As a former collegiate All-American cross country and track athlete, I am an inborn cardio-junkie. I love it! And in my 20's I did VERY LITTLE strength training. I ran, I did the elliptical, I biked. I also got injured....a LOT. And although I was thin, I didn't look "defined" or "ripped".
The past 3 years I've increased my strength training a ton, and I found another love. Yes, I still love running and cardio, and I always will. I mean, NOTHING beats a good runners high, a trail run, or hiking a 14er. But, I've also learned, like anything in life, balance and moderation is always best, and I've learned to fall in love with strength training. In fact, becoming a stronger version of myself, has helped me in my running and cardio endeavors. Not only is it fun to feel strong by building muscle, but strength training has so many other benefits too!
Muscle Burns Fat -- Guys and gals, if you want a way to ramp up your metabolism and burn fat, strength training is the way to go! Nope, cardio is not gonna do it. Strength training builds muscle, which revs your metabolism, which in turn, helps improve your body composition. Did you know that at rest, muscle burns waaaaay more calories than fat? So when you are sitting at rest, your muscle mass is a calorie burning machine. In fact, every 5 pounds of muscle burns an extra 200-250 calories per day compared to 5 pounds of fat. So --> if you build 10 pounds of muscle, you will automatically burn an extra 400-500 calories each day doing NOTHING. Crazy, right?!
Muscle increases bone density -- Strength training helps you build and maintain strong, healthy bones. This is especially important in women who are nearing age 50 and above. Strength training supports bone density, lowering the risk of osteoporosis.
Strength training decreases injury -- most strength training exercises are lower-impact, so you can build muscle mass without a lot of stress on your joints. At the same time, weight-bearing exercises actually strengthen joints, meaning decreased risk of injury while doing other activities....e.g. running. I can attest that since I've built lean muscle mass, my injuries have gone down so much!
Strength Training Promotes Cardiovascular Health -- Studies have shown that weight training can be just as effective as cardio in promoting heart health. People who do at least one hour of strength training each week have a 40-70 percent lower risk of heart attack or stroke compared to those who do not.
Gives you a lean physique -- One of the great parts of strength training is that over time you will SEE the difference! This can be a great motivator. If you do a walking program, you likely will get in better shape, but you may not see a huge physical transformation. On the other hand, with weight training you WILL be able to see and feel a difference in you muscles, even after just a few sessions.
Improves your mood and confidence -- Strength training has MENTAL benefits! I know after a good strength session, I feel strong and good about myself. Over time, as you get stronger and start to see progress, you'll get a feeling of accomplishment. Strength training gives you a sense of feeling powerful, which can set a great tone for your day!
So, what do you have to lose? Not much, but there is a LOT you can gain (including bigger muscles) ;). At Fueled4Wellness, we practice what we preach. We believe strength training is a piece of the overall puzzle when it comes to optimal health. Another piece that goes hand-in-hand with strength training and exercise is NUTRITION. We've got a nutrition program that is tailored for YOU and will compliment you in burning fat, while maintaining (if not increasing!) muscle mass. Over the past 6 months, we pride ourselves in the transformations we've seen in our clients. Unlike so many "fad diets" and weight loss programs out there, our nutrition program will FUEL you, and help turn you into a fat burning machine!