Why I Love Strength Training
Strength training isn’t just for gym bros. Here’s why I love strength training and why you should give it a shot, too.
For much of my life, I believed that lifting weights was just for guys who wanted to have massive muscles and make grunting noises at the gym. Then, when CrossFit became popular, I believed that lifting weights was for people who needed to relieve stress from their corporate jobs. But it turns out that strength training is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your body, and it’s not just for people who spend half the day at the gym.
My journey to loving strength training started with CrossFit. I learned all the movements for lifting and spent an hour a day, three times a week, competing against other people and pushing my body to its limits.
But instead of seeing big changes in my body and being supercharged with newfound energy, I was just tired all the time. I had difficulty sleeping, I was in pain, and seeing my name written at the bottom of the board—the worst scores at the gym—every class was demoralizing. Some people thrive on competition, but for me the thought of going to my next CrossFit class stressed me out so much that I stopped going.
But I did take away something from my time there: I really liked lifting weights. I started going to the gym on my own, using the form I had been taught in CrossFit to prevent injury. Instead of competing with other people, I focused on my own practice. That hour at the gym lifting weights was like a vacation and a reward for having survived another day at work.
Because I wasn’t under the same stress I experienced competing in a class, strength training on my own made more of an impact on my body. Plus, I could take as much time as I wanted to complete my sets.
According to Harvard Medical School, lifting weights strengthens your bones and slows bone loss. Frankly, the benefits from strength training are awesome, from increasing your metabolism to helping with chronic disease management. I’ve never liked running, and as someone who has struggled with weight my entire life, I always felt like I was somehow deficient because I couldn’t just bust out a few miles every day or look like I could be in an ad for some piece of fancy gym equipment.
One of the most important things I’ve learned in my life from trying all sorts of workouts is that every single body is different and some of us are better at different types of exercise. I, for instance, am not a natural runner, but I am strong and enjoy lifting weights. Completing a strength training workout increases my self-esteem and I don’t have to compare myself to anyone else while doing it on my own.
If you’d like to start strength training, one of the best ways is to take a strength training class. You’ll learn basic body mechanics and improve strength quickly. Once you get accustomed to lifting a barbell, invest in a few sessions with a personal trainer so you can learn proper form (form is extremely important to prevent injury; you could do serious damage trying to wing it on your own).
Keep going using an app or continue with classes. You’ll be stunned by how quickly your body changes, but also by how much better you feel. I’m grateful I figured out that weight training isn’t just for “jocks.” It’s for everyone, and the benefits can quite literally be life-changing.
While you’re here, check out my other healthy living articles.
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