Lots of people have workout habits and sports they love and play, or even workout routines they do to simply stay in shape. All of those are awesome! However, I’m going to make a case that if you aren’t doing this one thing, you aren’t giving your body what it needs to be healthy over time. What’s that thing? Lifting heavy weights.
I know. Hold on. Give me a minute. Hold your judgement.
By now, you’ve either dismissed me for a number of reasons, or you are a weightlifter and you’re saying, “hell yes!”. Hear me out.
Here are 8 reasons why you need to start lifting weights
1. Lifting weights has been proven over and over to increase lean muscle mass, which is the number one predictor of increased health as you age. Also, lean muscle mass helps with body composition, aka looking better. And who doesn’t want to look better?
2. Anyone can do it. Seriously. I have personally trained a grandmother in her 80s to deadlift and push press (lift barbell weights off the floor and also over her head), and I’ve worked with kids as young as 11. Don’t be scared. It won’t hurt them as long as they learn basic safety skills from a USAW certified coach (which I am) or someone who specializes in something like CrossFit Kids. Think you’re too old or out of shape? Don’t believe me that you can do it? Watch this video or this video and tell me you can’t. Please. These people will truly inspire you.
3. Weightlifting will prepare you to stay active as you get older. Want to be able to squat to the toilet when you are 85? Squat in the gym every week. Want to be able to bend over and lift your groceries when you are 90? Do deadlifts every week. See where I’m going with this? Sure, you may be able to learn to squat 200 lbs today, and that will certainly decrease when you get older. But, you’ll have a better chance of being independent and strong as you age.
4. It will make you a better (insert whatever you love here). Lifting weights will make you a better runner, golfer, swimmer, walker, gymnast, yogi, softballer, ultimate frisbee player, etc. It will make you better and stronger in whatever you love. I know from experience. I started lifting while I was running marathons and after 4 months of heavy lifting, took 27 minutes off my marathon PR (whhaaaattt?). Weights are no joke when it comes to results!
5. You don’t have to be strong to start. Just lift weights that are heavy for you. Find a coach that has been lifting weights for a while, do it smartly, and be challenged. That may mean lifting 10 lbs, that may mean 550 lbs. It really doesn’t matter.
6. Scared you’ll miss out on the benefits of cardio? Just lift weights faster. I promise you’ll sweat more than anything you’ve ever done. It will be the hardest cardio you’ve ever done.
7. You only need to do it a few times a week to see these benefits. Keep doing what you love, but add in 2-3 days a week of 30 minutes of lifting and you’ll see benefits. If you don’t have time, you can also replace 2 of your old workouts with weight sessions and still see the results in your sport or hobby.
8. You’ll be better for it emotionally. Studies have proven that lifting has a profound effect on your mental and emotional health, not to mention self esteem. Who couldn’t use a boost of that?
Have more questions about starting to lift? Like…. Will I look like a man if I lift? Do I need to wear muscle tanks and call everyone bro? (Hint: No and no.) Stay tuned to the blog for an entire series on how to start weightlifting safely and to get the results you want. I’ll answer these questions plus more about diets for weightlifting, plus how to not be intimidated walking into a gym’s weight section for the first time. Send me any and all weightlifting questions you have at email@example.com. I’ll keep you anonymous and answer your questions!
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