The Benefits of Lifting Weights (For Your Everyday Person)
Isn’t a workout 'a workout' no matter what you do?
Yep, moving is better than not moving whether you run, box, use weights, bands, stretch, etc. All of it is better than not moving.
However, there are different workout modalities, and if I had to identify the major areas of training, they would be Cardio, Recovery, Muscular Endurance and Strength Training. These are all probably the most popular forms of exercise for most of the population.
I'll start by defining each one, which is important, because these phases are often used interchangeably, even by coaches and trainers. I’ll add that all are important, have benefits, are great for reducing stress, and worth it if you enjoy them and IF you have proper form. In addition, all must be combined with proper rest and nutrition which is CRITICAL for recovery from any form of exercise.
Great for your heart and if done as a true interval (where your heart rate goes up AND down) you can burn calories, even up to 36 hours AFTER you’re done. There are so many different types of cardio that everyone can find something they enjoy (cycling, boxing, running, just to name a few). There really are so many possibilities!
This is really important for a sedentary population, and this is where foam rolling, yoga and Pilates fall. It burns some calories, improves flexibility, and increases mobility. Everyone would benefit from doing this.
In my experience, this is the biggest area of confusion for folks. Muscular Endurance is where you use your body weight or light weights (like bands) and lift them for an extended period, typically for a certain amount of time or at/above 15 reps. Muscular Endurance is just ONE of several phases of strength training. It’s the phase, as the name implies, where you build endurance for your muscles. You can burn a lot of calories, and if done correctly (with heart rate drops or recovery), you can burn calories up to 24-36 hours after the workout! It’s one of the phases we cover in the IGNITE Phase of training here at Fuse Fitness Coaching. It’s also one of the most popular modalities in all of studio and group fitness because you can run a large group of people (30+) through this without requiring extensive technical training education for the instructor.
As an experienced certified personal trainer, this phase also makes me the most nervous because it is easy to do incorrectly. When reps get higher and people get tired, their form breaks down. The risk for immediate injury is very low, but when those exercises are preformed incorrectly for long periods of time, nagging injuries start to pop up. Chronic knee, ankle, hip, back, shoulder, and neck pain are the most common injuries. That’s why it is so important to watch and correct form, even though the weights may not be that heavy.
That brings us to the other phases of Strength Training, which is what we predominantly do here at Fuse Fitness Coaching (our two phases of strength training are called BURN and EXPLODE). Strength and Hypertrophy Training (as defined my almost all academic standards) is lifting weights for 6-15 reps at or above 60% of your 1 Rep Max (RM). For clarity, that’s 60% of the most weight you can physically do for a given exercise for no more than 15 reps. That’s heavy, really heavy. It’s important to note that everyone’s 60% is different!
Why do we focus on this kind of lifting at Fuse Fitness Coaching? Because it’s the one that physically changes your body the most, by promoting lean body mass changes. Lean body mass (LBM) is what burns calories when you are NOT exercising. If you work out 7 days a week for 1 hour a day, that’s only 4% of your week. LBM helps you burn calories the other 96% of the time! That’s another way of saying it improves your metabolism! Strength and hypertrophy training also promote the biggest changes to your bone density and ligament and tendon strength. Basically, you get way more “bang for your buck”!
Why does Fuse focus on strength training?
When I founded Fuse Fitness Coaching, I considered many options of gym/studio formats and training programs. I created the program that I have seen the most success with over my 12 plus year career as a personal trainer, particularly since I have worked primarily with women and young athletes. I wanted a focused small group training program where certified personal trainers could watch and correct form while members got the most efficient workout that would keep them burning calories throughout the day. That meant no more than 16 people per class, with at least 2 trainers per class (and please note, I love Muscular Endurance work, if I didn’t we wouldn’t have a phase of training called IGNITE).
And here’s something crazy that makes this all even more important: women over the age of 40 start to lose an average of 1 pound of LBM per year…unless they strength train! The kind of training we do here. No other modality builds LBM in women (or men or athletes) like the kind of strength and hypertrophy training we do here at Fuse Fitness Coaching. The kind of training you can only safely do with knowledgeable professionals giving you close attention.+
So to recap, if your goal is the change your body (LBM, bone density, joint and ligament strength), burn more calories NOT exercising, run faster, jump higher, be quicker or be better at any other performance based metric, then strength and hypertrophy training should be part of your program. If you are interested in trying out Fuse to see if we are a good fit, send us a note for a free week of training or CLICK HERE!
Below is what some of our clients have to say...
Georgia Larson (our most recent People's Choice Award Winner!):
For me, the difference is in the results I’m seeing in two ways:
1. I’ve been at Fuse for a year. During this time, I have coupled my run training with strength training. The results have been PR’s in my running. Best example: 5k times last year at this time 26:30-27:30. 5k this year 24:44-25:30. 10 mile times in the past: 1:33:00-1:35:00. My fastest a couple of weeks ago was 1:30:00. These aren’t drastic changes. But, for a 49 year old who lives a busy life on top of training, it’s fairly significant.
2. The best part for me is the functional fitness. I had back surgery in 2009–herniated disc L4/L5. It is super important for me to know how to lift and move properly so that I strengthen my core and protect my back. I know how to move better now and I have the strength to back it up.
I know that I’m lifting heavier now than when I was at another gym. I think, though, that the focus is different and more driven at Fuse compared to the class I was taking at the other gym. I also think the clientele is slightly different in my Fuse group, in a good way.
I think of endurance training as maybe working my existing muscles, some cardiovascular health and as a tool to lose fat. I don't think of endurance training as helping to put on muscle. Before I started training with Fuse, I focused on endurance training (doing waaay too much cardio) and spent most of my time spinning my wheels, not going anywhere and not really changing how I looked. I had a higher body fat percentage, was tired all the time, and ate a measly 1200 calories a day. When I started training with Fuse and focused on strength training is really when I was able to change how my body looked. I gradually stopped focusing on the scale and looked more at body composition. Strength training adds muscle. Adding muscle has done an overhaul on my metabolism and body composition. I now eat 2800 calories a day and have reduced my body fat to less than half of what it was. The scale hasn't really changed that much, but by adding muscle and reducing my body fat I'm about 2-3 clothing sizes smaller. Most importantly I have a ton more energy and can eat way more!
I spent a good year and a half taking group fitness classes 5-6 times a week. All mainly consisting of cardio endurance training. I could not get my body to change. I felt pretty healthy but my body composition would not budge. It was extremely frustrating and discouraging that I could work SO hard and see very little results. I decided to try strength training at Fuse and that is when I finally started to see the changes I was working so hard for. It has really changed my life and I will continue to strength train for as long as my body will let me! It has made me stronger both physically and mentally. Pushing my body with heavy weights has built more lean muscle which has not made me "bulky" as so many think. In fact, I'm actually wearing a smaller size now in my 40's then most of my 20' and all of my 30's! Building more lean muscle also allows my body to handle more calories and treat meals which is definitely a huge bonus! I would recommend strength training to anybody who is looking to get leaner and stronger. It's pretty bad ass! I only wish I would have found it sooner!