You may be asking yourself "how can something as simple as picking up a weight, putting it down, and picking it back up again be so beneficial that it would give me an edge in life?"
Well, it all starts at the microscopic level of a muscle fiber.
Quick science lesson: When you lift weights, you cause tiny tears in your muscle fibers. This starts the process of muscle protein synthesis that uses amino acids to repair and reinforce the fibers, making them resistant to future damage.
So when a muscle fiber is exposed to a frequent challenge - like when you regularly lift weights - it will make structural adaptations to better handle the challenge.
For example, your muscles adapt by getting stronger, bigger or by becoming more resistant to fatigue.
These adaptations happen in order to reduce stress on your body, which is why you can perform everyday functions - like walking up stairs or squatting down to pick something up - with very little effort. The adaptations your body makes is also why if you consistently lift weights, you’ll start to notice that even the hardest physical tasks become easier.
In the science world, this is known as the training effect. Turns out this training effect improves not just your muscles but makes an impact on your entire life!
Here are 20 reasons how lifting weights can give you an edge…..
1. You’ll lose 40% more fat: This is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to weight loss. I'm sure you have been told that if you want to lose weight then you need to be doing cardio. Cardio is great but if you want to lose your gut, weight training is actually way more valuable.
2. You will burn more Calories: Hitting the weights will increase the number of calories you burn while you’re sitting on the couch!
3. Your clothes will fit you better: Research shows that if you are not in the habit of lifting weights you are likely to lose 10% of the muscle on your body between the ages of 30 and 50! So say goodbye to a toned body.
4. You will keep your body young: Research shows that your fast twitch muscle fibers are reduced up to 50% as you age, and slow twitch fibers diminished by less than 25%. That is important because your fast twitch fibers are the muscles that play a major role in generating power, a combined measure of strength and speed. This is huge in athletics and peak performance but it is also the reason you are able to get up from lounging on the couch. Ever notice how much trouble elderly people have standing up? Blame it on the fast twitch fibers fading away.
5. Your bones will be stronger: As you age you lose bone mass, which increases the chances that one day you will fall and end up fracturing a hip or vertebrae. A study found that 16 weeks of resistance training increased hip bone density and elevated blood levels of osteocalcin- a marker of bone growth - by 19%
6. You will be more flexible: A study found in international journal of sports medicine, the scientists found that three full body workouts a week for 16 weeks increased the flexibility of the hips and shoulders while improving sit and reach test scores by 11 percent. Research also shows that Olympic weight-lifters rate second only to gymnasts in overall flexibility.
7. You will have a healthier heart: Hitting the weights really does get your blood flowing. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who did three total body weight workouts per week for 2 months decreased diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by an average of eight points. That's enough to reduce the risk of a stroke by 40%, and risk of a heart attack by 15%
8. You will diminish the chances of diabetes: In a study done in Austria, scientists discovered that people who had type 2 diabetes who started strength training significantly lowered their blood sugar levels, improving their condition. Lifting weights may be one of the best ways to prevent diabetes in the first place.
9. Your chances for cancer decrease: a study done at the University of Florida found that people who did three resistance workouts a week for 6 months experienced significantly less oxidative cell damage than non-lifters. That is important because damaged cells can lead to cancer and other diseases.
10. Your diet will improve: Research done on 169 overweight adults for 2 years found that the participants who didn't follow a 3-hour a week training plan ate more than their allotted 1,500 calories per day. The reverse was also true- sneaking snacks sabotaged their workouts. When you work out your brain will help you stick to a diet.
11. You will handle stress better: A study done at Texas A&M determined that the fittest people had lower levels of stress hormones than those who were the least fit.
12. You will shrug off jet lag: Research done at the University of California concluded that strength training helps your body adjust faster to a change in time zones or work shifts. So next time you travel overseas, make sure you hit the hotel gym before you unpack!
13. You will be happier: People who performed three weight workouts per week for 6 months significantly improved scores on measures of anger and overall mood.
14. You will sleep better: in Australia, researchers observed that people who performed three total body weight workouts a week for 8 weeks experienced a 23% improvement in sleep quality. They were able to fall asleep faster and slept longer than before they started lifting weights.
15. You will get in shape faster: don't think that the term “cardio” just describes aerobic exercise. A study at the University of Hawaii found that circuit training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than running at 60 -70 percent of your max heart rate.
16. You will fight depression: Squats could be like the new Prozac. Regularly lifting weights significantly reduces symptoms of major depression. Research shows that a huge improvement was seen in 60% of clinically diagnosed patients, similar to the response rate from antidepressants - minus the negative side effects.
17. You will be more productive: Dumbbells could help you get a raise! Studies in the UK found that workers were 15% more productive on the days made time to exercise compared to days they skipped their workouts. Theoretically - That means you could accomplish in an 8 hour day what would normally take you 9 hours and 12 minutes.
18. You will add years to your life: Total body strength was linked to lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes.
19. You will stay sharp: Studies at the University of Virginia found that men and women who lifted weights three times a week for 6 months significantly decreased their blood levels of homocysteine, a protein that is linked to the development of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
20. You will even be smarter: Research in Brazil found that 6 months of resistance training enhanced lifters’ cognitive function. They found that the workouts resulted in better short - and long term memory, improved verbal reasoning, and a longer attention span.
Hopefully, you found some of this interesting. If you aren't in the habit of lifting weights regularly, get started NOW! …and if you are in the habit already... keep working hard and stay consistent.
Let people know how beneficial lifting weights and living an active lifestyle can be. If you know anyone who you think would benefit from reading something like this please share!
Keep working hard,
Josh Gibson, RYSE Coach