From shape to longevity, stamina to health and physical to mental resilience, there are many reasons to want to train to be strong
Lean muscle holds your shape, from lifting your derrière to providing a statuesque posture. And lean muscle burns calories, ensuring you’re continuing to burn fat, long after you finish your squats, or put your weights back on the rack.
However, strength training does more, so much more than that. Strength training helps to reduce injury, as your body’s muscles work synergistically, taking pressure off your joints, back and neck. Bones strengthen, and protein, which binds with your calcium, is “pushed” back in. Strength training will improve your circulation, both during your session as well as when you’re resting, as strong, toned muscle means a muscle that is always ready or is always on - constantly active and moving.
Then there’s your organs. Not only will strength training give you a healthier heart, but strength training will boost the health of the organs that produce your hormones, too. By the time we are 80, the natural process that is ageing can take away as much as 30% of our muscle mass, greatly impacting hormonal production and our general health, our energy and drive. This same loss also impacts our nervous system and even our brain. Strength training helps the body to recover this lean body mass, positively supporting both neurotransmitter production as well as our nervous system, influencing our mood, drive and even our confidence.
In short, strength training is one of the most effective ways to sculpt your body, internally and externally, resulting in not only physical transformation and stamina, but also mental stamina & resilience too!
Here are Zana’s top 5 tips for strength training:
1 If you are new to strength training, start with machines. They hold you in place and allow you lift more, with little possibility to injure yourself.
2 Always lift to your maximum - even if that means just 2kg. In other words, if you are aiming for 6 repetitions you should be struggling at the 5th and be just about able to get the 6th repetition done. If you can do more than 6, then your weight is too light.
3. To add intensity to your strength training workout, don’t rest between sets or exercises. Lighten the weight with each set and aim to complete the workout in 15 minutes.
4. Work your body evenly, not just the areas you want to improve - your muscles work synergistically. Strengthening some muscles and not others can lead to injury in the long run.
5. Respect your rest! Strength training doesn’t build muscle, it actually breaks muscle down. Muscle recovers and then builds when you rest. For the best results, train with maximum intensity & don’t train the same body part more than once per week.
Zana Morris, Founder