Want to Lose Weight? Get your Head on Straight? Get under Some Weight!

1 Jan

Need more reasons to put resistance training at the top of your 2012 list of goals?

Personally, I want beauty, brawn, and just as important, brains, and lifting weights is a key ingredient in my recipe for success.

You’ve heard of the myriad physical benefits of strength training: decreased risk of osteoporosis, increased insulin sensitivity (less risk of diabetes), increased metabolism w/ an increase in lean mass, lower heart disease risk among those with high blood pressure, and improved body composition.

But are you aware of the psychological benefits of lifting weights? Your brain needs iron too! In a world that has us in hyperdrive, stress levels are off the charts.  “There’s not enough time in the day,” I hear incessantly.  The result? High anxiety.  Anxiety leads to stress and stress leads to both negative physical and psychological consequences.  Those trying to manage chronic levels of stress are at greater risk for heart disease, metabolic syndrome, illness, suppressed immune system, chronic fatigue, sleep problems, emotional eating, depression…..need I go on? That’s a long enough list for me to consider how I’m managing my environment as well as my perception of stress and the coping skills I use.  One of them is……drum roll please……WEIGHT TRAINING!

Yep, studies have shown the beneficial effects of reducing anxiety.  Feeling nervous, fearful, worried? Go load up the squat bar and pump  out a few sets!  (After you get in 4-5 warm up sets, please). A couple studies compared high intensity strength training (80% of 1 rep max) with moderate (50-60% of 1 rep max) on the effects of anxiety, and the  moderate was more beneficial in lowering anxiety.  The lesson here: If you want to use weight training as stress relief, consider saving the NLP strength based workout I’ve designed for you for the following day! 🙂

Consider all the planning and preparation that goes into eating well, packing for the trip you’re taking, studying for your exam, writing your annotated bibliography, or constructing the power points you’re using for your amazing post-competition blues workshop and Resiliency, Endurance, & Psychological Stamina (REPS) workshop at Nancy Andrews’ Pro Series camp at the end of the month. Wow, that sounds eerily like me! 😉

The brain has a lot of work to do! Cognitive function relies on the ability to process and retain information, and guess what! Resistance training makes us better thinkers and rememberers. Is that a word? Ahh! I didn’t lift today!

Depressed? Email me. I’ll design a workout for your body and your mind! Depressive symptoms include feelings of worry, hopelessness, low motivation, poor sleep, irritability, emotionality, restlessness, and isolation.  There are more, of course, but each of these has been found to improve with regular resistance training. Those individuals who are clinically depressed experience the greatest benefits, but how can you NOT smile when you’re are trying to do mountain climbers after 10 sets of lateral raises and you can barely hold your face an inch off the floor?! The looks on the faces of your fitness class mates should be plenty to bring you some laughter!

Who’s sick and tired of putting themselves down?! No more low self-esteem, folks.  Start lifting to start feeling  better about yourself. Low self esteem puts you at risk for illness.

Last night at 11:30 I started nodding off. I was sandwiched between two friends with a blanket covering us. It was warm, we were watching a funny movie, and it was about an hour and a half past my bedtime. Fatigue…oh…gosh…I’m tired….gotta….stay….awake. I made it to 2012, thank goodness, but that feeling of lethargy and low energy– that’s something that over a 1/4 of our population experience ALL THE TIME. Can  you imagine? Chronic fatigue is not something I’m going to lose sleep over! Train, people.  It has been shown to be more beneficial than both medicine and therapy alone!

Since we’re on the subject of falling asleep, did you know that people who strength train have healthier sleeping patterns? If you’re depressed and have issues sleeping, start strength training, and  you’ll be one of 30% of people whose sleep improves. Hallelujah! I love sleep. Not enough sleep and we risk greater mental illness, impaired memory, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease….

Okay, I’m going to bed. Email me if you need help implementing a realistic, fun, effective plan for achieving your best body and mind. I really can help! (After I get some sleep).

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