We talk a lot about character around here, and much of the emphasis is on mental character, but we can not forget about physical character. You can make your mind as sharp as a tack, but if your body fails you, life is no good.
You need to take care of your body, but this does not mean that you need to work out every day or even join a gym for that matter. In fact, you can add in 2 or 3 days a week of light exercise and get 95 percent of the benefit of an active gym goer. Of course, that is if you choose the right form of exercise.
Why Resistance Or Weight Training?
When you think of weight training, also called resistance training you likely think of the muscled up men at the gym and your thoughts might even turn to most of them being medically enhanced. While there is a subculture of weight training that takes things to the limit, it is not the norm. Every hobby has a group that takes things to the extreme, but there are always more people keeping it real. Weight training is no different, most of the people doing it are not “bodybuilders”.
So, just why are non body builders doing weight training? It is because there are just so many benefits to it. Take a look at some of the highlights.
Ever wonder why you start gaining weight as you get older? It is not only due to being sedentary or having a poor diet. Often times you gain weight as you get older because you have lost muscle mass.
It takes energy to maintain your muscles and that means calories. When you were young and had more muscle, you could eat a lot more without gaining weight. This is partially because you had more muscle to support and you can get this back through weight training.
For every 10 pounds of muscle you put on, your body needs roughly 70 extra calories to support it. This is 70 calories that you can eat without gaining weight. While that might not seem like a lot, that is over 25,000 calories in a year or 7.3 pounds.
Did you know that your bones are constantly rebuilding themselves, just like your muscle fibers. Your body likes to achieve a stasis, so if you do not use something, it deems it unnecessary. If not used, your bones will degrade and get weaker, but if they are used, they will rebuild stronger. This is because of the way your body responds to stress. If it detects a need for your bones to get stronger, it will make them so.
Weight lifting stresses the bone because they are basically levers. Every time you make a movement, your muscles which are attached to your bones acts upon these levers. When you add weight to this movement, you create stress, which prevents bone loss and often triggers bone strengthening.
As we age, out bodies will naturally lose muscle mass if allowed to do so. Our hormones are declining, so you will no longer be able to simply hold on to muscle mass without working. This starts happening on or around your 30th birthday. Every decade after this point, you can lose 3 to 8 percent of your muscle mass, unless you take action.
Adding weight training will keep you from losing the muscle that could cause mobility issues as you age. Keep up the muscle and continue to enjoy life instead of seeing the joys of mobility slowly degrade. Although you can build muscle in later years, the most logical thing to do is preserve it now, before you run into issues.
Muscles Look Good
And of course, we can not stop without mentioning one of the biggest perks of weight lifting or resistance training, you get MUSCLES. Who doesn’t love muscles. You could say you don’t but everyone knows you would be telling a lie.
Getting Started With Weight Or Resistance Training
Obviously, there are a ton of reasons to start resistance training, but just how do you get started?
Workout At Home
The great thing about resistance training is that you do not really need much equipment to get started. In fact, if you are new to training, the last thing that you would want to do is go out and invest in a huge home gym setup. A simple pair of dumbbells will do the trick or you could even start out with body weight exercises. As a newby to the sport, you will see quick gains with the simplest of exercises.
I highly recommend watching a few YouTube videos to find your way initially. There are literally hundreds of thousands of videos online for you to pick from. Just do a search for “at home weight workout” and throw in either “no equipment” or “dumbbells”. It will be obvious what videos are good and which ones are junk, because the YouTube algorithm does the work for you. If people like videos, they watch the whole thing and YouTube picks up on that.
Once you have a few months of simple weight training under your belt, you can then decide whether you want to invest in more equipment to make your workouts more effective. Go slow and add weight lifting equipment slowly, it is easy to get carried away.
Tops on your list should be a set of adjustable dumbbells that will help you change the resistance for different exercises. Second on the “need to buy” list is an adjustable bench. This will allow you to vary the exercises that you do and will actually open up a world of opportunity.
Beyond that, there really is no limit to how much equipment you can buy, it just depends on your overall resistance training goals and to some extent how much room you have in your home.
Sign Up For A Gym
Another option if you want to pick up resistance training is to join a local gym that already has all of the equipment that you could possibly want. This option is also probably a lot cheaper than you might think.
The trend in the gym market these days is the “no frills” gym that will offer you a basic experience without all of the classes or luxuries like protein shake bars. The biggest in the game is Planet Fitness and for around $10, they really do give you a great bang for the buck.
If high end is your thing, there are certainly a number of options for this as well, but use caution. Clubs, especially these high end clubs, tend to make it easy to join and difficult to leave. Before you sign up, be sure to go over the process to cancel your membership.
Quick Resistance Training Tips
There is a lot to learn about weight training and putting everything into one article is not easy. There are however a few tips that you would do well by knowing.
The last thing that you want to do is go 0 to 100 miles per hour. You will hate life and end up hating weight training. Instead, take it slow both in the amount of weight you use and the repetitions that you do. Start with short, relatively easy workouts and build up slowly. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Watch Your Nutrition
Pick up a nutrition tracker and track your nutrition to get the most out of your resistance workouts. Pay particular attention to getting in enough protein.
The best thing that you can do is to stay consistent with your workout. You might not see gains immediately and sometimes you can even go weeks without progress. Stay consistent and you will eventually reach your goals.
Stay Off Supplements
There is an endless amount of supplements on the market, but do not believe the hype. The only supplements you really need are a good multivitamin and possibly a protein powder.