If you want to live a happy and healthy life and look good physically then the number one bang for you buck is without a doubt weightlifting!
In my estimation lifting weights in a structured and progressive way is the greatest gift that the western mind has contributed to global health. Weightlifting represents the yang to the oriental ying styles of training like yoga and chi gung. As a former high school chemistry teacher I like balanced equations so in my world ying + yang equals a complete equation. An equation that maximises your health, longevity and aesthetic prowess.
Many individuals think they have a well rounded program by doing yoga and going for a jog but this could not be further from the truth. You see the yang part of the equation for overall health and longevity is strength and power – the male energies. And this is not just my opinion. According to Hippocrates “There are in fact two things, science and opinion, the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance”.
So in the pursuit of knowledge rather than the proliferation of ignorance let’s look at the facts.
According to Tufts University, the two leading predictors of lifespan are
1. How much lean body mass you maintain over the course of your lifetime.
2.How strong you are.
No exercise prescription in the world fits the bill more effectively than weightlifting. The greatest exponents of both mass and strength among the athletic community are Bodybuilders, Olympic lifters, Power lifters and Strong man competitors and these guys and girls all lift weight exclusively for their respective disciplines. And before you ladies quake in your Jimmy Choos at the thoughts of becoming “too bulky” lets look at the facts. Women do not have the hormonal wherewithal to develop massive bulk! We have a tiny fraction of the sex hormone testosterone which is largely responsible for a mans ability to get big and muscular. Don’t believe me? Then take a look at a picture of Canadian Olympic lifter Marilou Dozois from Canada.
She came 10th in the world at the Beijing Olympics. At a strength training seminar at the Poliquin strength institute in Rhode Island I had the benefit of seeing Marilou in action. Funny enough the thing I noticed more than her amazing strength was her tiny waist.(She weighs about 53kg!!) It was so small she would make Dita Von Tease look chunky! So much for weightlifting making you look blocky! She was so lean, toned and feminine that no one would guess that she trained on average twice a day lifting weights that would make most grown men cry!
This is me after strength training for 23 years
lifting as heavy as possible on average 6 days
a week. I am also a national record holder in
So now that we have addressed the fear of looking manly lets look at some more amazing benefits of weight training for the ladies. If anything weight training benefits women even more than men!
Weight training increases insulin sensitivity. Your food (blood sugar) has two choices in life. Go into your liver and muscle cells to be stored as glycogen or go into the fat cells making them even fatter (they have virtually an infinite capacity to expand). Now if you lift weight heavy and often enough the blood sugar gets shuttled into your muscle cells to recover from the hard training. Translation…..bye bye muffin top!
Weight training programs designed by a competent coach can get rid of saddle bags and thunder thighs. Weight training elicits a number of hormonal effects that are extremely beneficial for fat loss one of them being an anti estrogenic effect. You have to have a coach who knows how to design this type of work out. Look for a Poliquin certified coach, ideally this coach is also certified in biosignature.
The closest thing you will get to the fountain of youth naturally is weight training. You see weight training at an appropriate intensity can generate massive amounts of growth hormone. This hormone tells the body “burn fat like crazy”. It also tells the body maintain and build some lean firm tissue (muscle). This hormone is fabulous for skin, hair and nails. Ladies and Gents who lift frequently invariably look years younger than their peers. That’s growth hormone for ya! Gotta love it! How much growth hormone will you produce doing yoga, jogging or Zumba? The answer respectively are 0%, 0% and 0%.
The BEST way to get rid of bingo wings is to lift heavy weights. This boosts your natural level of testosterone and you will get leaner in the arms. By the way this is accompanied by an increased sex drive and a profound increase in confidence. You see testosterone is the hormone of confidence and self belief. That’s why most men invariably overestimate how good they look and most women underestimate how good they look.
The gimmicky training styles on offer these days are just that, gimmicks and they will not benefit your body in a holistic way. If a training system is intelligent it will do you good both inside and out. Lets for a moment look at a method that on paper looks good and will really appeal to many ladies until they get educated further. I could have picked a multitude but lets look at the Tracy Anderson Method. The focus is to develop “a teeny tiny dancer’s body”. For anyone with an IQ above the level of a cretin the alarm bells should already be sounding. Being “teeny, tiny” is neither healthy nor desirable. Why? In order to get “teeny, tiny “a phenomenon called atrophy has to occur. This is tissue wasting. In this case the tissue that is mostly wasting is muscle. Why would that be the case? Well Ms Anderson espouses a view that you need to do a large volume of repetitions, 50, 80 a hundred or even more per set! This is equivalent to doing a mini marathon in your muscle cells. When you do small repeated contractions in a muscle cell one of the things that eventually happens is a phenomenon called tissue necrosis or cell death. Just Google marathon runners and tissue necrosis and you’ll get an eye full.
Guess Ms Anderson did not major in exercise physiology. Now if you waste that muscle you will get smaller but at a cost, decreased lifespan (see above from Tufts University) and increased risk of osteoporosis. You see strong powerful contractions of muscles on your joint and bone structure illicit an increase in bone density. Heavy weight training does this better than anything else.
Curiously one of the protégés of the method Gwyneth Paltrow was recently diagnosed with osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis).
So ladies just because you look good on the outside does not mean all is well on the inside if your system of training is not backed by science and sound principles of exercise physiology.
Weight training is the king of yang style exercise developing strength and power and creating positive hormonal effects; combine it with a ying style of training like yoga or stretching or chi gung or Pilates for flexibility and stability and to enhance recovery. Looking great on the outside, feeling good on the inside. Now that’s what I call a well rounded program.