For readers of a certain age, the above lyric should be a real attention grabber. Not sure where you’ve heard the phrase? Think Hollywood ringside, and repeat the words in your head with a near-falsetto pitch, and it should become clear. We’re talking about the “Italian stallion” Rocky Balboa.
Immortalized as the “Rocky theme song” in the 1976 blockbuster movie, composer Bill Conti’s score remains one of the ultimate workout tunes of all time. Haven’t we all envisioned ourselves running through the streets of Philadelphia, only to reach the “top of the world” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art?
For dedicated real “gym rats;” however, this isn’t a fleeting feeling. Instead, it’s more or less what they experience every time they complete a hard-sweat session. Awash with endorphins and dopamine, our brains’ feel-good chemicals go into overdrive rewarding us on a job well done.
Round I: Strength Training is the Knockout Blow to Our Sedentary Ways
But why is it a job well done? What is it about a killer workout that has our brains cheering for more? The truth is it comes down to biology – ancient biology.
After all, the human race didn’t climb down from the trees and sit at a desk with smartphones, and Uber Eats in one fell swoop. No. That took time – thousands of years. And over the centuries, as we’ve embraced the benefits of civilization and desk jobs and convenience, our waistlines have expanded due in large part to our sedentary ways. Today, 39 percent of US adults over age 20 are considered obese, and 72 percent are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And, while the pharmaceutical industry continues to pump out wonder drugs to combat the side effects of our collective excess, the real wonder drug remains the power of pumping iron. For both the mind and the body, there is nothing better than strength training.
In its most straightforward definition, strength training is any repetitive motion resistance exercise that exerts a force on your muscles.
Through repeated conditioning, muscle tissue breaks down, and the body repairs that damage with additional muscle tissue, anticipating a future stressor. Combined with proper diet and balanced cardiovascular training (any exercise that significantly increases your heart rate) and regular gym goers will begin to witness a total body transformation:
- Body fat percentage will drop
- Lean muscle mass will increase
- Body shape will change from round to toned
- Energy levels will increase
- Your resting metabolic rate will increase
- Your confidence will soar
- Your functional muscle memory will improve, giving you more agility and dexterity accomplishing everyday tasks
- Many will lose weight, but some will see their weight increase as little by little, they convert fat into muscle
Now, before you begin to worry that within a few months you’ll start looking like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky II, let me assure you, you won’t. That’s especially true for women. When performing strength training exercises, the results tend to manifest in your muscles becoming more toned and stronger. In addition to definition and strength, you will also increase your endurance levels.
Round II: Out of the Ring: Benefits of Strength Training
As noted above, one of the critical benefits of strength training – especially for overweight and out of shape beginners – is weight management. By increasing your strength, your muscle tissue will burn more calories than your fat tissue will. This is what aids in healthy weight loss. The next key benefit is joint protection and injury prevention. Strength training helps to develop your strength, which aids in avoiding strain on your joints when you go to lift things. When focusing on strength training exercises, you can help to reduce arthritis and risk for osteoporosis.
As you start to age, injuries can take significantly more time to heal. But through strength training, you can improve your balance, coordination, and lower your risk of injury. Through regular and consistent strength training, you can improve the day to day of your health. The results of strength training can be seen in everyday tasks like carrying groceries, lifting heavy items, and much more.
To be sure, starting a strength training program can feel like a daunting task. (We don’t all have a Mickey Goldmill to train us.) You may have even been working out for a while without really knowing the type of results you want to achieve. Many people know that they want to look and feel better, but when it comes to specifics, often they come up short. Consulting with a fitness trainer is a good place to start. He or she will take the time in an initial interview or evaluative workout session, to better understand your fitness goals.
There are many different forms of strength training exercises, and by working with an expert, you can develop a routine that fits well with your lifestyle. When doing any strength training, you will typically be looking to machines and free weights. However, other methods of strength training can include resistance bands and even your body weight.
Classic exercises like crunches, pushups, and others are simple exercises that you can do that do not require any tools and use your body weight in order to develop strength.
Round III: Raise the “Bar” with The Body Shop Training
Once you’ve decided that a professional trainer is the way to go, consider the team at The Body Shop. The Body Shop is your “one-stop-shop” for personal training, health and nutrition advice, and complete fitness. Our team, led by Pattie Romano, continually works to encourage our clients to find a fitness routine that works for them by seamlessly integrating a regimen that fits any lifestyle. No matter your physical condition or challenges, we can customize a plan best suited for you.
Don’t think you need to become the next 1976 or 1979 Sylvester Stallone. All you need to do is commit to the journey, accept the process of hard work and discipline. And leave the rest to us.
Remember, “the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
Now, in the words of Mickey Goldmill, “Okay, go to work!”