A lot of people have the common misconception that a fitness journey is all about cardio. While cardio is certainly an important part of a fitness routine as it keeps your heart in tip-top shape, it is not the pinnacle of fitness. For that, I turn you toward strength training. Fact: lean muscle mass burns more calories than fat. In other words, the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn simply to exist. Not only do more muscles translate to increase calorie burn, but strength training also encourages bone health and, very literally, strength! And in case anyone needs to hear it, strong is sexy.
Strength training doesn’t have to mean benching 250lbs. It can be as simple as incorporating some bodyweight moves into your routine two to three times per week. This can include pushups, lunges, squats, planks, etc. Basically, any activity where you can create resistance using your own body can count. As this activity gets your heart rate up as well, it too is heart-healthy (like cardio!). The other significant benefit of bodyweight strength training? Your workout doesn’t have to be limited by available equipment. You can pretty much work out on the go and if you don’t believe me, see this article from Runner’s World that will back me up.
From there you may want to move into free weights or stationary equipment at the gym and that is fantastic, but if you don’t, know that any strength training you are doing (assuming you are cleared by your physician and using proper form) is a significant enhancement to your health and fitness routine. So, don’t discount your work thinking it is “not enough.” So long as you are challenging yourself, your work is enough.
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the side effect: a leaner, more toned version of you. Now, if that is your only motivation to get fit, you may not stay the course. As is true with most fitness endeavors, the key to success is consistency – keep showing up for yourself even when it feels hard. More important than specific physical achievements is the way your new, fitter self makes you feel – inside. It should make you feel strong and empowered. It should also remind you that you can do hard things. Knowing those things deep down will help you stay on track for a healthier, happier version of yourself.
If you haven’t yet incorporated strength training into your weekly routine, what is stopping you?