I avoided any sort of strength training for most of my life. I was intimidated by the equipment and seemingly complex moves. Plus, I didn’t want to get too “big.” However, now that I’m strength training regularly, I feel better than ever! Not only have I noticed my physical body responding well, I really enjoy it! These benefits extend far beyond the gym—I’ve found myself showing up with more confidence and effectiveness in other areas of my life.
4 Reasons to Add Strength Training to Your Movement Routine:
More results in less time: You can get a great workout in around 30 minutes, which makes it easy to fit into a morning routine before work. Also, I personally feel less depleted after a resistance training session than a long run and my body actually responds better than when I’m doing tons of cardio.
Prevents burnout: In the past, I’ve tried running more miles when I want to get in better shape or change my body composition and ended up feeling physically depleted and mentally discouraged. However, when I commit to 30 minutes a day of strength training most mornings, I wake up excited to get to the gym, and the results keep me motivated.
Alleviates anxiety/depression: Cardio often takes all the credit here, but strength training generates similar mood-boosting endorphins. Also, overcoming challenges and seeing progress regularly improves mental resiliency. If you crave the rush from cardio, add some into your strength training routine (see below).
Improves body image: Actual body composition aside, I feel stronger & sexier when I’m strength training regularly (and not just while I’m at the gym!).
This month, I’m cutting way back on cardio and focusing on resistance training. Why? Long runs or bike rides can over-stress the body and adrenals – which can actually prevent weight loss. High cortisol and overtraining can result in the body holding on to extra fat. More importantly, I’ve been feeling anxious lately and, to me, this is a sign that my body is already in a state of stress. So I’ve committed to less cardio & caffeine until my nervous system settles down.
For most of us, exercise isn’t simply about vanity. For one, it’s energizing and fun. Also, when lean and strong, we often feel more confident and effective in other areas of our lives. Strength training has been a game-change for me, and I encourage all women to incorporate some of it into their lifestyles.
If you’re not sure where to start, try learning these moves (they’re easy to find on YouTube):
Supplemental cardio (up to 3 days per week, 20-30 minutes of HIIT) . Examples:
Alternate walking with run/sprints
Alternating burpees, squat jumps, v-ups, & sprints
The benefits of increasing your heart rate regularly include improving overall cardiovascular health as well as insulin resistance. It can also help achieve body composition goals (when added to strength training). For both weight loss & overall wellbeing, strategic cardio is important. But long runs or bike rides can over-stress your body and tax your adrenals – which will actually prevent weight loss. So by prioritizing strength training, you might find yourself feeling & looking better than when you’re just logging miles and miles of cardio.