“Can you open this Mum? You’ve done Crossfit like a hundred times and you are stronger than me because your muscles are bigger.” – 6 year old, getting what she wants as per usual.
Kid has a point. Unless it’s the day after arms work and I’m rendered a useless weakling unable to lift my own coffee. But I digress.
There are a lot of myths about strength work but most of them aren’t true. It won’t bulk you up, unless you want it to. Anyone can do it. You don’t have to be fit first. The people aren’t as intimidating as you think they are.
What you find in strength training might surprise you. You might find a greater love for your body. You might find more self-confidence. And you might find it changes the shape of your body in a way that cardio just doesn’t.
Weight loss has never been my primary goal but it has been a secondary one. I prioritise performance over weight loss any day of the week. And if you are trying to lose weight, here are some words for you.
Every now and then something happens to pull into sharp focus that you are never that far away from that person you used to be. If I could go back and talk to her I would say:
Shame will not motivate you.
Self-loathing will not inspire change.
There is nothing wrong with you.
Your body is capable of so much more than you believe it is.
If you want change, you have to love the body you have right now for everything it has already done for you and everything it is capable of doing in the future. You have to respect it. And appreciate it. And you have to believe in it. Food and exercise are not reward and punishment. There is no punishment. And you are the reward, just like you always have been.
But if it is something that you would like to work on then strength training is something you should consider. It will raise your metabolism (that means more food, right?) It usually involves some high intensity interval type training which helps to stimulate weight loss and it changes every week, so your body doesn’t get used to it. That’s my theory anyway. I ran for about two years and while it certainly helped lose my baby weight I didn’t see a dramatic change until I started Crossfit. I think part of that is metabolism, part of it is muscle development, part is high intensity intervals and I think a big part of it is that my body can never get comfortable with the exercise – because they are changing all the time. My body is used to running. It’s very efficient at running – so I really doubt it does much at this point in terms of weight loss.
I was reading an article the other day on different types of strength training as they impacted on running and circuit type strength training was the only one that improved your strength as much as any other form of training but also improved your running.
One thing I’ve learned in my running and strength training is that if you are doing something like weights or doing something like hard intervals in a run it doesn’t matter how heavy the weights are or how fast you are running, what matters is that you do it to fail. So if I get to the end of a weights workout and I’m struggling to get the weights up, I know I’m going to see good benefit from that. It’s the same with running if I get to the end of an interval session and I’m struggling to keep pace on the final interval I know I’ve given that run everything.