Resistance Training

resistance trainingOften times when people think about losing some weight or getting in shape, they first turn to cardio.  They start jogging a few times a week or hop on an elliptical.  Don’t get me wrong, doing some physical activity is better than doing nothing at all, so I don’t want to discourage people from going for a run.  But I do think that if you’re only focusing on cardio workouts, like jogging, you’re missing out on some other workouts that can be a little more interesting and can help you reach your weight loss goal  too.  Many people might not think of it at first, but resistance training is a great way to help you lose some weight.

Resistance Training – What Is It?

I think most people think of weight lifting when they hear the words resistance training.  While that is absolutely correct, there are actually two types of resistance training.  You have:

  • Isometric training – where you work your muscles against a stationary object, think push-ups.
  • Isotonic training – where you’re contracting your muscles through a range of motion, think weight lifting.

So in many programs, you do a combination of isometric and isotonic resistance training.  It’s not all one or the other.   You can also use different tools to do resistance training.  Most people think of dumbbells first, which is a great option.  I have adjustable dumbbells which I really enjoy and save a ton of space and money.  You can also use resistance bands effectively.  We also have a number of those which Rochelle uses most often, but I also like to use especially when we are on the road.  The great thing about resistance bands is that they get progressively harder when you’re doing a move.  For example, if you’re doing bicep curls with a resistance band, the resistance increases as you lift your arms up, so it’s hardest at the top.  If you’re doing isometric training all you need is a wall, floor, pull-up bar etc. as you’re working against a stationary object.

When you’re doing resistance training, you’re actually breaking down your muscles, creating small tears in your muscle fiber.  While that can sound scary to some, it’s actually a good thing.  What happens is that after you’re done exercising, your body goes to work repairing these small tears in your muscle fiber, helping your muscle grow back stronger.  So in reality, when you’re lifting weights, you’re muscles are actually being broken down, not built.  During recovery is when your muscles are actually growing and getting stronger, which is why your recovery is so important and why I use a recovery drink.

Benefits of Resistance Training

There has been quite a bit of research on resistance training and the benefits are clear.  Not only is it clear that there are benefits, but I think the benefits are substantial.  They include:

  • Fat loss
  • Weight loss
  • Healthier bones
  • Increased strength
  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Improved blood pressure and blood glucose

As you can see, there are many benefits to resistance training.  It’s not just about building huge biceps.  Sure, you can do that, but for most people that’s not going to happen.  Women often seem to shy away from resistance training because they think they’re going to get bulky.  Honestly, women don’t have enough testosterone to get big and bulky like guys can.  So unless you’re taking lots of supplements and really trying to bulk up, you won’t.  Most women just build long, lean muscle which helps burn calories all day long.

Resistance training goes a long way in helping you achieve weight loss goals as well as helping prevent or reducing the negative effects of certain diseases.  You can increase your bone density, which helps avoid osteoporosis.  Resistance training also helps reduce your blood pressure and can help you regulate your blood sugar if you have diabetes.  The benefits of resistance training are pretty impressive in my opinion.

Resistance Training Options

So now that it’s clear that there are benefits to resistance training, you might be asking what you can do to incorporate this into your workout program.  While you can absolutely do research, find a schedule to follow and go to the gym to do that, I much prefer doing this at home.  I think often times people can be intimidated when they first get started at the gym.  You might not know exactly what you’re doing or have correct form which makes you self conscious in such a public place.  When you workout at home you don’t have to worry about anyone judging you or making fun of you.  You’re able to try new things and not worry about what anyone else thinks.

So in my opinion, there are some awesome in-home workout programs that focus on resistance training.  I’ve used a number of them myself and have seen great results.  Some options are:

  • Power 90 – this is a great program for people just getting started out.  If you’re new, I would recommend you start here
  • ChaLEAN ExtremeRochelle does this and loves it.  It’s a great program for women
  • P90X – Beachbody’s most popular program.  I’ve done it a number of times and love it!
  • P90X2 – For you P90X grads who are looking for more functional fitness training and a new challenge
  • Body Beast – An awesome, mass-building program.  Check out my Body Beast results and review if you’re interested.
  • Les Mills Pump – Based on the very popular Body Pump classes offered at gyms internationally

These are some great options in my opinion.  The program that best suits you depends on what kind of shape you’re already in and what you’re looking to accomplish.   If you have questions about any of these programs I would be more than happy to answer them for you.

If you’re new to fitness or if you’ve been around for a while I think there is always an opportunity to incorporate resistance training into your workout schedule.   It’s great for you and it’s also fun in my opinion.  I hope this article has been helpful, feel free to comment here or share it if it has!

2 comments
lindy voeltner
lindy voeltner

hey Tom, Is this Considered a Circuit Training program and is it through beach body?

Coach Tom
Coach Tom

Hey Lindy! Circuit training can and usually does involve resistance moves. Circuit training is really just when you go from one exercise to the next, doing a variety of moves with little rest. The programs here are from Beachbody and something like ChaLean Extreme is similar to circuit training.

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