Generally speaking, society tells us what’s hot and what’s not. We pick up a magazine or browse through the Internet and within minutes of reading you become immersed in a consumer-vacuum of new products and services that are all the rage and for some strange reason made to make you feel the urge to buy-in. All sorts of trends come and go, new products enter the market that can sway us for a while but often become a flash in the pan. I remember in my early teens when the ‘yo-yo’ made a reappearance all wonderfully re-branded, all-singing and all-dancing with flashing lights and add-on-titles such as ‘Pro’, ‘FX’ and ‘Power’ thrown in. We bought in without a second thought yet within a few months we were on to the next shiny thing spending more time and more money. What lessons have I learned from my time on earth in an increasingly consumer-orientated society? Finding out what is here to stay and what was designed to make a quick buck is key. Clearly we need to take our time and not jump at the new and the shiny without a little bit of market research and careful consideration that our money and more importantly our time will be well spent.
With regard to the fitness industry, I won’t go into too much detail about the gimmicks and fads that I have seen emerge and disappear; but what I will say is that there have been many of them that should be thought twice about (see below some of my favourites).
As a relatively seasoned personal trainer, if someone were to ask me the question: “If you could choose one method of exercise over another, then what would it be?” I wouldn’t need to think long and hard about it. Considering this question alongside the best investment in time and money for fitness improvement I would suggest weight training as the best option, and the following 5 key reasons are why:
1. Fat Burn, Afterburn and EPOC
Lifting weights can help you to lose weight, and most importantly the weight will come from fat! Relatively high intensity and metabolic resistance training such as circuits can stimulate lipolysis, which is the breakdown and release of fats to be used as energy. Making a metabolic impact with one of these sessions can ‘rev’ your metabolism towards a higher rate of calorie burning long after your workout is complete. To put it into perspective, one of my metabolic resistance training sessions can burn over 1000 calories in an hour which has been tested, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. According to a study on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) by Knab, A.M., Shanely, R.A., Corbin, K., et al. the people who did an intense bout of exercise in the study showed that they burned approximately 190 extra calories in the 14 hours that followed the workout.
2. Ladies and Gentlemen
Weight lifting for women seems to be a rather taboo subject, as it is often frowned upon by ladies who want to get into shape but don’t want to ‘bulk up’ and become heavily muscle bound. This is quite a normal thought process for males and females, but to be quite frank for any gender to become ‘cut and jacked’ it takes an incredible amount of dedication, time and effort in the gym let alone the kitchen to achieve that look. Also due to the fact that 99.9% of ladies are not predisposed to the high levels of testosterone required to become muscle bound, its safe to say that you can lift to your hearts content resting assured that you will come away with a more toned and defined body that will turn heads the right way.
3. Reduce Symptoms of Depression
Most reports and studies lead to the common denominator that aerobic training is the best choice for anti-stress and anti-depression, however a study from the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry begs to differ. It highlights that from a study of 40 women that their was no difference of anti-depressant effects from either the aerobic or the weight lifting participants; therefore if your feeling down why not shift some weights with quicker rest periods in between sets if the thought of a long cardio session gets you down.
4. No Kit Required
Stuck at home or can’t get to the gym? If you feel that this is a good excuse to skip your workout then think again. Resistance can be generated from your own bodyweight, and you can create a full body workout anytime of the day at home or even in the park that gets your metabolism fired up and will tone your muscles. Think about using the floor for pushups, squats, lunges and planks; you can also add in a chair for dips and your doorframe for pull-ups. Ultimately the job can get done without much extra kit, therefore no kit and no excuses! This is not a trend that is likely to go out of fashion either, our ancient ancestors did bodyweight training and we’re still doing it to this day.
5. Prevent Sarcopenia and Osteoporosis
Weight lifting is not limited to how old you get. Many people have this belief that at a certain point in their lives they should stop lifting weights, however I would argue in the opposite direction; people should most definitely weight train into their older age. This is due to the benefits of ‘break-proofing’ bones and preventing the onset of osteoporosis via creating the regular stimulus for the bones to be reinforced. Being inactive and leaving bones to naturally decline is asking for trouble, and the same goes for your muscles as well. Sarcopenia is a natural decline of muscle mass and strength associated with aging. When people get older it is quite common to notice an increased risk of falling and of aches and pains, this is a result of Sarcopenia or a combination of it and other diseases. Beat the decline by maintaining a regular regime of weight training but don’t think that the weights need to be extreme, as results can still be gained using relatively lightweights alongside tempo control and proper form.
Tying it all up, weight training offers a multitude of benefits and can be a one-stop-shop for all of your health and fitness needs throughout your entire life. It’s not the only option out there but the proof is in the pudding as weight training has been around for centuries and seems to have proved that it’s not a fad that ‘yo-yo’s’ in and out of the market. Not sure about how to start your weight training programme? Come into one of our Fitness First gyms located throughout the MENA region and speak to our certified, experienced and knowledgeable personal trainers on how to do it right!