By beginning a regular weight lifting program, you’ll begin to reap countless health benefits such as reduced body fat, a decreased risk for heart disease, and decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Plus, what many people don’t realize about lifting weights is that in addition to the physical benefits you’ll gain, it has the ability to expand your life in so many other ways. Here are just a few of the ways you might see your life improve when you start lifting weights.
“In order to experience muscle growth, you have to learn to persevere through muscle fatigue,” says Djuan Means, an AMFPT certified personal trainer and owner of By Any Means Fitness. He explained that this can translate to everyday life by preparing you to better deal with the obstacles and challenges that come your way.
“When you're a gym regular, you meet other gym regulars,” Means said. “As you challenge your body, you'll inevitably need a spotter. You get to know these people and develop relationship with them— when it comes to fitness, knowing people who are on the same page as you goes a long way.”
“In today’s world we're bombarded by social media, workloads, and a constant to do list,” says personal trainer, health coach, and nutrition expert Susannah VanWinkle. “In the gym, you learn to leave it all behind and have one singular goal—progress.”
“Life can be overwhelming and leave you jaded,” VanWinkle added. “But as you see your body transform after conscious action, you gain an inner strength and peace by knowing that things will change, get better, and become whatever you choose to decide.”
On his website MeaningfulHQ.com, Dean Bokhari, a health and nutrition coach and the host of Dean Bokhari's Meaningful Show, recently wrote about how people started noticing the results he was getting after he started lifting weights. He says that the most dramatic changes happened within the first few months, and that it wasn’t long until his transformation inspired those around him to begin making positive changes in their lives, too.
“Most people are really great at blaming others and point fingers," Bokhari writes. “This does nothing more than put their lack of education on display for everyone to take note of. Weight-lifting is an awesome way to put yourself in charge of the life you lead because the only person responsible for your results is… You.”
Ragen Chastain, a plus-size fitness professional, dance champion, marathoner, and Ironman triathlete in-training says that lifting weights can help shift the focus of your body image from size to ability. In other words, instead of focusing on your weight or the size of your waist, you’ll begin to better appreciate your body for its strength and what it can do. “This can be especially true for plus-sized people, myself included, who were warned against lifting weights because of the fear that it would ‘bulk us up’,” she said. “In truth, when we focus on actual fitness instead of body size, more muscle can mean more ease in moving our bodies, and better relationships with our bodies and with exercise.”
For those who don’t necessarily enjoy exercise, but have never tried weight lifting, Chastain highly suggests taking a stab at training with weights. “For many people who don't enjoy organized sports, or typical ‘exercise’ like walking, running, or aerobics, weight lifting is a type of fitness that they never knew they were always looking for,” she said.
“Lifting weights can improve performance for someone who has hit a plateau in their chosen discipline,” says Chastain. “Whether they are a runner, cyclist, volleyball player, or wrestler—there are so many different techniques in weight lifting, it's not just about building strength. Programs can be built to help with a number of goals whether it's strength, balance, speed, mobility, or something else.”
“There's something about strength training that makes you feel, well… Strong,” says Laura Williams, founder of Girls Gone Sporty and an ACSM-HFS certified fitness professional. “And that feeling of inner strength—that your muscles are growing, you're developing definition, and you're boosting your metabolism—all of those work together as a powerful confidence-booster.”
“Strength training isn't just good for the muscles,” Williams added. “It's good for the bones. Weight bearing exercise, particularly closed-circuit exercises like squats, lunges, and pushups, place stress on the bones in a way that stimulates osteoblast activity and bone growth.”