Benefits of the Bells!
Barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells.....
Why is resistance training so important?
Motivation and goals for exercising are different for everyone. The most common reason for working out is weight loss /maintenance also heard as:
"I want to get leaner"
"I want to 'tone up'"
"I want to decrease my waist size"
"I want to fit in my skinny jeans"
"I want to look good on the beach this summer"
We hear these same folks say “I need to keep my weight down, so I need more 'cardio' " (referring to the type of "cardio" that is low intensity, long duration exercise).
So they rush through strength training sessions in the gym, even sometimes skipping them. They aren't interested in lifting heavy or getting stronger either because they fear it might make them "bulky." They just really want to lose weight and don't care about getting stronger. They spend extra time outside of the gym going on long runs, bike rides, etc. in an attempt to shed pounds and body fat.
For those of you who swim long distances or run stairs for a whole hour because you enjoy it- GREAT! But if you're a slave to hours and hours of "cardio" each week in attempt to lose weight, you may be frustrated that it's not working all that well. Maybe your progress has plateaued, or you've even become a bit "flabbier." If you do, in fact, enjoy more traditional low intensity, long duration "cardio" activities, try ramping up the intensity and shortening the distance or duration and you'll likely see better results (i.e. run faster not longer!)
We know that higher intensity, shorter duration cardio sessions are more effective in changing body composition, so what is the significance of strength training sessions where we are not timed or pushed to go faster? Lean mass requires more fuel than body fat (muscle burns calories, fat stores them). When you increase your lean mass through strength training you are also increasing your resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn at rest).
"High-intensity interval training that incorporates weights is very effective for both building muscle and burning fat. Think of it as a hybrid of cardio and strength training..." (or think of it as CrossFit!) “In reality, a balanced combination of proper nutritional intake, strength training, and cardio is what gets the job done most effectively,” Ibrahim says. “Cardio alone is not the answer.” (Matthew Ibrahim C.S.C.S., a strength coach at Boston Physical Therapy & Wellness)
Let's touch on "proper nutritional intake"
or more scientifically put "you can't make up for dietary indiscretions by increasing exercise" -Dr. Jason Fung
A "bad diet" often refers to eating an excess of sugar and/or processed foods too often causing continuous insulin spikes resulting in inflammation, increased fat storage and insulin resistance. Hence the CrossFit recommendation...
Another "bad diet" behavior especially in regards to weight loss is under-eating:
"We start by eating less and lose some weight. As a result, our metabolism slows and hunger increases. We start to regain weight. We double our efforts by eating even less. A bit more weight comes off, but again, total energy expenditure decreases and hunger increases. We start regaining weight. So we redouble our efforts by eating even less. This cycle continues until it is intolerable. We are tired, hungry, and obsessing about calories. At some point, we go back to our old way of eating. Since metabolism has slowed so much, resuming the old way of eating causes quick weight gain, up to and often past the original point. Eating less does not result in lasting weight loss. It. Just. Does. Not. Work." (Dr. Jason Fung The Obesity Code)
"Preserving lean muscle mass is important during all weight loss programs. Muscle helps amp up your metabolism and provides tone and definition to your body. To avoid declines in resting metabolism you should avoid starvation diets that could lead to wasting of muscle and instead build and maintain muscle. Maintaining muscle mass is particularly important during aging because some of the decline in resting metabolism associated with age is caused by a decline of muscle.
Need more reasons to hit the weights?
improved posture and coordination
reversal of muscle-tissue losses that accompany aging
increased bone mineral density
improved brain function and mental health
"Much like resistance training can improve the muscle tone of the aging body, it also can tone the aging brain." (Teresa Liu-Ambrosea, et.al)
decrease risk of heart disease and stroke
"Despite the muscle-building, flab-trimming and, according to recent research, mood-boosting benefits of lifting weights, such resistance exercise has generally been thought not to contribute much to heart health, as endurance workouts like jogging and cycling do. But a study published in October in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise provides evidence for the first time that even a little weight training might reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke."
See full article HERE.
"Push-up capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the treadmill tests.”
Have you made plans as the weather warms to hit the pavement more to shed some pounds? If you continue to struggle with the battle of the bulge and/or you'd like a healthier heart, stronger bones, and a
sharper mind.... get your nutrition dialed in and then maybe give those running shoes a rest and pump a little more iron.
It turns out dumbbells aren't so dumb after all...