Everyone walks into the studio for their first strength training class with different expectations. Some they share with us, some they don’t. But what we almost always hear eventually are the ways in which strength training has affected people that they didn’t expect!
So, without further ado, here are 7 unexpected results of weight training!
1. Improved Metabolism
We often hear from new members that they’ve tried all sorts of cardio over the years, but in terms of their fitness or weight loss goals, they’re just stuck. The problem here is that you need to boost your metabolism, or the amount of energy (that is, calories) that you burn during the day.
As you probably know, cardio is great for burning calories … while you’re doing cardio. But what about after?
The trick is to make sure you’re burning calories while you’re sitting at your desk at work, or watching TV, or making dinner. And, no, that doesn’t mean jogging in place or getting a treadmill desk. It just means building muscle mass. Increasing your muscle mass increases your resting metabolism (also known as the afterburn effect), and that’s what burns away fat and aids your fitness goals, whatever they may be!
2. Increased Energy
We all could use an energy boost every now and again, especially when that 2 o’clock feeling rolls around. But did you know you can skip the nap or the sugary snack and get that boost from strength training?
Exercise is known to release important hormones that contribute to a positive feeling in your body, and along with the boost in metabolism mentioned above, strength training helps you expend energy more efficiently. We’ve also heard members mention that they’re sleeping better after a few months of strength training. That’s a triple bonus!
3. Fat loss
We’ve all heard that weight lifting makes you huge, right? Women often ask us if weight lifting will make them “bulky.” Getting big muscles doesn’t happen overnight. You have to carefully plan for that with a specific training program, supplements, and a carefully constructed diet. However, what you can expect to see by adding weight training in 2 – 3 times per week is improved metabolism and reduced body fat.
4. Increased bone density
As women age, bone density becomes a serious concern. Naturally, we lose muscle and bone mass as we age, which can have a myriad of negative effects on health. The key is to increase bone density. How do you do that?
You guessed it! It turns out that bones, like muscles, adapt to the stress of weight lifting by becoming stronger. This contributes to the prevention of problems like osteoporosis and injuries such as broken bones.
5. Improved posture & movement
Many of our members have mentioned how they become more aware of their body and their movements after a few months of strength training, and how big a difference this makes in how they move and feel every single day. Because the truth is, weight training is all about functional movement. That means training in movements that you use in your daily life.
Squats, deadlifts, presses … these are all movements that mimic how you move at home, at work, at the park … wherever life takes you! Being able to utilize the proper muscles in the proper sequence is key for avoiding injury, moving efficiently, and feeling great day in and day out.
6. Decreased injury risk
A lot of people seem to think that weight lifting is incredibly dangerous and makes you more susceptible to injury. But this is only true if you attempt to use excessive weight with bad form — something a good trainer will prevent!
When good training is provided, the truth is actually the opposite of this myth! A lot of injuries are the result of a tendon or muscle not being strong enough to sustain a stressful force. And strength training actually strengthens those important parts of your body, while also increasing your overall stability and joint performance.
7. Improved cognitive function
It’s no secret that strength training, like many forms of exercise, teach you perseverance and self-discipline, which only make you stronger in other areas of your life. But recent studies have focused on the more immediate effects of strength training on cognitive function.
One study at the University of British Columbia found that subjects who participated in strength training outperformed subjects who engaged in other types of exercise on tests of memory, attention, and conflict resolution. Some experts say this is due to the training your central nervous system receives in sustaining stress during strength training.
The implications for this haven’t been fully explored yet, but the possibilities are inspiring!