5 reasons to resistance train

I think most people should include some sort of resistance training into their fitness regime.  Frequent resistance training, builds muscle, burns fat and improves strength.  These positive attributes will change the shape of your body, increase your athleticism for the sport you play and build a resilient body that will last a lifetime.  Resistance training is probably the most effective training modality to get you results.


Resistance training or weight/strength training is somewhat miss interpreted.  People see these jacked guys and girls on the front of magazines, or on TV and think thats what’s going to happen to them as soon as they touch a weight.  If only it was that easy!  If it was, then the majority of people would be walking the streets looking like The Rock.  The jacked people you see are body builders, who a take part in the sport of body building.  Years and years of body split training (up to 6 days a week) following strict meal plans and with some help from ‘special supplements’ all play a role to get them in that shape.  Trust me, putting muscle on is hard, and women you will not get bulky.


Intimidation on the gym floor, unsure how to lift weights, what exercises to choose and scared of getting bulky are reasons I see a lot of people running on the treadmill for an hour.  Studies show that cardio isn't an effective way to burn fat.  This is because the body can easily adapt to the same type of cardio, and doesn't become efficient at using calories.  Too much cardio slows the metabolism down and starts to eat into hard earned muscle tissue.  There is also a tremendous amount of stress put on the joints. (2,000 steps in a mile, that 1,000 jumps on each leg) 

Resistance training is an effective way to lose fat as the body slowly adapts, there is so much variety that you can keep the body 'guessing'  This builds lean muscle which uses more calories, and increases your metabolism.  Resistance training builds durability in joints, ligaments and tendons which saves them in the long term.

Cardio does have it's place in a fitness regime and I believe most people should do it, it's juts excess cardio that isn't favourable.  

I wanted to write this blog to show you some benefits of resistance training, some you might not be aware of.  That will hopefully convince you to start, to help you get the results you want and not get worried about turning into the hulk after a few sessions.  


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Improves insulin sensitivity

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps cells take in glucose for energy and keeps blood sugar stable.  Being insulin sensitive opens the cells in the muscle for glucose to attach to which rebuilds muscle tissue, provides fuel and energy, helping you to recover.  If you are not insulin sensitive then muscle cells are not as open to receive glucose.  Excess glucose will get stored in the liver and once full then circulate around the blood stream until it is stored as body fat.  The body is more insulin sensitive after resistance training which is why I recommend eating the majority of carbohydrates after, as this will speed recovery and help re build muscle tissue. 


Improves bone density

Our bone density decreases when we age.  Osteoporosis (low bone mass) and chances of fractures around the hip, spine and wrist increase when we age.  It’s estimated that ever year 1.5 million fractures are caused in people 50 and over.  Resistance training improves bone mineral density, increases strength with the ability to better perform everyday activities.  Studies show that frequent resistance training increased elderly independence and decreased the chances of falls and injuries. 

Putting the time in now will set you up for when you’re older, and help you perform daily activities better.  Sitting down and standing up, picking something up from the floor, carrying a bag on your back, holding a child, or heavy shopping bags are all forms of resistance training, and I’m sure you want to carry these movements out effectively while avoiding injury.  


Improves sleep quality

Studies show that resistance training improves sleep latency (how fast we fall sleep) sleep quality, sleep duration and improves insomnia.  Training is stress on the body, and the body goes through many changes to get us back to our natural balance of homeostasis.  As the body becomes more adapt to regulating these stressors, it becomes more efficient at down regulating which improves the quality of our sleep.  Deep sleep and muscle growth are also linked.  HGH (human growth hormone) is produced during deep sleep that encourages tissue repair and is a necessary healing process of all bodily systems. 

The best time to train to improve the quality of your sleep is between 3-5pm.  This gives the body enough time to find homeostasis and will set you up for an amazing nights sleep.  Training too close to bed stimulates the nervous system and doesn't give the body time to find it's natural balance which makes you feel more alert, awake and harder to fall asleep.


Increases resting metabolism

Resting metabolism RMR is a measurement of the number of calories the body burns at complete rest.  There are many factors that decrease resting metabolism, such as age, under eating, in activity and muscle mass.  It’s a fact that increased muscle mass increases your resting metabolism.  This is because muscle burns at a much higher percentage of calories than fat and the body will naturally burn more calories at rest to keep it.  Less lean muscle mass and more body fat leads to a slower metabolism and the body becomes less efficient at using calories.  


You burn more calories after training

This is known as EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption)  This is the amount of oxygen required to restore the body back to it’s normal resting level of homeostasis.  When you turn the car off after a long drive the engine is still warm, it takes time for the car to cool down and come back to resting level.  The same thing happens to the body after exercise.  EPOC re oxygenates blood, repairs damaged muscle tissue, decreases body temperature and normalises breathing and heart rate. This recovery process requires oxygen and energy which speeds up metabolism and you continue to burn more calories post exercise.

EPOC can last anywhere between 24-48 hours and research shows that heavy resistance training provides the greatest EPOC effect.


Now you know some of the benefits of resistance training you might to try.  You might be convinced but are not sure where to start and what to do?  Keep an eye out for next weeks blog which will show you how to start resistance training with an example beginners programme.  If you're confident in the gym and have been resistance training for a while, then I’m going to share some example training weeks you can use dependant on your goals and lifestyle.


If you play a sport or do other activities I recommend adding in two resistance training sessions a week.  As you already play a sport, two days of full body works best and I guarantee you will feel stronger, be more athletic and get injured less.  An example might look like this.

  • Monday Specific sport training
  • Tuesday Resistance training
  • Wednesday Specific sport training 
  • Thursday Resistance training
  • Friday Rest
  • Saturday Play sport
  • Sunday Rest

If your goal is to burn fat, build muscle and still have time with family and friends then 3 day full body will work for you.  This is enough frequency to hit each muscle group three times a week, which will improve strength, build muscle and burn fat.  A 2 day a week plan can also elicit results but is not as effective as three days a week as frequency of training is key.  An example of this can be.

  • Monday Full Body A
  • Tuesday Rest 
  • Wednesday Full Body B
  • Thursday Rest
  • Friday Full Body C
  • Saturday and Sunday Rest

If you can only commit to two days, then train on consecutive days at the beginning, middle or end of the week.


If you have more time and really want to change the shape of your body and make some serious strength gains then a four day upper/lower split works great.

  • Monday Upper body Strength 
  • Tuesday Lower body Strength 
  • Wednesday Rest
  • Thursday Upper body Hypertrophy
  • Friday Lower body Hypertrophy
  • Saturday and Sunday Rest

Volume and frequency is high, you hit each muscle group twice a week there are dedicated days to a specific type of training.  

 


If you really want to increase your chances of building muscle and burning fat then get in touch for a strategy call.  Designing a programme specific to your goals, with direction and accountability will always get the best results.  If you are not sure where to start of what to do then reach out to me and I’ll be glad to give you some pointers and guidance to get you started, and look out for next weeks blog.