- Increases your resting metabolism, which means you continue to burn more calories even when your workout is over
- Takes the strain off of your joints & tendons and puts the pressure back on the muscles, where it belongs.
- Builds stronger bones and fights against osteoperosis
- Doesn't require you to spend hours at the gym, or on the pavement, trying to burn just a few more calories.
- Builds lean body mass while at the same time melts body fat.
- Has been linked to longer, healthier live spans.
- And most importantly, weight training is BADASS!!!
One thing that is not on this list is heart health. Yes, one still needs cardio workouts to strengthen the heart. However, I'm becoming less and less of a steady state cardio fan and more and more of a high intesity interval training fan.
A few weeks ago, I came across this article by Rachel Cosgrove, in it she describes how training for an Ironman actually made her lose muscle tone, increased her body fat and basically turned her flabby. (Please click through and read her whole article, it's a fascinating, but quick read and she says it so much more effectively than I could!) She started to research this phenomena and found the following statistics and studies:
Learn to Love Intensity, Not Duration
Let's review some of the research:
• December 2006, Canadian researchers reported that just two weeks of interval training boosted women's ability to burn fat during exercise by 36%.
• In January 2007, a six-month study was published showing that adding aerobic exercise had no additional effect on body composition, over diet alone.
• In June of 2007, a twelve-month study was published which had the subjects doing six hours of aerobic exercise per week, training six days a week, for one year. The average weight loss was only three pounds for that one-year period.
• According to a British study, levels of Human Growth Hormone, which assists in building muscle and burning fat, skyrocketed 530% in subjects after just thirty seconds of sprinting as fast as they could on a stationary bike.
• Australian fitness researchers had eighteen women perform twenty minutes of interval training on a stationary bike — eight-seconds of sprinting followed by twelve seconds of recovery — throughout the workout, three days a week.
The women lost an average of five-and-a-half pounds over fifteen weeks, without dieting. Similar groups performing forty minutes of moderate cycling, three days a week, actually gained a pound of fat over the same period. Two of the heavier women who did intervals dropped eighteen pounds.
• In a side-by-side comparison, researchers at McMaster University in Ontario measured fitness gains in eight interval exercisers — using twenty to thirty minute cycling workouts that included four to six thirty-second sprints — against eight volunteers who pedaled at a lower intensity for 90 to 120 minutes.
After two weeks, the interval group was every bit as fit as those who worked out three to four times as long.
I'm a convert. I enjoy running and I'm not giving it up completely and I still have every intention of completing a triathlon ~ but I'm no longer looking at it as the fountain of fat loss. These activities are for pure enjoyment ~ the fat loss is going to come from the weight room and intense intervals. Period. So, THIS is why I strength train!