Resistance training is incredibly underrated and stigmatised today in our media. There are many misconceptions when it comes to weight training.
- Women who weight lift will become manly.
- It isn’t essential for a healthy body.
- Men should weight lift to be masculine.
There are many more of these misconceptions. Weightlifting and resistance training is actually an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Resistance training is important at all ages, specifically in the 50+ age group.
Building up your muscle mass is incredibly beneficial at any age and here’s why!
- People with high levels of muscle mass have a high BMR. This is simply the number of calories an individual burns in a day by merely functioning. The more muscle mass you have the more calories you will burn during and after exercise and even during rest. This decreases the risk of obesity and obesity-related disease.
- Resistance training is a strong factor in healthy bones. Lifelong exercise, cardio and resistance training actually delays osteopenia (bone loss) and sarcopenia (muscle loss) that occurs in old age. Ensuring a long, happy and healthy life.
- Regular exercise can help greatly with depression and stress as it naturally releases hormones than induce happiness.
- Regular exercise, partially resistance and weight training, helps with self-esteem and feelings of self-hatred. We all need help with this these days!
- Reduces your risk of chronic disease such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes by reducing sedentary behaviour.
So, how do I build muscle??
If you feel uncomfortable going to a gym you can start resistance exercises in your home to get used to the motions and build up more confidence. However, to build and sustain muscle mass you must go to the gym.
There is one reason for this.
Progressive overload. If you keep doing the same movements every day, it might be difficult to start off with but eventually it will become easy. Your body adapts to training/ movements of the same capacity. To grow and change you must constantly challenge your body in order for it to adapt.
The way I like to think of it. If you are healthy right now, your body is comfortable. Your body doesn’t want to change if it doesn’t have to. By constantly challenging your body you are forcing it to become better, and more efficient and therefore healthier. Exercise is hard because its change and adaptation into a more efficient human!
Progressive overload is simply challenging yourself every time you go to the gym, weather that be slightly more weight or more reps. You shouldn’t be just going through the movement without thinking or it not challenging you. Progressive overload is essential to increase muscle mass and more importantly, progress towards your health.
Consistency really is key, in absolutely everything in life. Change doesn’t and never will happen overnight. I think that is fantastic. Good things are only good because there was a struggle. Struggle makes the end goal all the more worth having.
You have to be consistent to build muscle. There is no way around it. Set up a week plan that will work for you. Don’t start off saying you’re going to go 5 times a week. That is not sustainable. Start off with once a week and learn to love it and then add more days. No matter how many times you go you must stay with it. The reward is worth all the struggle ten times over. TRUST ME!!
There are two types of training.
- Training for strength
- Training for muscle growth, referred to as hypertrophy.
Training for strength.
- This type of training ensures muscle strength. The increased ability of the body to lift more weight.
- This training consists of high weight that is challenging with only a few repetitions (1-5).
- You should train this way if your main goal is to gain strength.
Training for muscle growth (size).
- This type of training is much more efficient in building muscle size.
- This training consists of low weight and high repetitions (8-15) or very low weight/ body weight exercises with reps of 20-50.
- You should train this way for increased muscle size.
Both methods of training are good for your health. I would recommend that both types of training should be incorporated into your regime. With the focus either on one or the other. If your focus is on both, incorporate both equally!
Remember, performing the movement in a controlled and safe manor is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Do not add weight until you have a good understanding and have practice of the movement. Always work up slowly.
Weightlifting is fun, invigorating and essential to our health. Give it a try!!
Thank you for reading. Follow for more 🙂