fat is a strength training exercise.

Speaking of strength training exercises, have you tried the TribeSports challenge?

For links to some of our other strength training examples, click here.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this informative article on cardio and strength training and why we have to balance both. Obviously, I've been doing the cardio more. I'll think of incorporating strength training that I can do anywhere.


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