training and weight lifting are all virtually the same thing but for many the concept conjures the image of an overly muscled, well-oiled individual, straining, grunting and strutting through the gym. Any guesses to how many times I have heard (from both men and women) the words “I don’t want to be a bodybuilder” when introducing strength training to a client? Well, good news Hans because we have no
desire to PUMP (insert clap) YOU UP. What we do wish to accomplish is to give you the “why” behind strength training and how to add it into your routine appropriately.
Whether your goal is vanity or function (and for the record, we are good with either) you need to understand the concept of sarcopenia which is a natural loss of muscle mass between the ages of 20-70. Sarcopenia is the culprit behind everything from weight gain due to lower metabolism, the inability to perform daily activities of living as we get older and bye-bye arms (you know the skin that waves in the opposite direction as your hand waves the other). We have another fancy word called dynapenia which means the loss of muscle strength as we age and studies have shown that this loss is more significant over time than the loss of muscle mass. There is however one modality that slows down and in some cases, reverses many of these afflictions: Lifting weights. For most people, the goal isn’t to get bulky, buff or powerful (but if that is your goal, there is nothing wrong with it!) but to maintain or increase muscle strength. As I tell all of my female clients “Don’t fear getting stronger because when you are 80 you will be glad you have that muscle.”
How do you start? We recommend slowly and with a certified, experienced fitness professional. The gym can be a very confusing place with many options. There is also the tendency to either rush into things (mimicking an advanced movement you see someone performing), over doing everything by using every weight machine and dumbbell in the joint (promoting mind-numbing soreness and injury) or performing what equates to an ineffective and worthless routine. If you have the right instructor working with you, he/she will be able to construct a strength routine that will produce results.
Will this consume my life? Short answer: NO. The American College of Sports Medicine Strength Training Guidelines are pretty simple: Perform 10-12 large muscle exercises (chest press, leg press, lat pulldown, ab, low back, etc) for 8-12 repetitions at or close to fatigue. This should be performed 2-3 times per week. A routine like this will take you about 10-20 minutes per session. Keep in mind these are the minimal guidelines that have shown in studies to have a positive effect on health and fitness. It will not produce a magazine cover physique but that isn’t the point of this blog. Today I am writing to help you understand muscle loss and how to combat it. The bikini boot camp program is another topic for another time. For now focus on two things:
• Get strong
• Do it safely
How fast will you see results? Some studies in sedentary people have seen a 100% increase in muscle strength in just six weeks. For those who have trained longer, results may come slower but I continue to witness on a daily basis the magic of strength training. My client list has ranged from 18-96 and every single one of them have gotten stronger (you should see my 59, 63 and 69 year old ladies in the gym
lifting more than those 30 years younger).
Would you like the benefits of strength training but are not sure where to start? Give us a call at 314-807-8634. Our team of professionals can develop a plan that fits your needs, goals, fitness level and personality. We can also streamline existing workouts to make them both effective and efficient which means greater results in less time.
Good luck friends and stay well!