Most people turn to weight training to change their physique. When asked what motivates them, many will say weight loss, increased muscle mass or a more “toned” appearance is the goal.
But beyond the obvious increase in muscle mass and associated weight loss, your body might also change in unexpected ways. A lot is going on in your body when you choose to challenge it in unexpected ways, and this can trigger a lot of changes.
Understanding how and why these changes take place could be the key to unlocking your potential and staying motivated. Because while you might not be able to see all of these changes happening, you can be confident that you’re taking steps in the right direction for your health and wellbeing.
Read on to learn some of the ways that your body changes in response to weight training.
Let’s start with the obvious one. Remaining consistent with a programme of progressive overload will eventually lead to increased muscle mass. Focusing on compound exercises will help to strengthen multiple muscle groups at once while isolation exercises will allow you to target specific groups.
As we get older, lean muscle mass starts to diminish and will be replaced with body fat leading to a higher body fat percentage. Weight training allows you to hit the breaks at any age, so you can increase muscle mass and reduce body fat.
Improved bone strength
You aren’t just putting stress on your muscles when you weight train. Those muscles are attached to bone, and this bone also gets stronger in response to weight training. Those who engage in regular weight training typically have higher bone mineral density, which is linked to lower risks of conditions such as osteoporosis.
Your bones are in a constant state of flux. Osteoclasts break it down and osteoblasts build it back up again. If the bone is not subject to any external forces, the osteoclasts dominate, which leads to weaker bones. This is one of the reasons that a sedentary lifestyle is so damaging.
Many people turn to exercise as a way to improve their mental health. Weight training, in particular, is known to offer many brain-based benefits. Here are just some of the ways your brain benefits from regular strength training.
- Reduced stress and anxiety. Exercise is well known to help combat anxiety and stress. The endorphins released after training give your brain a boost that can help to prevent bouts of sadness.
- Boosts creativity. Weight training is known to increase levels of the neurotrophin BDNF, which helps to trigger the growth of new neurons. These help to create new connections in the brain, which are essential for creative tasks.
- Improves concentration. Lifting heavy weights requires a lot of concentration and focus. So while you’re training your body to perform difficult tasks, you’re also training your brain to stay focused.
- Slows brain degeneration. According to a study at the University of Sydney, six months of strength training can help to protect the brain areas vulnerable to degeneration.
- Tackles depression. Many people turn to weight training and gym workouts to help combat depression. Clinical trials have found that strength training is effective in improving symptoms of depression.
Many people are shocked to learn just how effective weight training can be for improving cardio fitness. Without stepping foot on a treadmill, you can enjoy an intense workout that gets your heart pumping. You’ll also keep burning calories after your workout because of something known as caloric afterburn.
While some people are ravenous after every workout, others notice a subtle change to their overall appetite once they start regular weight training.
Weight training has been shown to lower levels of ghrelin, which is the hormone that stimulates your appetite. It also raises levels of peptide YY, which is a hormone that suppresses appetite. This can last for around an hour after exercise, and then the post-workout appetite kicks in.
This is one of the reasons that meal planning ahead of time is so beneficial. If your fridge and cupboards are stocked with healthy and nutritious food, you’ll be less likely to satiate your post-workout appetite with something unhealthy.
Weight training is about more than just physical changes; there are also significant benefits in setting and achieving goals. Your self-esteem will soar when you can continually show up for yourself and achieve your goals.
Are you convinced of the benefits of strength training? Our selection of home gym packages will help to get you started.