Warriors – and you are a Warrior, whether you choose to be or not! – need strength. Right, you say, and water is wet, so let’s move on to something we don’t know.
OK. First off, we’re talking about muscle strength. (I realize that some people have physical limits due to injuries or other factors, and we do respect those limits.) There are many forms of strength – mental, will power, spiritual, and all that, but we’re talking bodies, your body, here – and this is really fun stuff. I like getting strong, I like being strong, I like feeling strong – and you do too, yes?
We’re talking weight lifting and not being shy about it. Strength, endurance, power. That stuff. But – I’m not suggesting that you go try to look like Arnold at his best.
In fact, if you’ll allow an aside, we have to admit that this whole weight lifting and strength training thing gets way off course when we think of muscles in terms of how they look instead of what they do.
The same forearm and finger muscles that can play a Beethoven sonata can be used to take out the garbage (where’s the glory in that, you ask – except my beloved Nicole likes it when I take out the garbage, so there you are) and the size of those muscles has nothing to do with it. Neuromuscular recruitment – muscle use and skill – trump muscle size any day.
Fear not, though – muscle tone, meaning nicely shaped muscles, definitely come as you train your body through weight lifting.
(While we’re on this rant, please allow one other aside to the above aside. Consider this. Comparisons are deadly. They steal your joy just about as fast as anything, when you think about it, because when you compare yourself to another person you usually compare your worst against their best, don’t you? Think about when you compare your skill, or body, or looks, or smarts, or whatever to another person and you’ll see that this is true. It is for me, and I’m normal, so it must be for you, too, if you’re normal – and do you see the trap, there? How do you define normal without comparisons? Who, Dear Reader, is to say what normal is for you and why in God’s lovely green acres should you care what they say? I’m just sayin’, here.)
So don’t you go wanting big muscles unless those muscles are going to have a purpose, y’hear? Besides, if you train for muscle function you naturally get muscle tone.
LET’S GET BACK TO WEIGHTS…
OK. Take a peek into your local gym and you’ll see that there may be a handful of body builders there, but they’re lifting weights right next to an accountant (right on, Brother!), a store clerk, and a retiree. That’s because all these people realize one thing: lifting weights is for everyone, which we could have said all along at the top and skipped all this stuff about size, but here we are anyway – thanks for sticking with me on this!
But, you ask, “Is weight lifting really for me?” Here are nine reasons the answer is yes.
#1: You Get Happy
Yes, exercise of any kind gets the happy chemicals running through your body, but slinging iron around seems to have an advantage on your happy level. It’s fun getting strong. Why? Lots of reasons – read on!
#2: You’re More Useful
You were born with a great affinity to do something. You may be gifted to argue cases in court, teach piano, cook an amazing meal, or keep cool while homeschooling your four kids. Lifting weights helps you do each of them better. On top of that, it gives you the capacity to lend your strength when someone is struggling to lift a heavy box or open a stuck door. Feels good.
Suddenly, you’re not stuck waiting for help when a demanding task is put in front of you. Instead, you bend at the knees and get to work.
We’re talking strength here. Pure, raw, enjoyable strength. I like it.
#3: You Get Focused
As your strength and the amount of weight you lift increase, intense focus is required to do the next rep, complete the set, and avoid injury. This focus in the gym—if you let it—will carry over into your non-gym activities. The ability to not eat that next cookie, for instance, or to push on through to the end of a project. Or ignore the internet.
#4: Your Body
Lifting weights does tons – literally – for your physique. Push yourself hard enough and your body will amaze you constantly. But your physique isn’t the only beneficiary of weight lifting. Lifting helps your body fend off illnesses and injury by helping you shed unwanted pounds, lowering your blood pressure, improving your heart function, and more.
#5: You Do the Impossible
When you start lifting weights, you can’t imagine lifting any more than you do in your first session. Three weeks later, you’ve already passed the impossible mark. By doing this over and over, you pick up a mental toughness and confidence that will aid you in all areas of life.
#6: You Eat Better
Have you been struggling to keep your daily calorie count down? Nothing helps you stay in line better than working out. Your regular weight-lifting routine makes you more aware of what you put in your body, making it easier to say “No” to those temptations that are always around the corner.
#7: Your Bones Get Stronger
While the first thing you may notice after lifting weights is stronger muscles, your bones are also secretly gaining strength at the same time. Since the risk of osteoporosis and broken bones only increases as you age, guarding against them with weight lifting only makes sense!
#8: Your Balance Improves
Staying on your feet may not be an issue today, but as you age, it will become one of your top priorities. This is especially true considering how often elderly people lose their balance and wind up with life-altering broken bones. Lifting weights at any age will give you a balance boost that will last throughout your life.
#9: Your Brain Function Increases
Believe it or not, people who lift weights aren’t the meatheads they’re made out to be. Quite the opposite. Research has proven that lifting weights actually has the power to improve your brain’s ability to do its job.
Reach your fitness potential faster by coupling your good diet with a challenging exercise program. I’m here to motivate, instruct and encourage you to reach your goal – and weight training can be a fun part of it!