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Building a stronger, healthier, and happier you

Benefits of Strength Training

It's about more than building muscles and losing fat. Strength training can provide a number of benefits including boost energy, increase bone density, reduce risk of chronic diseases and improve quality of life.

The below claims are sourced from PubMed a highly respectable database from the National Institute of Health.

Makes Everyday Life Easier

Getting stronger makes tasks like running around with your children, carrying heavy objects like groceries or suitcases, and just being out and about a lot easier.

Fires Up Your Resting Metabolism

Building muscle increases your resting metabolic rate as lean muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat. Building or retaining muscle is a key factor for sustainable weight management.

Slows Age-Related Muscle Loss

Strength training is a vital component to offset the loss of muscle mass that occurs with aging. Adults who don't strength train lose on average 3-5% of lean body mass every 10 years past the age of 30, which can be up to 2.3kg of muscle mass. This decreases your resting metabolism 3-8% every decade, as well as increases your risk of losing functional independence and risk of falls and injury. The good news it is never too late to start training and slow the process.

Builds Stronger Bones

Strength training and weight-bearing exercises are crucial for bone development at any age. It puts stress on bones, which signals them to rebuild stronger, thereby reducing your chance of stress-fractures, and osteoporosis.

Lowers Risk of Injury &
Improves Posture

Strength training helps improve strength, balance and mobility of your muscles and connective tissue. If programmed correctly, it can also help correct muscle imbalances, and correct posture to reinforce and protect joints like your hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, etc.

Boosts Your Mood and Energy

Exercise promotes the release of mood-boosting endorphins. Many studies have shown that strength training may reduce anxiety, and boost your mood and thereby improve your mental health.

Raises Your Self-Esteem

There is a significant link between strength training and positive body image, and working towards a fitness goal and overcoming challenges can be a huge self-esteem booster on its own.

Levels Up Athletic Performance 

Strength training improves athletic performance that require strength, power and speed, and helps endurance athletes preserve lean muscle mass.

Promotes Greater Mobility 

Strength training, if performed with proper technique and utilizing full movement, increases joint range of motion and increases mobility and flexibility. Flexibility is the ability to stretch our joints and muscles, while mobility is the ability to move in those stretched positions.

Improves Heart Health

Studies show that strength training can lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, decrease blood pressure and improve blood circulation.

Helps Manage Blood Sugar

Skeletal muscle helps increase insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels by removing it from the blood and storing it in the muscle tissue. This can help those with diabetes manage the condition better and may even lower your risk of developing the condition.

Increases Quality of Life

Strength training may increase your quality of life especially as you age, by promoting better mental health, functional independence, pain management, general health and vitality.

Frequently Asked Questions

> How much muscle do we lose as we get older?

Adults who do not strength train lose on average 3-5% of lean body mass every 10 years past the age of 30, which can be up to 2.3kg of muscle mass according to a report from Harvard Medical School. Losing muscle doesn't only decrease your resting metabolism 3-8% every decade but it also increases your risk of losing functional independence, as well as your risk of injury and falls. The good news is that it's never too late to start training and slow the loss of muscle mass that occurs with aging.

> But I don't want to get too muscular or 'bulky'.

Getting bulky takes a lot of time and effort. There are many factors that contribute to building big muscles including: genetics, hormones, age, nutrition, to name a few, and of course intense training with relentless execution for at least 2-5 years. So just get started, lift some weights, get stronger, and if you ever feel like you're getting too muscular after months of hard work and you don't like how you look and feel, you'll be happy to know that it is reversible and you can lose the muscles in a fraction of the time.

> Do I need to diet and / or track my nutrition lose fat?

No. You absolutely don't need to diet or track macros (protein, carbs, fat) to lose weight. With that said, even 3 weeks of tracking can be a very eye opening experience and help you make smarter eating decisions in the long-term. To burn fat you need to create a caloric deficit, which means consume fewer calories than your body expends. You can clean up your diet with some general guidelines and get 90% there. It's not the 'optimal' way, and may take longer, but that's OK. The top priority is consistency, and gradually incorporating healthier and sustainable eating behaviors into your life. Remember, small easy wins, repeated over time, leads to big dreams.​ Now, if you want to get even leaner, get quick results, or have had no success incorporating dieting guidelines, dieting and tracking will play a key role. Make sure that you're able and willing to put in the effort. You will need to pay close attention to what you're putting in your body, ensuring you're fueling your workouts, and supporting recovery all while creating a reasonable caloric deficit. Blindly starving yourself or skipping meals is very risky, as your hormones, energy levels, and metabolism could eventually crash if your caloric deficit is too large for too long. You will feel depleted and your hunger will catch up to you - and when it does, you won't be craving a quinoa salad.

> Do I need to eat more to build muscle?

Yes. Two key things need to happen to effectively build muscle. You need to stimulate your muscles and you need to create a caloric surplus, eat slightly more calories than your body burns in a day, including sufficient protein. Think of it like building a house where training is your labor and your calories are your building blocks. But hold on. If you are new to fitness, have been physically inactive, or have higher body fat, you will be able to build a strong and lean physique for at least 6-12 months while eating at or slightly below your maintenance calories. If that's you, go on and enjoy the easy lean gains first. For those of us who want to keep building, make sure your are able and willing to put the effort in, as you will need to slightly raise your calorie consumption above maintenance, also known as 'bulking', to effectively build muscle. This means that you will also put on some fat. Yes its uncomfortable, but it's the most effective way if you're serious about putting on more muscle.

> Can I build muscle and lose fat at the same time?

Yes, but with diminishing returns. The technical term for getting a lean physique by building muscle and losing fat at the same time is called body recomposition. The optimal condition to build muscle is to stimulate your muscles and be in a caloric surplus, eat slightly more calories than your body expends. And the opposite needs to happen to burn fat, where you create a caloric deficit and expend more calories than you consume. Both tools are on the opposite spectrum, but... If you are new to fitness, or a person with higher body fat, you will be glad to hear that you can build muscle and lose fat at the same time and get great results for about 12 months of training as long as you don't eat more calories then your body needs. Doing both at the same time is not the fastest to reach either goal, but at this stage you will get amazing results for months, so unless you're super eager, just take this time to establishing healthier eating and training habits and enjoy the low hanging fruit. Once the noobie recomposition gains slow down, you have a decision to make. (1) You want to get even leaner and burn more fat, in which case you may need to dial in your nutrition further to ensure you continue to create a caloric deficit. (2) You want to continue building muscle, in which case you will need to increase your food consumption slightly above maintenance. (3) You don't care about getting leaner or building muscle and are happy to continue as you have been and simply maintain your general health & fitness. This should be the end goal for all. But don't expect to continue to lose fat and to build muscle at that noobie rate forever.

> How often should I train a week?

This depends on your goals and your health status. If you're starting from zero, just get started, any exercise is better than none. Even if you just have time for 90 minutes a week, it adds up over a life-time so get after it. Life gets busy, but try to make the time. Your body will thank you for it. A good target for individuals new to fitness or who have been physically inactive, assuming no underlying health conditions, would be to strength train 2-3x a week and get your daily steps in for cardio, somewhere around +8k steps a day. If you're not there yet that's ok, just walk a little more today than you did yesterday, or try to hit your daily step goal one more time this week than you did last week. Slow progression is key. If you have ambitious goals and no underlying health conditions, aim to strength train +3 times and do light cardio +120m a week. But don't overdo it, listen to your body. We're playing for the long game and the goal is to keep playing. Only exercise as much as you can recover from. If exercise starts making you feel fatigued or low on energy, it's time to rest up.

> Strength & Conditioning vs HIIT circuits.

Cardio works on your respiratory and cardiovascular system - that's your heart, lungs and blood vessels. Need I say more? Think of it as training for longevity. Strength training works your muscular and skeletal system. Think of it as training for quality of life. In theory HIIT circuits combine the 2 concepts. They are great for conditioning and if programmed correctly can result in great sports performance benefits such as explosive power, muscle endurance, and anaerobic cardiovascular benefits. You can get some muscular stimulus especially if you are new to exercise or when short on time, but it's suboptimal as your cardio will severely limit your strength output and training effectiveness. When training you want to have a purpose and you want to select exercises that are specific to your goal. Obviously HIIT has multiple benefits, and is fun in a twisted way. So if HIIT circuits are your ticket to a consistent fitness routine, that makes it your optimal training routine so keep crushing it!

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