Just about everyone in the gym has their own reasons for wanting to get fit. While they may vary from person to person, there are a fairly universal set of benefits that most people training, no matter their age or gender, have in mind. Let’s check them out!
Everyone wants to get leaner. Sure, you’ll have your occasional hardgainer trying to “bulk” at any cost, but nobody wants to add unneeded fat. Most in the gym wish to shed some of that unwanted body fat, so they can walk a little lighter, and look a little tighter. Training with the weights will build up muscle, which burns calories and leaves you lighter and leaner with less body fat.
Gaining some muscle is another goal that most people have when going into the gym. Most males want to muscle up. Many females prefer to claim their desire is to “tone up” with the goal of looking like the fitness models they see in magazines. The truth is, gaining some muscle is a part of that. Without decades of heavy weight training and other inputs, they’ll never reach female bodybuilder status, which is a common worry. Lifting weight builds their muscle and makes them look better.
Growing stronger is a goal that many in the gym share. Nothing feels better than moving more weight than you did the last time you trained. Daily tasks such as moving furniture or carrying groceries become easier as strength levels skyrocket. Everyone knows, you lift weights to grow stronger. Let’s look at five surprising benefits of hitting them gym that you may have never considered, but are certainly true. Perhaps they’ll motivate you to keep coming back and plugging away!
Attaining a “Previously Held Level”
Many times, you’ll see lifters take a break from lifting, for whatever reason. They’ll be skinny, soft, holding body fat and looking pretty rough. They finally return to the gym, and somehow, they achieve amazing shape in just a few weeks or months. We’re talking returns of 20 pounds of muscle while they drop 10 pounds of fat – in under 2 months. How is this possible? They’ve achieved a previously held level, an amount of muscle mass and strength that their body remembers. Pulling off a “comeback” is way easier than the initial build required to get there. Therefore a benefit of training, and one that you may have never considered, is the achievement of a previously held level to which you can always return!
Move Less, Gain More
Some people love doing cardio. They’ll camp out on the elliptical machine for an hour a day, five times a week, and enjoy every minute of it. The escape from ‘real life’ is quite a draw for them. Others find it difficult to find that much time to train each week. Never fear! Research has shown that very intense, short bursts of activity can have the same added benefit to cardiovascular health and body fat reduction as longer training, as long as you are training at near-maximum intensity, and alternating rest and training minutes. Make the same gains in less time – quite a benefit!
Form New Habits
Habits are incredible things. That which once seemed difficult and obtrusive often becomes ordinary and part of daily life, once it is completed for enough time in succession. Spending 18 to 21 days in the gym (barring rest days of course) can be enough to boost the fitness habit in your body. You’ll actually develop the body resources needed for training in anticipation of the upcoming workouts each day. It’ll become easier to train, than to skip a day at the gym! Even if you don’t enjoy lifting initially, you should promise yourself you’ll stick with training for at least a month. After that, it’ll be hard to live without it!
When you train, your body releases a chemical known as endorphins. There are the “happy” compounds which cause you to feel euphoria, joy, and excitement. Many people need medication to help boost levels, but it’s often overlooked that exercise does in fact provide the body with these compounds! An endorphin release binds with the oplate receptors in your body, reducing pain, and making one feel euphoric!
Prevent Serious Disease
Due to stressors of work, society, and just plain time, our bodies are always at risk of inflammation and other ailments and diseases such as cancer, dementia, and heart disease. Exercise is a great illness deterrent, helping to heal the body in a number of ways. Cardiovascular exercise boosts blood vessel function, reducing cholesterol and blood pressure levels. This stalls the onset and development of artery disease. Brain benefits are also noted, as training regularly will spurn nervous system growth, improving memory and help to avoid the onset of ailments such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, liver function is improved through exercise, which is an added boon in a world packed with processed foods and poor food choices. If you want to live longer – and live better – exercise is certainly required!
If you’re headed to the gym, there’s a good chance you share a few common goals with those on the machines around you. However, the added benefits of training with weights and cardiovascular machines may not always be obvious. You know them now – it’s time to get to work!