By: John Kecman, Personal Training and Fitness Director
Everyone knows how to put one foot in front of the other repetitively, or sit on a stationary bike and pedal. Unless we are talking about high level runners both of the aforementioned aerobic exercises are as simple as I just described. However, no matter your fitness or health goal, strength training is a far more efficient use of your time. I am not saying that walking, running, or using a recumbent bike is useless. These activities will help you expend some energy and improve aerobic capacity, barring that you are progressively working harder across weeks and months. Much is the same with strength training, and if you have the time, and enjoy both your aerobic, and strength workouts, then by all means keep up the good work with both.
For most people time is short and bang for your buck strength training will help you burn calories while you do nothing. Yes you read that correctly, and exercise research backs me up on this. Moreover, there are cardiovascular benefits acquired through strength training as it is a form of interval training. A recent study found that weightlifting had a greater impact on reductions in bodyweight, decrease in blood pressure and fewer incidences of diabetes. The same strength related improvements are also much harder (or impossible) to come by via aerobic exercise. So whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle or strength, “tone” (not really a thing, but I won’t get into that), improve bone density, help with achy or arthritic joints, improve heart health, any other thing you can think of, resistance training is a better use of your time. If you build 2 or 3 lbs. of muscle you would burn as many calories as a 30-minute aerobic session each day doing nothing. Studies also definitively show that both body weight and body composition are improved more through weightlifting than any cardio workout.
The problem most people have is they have no idea what to do when they cross into the resistance side of the gym. It can be far more complicated than putting one foot in front of the other (walking or running). It also takes time to build muscle and most who start on their own, or even with a trainer, may not see the result they are looking for and become discouraged. It takes between two and eight weeks of consistent and progressive work to build enough muscle to create the physiological improvements I described. Age, gender, and various other factors play a part. You never lose the ability to improve, and if you aren’t where you would like to be, even if you think you know what you are doing, talk to one of our trainers and see how we can help. If you like to work with other people tryout one of our group classes in our new Personal Training Studio. If you have a plumbing issue you call a plumber, if you have an issue with your health or fitness, then we are here to help!