by Andrew Babkes, CPT, NC, Pn1
Who Should Weight Train?
Yep, that’s right. Even more interestingly, woman and the elderly—the two groups who most commonly do not lift weights, typically are the people who could benefit from a solid weight training program the most. To help drive the point home for why everyone needs to lift heavy stuff to maintain their health, I put together a list of 12 reasons why everyone should be weight training.
But not all weight training programs are created equal. In this article, I’ll first start off by giving you the low-down as to why you should be weight training, but then I’m also going to introduce you to an exercise protocol that I teach, right here in San Francisco. And in my humble opinion, it’s one of the best exercise programs on the planet! I became certified in this specific style of weight training because I find it to be one of the more time efficient and safest workouts around. So without further ado, here’s my article…
Decrease Age-Induced Sarcopenia
- As we age, we lose muscle mass. Sarcopenia is a fancy term that means muscle loss with aging. It’s a very real problem we all face as we get older. In fact, inactive adults can lose up to 50% of muscle over the course of their lives. And menopausal women, between the ages of 40 and 50, can lose 1% of their muscle each year and replace the lost muscle with fat if they are not actively participating in a strength training program (1).
- As you build more lean muscle from weight lifting, you’ll find yourself having better posture; this can help you avoid developing back issues, such as sciatica.
- With more muscle, you’ll have an easier time staying fit and toned. This can be enormously positive not only to your physical health, but to your self-confidence as well.
Protects From Injury
- Building skeletal muscle supports the bones, ligaments, and tendons. Hopefully you’ll never put yourself in a situation that could cause physical injury, but if it does happen you’ll be less likely to get as banged up… not to mention your recovery will be a lot faster.
Helps You Perform The Activities You Like
- The added strength from weight training allows you to perform the physical activities and sports you enjoy, easier and with better performance. It can be anything from going on a hike, playing football with friends, or simply taking the groceries out of the back of your car. You’ll notice the difference quickly.
Improves Mood and Overall Mental State (2)
You’ll Sleep Better (3)
- Lifting weights isn’t just for men with the goal to increase testosterone and get bigger muscles, it has some great benefits for women too. There have been some interesting findings showing weight lifting is great for balancing female hormones. And with better-balanced hormones, you can expect easier weight loss and mood stabilization, too. I also want to point out that there’s a common misconception among women and weight lifting… Women often fear weight train because they don’t want to get a manly, big-muscle build… but I want to put a stop to this myth right now and tell you—this just isn’t the case. It’s actually very difficult for women to build large muscles because they lack the necessary hormones. And the giant body builder women we see on television are either genetic anomalies or anabolic steroid users. Really, all that happens if a woman works out is increased fat burn and a more toned physique. All good things.
Increases Bone Density (4)
- Note: This has only been found in the specific type of weight training, called HIT… More on this in a bit…
Helps You Live Longer
- A study from Tufts University found that as you increase your muscle, your chances of living longer also increases. They even went as far as to say that having a healthy amount muscle mass is even more important than other biomarkers such as blood pressure or cholesterol (5)!
Essential For Weight Loss
- With more muscle, you have more insulin receptor sites. This allows your body to better respond and monitor your blood glucose levels, which helps the body metabolize fat easier. All good things to keep you lean.
- Muscle is also a metabolically demanding tissue. Meaning the more you have, the more calories you burn. Remember when you were a kid and you could eat whatever you wanted and never gain a pound, but it seems like the second you reached your 30s even looking a the piece of cake causes weight gain? This is because, as mentioned before, we often have less muscle as we age. If you lose 5 pounds of muscle the amount of calories you burn in a 24-hour period decreases by 250. Over time, this adds up and the result—weight gain. To prevent this from happening, you have to lift weights. The more muscle we put on the greater our metabolic function, which results in burning more calories easily and faster. This is far more efficient than running on a treadmill, which has been shown to not be an effective protocol for weight loss… in fact, new research found 75% of long distance runners neither lost or gained weight after three months of four runs per week (6).
It’s fairly clear at this point that weight training is important.
As promised, in the second part of this article I’m going to introduce a specific type of weight training that I personally coach my fitness clients with.
It’s called High-Intensity Training or “HIT” for short.
If you’re new or familiar with weight training exercise—keep reading. Because I’m going to give a breakdown for why HIT by far the safest, most effective, and efficient exercise program out there…
Here’s Why HIT Is The Best Exercise Protocol On The Planet
Decrease Your Risk of Injury
Most exercise programs, especially when it comes to weight training programs, advocate explosive quick movements. The problem is that this also will put you at risk of improper form and risk of injury. When you move in an explosive movement fashion, you create a lot of momentum at the start of your lift. This can produce a forceful “jolt” to the muscles, connective tissue, and joints. By doing this week after week, month after month, your risk of injuring yourself is extremely probably (7).
Here’s why my weight training program is better…
Doing a HIT protocol you move slowly… about 10 seconds through the positive contraction and 10 seconds through the negative contraction… This forces you to challenge your muscles with a greater level of muscle fiber recruitment, while decrease risk of injury by not causing additional joint strain.
I’m also supervising your workout, making sure you’re performing the exercise correcting, decreasing your risk of injury even further.
And finally, by moving at a control speed, I am better able to track your recovery and progress with greater accuracy than a standard exercise program. Accurate tracking enables me to make more precise recommendations so you are able to get the best results possible.
Save Time Getting Fit
Getting more physically fit takes time and dedication. Typically spending hours in the gym, 3-5 times per week.
This is largely why most people do not stick with an exercise program–it just takes too much of your time.
And here’s why my weight training program is better…
HIT should only take 20 minutes once a week!
Yep, that’s right. In order to decrease the time you exercise, you must increase the intensity. That’s the magic behind how this program works. This principle works across all types of exercise activities. Take the long distance endurance athlete for example. This is why he or she can run for hours and hours… because the intensity is low.
The reason high-intensity is called high-intensity is because you work hard… it’s just in a short amount of time—20 minutes! Anyone can spare 20 minutes…
In addition, when you work harder, you need longer recovery time. That’s good for you because that also means less working out is necessary. Again, workouts are only 20 minutes, once a week!
And even though you work hard, all ages can handle this type of workout. I have clients in their 20s to up in their 80s doing this type of exercise.
It works for everyone. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, it’s actually much safer than your standard exercise program.
I hope that helps give you a better idea what HIT is all about. My clients love the results they’ve been getting. Hear what one of my clients, Rob, has to say about the workout…
It really makes me happy to hear the great benefits this exercise program has helped Rob. It’s really gratifying to know I’m a part of not only Rob’s, but all the client’s lives in such a positive way. That’s really the most rewarding part of my job. I get to directly help people like you, become as you become as healthy as possible.
I’m also a certified nutritional consultant and precision nutrition professional, specializing in performance and sports nutrition, which allows me to I bring my nutritional expertise to the table as well. The reason I bring this up is because I want to not only be your guide into this amazing exercise program, but I also want to be a valuable health resource and friend as well.
I know each year it’s harder to get out of bed, you feel not as energetic as usual—overall physically, you just don’t feel as good as you used to. Well, I want to help you. Just like Rob and all my other clients.
If what I’m saying resonates with you and you’re sick of wasting your time at the gym, chasing some health goal, but not sure how if you’re on the right path, or you’re just looking to get even healthier… I’m here to get you to reach your goals.
Let’s chat and I’ll explain exactly how we will reach your health goals. The phone call is totally free and I’ll be glad to answer any questions you have for me.
Thanks so much!
Andy Babkes, NC, CPT, Pn1
(7) Behm, D. G. 1988. Surgical tubing for sport and velocity specific training. National Strength and Conditioning Journal. 10 (4): 66-70