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[Guest post by Athena Vangalis]

First of all – Happy New Year gym fam! I hope that everyone had an amazing holiday season full of savory (& sweet!) food and some R&R. As we enter 2017 – I am thrilled. I am thrilled because I see that more and more women have become interested in resistance training. This not only makes me happy, but also overjoyed that females are realizing/seeing the benefits of weight training on & within their bodies. Also realizing that weight training is not going to make you – are you ready for it – the infamous word: Bulky.

When I first started “working out” I was what I like to call a “cardio bunny”.It was an automatic assumption that I would somehow sculpt my dream body by hopping on the treadmill for hours on end. I thought that the higher my work output was for the longest duration of time created a balanced physique. I see the assumption (quite a bit), that the only way to sculpt a sexy physique is to: cardio, cardio, cardio! If you are reading this and are at all curious about possibly implementing weights into your weekly regimen this year, I’m writing here to tell you some benefits & why you most definitely should.

Reason #1: Calorie Expenditure & Fat Burn

The more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be. A higher metabolism means more calories burned. Resistance training can increase fat-free mass and lower the percentage of body fat. Plus, there is a lot more activity & involvement moving weights than jogging at the same speed on the treadmill for an hour.

Reason #2: Build Bone Density

Are you familiar with osteoporosis? Osteoporosis – where bones become brittle, fragile and break down – is one of the most common ailments women suffer as they age. Resistance training builds strong bones and reduces the odds of developing osteoporosis later in life. Sure, you can supplement calcium into your diet, which will help, but one of the absolute best ways to prevent osteoporosis is hitting the weights!

Reason #3: Strength & Performance

Another benefit of resistance training is becoming more aware of what you are physically capable of. One thing that I see quite often is women underestimating their lower body strength. We are so much stronger than we think!! In my opinion, a lifting progression can help women realize they are physically stronger than they think – and usually the end result is seeing the lifting performance impressively increase.

Reason #4: The After Burn

Yes. Resistance training is an anaerobic exercise, meaning “without oxygen”.

By exerting at 84% of the heart rate or higher for time and then rest, we can maximize your training session by burning calories up to 36 hours after the training is over. When we train at this intensity in short bouts of energy, we create something called “EPOC” (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption). This is also known as “the afterburn”. You need only 12 minutes at 84% or above of your max heart rate (not consecutively) to activate this after burn in your body. So if you are lifting for 30 minutes at this rate, you’re going to keep burning! At the gym for less time? Burn more? Yes please!

Reason #5: Reduce Risks of Injury & Disease

With a consistent training regimen, your skeletal structure becomes more stable and stronger. Physiologically your body responds to this training as well. As a previous exercise physiologist in cardiac rehab – I prescribed exercise regimens for a spectrum of patients -minor to major heart conditions. This includes stents, bypasses, heart attacks & transplants. The job was very rewarding and I saw first hand when implementing a consistent regimen of resistance training. It showed a favorable alter in hypertension, cholesterol, blood glucose metabolism and ultimately risk of cardiac disease.

Reason #6: Body, Mind & Soul

It’s common to see a definite boost in self-esteem. In a short period of time, you will notice change in your shape & curves with the correct training regimen. You will notice not just physical progress, but feel stronger, sexy, confident, and motivated. You will also be more aware of your body’s strengths & weaknesses. You might find training as another way to get to know yourself.

In conclusion, implementing some resistance training in your week can help open several doors of health and well-being. Just beginning? Simply start with 2-3 times per week, ease into it and familiarize yourself with the variety of equipment. I hope these six simple reasons help guide your decision on why resistance training will benefit you. Thanks for reading, friends!

Happy Training,

Athena Vangalis

CI-CPT & Specialist in Fitness Nutrition


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