What follows is the continuation of success habits that will become part of a book I’m writing, “100 Rules of Success”.
Over the past few weeks, we focused on how you can create success in the area of health by eating healthy using a simple eating plan and improve your heart health with an efficient cardio training strategy called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Today, we’ll focus on the importance of resistance training in your overall health plan.
Resistance training is basically weight training but it does not require you to be in a gym or use actual weights. The whole concept is to strengthen your muscle system. Let’s assume, for a moment, that you couldn’t care less about looking muscular or ‘fit’. If that’s the case, do you really need resistance training? The answer is ‘Yes’, for a couple of reasons.
- Muscle burns fat. Muscle tissue is very dense tissue, especially as compared to body fat. If you were to compare the size of a pound of muscle versus a pound of body fat, you’d be amazed at the difference. The great news is that muscle is a ‘fat burning machine’. In other words, muscle, at rest, continues to burn fat and most people carry an excess of body fat that brings with it a multitude of potential health risks.
- Resistance training increases bone density. We know that as you age, you begin to lose bone density. This is especially pronounced in our elderly population. You can significantly counteract this through resistance training. Remember, we depend on our skeletal system to ‘carry us around’ so having a strong one really does matter. When speaking of the elderly, you’ll often hear, “Oh, she fell and broke her hip.” Often times, what really happened was her hip broke (because of poor bone density) and she fell.
The Best Resistance Training Method
Per fitness guru, Michael Brooks, “The best resistance training method for you is the one you’ll actually do on a consistent basis!”
CrossFit. Michael has a strong preference for a regimen called ‘CrossFit training’. CrossFit, Inc. describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains,” with the stated goal of improving fitness, which it defines as “work capacity across broad time and modal domains.” CrossFit actually combines your cardio and resistance training into one program making it very efficient. Michael has developed his own Sustainable approach to CrossFit focused on Longevity instead of competition which he calls YBT WOD’s (Younger-by-Tomorrow Workout of the Day).
Weight Training. This is the traditional bench press, arm curls, squats, etc. and happens to be my favorite form of resistance training. I actually keep a set of adjustable dumbbells in my office so I can take a work break and use the time to lift weights and refocus.
Body Weight Workouts. If you don’t want to go to the gym and don’t have your own weights, body weight workouts are another great way to build strength and can be scaled for any fitness level. Sample exercises include push-ups, abdominal crunches and air squats.
If you would like to get some free workout programs in each of the different methods of strength training you can go to www.YoungerByTomorrow.com and click on the ‘MOVE’ tab.
The key to successful resistance training is to be sure that each session maximally stresses your muscles…for that’s the only way they will grow stronger. When you’re training, you need to mentally focus on the muscle group you are working and your last ‘reps’ should be characterized by near or full muscle failure… “I can’t do one more rep!” Over time you should be either able to lift more weight or do more reps in the allotted time. Your training goal should be a minimum of three times per week and this can all be done in 30-40 minutes. Start wherever your current fitness level is and follow a consistent regimen and in a few short weeks, you’ll create noticeable improvement.
So, what do you say? Let’s get moving and build some muscle and burn some fat!