Written by Katie Occhipinti
Weight Training: A MUST For Your Workout Routine
Running and other traditional forms of “cardio” are good for burning calories and play an important role in heart health; however, we are selling ourselves short if we leave weight training out of the routine. Adding in two or three days of lifting weights has been proven to help us look better, feel better and do better in all areas of life.
Running and other cardiovascular type exercises are very efficient at burning calories during the workout, but not much happens after that. Exercise causes the body to go into a state of elevated post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. EPOC has to do with the amount of oxygen that the body uses to help it return to a normal resting state after exercise. The longer it takes to return to “normal,” the more calories our body has to burn. Science shows that weight training causes greater EPOC when compared to running.[i]
So what I am really saying…While running may burn more initial calories, weight training will cause your body to continuously burn more calories throughout the day.
The greatest benefit of weight training is an increase in lean muscle mass. His translates to that tight toned look that many of us are seeking. Body weight is comprised of two components¾fat mass and fat free mass. Fat free mass is made up of bone, organs, blood and muscles weight, where as fat mass is strictly our adipose tissue. Ideal weight loss is weight loss of fat mass, while maintaining lean muscle mass, which is best accomplished through weight training.
While one pound of fat weighs the same as one pound of muscle, one pound of muscle is much more compact and takes up much less space on the body. Which one would you like on your thighs? Another benefit of lean muscle is that it acts as a “glucose sink,” helping to remove and store any excess sugars that are floating around in the blood. Not only is this important for maintaining a healthy metabolic system, it is even more beneficial for individuals with or at risk of developing diabetes.[ii]
In other words… Your jeans will fit better, and your metabolism will work better by working to increase lean muscle.
Want to be a better runner? Run more. Want to be a better yogi? Do more yoga. However, no matter your current domain of fitness or your current competitive arena, adding in bouts of weight training can improve your performance across the board. This concept is called “cross-training.” When we continuously engaging in the same type of exercise or sport, we get really efficient at using those specific muscles. This can lead to muscular imbalances by overworking certain muscle groups and underworking others. Using lifting weights as a mode of cross-training can really benefits the body by treating it as one connected unit.
Most importantly, building muscular strength through weight lifting can increase the ease of daily living. For example, the ease of carrying groceries up a flight of stairs, picking up a two year-old or even bracing ourselves to avoid a fall all can improve with muscular strength.
Basically… Lifting weights a mode of cross-training will help increase performance in other areas of exercise. Improving strength will increase the ease of functional activities we come across on a daily basis.
[i] Reynolds, J.M, Kravitz, Len. Resistance Training and EPOC. The University of Mexico. http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/epoc.html