Exercise really is the fountain of youth. It is THE secret. That “one trick!”. Truly, it is! It’s the magic pill, it does everything. It makes every cell in your body healthier, down to the smallest lining of your blood vessels. It makes you more capable, productive, and happy. There are endlessly documented cognitive, physical, and emotional benefits to exercise, and making better fitness choices can help every single person on this earth! Why you should lift weights is an easy question to answer because there are so many great benefits that come with lifting!
It can pick your butt up, make your clothes fit better, and make your high school friends wonder how you made time stop. It seriously is the secret to slowing down time. It’s really no secret anymore, though. It takes a bit more effort than swallowing a pill, but is well worth the effort!!
So why don’t more people do it? Millions of reasons. Fear of effort, fear of failure, complacency. And, unfortunately, exercise is front loaded with the problems, as one of my professors used to say. You have to start by finding a gym, workout clothes, making time in your day, and actually showing up and doing it. It is harder in the beginning.
Worst yet, some people do all those things, sweat away, and don’t see results. Why? Because they’re not working out smart. Hard maybe, but not smart. They’re slaving away on the elliptical, which is boring. They’re doing steady state cardio to meet recommendations which specify minutes of workout goals, but not intensity. Boooooring! And time consuming. And ineffective.
What Happens When you Start Lifting Weights?
This is why I love lifting weights. Besides the fact that its way more fun (which we can all pretty much agree on, right?), it does more for you. Yes, it works harder for you. It’s like compounding interest on your IRA! You lift weights and build muscle, which is more metabolically expensive. You burn more calories post workout. Muscles takes more calories to maintain, so you find that it is easier to stay leaner as you get stronger. Win win win! Lifting can make you more powerful, which steady state cardio will not do.
Lifting will reshape you, which cardio also will not do. If you are a pear shape, you will only become a smaller pear after sweating away pounds on the elliptical. If you’re an apple, you’ll just be a more oblong shaped apple if you lose weight via jogging. Me, I’d rather ditch the fruits and become an hourglass. Or an X, for you men out there. That’s right, boulder shoulders, and strong glutes and hips. Tiny waist.
Don’t get me wrong. Steady state cardio has its place, and I do some conditioning. Walking is easy, cheap and peaceful. The elliptical is kinder to your joints than running. I even had one summer where I regularly got “runner’s high”, so I don’t think all you runners are crazy. I get it. Besides that, if you enjoy a specific exercise mode, you should absolutely keep doing it. If you compete in or simply enjoy running, biking, or swimming, of course you should keep doing those things.
My point is that weight lifting really makes you the driver of your progress. If you’ve never lifted, try it! You won’t have to quit your other activities, contrary to popular belief, it won’t adversely affect them either. Start lifting now and let me know how it goes!
About the author
Kathryn Alexander is a strength coach and personal trainer in Austin, Texas. She loves hiking, college football, and the feel of a perfectly knurled barbell. Read more about Kathryn here.