Benefits of lifting weights: There is always a misconception that weight lifting is only for bodybuilders, and people end up sticking to cardio exercises even when they are not getting their desired results.
Even though cardio workouts burn more calories than weight lifting, weight lifting elevates your metabolism for longer after weights than cardio. This means that the body continues to burn calories even after completing the weight lifting workout.
Weight lifting improves muscular fitness by exercising specific muscle groups against external resistance. Thus, to effectively improve your body composition and health, incorporate weight lifting in your workout regimens.
The benefits of lifting weight in this article include; reduced risk to diabetes, fight depression, improve cardiovascular health, mindfulness, regulate blood sugar, lower risk to injury, lower risk to cancer, boosts brain health, longer life span, reduces back pain, improves posture, burn fat, better sleep, manages stress and boosts your mood.
Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of lifting weights in detail
With weight lifting, there is more than just building muscle mass and losing weight. weight lifting comes with a lot of health benefits which include;
1. Health and strong bones
Lifting weights stimulates the bones and makes them stronger. According to an article by Harvard Health Publishing, women experience bone loss as the ovaries stop producing estrogen at menopause. This bone loss continues with age leading to loss of bone density. But with weight lifting, you can reduce the age-induced bone loss.
2. Improved balance and reduced risk to injuries
Adding two to three days of resistance training or weight lifting works out the muscles which keep you stable, thereby improving your body balance. The strength in the legs reduces the risk of falling or injuries.
3. Fights depression
Weight lifting has been linked to psychological benefits. A study by Harvard Medical School was carried out where; 80 participants were divided into 5 groups and subjected to different forms of exercises. It was found out that the control group which was subjected to vigorous training for 5 days a week had the biggest drop in depression level by the standard Hamilton scale.
4. Boosts metabolism and aids weight loss
With weight lifting, you can change the metabolism since you burn more calories. Weight lifting builds muscle mass. This implies that you will burn more calories at rest compared to fat; because muscles are active tissues.
5. Improves strength and endurance
Exercising with more weights and fewer repetitions increase your strength while exercising with lighter weights and more repetitions build endurance. This means that with time, your legs and body get stronger. This improves body efficiency, spending higher time on challenges like running, walking and more.
6. Improves posture and reduces back pain
Weight lifting works your back, shoulder and core muscles. Strengthening all these muscles contributes to a proper standing posture which eventually relieves back pain.
It should be noted that weight lifting can still affect your posture if you don’t lift with the right posture. Always seek guidance before you start on this regimen.
7. Lowers risk to diabetes
The world health organization predicts that by 2030, diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death in the world. This is attributed to the rising numbers, coming close to 350 million people with diabetes. Apart from healthy eating and weight management, weight lifting plays a big role in reducing this risk.
According to the study published in the archives of internal medicine, it was established that men who lifted weights for 15o minutes each weak had a 34% lower risk of diabetes.
8. Improves heart health
The American heart association recommends that older adults get a least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week for a better heart rate. Research shows that lifting weights can have the same effect as cardio for protecting against the heart
9. Reduces the risk of cancer
Visceral fat stored around the organs like the heart and the liver produces high levels of fibroblast growth factor-2 or FGF2 which are cancer-triggering proteins. Therefore by lifting weights, your body will burn up these proteins which in turn reduce the risk of cancer.
10. Boosts mental health
Weight lifting is said to improve brain power in older people suffering from cognitive decline. With intensive training, the flow of blood, oxygen and other nutrients to the brain is improved. This enhances better brain function and alertness.
11. Better sleep
Research shows that people who push themselves the extra mile more so with weight training, normally have the best sleep. According to the study published by the national center for biotechnology information (NCBI), weight lifting reduced the number of times participants woke up at night compared to the control group that had no exercise at all.
12. Enhances mindfulness
Weight lifting brings one’s attention to the present situation about their bodies and the surrounding. This helps individuals to better understand their bodies, giving rise to better and healthy lifestyle choices and changes.
13. Increases your life span
Lifting weights may help to increase your life expectancy. According to research by the University of Michigan, having strong muscles has a direct effect on how long you live. With weight lifting, your grip strength increases. This means that you can be able to live an independent life i.e. cook for yourself and clean for yourself.
14. Elevates body image
Weight lifting helps to tone your body muscles hence improving your body composition and physique. Improved mental health, energy levels and feeling of accomplishment all contribute to the overall body image
What happens to your body when you start lifting weights?
Having looked at the benefits of lifting weights, let’s now see what happens to the beginners.
If you happen to be new to lifting weights, a lot of changes are bound to happen both to your body and your life in general. Let us look at some of the changes below.
If you’re new to lifting weights, this shocks your body and causes some feeling of discomfort. This is due to the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles that makes you feel sore and burn.
The nervous system will also be shocked and the limbs may shake randomly under weights, more sweat and some feeling of sickness.
As the loads increase compared to the former, your muscles will sustain some tires and breakdowns.
As your body repairs the damage due to the tears, it adds more muscle mass. This grows and builds stronger and leaner muscles.
What are newbie gains and how do you maximize the?
Most of the time, beginners or people with no weight lifting experience at all tend to spontaneously increase muscle mass when they start lifting weights. This is what is termed as newbie gain.
Newbie gains can also be observed with individuals who have been following a poor training plan and poor diet when they are subjected to new and effective exercise regimens.
Because newbie gains are so fast and you would like to maximize them, here are some few steps you can use to get the most out of weight lifting as a beginner.
How to maximize newbie gains
1. Aim at using your entire body during the workouts. I.e. the chest, shoulders, back, legs and arm. With full-body training, each muscle group of the body is targeted and it becomes easier to add weight to the bar.
2. To build muscle and strength quickly, eat in a calorie surplus. This means that you consume more calories compared to what your body burns.
3. Consider eating more proteins since it is a very important macronutrient when it comes to building muscles. Consume dietary proteins to supply the body with essential amino acids which are the building blocks for proteins.
4. Use work out journey. With a workout journal, you are consistent and it gives you better ideas on how to keep progressing and making more gains
5. Always measure your body composition. We all have come across a saying that goes “what can’t be measured can’t be managed”. If you don’t keep track of your body measurements, you can’t establish whether you are progressing or declining.
6. Use proven supplements to help you build more muscle. There are a handful of supplements on the market that can help you out.
Light vs heavyweight which is better for muscle gain?
Lifting lighter weights for more reps works out your muscles just as much as going few repetitions with heavy weights. You will gain the same strength.
However, all this will zero down to the goal you may want to achieve with weight lifting. If your goal is to increase the size of your muscles, heavyweights are the way to go for a few explosive reps.
If your goal is just to increase strength and endurance then consider using lighter weights for more reps.
So, how often should you lift the weight?
This ideally depends on your goal. However, most fitness trainers recommend three days a week, whether you’re lifting weights, using machines or bodyweight exercises.
But as you get stronger you can aim at more days a week or probably every day, focusing on different muscle groups. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.
How long does it take to see results from weight lifting?
Weight lifting results are instant. Your muscles start tearing within your first training session of weight lifting. However, it may take close to 4 weeks to physically start seeing the increase in muscle mass.
According to exercise.com, weight loss and muscle building will approximately take the same time to see physical results. But if they are done concurrently, the results may even be faster.
So, then can someone lose weight by just lifting?
The most efficient regimen of weight loss is that which combines healthy eating and body activity. With dieting and weight lifting, you will lose fat instead of muscle and bone. Weight lifting mostly burns calories. But with dieting, 60 to 70 percent of the weight loss is fat.
Can you lift weights on an empty stomach?
Most of you have tried to exercise or hit the gym after a heavy meal, and you have realized how hard it feels to get along with the workout. So does this mean we should exercise or lift weights on an empty stomach?
Even though some researchers suggest that exercising on a fasted mode burns more body fat compared to feed training, pre-fueled exercise suppresses your appetite more than fastened exercise and provides you the extra energy to endure.
With weight lifting, your body needs extra energy to push yourself harder and so, on the fasted mode you won’t be able to improve like when you eat first.
According to a study published in the journal of Nutrition and metabolism, it was established that fasted exercising significantly underperforms fed training.
Therefore, eating before weight lifting can increase your metabolism in the long run.
So what then should I eat before and after lifting weights?
Eating a carb dense-meal close to an hour before weight lifting and following it up with a high-protein, light-carb meal afterward is enough to keep you happy and refreshed.
It is not good to get out of the gym exhausted and ready to kill for food.
lookout for our best diet planning for weight loss for women
Why do I feel bigger after working out?
Whatever the motive of your training, your body will gain a few pounds at the beginning of your exercise regimen. This is because the body naturally goes through a couple of changes in the first few weeks, which bring about the initial weight gain.
Weight lifting puts stress on the muscle fiber, causing micro-tears and inflammation. These are the two changes in the muscle fibers responsible for the weight gain.
The muscle damage brings about water retention in the body. This is fluid is intended to heal any form of inflammation around the tears hence the weight gain.
Another source of weight gain that weight lifters experience is the gain due to an increase in muscle mass. This, however, does not happen straight away. It will come with time as you do weight lifting.
Cardio workouts burn more calories than weightlifting. However, weight lifting builds muscle mass, unlike cardio workouts.
This implies that weight lifting will elevate your metabolism for longer after training than cardio.
Therefore, with weight lifting, you will continue to burn more calories even when you’re at rest which is not the case with cardio exercises
In a nutshell, the basic exercise regimen for improving body composition and health is to include cardio and weights.