Not sure about strength training? I’ve spent the past 20 years in the fitness & wellness industry. I’ve heard every excuse/justification in the book. None of them have ever made me waver in my deep-seated belief that strength training is for EVERYONE. No matter what age, no matter what condition, no matter what, period. But for all those doubters out there, below I list out all the possible reasons you might have for not strength training and my rebuttal to each one. Spoiler alert: you should be strength training.
“I Do Cardio, Isn’t That Enough?”
Sorry but NO. A properly balanced fitness program should include both cardiovascular training (walking, running, cycling swimming, etc.) AND strength training (squats, pushups, rows, etc.) as they have very different health benefits.
“I Follow A Very Health Diet. Do I Really Need To Do Strength Training?”
We naturally lose muscle mass, bone density, and testosterone (you need this too ladies) as we get older. Strength training helps prevent the loss of all of these. Pumping iron has also been shown to reduce body fat, increase metabolism, and even battle chronic conditions such as diabetes, back pain, arthritis, obesity, heart disease, and depression.
“I Don’t Want To Get Too Big.”
This is a hard one to convince people about but let’s be clear: the chances of you looking like Arnie after picking up your first dumbbell are zero. Large muscle gains require a focused nutrition plan, months of training, tremendous effort, and even then, it may not occur if your genetics are not setting you up for success.
“I Don’t Want To Get Too Sore.”
If you are training your full body consistently (3 days per week), you really shouldn’t experience too much soreness after the first 2 weeks or so. People tend to get really sore when they take a long break, then train aggressively, then take a long break again, etc. Just be consistent and train the full body.
“I Don’t Have A Lot of Extra Time/ I Don’t Have a Gym Membership/ I Don’t Have Any Equipment.
Great news! None of these things are required to start strength training. No fancy equipment, no expensive fitness clubs, no huge investments in time. Here’s a FREE workout I created that you can do at home with no equipment needed and can easily make time for three times a week. You’re welcome.
“I Don’t Know Which Type of Program is Best.”
The truth is that different programs work for different people. I salute you for doing any type of strength training be it Pilates, body builder style split muscle group, CrossFit, machine circuits, power lifting, or full body training- the important thing is to do it, full stop.
Which strength training program is best is a heavily debated topic, far too broad to cover here. One major argument that’s worth bringing up though is whether a split group plan (one day for legs, one day for arms, etc.) or a full body workout approach (full body training during each workout, ideally at least three times a week) is best. For most folks, a full body program 3 days per week on nonconsecutive days is going to work best. One major reason why is that it’s more efficient. If you split your muscle groups up into separate days you have to make sure you hit all 3, 4, or 5 days per week or else you will miss a muscle group. With full body training you train each of your major muscle groups each workout. If for some reason you miss a workout, you just pick up where you left off and hit the whole body again in your next session. You also burn more calories with a full body training, which most people consider a boon. If you are wondering why, consider the difference of energy demand between a compound movement like a squat versus sitting on a bench doing bicep curls. Lastly, recent research shows that you get better hormone regulation with full body training, which everybody can do with more of.
So there you have it- no matter what excuse you’re holding on to, there’s really no reason not to add strength training to your life.
Photo credit: Pexels.