Give Weightlifting a Chance to Change Your Life

You’ve walked by the weightlifting area every week for a year on your way to your cardio pump class. You always glance at the people lifting weights – some are standing in front of the mirror with a laser-like focus, others are grimacing, sweating, and grunting or even yelling as they hoist large weights over their bodies.

If people see you, you imagine them laughing inside because clearly you don’t belong there. You’re just passing by. But you know how to exercise – you’ve been doing the same class for a year! Although you’re still not sure you’re seeing much muscle definition and you’re getting a little bored…

Or maybe you’re a runner who’s never set foot in a gym. You see highly muscled people and think they’re lame – all they do is spend time indoors working on their appearance. You, on the other hand are an endurance athlete. You’re a well-oiled machine with your own laser-like focus. Though your times could be better…

Or you may be one of many who have never exercised much and don’t know where to start. It’s easier to keep going that way, too – it’s too time-consuming to start something new. And perhaps just cannot imagine yourself as being one of them, those people who pump iron. You’re too sophisticated… or shy… or afraid.

Clarity and regret may come when a repetitive-use injury kicks in and doing what you love is sidelined. Or you simply get tired of not seeing results and lose motivation. Before you know it you’re in your 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s with an increasingly weak, frail body. You realize that the muscle you have left has atrophied.

This is the point at which I often see people come in for personal training. Their ages and personal stories vary, of course; everyone has their own unique history and perspective. No matter who they are, I admire them. They’ve made a decision that something has to change, and whether they know it or not, that something is gaining more muscle mass.

It doesn’t matter where you strength train: You can do it with a trainer, at home, in a gym, or in a class. It doesn’t matter how you learn: You can learn it by yourself, watch videos, read books, or use a trainer or a friend. But it does matter when you strength train. Because “when” needs to be now. If it’s not now, then old age could become a prison – health issues that make you immobile or injuries that take away your joy.

If you don’t understand why you should strength train, learn how losing muscle as you age is inevitable unless you do something about it; how weight lifting can help prevent injuries; and how having muscle helps you lose weight. You might also be surprised to learn about the hidden benefit of strength training… the one that gives you killer confidence and a belief in yourself like you’ve never had.

We want old age to be a glorious staircase to further adventures, not a downward spiral. Having a strong body can help you take that staircase with confidence and make your future look more livable in profound ways.

If you need to learn how to strength train, stick around this blog and browse around. Here are a few articles to get you started:

When it comes to weights, I get the intimidation factor. I get thinking of strength as a low priority. I get believing long-standing myths about weights. But at some level you know the time is now to put all that aside for your own health. The time is now to dig deep, learn something new, and grow not only in physical strength but inner strength. You can do this.

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Comments

  1. I think strength training is crucial for runners and cyclists–really ALL athletes. I made the typical “I’m a runner” mistake in the beginning and hated weight training and ended up getting a running injury. Now, after 2 years of strength training, I see now that my body was just unbalanced and that lead to injury. Lifting weights has helped my running and my cycling in incredible ways.

    Great post!
    Lisa recently posted..Creepy Art and Biker BarsMy Profile

    • True. The thing most people don’t practice is balancing in their bodies. Too much of one type of exercise and not enough of another causes a muscle imbalance, which causes an injury. This occurs in weight lifting as well. I know this logically, yet still ended up with tennis elbow, a repetitive use injury. I knew I had a weak link – my forearms – but didn’t take the time to strengthen them. Same thing with any sport. Lessons to live by.

  2. You know I LOVE THIS POST, Suzanne!!!! It is all so true! If any of your readers are hesitant, have them check out my blog & tell them I am going to be 55 this year! Not only sis I love the benefits when I was younger since I have been doing weights since my 20’s BUT age – it is a huge benefit as we age – bones, health, weight control, confidence! 🙂

    I always get asked questions when I am out & about!

    Carla, MizFit, wrote about weights today too!
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted..FREE NuNaturals Stevia – GIVEAWAY Post!My Profile

  3. My prayer–seriously–for women is that they would just give lifting a try. Most will find that they like it well enough to keep doing it and reap tremendous rewards.

    And a few will find that they love it beyond all reason and wonder how in the world they went so long without feeling so good.

    But if they never try, they’ll never know which kind of woman they are!
    Mary C. Weaver, CSCS recently posted..How badly do you want it?My Profile

    • You know it. If I could train my mother, mother-in-law, and sister my life would be complete (they live out of state). Spreading the word is the next best thing :).

  4. Yes, now! Young women need to lift to build bones. As we age we need to keep muscle mass and stay strong. The top reason older adults end up in nursing homes? Not being able to do activities of daily living – getting up out of a chair for example. The benefits of consistent strength training go far beyond looking good in your jeans – although that can be important too!

    • Inactivity = atrophy. Hopefully the younger generations are getting the message and we’ll all be out of nursing homes a long, long time.

  5. Suzanne, i was one of those too intimidated to walk into a weight room without friends nearby until recently. My kick-ass trainer has taught me just as much about confidence as proper form, though, and now I happily lift weights even when I’m the only female in the testosterone zone. Strength training has been great for my body and my mind!
    Shira recently posted..Loving some Cha, Cha, Chia…seeds!My Profile

  6. I do weight training so that I can prevent further injuries to my knees and ankles. For someone who play a lot of contact sports for past time, having strong muscles is a must.
    Zoe recently posted..shoes for nursesMy Profile

  7. My kick-ass trainer has taught me just as much about confidence as proper form, though, and now I happily lift weights even when I’m the only female in the testosterone zone. Thanks for letting me stopped by.
    Claire recently posted..Why Can t I Become PregnantMy Profile

  8. Andrea Smith says:

    Tell you the truth, weight training can really make you lose a lot of weight fast. The effect of weight training really shows after you are done doing the lifting. You can feel your body burn even when you are resting, and that is because your body is burning calories even when you are not doing anything.

  9. The more I lift weights, the more I love it.

    Now…I still don’t love it DURING…but I’m getting there. And I love how my muscles feel. Love it. In fact, I’m feeling myself up as I type this..
    ragemichelle recently posted..Pasta Salad and Backstage RidersMy Profile

  10. ruche chadha says:

    I am 34 yrs old female and weigh 55 kgs. Inorder to Tone muscles should I do More reps & less weight OR less repetition & more weights ?
    Kindly guide as I am confused.
    Currently for Squat I do 15 repetitions’ of 3 sets and pick up 15 kgs of weight.
    Kindly guide.
    Thanks so much.
    Regards, ruche
    >

    • Hi Ruche. You need to stay in the 8 to 12 rep range. If you do more than that you’ll be training for endurance, not muscle building and strength. In terms of your squat, that’s a good start. Increase the weight when you can do 12 reps easily. You should be fatigued by about the next to last rep. Let me know if you have more questions 🙂

  11. ruche chadha says:

    thanks suzanne for your prompt response. however please help understand what is ” training for endurance” ? if i do more than 12 reps will IT NOT TONE my muscles ?

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  1. […] I think in one of your posts, it was called Give Weightlifting a Chance to Change Your Life, you talked about that we all lose muscle as we age. Is there a way to actually prevent muscle […]

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