Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Anti-Resistance Training?

I've encountered a number of individuals over the past few months complaining about how their weight-loss goals have been stifled, and they're no longer getting the results that they had been getting when they first began their program. 

More often than not, when I ask what their program consists of they respond with "cardio!"

Walking, jogging and running.  Running, jogging and walking.  Jogging, walking and running.  Or whatever order they choose...

When I ask about resistance training (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells AND body weight), they usually will tell me, "I'm not trying to bulk up, get big, injure myself, etc."  or, "weight-lifting is hard, and I don't enjoy it."

The former individual is simply misinformed/uneducated in human physiology, and the latter individual just hasn't found the proper routine for them, or has suffered previously from a bad experience (w/ friends, trainers or their own misguided approach). 

My goal is to help both individuals "see the light", and to get them to start incorporating resistance training into their programs IMMEDIATELY!

Here's why:
  • Resistance training will not make you bulky, a caloric surplus in your diet will.  Using resistance will help to build and strengthen lean tissue (muscle), however, if your diet is in check and you maintain a caloric deficit or balance, it will be impossible to put on size.  What will happen though is a dramatic caloric expenditure due to a new stimulus and the energy demand that resistance training requires.  Also, you will benefit from the increase in your basal metabolic rate (faster metabolism at rest) due to the development of your lean tissue.  You can also achieve cardiovascular training benefits by keeping your rests short, and by using heavier weights. 
  • If done with proper form and the appropriate load for your individual needs/experience/goals, resistance training will not injure you, and will actually help to prevent you from injury.  I would assume that most people who shy away from resistance training probably have stagnant exercise programs that utilize the same movement patterns.  This is a guaranteed recipe for injury and disaster.  If all you do is run for exercise, then you are doing your body a disservice.  You joints accumulate a consistent beating from foot-to-ground impact, your muscles generate a familiar contraction and elongation pattern and your body will adapt physiologically.  What do you wind up with?  An imbalanced body, with glaring weaknesses, aching joints, and a requirement for you to work harder and harder each time you run because your body has become so efficient at doing the same exercise that it's more difficult to expend the same amount of energy. 
  • Weight-lifting, or body weight training doesn't have to be hard or not enjoyable.  At first, it is not easy, but it's not hard.  You have to fall in love with progress, and you can't just assume to dive in head-first.  Once you come to terms with the fact that you're starting from the bottom, and each day you train you will be getting stronger, you may have a more positive outlook.  As soon as you see the numbers going up on your fundamental lifts, and when you realize you are in more control of your body, you just might fall in love.  If not, then associate your resistance training with a strength or weight-loss goal that you have in mind, and keep reminding yourself that your training is getting you there faster.  Not to mention all the additional benefits of a leaner physique, healthier structure and the potential of having a greater physical quality of life into the later years of your life. 

Bottom line is that the benefits of resistance training are TREMENDOUS, and they should not be overlooked or avoided.  Talk to a personal trainer or other fitness professional, develop a basic resistance training program and begin implementing it.  Check back here in 4-8 weeks, and let me know how it's working out for you!

+Wesley Claytor 

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