June 23, 2011

Some Resistance is Great for your Health

Medical professionals suggest
staying away from high-intensity
weight training until nearing
adulthood. I laughed in the
face of science and began early
on....of course, I started with two
balloons on a stick.
Today I had the opportunity to pull out my personal trainer tool box while meeting with a client on nutrition. We started talking about resistance training design to help support his goals of running and soccer playing. I have to say, I miss talking exercise prescription but when I do, it's like a day hasn't gone by. So I thought I would post a few things to consider for anyone interested in lifting a few weights. Why would you want to lift a few weights? What a great question.....

Why Lift Weights
Did you know that the key to weight loss is (not only a combination of diet and exercise) but resistance training versus cardio? It's true. We once thought the longer you worked out on the treadmill the better (God, I shake my head in embarrassment with what I thought I knew...I can't believe the things I used to say to people...), but now we know that the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn (at least now we do...who knows what the next decade will bring). 

Did you also know that by lifting weights you will reduce your chance of injuries down the road (especially as you age) and the likelihood of falls and other accidents? In addition, it keeps your body strong and your ass looking fabulous (let's not forget looking good naked...it's on the top of everyone's list).  In a nutshell, resistance training keeps you young (and that's enough for me).

There is no need for special workout
gear when you are lifting weights.
Although I would suggest shoes that
protect your foot from a falling dumbbell.
But that type of shoe would not go with
their outfits....
The best news is you can start lifting at any age. You are never too old to weight train. Studies show strength increases with individuals 80+.  However, the hardest thing for many is walking into a weight room and learning from scratch.  The weight room can be intimidating and it is important to find an environment you feel comfortable in. Of course, it is possible to do everything in the comfort of your own home but it may take a little more creativity.  I won't be writing about this option as I believe it is important to bring in a personal trainer to assist you in creating a home gym. But, seriously, all you need is a few empty milk jugs or socks and load them up with sand and you have an instant dumbbell.

I promise you, once you get used to the gym environment and learn the lay of the land, you will feel more comfortable and look forward to seeing those that share your workout schedule. Although I consistently talk of fitness culture being a barrier, I also believe it can be a great source of social connection (if one is able to stick through the uncomfortableness of the novice stage).  Plus, if you find someone able to workout with you, you are more apt to stick with it.

Jerry started lifting weights at 65.
At that time, he couldn't even lift a
pencil. Was it creepy of me to sneek
into his bathroom to take this pic?
 If you are thinking you don't have the time to train...think again. I was the queen of creating 10 - 30 minute resistance training programs (based upon strength building and injury prevention goals) that would promise results over time. There are two ways to train; isolation exercise (focusing on the biceps, triceps, quadriceps, hamstrings...one muscle at a time) and compound exercise (exercises that work more than one muscle at once).  Isolation is great if you want to look good naked (or at the beach semi-naked) as it targets each muscle - but it isn't functional and is time consuming. Bodybuilders and wanna-bes train like this and can spend hours at a time "pumping iron" and grunting really loudly (sorry, I had to add that...it's my biggest trigger when in the weight room...I mean...come on, do you really have to grunt like a caveman?????). 

On the other hand, compound exercises like the chest press or seated row will target three muscles at a time and train for function and injury prevention. Perfect for those that want to increase strength, boost their metabolism, and decrease their risk of injury!

Wanna know more (of course you do...this stuff is waaaay to exciting not to)? I'm saving the juicy bits for my next post. I will provide you with a few tips and considerations that will make your time in the gym effective and efficient (not to mention productive).  Meanwhile, think about how you can add a bit of resistance to your life (in a good way). Although you may not see any changes immediately, it is an investment over time that reaps too many rewards to mention.

Until next time.


  1. and you would never believe this but I LUV the gym now!! Who would have guessed:)

  2. Hey A;
    Thanks for your comment. I think sharing your story of your
    progression to gym-lover would be very interesting if you
    felt like sharing.
    Thanks for contributing!!!! Hope you are doing well.

  3. Yes.. injured form running still (no running) but spin today. I gradually worked into teh standing part of spin due to injury sitting was only allowed at first. Getting stronger but not sure if running will ever happen again. I am bummed about that one but remaining positive. I can share, cookie monster doesn't but I do:)