I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that the gym I frequented growing up in Wisconsin was directly attached to a restaurant. There was one short staircase between the lap pool and the pool table, and an open door leading from the stationary bikes to a burger and fries. The crowd at this gym was varied to say the least, but it somehow managed to attract a formidable roster of weightlifters-in-training. Maybe it was their bare bones approach to decor or the fact that you could smell mozzarella sticks from the benchpress, but the gym was full of muscle, and I was too intimidated to venture over to the weight racks.
I also used to believe that weightlifting was an activity reserved solely for people who wanted serious bulk or the most dedicated of gym professionals. Suffering from “gym-timidation” I would resign myself to a run on the treadmill and maybe if I was feeling particularly energized, a quick abdominal workout in the lifting room. From my vantage point on the mats I could see most of the gym floor. I could see who was lifting what and for how long, but never dared to do a set because I didn’t want to look stupid or weak.
I’ve come a long way since then, however, and now I incorporate weightlifting into my weekly workouts. I also meet people who once felt like I did and avoid weight training for one reason or another. But before you join the ranks of the non-believers, take a second to read on and discover some myths debunked, some long-term benefits, and surprising positive side effects of lifting weights.
While this might seem like a given, having more muscle on your frame has multiple benefits. Besides the fact that as your body starts to create more muscle tissue your metabolism will rev up, you’ll also notice other perks like better posture, improved balance, and a better night’s rest. Lifting weights also won’t make you bulk up like the Hulk. Instead, you’ll be leaner and stand a little taller. The fact that you can do all of this in under 30 mins? Priceless.
Pushing Your Limits
When you lift weights you are pushing your body to its limits. Professionals recommend using weights heavy enough to only allow 5-6 reps of a movement when trying to build muscle. Because you’re working so close to your maximum output of energy, your muscles, even though fatigued, are setting the bar a little higher for the next time you work out. This growth transfers to other activities in your life as well. If you play a sport and begin to cross train with weights, you will notice an overall improvement in your endurance and performance outside of the gym.
Most weighted exercises involve your core muscles in one way or another. Whether being targeted directly in a squat or being activated as a stabilizer in a deadlift your core muscle group is rarely ever out of focus during weightlifting. This enormous group of muscles that encompasses most of your midsection is vital to long-term healthy living. So with the added strength and stability from weightlifting you can expect to avoid injury and maintain healthy muscular and skeletal systems as you grow. You’ll also lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
You Will Be So Happy When it’s Over
You put yourself through a lot when you enter into a weight-training program, but the benefits are not strictly limited to your physical body. Your emotional and mental facilities are also flexed when you train. After a rigorous workout your body produces an excess of endorphins which can result in feelings of accomplishment and general euphoria. But wait, there’s more! The positive benefits are not limited to a short-term buzz after your workout. Studies show that when you begin to lift weights on a regular schedule your self-image and general emotional well-being improve. So not only do you look great, you feel great, too.