3 reasons why you should be lifting weights
Lifting weights can be intimidating, especially if you've never worked with an experienced coached, or don't feel confident in your ability to do it in a safe and optimal way. So many people stear clear of the weight rack/room, simply because they don't know what to do, or how beneficial (and essential) weight training actually is. If you've ever wondered if you should be lifting weights, we've gone ahead and listed three (of many) reasons why weightlifting is imperative to living a healthy, confident, and able life.
Increased bone density
As we age, our bone density begins to decrease due to a number of factors like hormones, calcium levels, lifestyle, and more. A decrease in bone density can lead to a higher risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis, and a greater risk for bone fractures. Once we reach the age of about 30 years old our bodies stop making bone at a rate that is faster than it is broken down (like it does when we are younger), leading to greater rates of bone loss, and lower density overall. (1)
Lifting weights, in addition to weight bearing /higher impact movements like jumping and running, is the ultimate concoction in combating bone loss. When lifting weights, muscles and tendons apply tension to your bones. This tension stimulates the bones to produce more bone tissue, resulting in stronger and more dense bones, decreasing the risk of osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures. (2)
This makes it important not only to continue to maintain healthy bone density as we age beyond our 30s, but also in how we build our bone density and health before our 30s.
Increased levels of confidence
Strength lends itself to confidence in life. If we have functional strength (strength that can be tapped in to and applied to life’s functions and duties), then we can feel confident in our ability to navigate our way through all that life throws at us on a daily basis.
Lifting weights can make us stronger both physically, and mentally. Every time we strive to do one more rep, or lift one more pound, we are mentally committing to doing something new and challenging, that we may have never done before. When we consistently explore our potential, and reach for new goals, we develop a new level of mental strength in knowing that we can do hard things;
that confidence carries into areas of our lives outside of the gym as well!
Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. (EPOC)
What the heck is EPOC??
In short, it’s the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal, resting level of metabolic function (homeostasis). (3)
The higher the intensity of a workout, the greater the amount oxygen that is required to return the body to homeostasis between intervals/sets, and even longer after the workout is complete.
Too many people focus solely on the number that the scale reads, but this number doesn’t represent your body’s ability to burn calories and run optimally.
Take two people who each weigh 170 lbs: one has 8% more muscle mass than the other. The person with more muscle mass will burn more calories, both following exercise and simply by existing, than the individual with less muscle mass, thanks to EPOC. If lifestyle factors and nutrition all remain the same between the two, the individual with more muscle mass will have an easier time maintaining that body weight/composition because their metabolism works at a higher rate than the individual with less muscle mass.
Muscle takes more energy for your body to sustain than fat, therefore the more muscle you have, the more your metabolism stays reved up and active!
In comparison to endurance focused, weight-free exercise options, heavy resistance training has shown to have a great impact on EPOC, ie. you burn more calories after a heavy resistance training session compared to a long run/cycle. Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption is influenced by intensity, not duration. “One study found that when aerobic cycling (40 minutes at 80% Max HR), circuit weight training (4 sets/8 exercises/15 reps at 50% 1-RM) and heavy resistance exercise (3 sets/8 exercises at 80-90% 1-RM to exhaustion) were compared, heavy resistance exercise produced the biggest EPOC.” (3)
FUN FACT: high intensity interval training (especially those that include varied weight options and stimulus, like CrossFit) elicits the greatest EPOC effect compared to other exercise regimens. “The EPOC effect from a HIIT or high-intensity strength-training workout can add 6 to 15 percent of the total energy cost of the exercise session.”(3)
In short, weight training adds tremendous value to our overall physical and mental well-being. It yields benefit in both the short and long term.
If intimidation or fear/lack of understanding are keeping you from lifting weights, step into a CrossFit gym with a knowledgeable and experienced coaching staff.
At CrossFit For The People we are excited and eager to help people gain the confidence to move often, move well, and move confidently. Sign up for one week of unlimited classes here (https://www.crossfitforthepeople.com/newmembertrial) and let us be part of your journey!