Studies have shown that resistance training has many positive effects on physical health, but did you know that resistance training is also a good tool to use for mental health as well?
Studies have shown that resistance training has had positive benefits on many mental health issues. Of the trials conducted, participants have seen reductions in anxiety symptoms, reduction in pain intensity among patients with lower back pain, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, improvements in cognition among older adults, improvements in sleep quality among depressed older adults, reductions in symptoms of depression among patients with diagnosed depression and fibromyalgia, reductions in fatigue symptoms, and improvements in self esteem.
Many of these things all seem connected. For example, weight training helps a patient sleep better which is going to lower ghrelin (the body’s hunger hormone). In turn, potentially causing them to reduce unnecessary snacking to help them lose a few pounds which could cause an improvement in self esteem. All of these things are interconnected in various different ways. Aside from all the mental health positives, resistance training also seems to have some built factors that help your overall approach to life a bit differently. Other than peace of mind and some self confidence, resistance training seems to also act as a wise janitor of life coming to teach you valuable life lessons and skills.
The first, stronger muscles make daily tasks easier. If your everyday tasks can be performed with less pain and more ease, the stress of completing them will drop. Plus, the confidence boost of feeling stronger and being more self reliant isn’t a bad side effect either. Unless of course you are a husband that takes pride in opening the pickle jar!
Second, let go with care. Hear me out! So when you lift weights, it’s important to perform both the eccentric and concentric motions with care and purpose in order to get the most out of the movement. It is simply key to proper performance. You should always use as much care to put down the weight as you did to pick it up. In life, when we are exhausted or overwhelmed by something, we often just cast it aside thoughtlessly and be done with it. Just give up. This will rarely serve you well.
Ah, yes, next up, the value of rest. When I design programs, I assign specific rest periods between sets. There is a reason for this. You need to give your central nervous system a break and allow it to regroup before jumping right back into a lift. This is often why rest periods are longer on programs with heavy compound lifts. They are more taxing to your CNS than lower weight accessory movements. So, how does this relate to life you ask . . . well, just like weight training, when you pause in other areas of your life instead of rushing through tasks as quickly as possible, you’ll find that you are more productive and more positive results will emerge. Often you just need to find the right balance between rest and work.
This one is another favorite of mine! The power of breath! Yes, breath. I know breathing is essential to life, but that’s not where I’m going with that. Those of you that have trained with me in person have probably heard me instruct you on how to breathe when you are lifting weights. It is very important for effective weight lifting to breathe properly. Generally speaking, you should be inhaling during the concentric and exhaling during the eccentric. This allows you to get maximal force in your lift. Similar effects can be seen during trying times in life. When you are feeling pressure or anxious, take a deep breath. Taking a few deep breaths will help you speak up, calm down and keep your cool much easier.
Last but not least, to build strong muscles, you must break them. Yep, that’s right. When you lift weights, you tear your muscles. That’s the point, because they come back bigger and stronger. (insert Hulk growl) Think about it. You experience muscle growth after you tear the muscles. So basically to make a muscle stronger you have to injure it. It’s through the process of repair it gets stronger. Think about the hardest moments in your life. Think about how much they hurt. Did you get through it? Are you stronger now because of it? I would bet that every challenge you’ve encountered in your life has made you stronger and that’s because with pain comes growth. That growth can be emotional too. After all the heart is a muscle too.
If I haven’t already spoken enough about the benefits of weight training, here’s just some more science backed evidence to show that resistance training literally can benefit everyone, in some way. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or a powerlifter that’s training for a show to see benefits. Everyone has something to gain.
If you’re ready to make a change in your life, but don’t know where to start, apply for a free coaching call. I’d love to be a part of your journey to a better life.
. . . Motivation Is NOT one of them. I know that may come as a huge shock to you. Motivation ebbs and flows and relying on it will lead to failure.
Now, let’s get right to the top qualities:
1. Open Mindset – Having an open mindset and the will to learn and try new things is a must. If you keep repeating that same ol' diet and training routine, yet never see lasting results, why do you keep going back to it??
2. Consistency – Consistency trumps perfection any day of the week! I can’t preach this enough to my clients. Strive to build great habits and make small changes you can stick with. Don’t try to eat perfect, I promise you, no one can keep that up. This used to be me. I wanted every little thing to be absolutely perfect and some days were, but when one thing went wrong my whole plan would come crumbling down around me.
3. Pain – Now, let me explain. Everyone who reaches out to me for help is dealing with some form of pain. Some physically but others are struggling with pain, both mentally & emotionally as well, from all the years of trying to change their bodies and failing.
When they come to me they have finally realized the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change.
Is your pain great enough to make some sacrifices?
Are you ready to change?
If so, apply for a free, no pressure coaching call and we can evaluate your goals and see if my methods are a fit for you.
I want to teach you where you should put the majority of your focus on if you're wanting to lose fat, build some muscle and just care about your overall health.
This Hierarchy was explained very well to me by my Coach Jeremiah Bair.
I would love to share with you what I have learned from him.
To the right, you will see The Fitness Hierarchy
Ranked from most-least important:
Most people are surprised by this, expecting cardio to be the number one focus, followed by stepping into the gym a few times, and dieting hard for a couple weeks every January.
Now why doesn’t this work?
In order to lose fat we must eat fewer calories than we burn in a day.
It is impossible to erase a poor diet with exercise. Why? Because you just don’t burn very many calories when you exercise (about 5% of your total daily calorie burn comes from exercise.)
Calories in < Calories out = Fat Loss. This is called Energy Balance
Main takeaway here is watching your diet to control the “calories in” side of the energy balance equation is much easier than trying to lose fat by ramping up the “calories out” side of the equation.
This is why Nutrition is the most important factor to pay attention to.
Lifting weights actually burns fewer calories than cardio. But, resistance training has many more benefits for you than cardio:
It’s a huge psychological boost
Find a plan you can see yourself sticking to for a really long time.
Cardio is still helpful. We just don’t want to put the majority of our focus in it.
Cardio has obvious cardiovascular health benefits-it’s good for your heart.
Cardio has carryover to your resistance training. It allows you to recover quicker - both between sets and between training sessions.
Now the biggest issue with cardio is that your body adapts very quickly to it.
When you adapt to something, you become more efficient at it. Becoming efficient means you’re burning less calories.
So take this for example:
If you were to run 1 mile you might burn 100 calories. As the adaptation occurs, the calorie burn decreases. So after running a mile every day this week and burning a 100 calories each time you may end up only burning 90 calories the next week, and then 80 the next. The only way to keep burning 100 calories is to increase the distance and/or time spent running. The problem is - who has the time or desire in our busy lives to keep adding miles forever?
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Kayli is a certified personal trainer and online coach that specializes in fitness, wellness, nutrition, mindset, mobility and everything in between.