I lift weights. I’m a lifter. I looooooove to pick things up and put them down. I feel like a super hero when I dead lift. I feel like I could fly when I squat with some 30s on each side. I wasn’t always this way – I originally felt like resistance training was a chore, and a boring one at that – but I eventually realized the necessities of muscle development and strength training, and began to appreciate it in unique ways.
That being said… today’s Friday 5? Why you need to have your tushy in the gym with some free weights:
1) Function. Having muscle is a quality of life issue. It just… it is. And you don’t know how much you’re missing out on if you don’t have muscle. Simple things like being able to climb stairs without experiencing fatigue are affected by how much muscle you have in your legs and arms. Things like walking for extensive distances, the ability to have and maintain proper posture while sitting, and even how you get up out of bed are different for people with adequate muscle for their bodies. I’ve written countless times about how I couldn’t even lift myself up out of a car without grabbing the hood of the car and the top of the car door because I didn’t have enough muscle to just turn to the side and stand up upon exiting my car. Muscle development affects our lives in so many ways, and we don’t even realize it until we’ve finally developed it.
2) Aging gracefully… literally. A lot of times, when our elders experience injury, it’s an injury that could’ve been avoided had they maintained adequate muscle. Things like hip problems, knee problems, foot problems… lots of falls, all can be helped by regular and consistent muscle development. It often makes you quicker, stronger, faster and more efficient… thereby increasing the likelihood of you being able to save yourself. Falling gracefully is an art…. made better both by regular activity and the muscle development that comes with it. Also: when the zombies come – because they are, in fact, coming – you want to be as nimble as possible at that age. I’m just sayin’ – if someone had to choose between my old behind and some cute young thing to help save… let’s just say I’d at least want to be able to punch them if they choose wrong.
3) The metabolism boost you get from muscle development means you can eat more. Every pound of muscle you carry burns almost three times as many calories per hour as every pound of fat your carry, and because it takes so much energy to develop and maintain muscle? It means… ta da! You can eat more! No, this doesn’t mean you can start packing away the chips, but it does mean that the portion sizes on those delicious, well-balanced meals that you are eating at home can get a little larger. This is always good. Always.
4) Curves right where you want ‘em. Want nice, sizeable thighs? Want a nice upper curve in the tushy area? Want to whittle your middle? Want to give your chest a little lift? Curves built with muscle can do all of that. I lost so much of my breasts that the only way I could have even a little cleavage was to lift weights. The chest press actually gave me even a little bit of a perk right when I needed it most! The right kind of muscle development is often all you need to get to where you want to go physically… and by “right kind,” I mean “any kind.”
5) The confidence boost is phenomenal. There’s nothing like being confident about yourself because you know that you’ve done something you couldn’t do the day before. For me, lifting regularly has made me more comfortable with walking down the street… day OR night. It’s made me quicker. It’s made me more agile. I’m not only stronger, but I am used to moving these muscles and moving them quickly (insert blurb about the benefits of muscle memory, yadda yadda). I am capable of doing amazing things when I challenge myself, and why would I deny myself the right to be proud of that? If people can be proud of weird stuff like shoe collections (like me) and sports bra collections (also, sadly, me) then there shouldn’t be a damn thing wrong with finally deadlifting that 130lbs. Not a single thing.
Oh, and did I mention all the extra food you can eat? Yes. Oh. Okay, good. Because that’s also important. If you’re used to packing away much more food than you are now, muscle development will help you maintain your current weight even if you manage to slip into your old habits. (There’s an important caveat to this, but I’ll update this later with the info.)
What’d I leave out? Are you lifting? Why? If not, are you crazy? Do we need to commit you?