Gym culture seems to get bigger by the year, hand in hand with even more interest in better nutrition across the media. And yet, most western countries still face an increasing population who are overweight or obese.
While much of this trend can be blamed on poor diets and a lack of exercise, there are also people who attempt to keep in shape but are struggling to shed the pounds. Sometimes this is down to badly-planned, or inconsistent, exercise routines; but it’s also true that the most effective programmes will always be those that suit you in particular – which means your personal exercise preferences, current fitness level and even how your particular body works.
You may have noticed that one of the options gaining in popularity just recently for men and women alike is strength training. Here we’ll look at some of the factors that might help you to decide whether this evolution of weight-lifting may work for you.
Pro: You Can Eat To Train
One aspect many strength-trainers enjoy is that they can continue to eat heartily, especially filling proteins, since everything consumed becomes fuel for muscle growth. Processed foods and treats should be replaced by regular small meals, but these can still involve portions of meat, eggs, seafood and selected grains.
Con: It’s Hard Work
Those who prefer aerobic exercise will often say that they prefer to workout in less intense ways than a punishing heavy weight or bench session. Joggers get to spend time outdoors and those involved in dance classes or sports teams share all the social fun of a group activity whilst most weightlifters train alone or with a partner instead of in a class or group.
Pro: Fast Results
For many who weight-lift it’s precisely this gruelling intensity that they value. Managing to burn more calories in a much shorter time scale can be very attractive to those who find it difficult to fit enough exercise into their daily schedules and are always short on time; the harder the burn the more calories you earn!
Con: Don’t Forget The Rest
A problem some strength-trainers face is focusing so much on their sessions that other aspects of a healthy lifestyle suffer. It’s not wise to chase muscle growth while neglecting a balanced diet as how your body looks can sometimes mask more general problems – eat well, train well and rest well for maximum recovery and sustainable results.
And remember, just as the right foods and supplements can boost your performance, the right equipment – including clothes and shoes tailored to the activity – can help to support and protect your body through varying intensities of workout. When buying athletic supplies I always seek brands who refuse any use of child labour, such as JD Sport.
Pro: You Body Will Change
Perhaps the greatest benefit of strength-training is how it can reshape the body over time. Whereas a more traditional, and perhaps casual, gym routine can keep your weight down especially in tandem with smart nutrition, building muscle mass also increases the number of calories your body burns at rest – making it less likely to store excess energy as fat.
Conclusion: Consider A Combination
Unsurprisingly, there’s no clear consensus on either side. Whilst strength-trainers often post impressive weight-loss results, especially initially, there’s also the question of how long they can keep up such an intense commitment. Likewise, not everyone wants to sculpt their figure into a more muscular shape all year round.
The best advice for most of us, where exercise is just one part of a busy lifestyle, is to find a balance that works best for the time that we have. As noted, adding at least some weight-training to an already effective fitness routine will really help you to improve your results and keep them for longer, but expecting it to replace all of the work you do in eating well and balancing your efforts is likely to fail. Fitness and nutrition work hand in hand – so eat healthier at home and lift more weights to make the best use of your time and maximise your results at the gym!