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  • Sarah Hooff CHN, CSNC

Resistance Training, Benefits and Balance

What is Resistant Training (RT)? Resistance training is a form of exercise that requires some form of weight. During a workout one moves their limbs against resistance provided by either body weight, gravity, resistance bands or weights/dumbbells/bar, kettlebells or another piece of equipment. Resistance training not only improves muscular strength but also improves endurance. Also known as strength training or weight lifting.

Overall Health Benefits There are so many benefits to resistance training. With regular training one can accomplish many things. Stronger bones, increased endurance and toned muscles of course. RT has also been shown to improve our cognitive health. From healthy aging to overcoming addictions, people who exercise frequently are continually building new neural pathways in the brain. It's pretty wonderful. There is no known age limit for those wanting to begin. In fact, large studies have proven that even folks in their 80s can greatly improve their health by taking up this habit. Just be sure to speak with your doctor before you begin, especially if you have any health concerns. When we train regularly, we also increase lean muscle mass and therefor increase our metabolism. So, if you like to eat RT is for you!

Can Resistance Training be helpful for those trying to lose weight? RT is very helpful to include to a health plan if trying to lose weight. Not only will you burn calories but those who train regularly will preserve more muscle then those who focus on weight loss and do not train, you literally let your body know that the muscle is needed! One drawback to weight loss is there will always be some muscle loss so this is very helpful to know. And no, you won't 'bulk up' if you are new to training. You really need to consume extra calories for that to happen. You will most likely though, start to see some definition in time and it will be a welcome sight!

How to get Started If new to RT it can sometimes be helpful to begin with body weight type exercises. Puhups, squats, lunges, step ups, planks and bicycle crunches, you get the idea, there are tons of examples out there! : ) If pressed for time using compound exercises can be really helpful. An example would be a squat, bicep curl and shoulder press, with appropriate weighted dumbbells of course. Also, good to note, one can also split up a workout during the day. For example, upper body in the morning and lower body after work. Same benefit! Don't over do it the first few times you exercise if you're new to movement. The muscle pain that could follow could prevent you from wanting to try again and really the same is true for any health habit, consistency is key! To begin, I suggest a full body type workout, chose about 5-8 exercises, complete 3-4 sets, and rest in between. Focus on good form and always be sure to warm up before a workout and stretch afterwards. For more details, here is another blog post you may also enjoy

How often should we weight train? How often we should train depends on a few factors. One, how new are you to resistance training and what are your goals? For weight loss, one could choose lighter weights and work out more frequently. For those wishing to build muscle lifting heavy and taking regular scheduled rest days or alternating muscle groups to allow 2 days for the recovery is best. One can train while still feeling sore but do be sure to allow adequate rest to avoid injury and allow tendons and ligaments time to adjust. Injuries are very frustrating setbacks and can sometimes be felt for years. As you advance working with a personal trainer and taking special care with your diet can be extremely beneficial. For muscle building one can increase muscle mass by 30% in the first year and then drop to 2-3% per year , so if you are interested in body building it is also important to commit long term for true lasting results.

Nutrition for Support Nutrition for weight training really is what will help you achieve those goals. Not just figuring out your calorie intake and balancing your macros, but proper nutrition will also help you recover quicker and really, that's what resistance training is all about! One hard earned layer of muscle at a time! Of course, protein is always the hot button topic and below I did include a little chart on how to determine your needs but I also want to stress the importance of an overall quality diet. Fiber, B vitamins from fresh foods. In fact, it is the Bs that will help your body utilize that protein! Omega 3 is also essential, for everyone anyways but Omega 3 will help with stabilizing your weight and also necessary for reducing inflammation and promote healing. So very important. Two other key nutrients are vitamin A and Zinc. These two are needed for cell regeneration. If you are lacking in these areas you could delay your healing, reduce immunity and even suffer an injury. For further info here please feel free to contact me anytime!

Protein Requirements Strength Trained, maintenance 1.2 grams-1.4 grams per kilogram Strength trained, gain muscle 1.6 grams-1.7 grams per kilogram Endurance trained 1.2 grams-1.4 grams per kilogram Intermittent High Intensity Training 1.4-1.8 grams per kilogram Weight restricted 1.4 grams-1.8 grams per kilogram (To calculate body weight into kilograms, divide lbs. by 2.2) So that's all for this week, next up I'll be talking about the benefits of Cardio. Love it or hate it, it really can help supercharge your week! Take care and talk soon, Sarah

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