Resistance training, and all its forms, ranging from lifting weights to resistance bands to bodyweight calisthenics, are becoming some of the fastest growing forms of exercise. This is all for good reason since resistance training is the most effective form of exercise for metabolism boosting, body strengthening, body sculpting, and for hormone balancing in both men and women. Although other forms of exercise can give you some of the results I just listed, they don’t come close to resistance training. This begs the question; “how does resistance training do all this?”
First off, it’s important to understand how exercise affects the body. The main reason why we gain any health benefit from exercise has to do with the adaptations that occur in our body IN RESPONSE to exercise. Whenever you do any form of exercise, you are stressing the body. When it’s applied appropriately, this is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a great thing. The stress from proper exercise is why your body changes at all. The type of stress that resistance training provides is unique when compared to other forms of exercise and this is why it’s so amazing and provides the benefits I listed earlier. Let’s go down that list of benefits and understand how resistance training works.
Training with resistance, with the purpose of gaining physical strength, tells your body to build muscle. Since larger muscle fibers contract harder, building muscle is the primary adaptation that you see from resistance training. Muscle is a very active tissue requiring more energy to maintain than other tissue in the body such as fat. Maintaining 1 single pound of muscle requires at least 3 times as many calories to maintain as a pound of fat. And since muscle is much denser, it takes up less space. Gain 5lbs of muscle and lose 5lbs of fat and you are SMALLER with a faster metabolism.
Aside from strengthening muscle, resistance training also strengthens everything that muscle connects to or pulls on. As your body adapts to resistance training by building muscle, the stronger muscle places a greater demand on your bones, ligaments, and tendons. The greater demand from the stronger muscles causes all of those tissues to also strengthen. Studies show that resistance training is head and shoulders the king of bone strengthening. You also make your joints more resilient since your joints move and are primarily supported by muscle. Strong and capable muscles mean less stress and strain on your joints.
Although all forms of exercise cause visual changes to the body, only resistance training is truly targeted. Whereas other forms of exercise are the equivalent of a dumb bomb causing general changes to happen, resistance training can be used like a laser guided missile allowing you to target and shape specific areas. There are thousands of resistance training exercises for your entire body and there are multiple exercises for each specific body part. Want to shape and sculpt your shoulders? Do more shoulder movements. Want firmer hamstrings? Do more hamstring exercises. Resistance training literally is the most customizable form of exercise there is.
I like to categorize some forms of exercise as “anti-tissue.” For example, cardio exercises like running tell the body to reduce tissues like fat but also include muscle. Studies show that cardio exercise plus diet often results in more than half of the weight loss coming from muscle. This means you are flabbier with a slower metabolism. This “anti-tissue” exercise strategy can result in higher cortisol levels, lower testosterone in men, and an imbalance in estrogen/progesterone in women. On the contrary resistance training is “pro-tissue.” It tells the body to BUILD muscle. This results in fat loss due to the faster metabolism. Since building muscle requires lower cortisol, more testosterone in men and a healthy balance of estrogen/progesterone in women, they all tend to balance out nicely.
Because of the way resistance training tells your body to improve through the direct adaptation of muscle strengthening and building, the result is a faster metabolism, a firmer sculpted body and a better hormone profile. To learn more, click the link below to get your copy of my brand new book - The Resistance Training Revolution!