Strength Training for a New You this Year
Here we go again with another new year.
It’s the official end of the big holiday season, Halloween to New Year’s (where Americans average 7 to 12 pounds of weight gain), and the kick-off of many people’s hopes and dreams for a better version of themselves.
2018 is going to be different for you, because you are going to start doing something that molds people into something different — literally.
What I am talking about is strength training, or lifting weights, or engaging in some form of exercise that builds lean muscle tissue.
So, I’m not talking about cardio, or the latest dance class or jazzercise. Does that even still exist? It’s fine if you want to supplement with that, but everybody needs to be strength training in 2018.
Why? Let’s talk about the big reasons.
This is probably the number one resolution of the majority of americans this year and in years past. People go on fad diets and do hours upon hours of cardio to burn calories in an attempt to lose weight. It works but only temporally this way. But, this is the way we have been told to do it for decades.
It works at the beginning but can’t be maintained. The energy coming in and going out (calories) is too little, so it’s slowing your metabolism. The cardio doesn’t build any lean muscle tissue so you really are only burning fat and calories while doing your exercise sessions.
Here is what you need to do: lift weights a minimum of three times per week.
This is going to help you build lean muscle tissue.
A lot of people talk about toning, not getting big and bulky but having a lean look. This is exactly what weight training can do for you. You can’t tone just doing cardio. The essential definition of ‘toning’ is to build or maintain lean muscle tissue while burning off body fat.
Because, guess what? Everybody has six-pack abs. It’s just that most are covered with a layer of body fat.
Strength training will help you see those abs (nutrition plays a big role here, too), because you are going to be building lean muscle, which helps you burn fat and calories while at rest. So, do your workout for 45 minutes, and then you are burning fat and calories for the next 12 to 36 hours.
Again, with cardio or a similar type of non-strength training type exercise, you only burn during the exercise session.
You actually don’t need to lose as much weight as you think, because muscle weighs more than fat. You’ll drop inches off faster, especially in the waist, hips, thighs and arms — you know, all the places that make a man or woman look better naked.
Let’s face it: one of the other big resolutions for those who are single is to attract a partner — strength training can help!
Somebody that does strength training, standing next to somebody that just does cardio or even no exercise, is going to look much, much different. One will look fit, and the other will look skinny-fat.
Not just working out to work out
With strength training, you need to get stronger.
It’s not lifting the same weights over and over again and expecting your body to change. That’s the same as Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
You should know what you can do now with certain exercises, and you want to get better and stronger. Not knowing can lead to frustration and eventually a plateau, which ultimately leads to lack of motivation and quitting the exercise program completely, or falling off and saying ‘Let’s wait until next year.’
With strength training, you are hitting new records all the time, what trainers call ‘PRs,’ or personal records.
This gives you something to shoot for. This excites you. This is what sculpts and molds your body over time. This increases your confidence in other areas of your life. It makes your posture better and offers a host of other benefits.
One big change that my adult and youth strength and conditioning program has implemented is a software that tracks strength training exercises for all of my clients. The software isn’t necessary, though — pen and paper, Google Docs, Evernote, Excel — anything works if it helps you see how far you’ve come.
Will you hit a PR every single time or for every single exercise?
No. But, as you start, it will be a lot easier to hit new PRs. That is exciting for someone just getting into training. It’s motivating and leads into reason number three.
Exercise needs to be a part of everyone’s life on a routine basis.
I talk to my clients about “3 x 52.”
It simply means you will do a strength-based workout three times a week for 52 weeks every year. This is consistency. If you miss a day or two days, or even an entire week off, then you will feel it. You will feel it in your mood, your sleep, and your energy throughout the day, and that will affect other aspects of life: career, family, nutrition, etc.
Like I said, January 2018 is going to be different for you, because this is the time you start and continue. The “starting-stopping-starting-stopping” routine for you is over.
Your body is going to be shaped and molded over the next few months, which is going to transform you mentally and emotionally. You are going to hit new PRs and actually look forward to your next workout.
In order for exercise to become a priority it needs to first be made a priority by you. It also needs to be fun and challenging. When you realize that you have ultimate control in how your body looks with strength training, it instantly becomes a priority. Other things start to change, too, in your life for the better. I’ve mentioned a couple already, but another big one is you become mentally stronger.
Strong mind, strong body — they are always connected.
Come this time next year in 2019, you won’t even recognize yourself, and a lot of your friends and family won’t as well.
That will be a good thing, because the stronger you is going to help and inspire others to strive for the same. Here is to 2018, strength training, and you becoming the best version of you!
For more information, visit improvementwarriorfitness.com.