Resistance training is a very important factor when it comes to physical fitness. Since most people get into fitness because they wish to lose weight, they believe all they need to do is cardio. Whereas cardio is still important, neglecting resistance training all together could cause its own issues. First, let’s define what resistance training is. Resistance training is any exercise that makes muscles contract against a form of resistance. The resistance would normally be a form of weight. This can be free weights, barbell, medicine ball, etc. Some exercise examples would be the following:
- Barbell/Dumbell Squats
- Bicep Curls
- Tricep Extensions
- Dumbbell Lunges
- Leg Press
- Kettlebell Swings
Now that we have an idea of what resistance training is, let’s go over some of why you should be including more resistance training in your training and debunk some myths on the hesitancy of resistance training.
You Won’t Be too Bulky
One of the main reasons I hear for not wanting to do resistance training is because it will make you ‘too bulky’. If that’s not your aesthetic goal, that’s fine. However, to think lifting weights will have you looking bulky is false. People you’ve seen that look bulky with plenty of muscle mass usually have gone through years of resistance training, with proper nutritional and resistance training programming with the purpose to continuously build muscle. You will also meet others who’ve done resistance training for years but still look rather lean and not bulky at all. That’s mainly due to the way they’re training. Their workout regimen isn’t programmed for that.
As well, muscle is lean mass. Muscle takes up far less space in your body than fat does. Let’s take a look at this picture to see the difference:
As you can see, that’s a huge 5lb difference.
To put it simply, you’ll get bulky from resistance training if you want to get bulky. Resistance training by default won’t make you bulky as building muscle is already a difficult process that takes proper programming and nutritional requirements.
More Muscle = More Calories Burned
Resistance training is meant to help build muscle overall. The more muscle you build, the more calories you burn. The more calories you burn, the more fat you’re bound to lose.
It’s easy to think that to lose fat or burn calories you need to do cardio and only cardio. Cardio is great and can help expedite burning calories in a short period of time, it doesn’t truly persist in burning more calories throughout your day. Remember, you’re only probably exercising for about an hour. You still have 23 hours throughout the day. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll be burning within that 23 hours’ worth of time.
Why is that?
Muscle mass is part of your basal metabolic rate and for your body to maintain muscle mass it needs more energy to do so and in return needs to burn more calories.
If you’re looking to lose fat and sustain that fat loss, building muscle is an important factor.
Muscle is GOOD for Your Joints
Contrary to popular belief, having muscle mass is actually good for your joints. In fact, less muscle mass is actually bad for your joints. There is a notion especially with squats that doing these exercises are bad for your joints. This is only true if you’re doing the exercise in improper form. This is why I always advocate for learning proper form when before you do any exercise you’re unfamiliar with.
One of the reasons why muscle mass is good for your joints is because muscle mass makes the surrounding ligaments around the joints strong. This allows your joints to not take up most of the workload.
If you’re looking for other ways to improve your joints, I would recommend seeing if you should be including more fish in your diet.
There is Confidence in Strength
Being stronger overall will most likely make you more confident overall. Anytime I’ve gotten people into training and after a prolonged period of time, they’re always surprised how certain day-to-day tasks overall have become easier for them to handle. It’s also nice to not have to rely on others to pick things up anymore. The only problem is, people may start coming to you now for lifting hefty objects!
In all seriousness, though a level of confidence and self-worth is grown when you realize you’ve become stronger than you were previously. It’s a form of accomplishment and makes you feel like you can take on more than you thought. This will carry into your day-to-day life as well and help with other goals and tasks you may have.
Resistance training and the process of building muscle has so much more benefits than I can even list here. The list can go on and on, but let’s look at the main takeaways from this piece.
Muscle mass will help you lose and keep fat off, it will help your joints and build confidence. This isn’t even going into all the other health benefits it has on your overall well-being, but please know they are there.
If you’re wondering how you can start doing training, check out my workout generator that gives you difficulties to choose from and form videos with each exercise as well.
- Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels