Why I Strength Train – Katie
My journey to fitness has been through all sorts of paths. Initially my only exercise was through Cheerleading 5-7 times a week which included stunting, tumbling, open gym practices, running, and conditioning. Needless to say I got enough exercise without having to think about working out. After I ended my Cheerleading career, I took up running. I would run to train for half marathons mostly and my only form of exercise was running, elliptical, stair stepping, stretching, and core exercises. I rarely did any weight lifting. In 2016 I did the Tough Mudder and realized just how weak my upper body was. The Tough Mudder is a 10 mile run in the mud, with more then twenty obstacles to take you outside of your comfort zone. It was that year I took up CrossFit in order to cross train for my races. The summer of 2017 I did the Tough Mudder and did significantly better than 2016 and needed very little help to no help with the obstacles.
“I Don’t Want to Bulk Up”
Many people have said “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to get bulky” or “I am trying to just lose weight so I want to burn more calories with cardio”. I can honestly say that I have lower body fat and lower weight from strength training and doing cardio combined than at any point of my time training for half marathons and full marathons.
Why Does Strength/Cardio Combined Training Work Better for Lowering Body Fat & Body Weight?
Your metabolism is what allows for the amount of calories your body burns per day. The amount of calories a person burns a day without doing any form of activity is called the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is your baseline calories burned. For example- if I do nothing all day I will burn approximately 1334 calories if I am 20% body fat. In order to increase the calories burned per day, I need to move. Of course you can burn more calories running for an hour than lifting weights for an hour but here is where people go wrong. If you increase your muscle mass, your BMR will increase. This is because muscle requires fatty acids and sugars as fuel sources. They more muscle cells you have, the more your body has to supply these new cells with fuel. This requires more energy production in the body and therefore increases BMR. 1 pound of muscle requires almost 14 calories to support- that means the more muscle you have the higher calories needed to support it. Now let’s say I am 10% body fat but the same weight as the calculations above used, I will then have a BMR of 1450 calories per day just due to increasing my muscle mass and decreasing overall fat.
Someone who wants to lose weight will, therefore, benefit from a combination of cardio and resistance training to achieve ultimate results. This doesn’t mean you have to bulk up or even tone up but even just body weight exercises will help to improve your composition in order to burn more calories per day.
Less Pain More Gain
As for me, I have never looked or felt better than I do with the combination of cardio and CrossFit. My mile times have significantly improved and I’m on track to set a Personal Record (PR) on this next half marathon. I am also able to do pull-ups now and I have less pain than I did with just cardio. My overall capacity is far beyond what it was 2 years ago just from adding CrossFit to my training which has allowed me to achieve my fitness related goals.
On left is running only, on right is a combination. I no longer need any braces for my knees while running!
Why I Strength Train – Jordan
For me, lifting weights is more than just a numbers game. I enjoy the process of chasing my goals, and overcoming the challenges that arise on my route to achieve those goals. Every time I step into the gym I am one step closer to my end goal, because let’s face it: getting to the gym is half the battle. The beauty of lifting weights lies in between the big goals.
This year, I competed in my first weightlifting competition, not only did I placed 3rd in the 63 kilo weight class, I hit a lifetime PR on my Clean & Jerk at 141 lbs. Leading up to this lift, I PR’d on several other weight lifting techniques: my clean, my jerk, my hang clean, and recently PR’d my back squat. There will be future post that I will shard with techniques on these different lifts. Although PRing was not my main focus for training over the past few months, I found to be very satisfying mentally because for me I enjoy setting and reaching new goals. Let’s be honest, working out can be difficult, however the sense of accomplishment after setting a new personal record is more than enough motivation to get me back in the gym. Lifting weights helps me realize that when I put my mind to something, I can accomplish anything. I workout because it doesn’t just me strong physically, it makes me strong mentally.
First picture on the left is a personal record on my deadlift, while I was powerlifting. The picture on the right is my first Olympic weightlifting meet, completing a jerk movement.
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