Did you know that if you’re an adult, you lose about 3-8 percent of your muscle every decade if you don’t do physical activity?
I don’t know about you, but I want to hold onto my muscle mass for as long as I can. Not that I’m old by any stretch :)
Resistance training is a powerful way to combat this process. Let’s talk about some of the benefits of resistance training, but first, I have to tell you how I got into it in the first place.
I got into healthy eating about four years ago. However, if you pay any attention to the health world, you don’t only hear about food, but also sleep, stress, supplements, and exercise.
I would never consider myself to have been very inactive, especially throughout middle school and this year, my first year of high school. I did track, basketball, and volleyball, I swam in the summer, I went on walks… it was all good.
And then around sixth grade, I started lifting weights.
(I feel like the transition there made it feel like it was all good until I started lifting weights. You might be able to tell by the title of this post that was not what I meant.)
Anyways, I started lifting weights about three or four years ago. We don’t have an entire gym’s worth of workout equipment, but we’ve got more than enough to get by, and definitely enough for a challenging workout. We’ve got some different sized dumbbells and a bench press (although owning a squat rack is literally my DREAM).
So, I was lifting weights, but to be perfectly honest I had no idea what the heck I was doing. I had no formal instruction on what moves to do or how to do them.
Luckily, last year at the beginning of the school year I started lifting weights at my school’s gym. They have a lot of equipment, and even though I was the only one who showed up pretty much every time, it was really fun and I fell in love with lifting weights all over again.
Why I Love Lifting Weights
I definitely noticed a change when I started lifting weights. I had more muscle, so I looked like I had more muscle. I weighed more (and still do weigh more).
Last year, from the beginning of the school year to the time I had to stop going to the gym (thanks a lot, Covid), I gained quite a bit of muscle. In fact, right before quarantine was when I finally hit a 100-pound squat from starting out with just the bar.
The moment you come up from a squat with the heaviest weight you’ve ever had on your back, the moment you do something you never imagined you could do, the moment you realize your biceps are too big for your shirt… Those are the moments that make lifting weights fun, the moments that keep me coming back to the gym.
I am a volleyball player, so one reason why I lift weights to help with my performance. But other than that, I do it because I love it, because it makes me stronger. I do it because I enjoy it.
The Benefits of Resistance Training
Resistance training has many powerful benefits, including:
Don’t worry, we’re getting there :)
How to start resistance training
Sometimes you don’t have access to a gym, and that’s totally fine! You can have a good resistance training routine in the comfort of your own home.
It’s great because you don’t have to go anywhere to work out, which could make it easier to squeeze in a workout.
The two basic resources I recommend are:
Workout videos can help you with form, motivation and encouragement, and planning effective workouts.
Find workout videos that you like - there are workouts for everyone from at every skill level, from beginner to advanced. There are short ones and long ones, and different lengths, and so many other variations.
My personal favorite workout videos are from Sydney Cummings. She’s so upbeat and strong, and her workouts are challenging! SO MANY to choose from, and there are long and short ones, and she often gives modification recommendations.
Here are my favorite arms, legs, and abs workouts from her.
There are a lot of other weights like kettlebells and barbells, but I think dumbells are the most versatile and are used in a lot of at-home workouts.
At a gym
Just look up “gym near me” to find a gym near you!
The great things about going to a gym, especially if you get a personal trainer, are:
Make a plan
To stay on track, make a plan for how often you are going to work out and how long, as well as what part of your body you’re going to work.
Honestly, I think that resistance training 3-4 times per week is my personal sweet spot, but it depends on your goals.
You can always work with a personal trainer to figure out what’s best for you and your individual goals.
Resistance training is one of the best forms of exercise because of the powerful benefits - increased muscle mass, improved insulin sensitivity, and a healthier heart being only a few of the great benefits resistance training has to offer.
You don’t even need any equipment to start… there’s not much standing in your way - start today!
Westcott WL. Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2012 Jul-Aug;11(4):209-16. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825dabb8. PMID: 22777332.