The Power of Strength Training Part 1
By: Katie Stumbo B.S. Biology with a focus in Pre-PT, CPT, PES
My hope is that by the end of this article you will understand each component of strength vs. cardio separately and why you need them BOTH. When you lift weights to create that extra demand on your body several things happen. First, you create an extra oxygen demand to the area of the body that you are working. Oxygen is carried by your blood to your muscles, so your heart has to start working harder to pump extra blood to the area affected. For example, if you were to perform a bicep curl, your biceps will need more oxygen. Two things happen for your arms to get that necessary oxygen. The arteries in your legs constrict and the arteries in your arms dilate. Also, your heart starts pumping more blood and therefore increases your heart rate. We can turn this basic bicep curl into a cardio exercise as well by simply adding a squat in-between each curl. This is going to confuse your body and it won’t know which arteries to dilate and constrict so they will all slightly dilate creating an even higher heart rate. This will blast a lot of calories in a very short amount of time.
Second, as you lift weights the muscle fibers (Myosin and Actin) in your body shorten and lengthen, pulling against each other. This creates friction and the result of friction is always damage. This is where it gets really cool! Your body needs to repair that damage and get rid of the waste product produced by the friction. The repair only happens while you sleep. You actually boost your resting metabolic rate while you sleep! RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) is the amount of calories that your body burns at rest. I.E., if you were bed ridden the amount of calories it takes to maintain your weight without gain or losing weight. This is a great way to boost your metabolism and lose weight as you sleep!
Third, as you do resistance training it puts an extra demand on your bones. This is not just important for the ladies, Guys pay attention! the rate of male Osteoporosis it catching up to the rate of osteoporosis in women. Your body is really smart. If you are to create that demand on your body it will adapt to with stand that demand tomorrow. You can actually regain some bone density and stop further loss by doing load bearing exercises. Thus as you workout, lift weights and do resistance workouts your muscles will get stronger, your bones will get denser AND you will start to lose weight.
So what do we really get by not only doing cardio and not only doing weight workouts? A fun, fast, motivating way to a healthier you!