How strength training can contribute to holistic wellbeing and overall health.
Article by Lil Bianchi Kimble, head coach & owner of OTG Athletic. World Champion powerlifter, deadlift world record holder, and addict of defying the human condition.
It’s no secret that I love to lift and that my philosophies about training were born in the weights section of the gym. What you might not know is that these methodologies were primarily driven by my pursuit for longevity and wellness, rather than strength. Strength was a by-product of hard training, good nutrition, discipline and mental fortitude. However, my primary intention to toil under a loaded barbell was guided by my need and desire to get healthy.
I was looking for a means to an end and a one-way street to self-improvement– holistic development if you will. In discovering the iron, I not only began my journey to strength but I slowly built a healthy home for my spirit. Let me explain..
Training for strength exercises the entire human machine. Longevity, wellness and health is our life-long imperative. Whether you work out to improve your athletic performance, lose weight or get fit, strength training builds your heart, your bones, your muscles, your connective tissue, blood vessels and your brain. These attributes will change your life, not just your body. Only when you begin to understand that being strong is not only physical will you realise that exercise is far greater than the need for an aesthetically appealing body.
Your body is metabolically active, so applying stress to it through training and exercise will improve its insulin sensitivity, and with this comes a lowered risk of chronic disease. Active muscle uses glucose (blood sugar) for energy. This is not just a matter of importance for your health but more so an everyday requirement.
Despite these additional benefits, strength training has always been a meek topic among women as they incorrectly fear gaining excessive muscle, despite science proving this assumption to be complete misinformation.
Meanwhile, a solid regimen of strength exercise aids in weight management improves muscle ‘tone’, and prevents and controls diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Healthy body, healthy mind Lifting weights transcends the physiological, delivering immense value from a psychological perspective, too. The improved cognitive function it promotes brings with it enhanced abilities to deal with depression, reduce anxiety and enhance overall wellbeing.
Our bodies are our temples – they encompass everything we are as people and are indicators of our values, principles and attitudes.
I love a success story and a ‘Tuesday transformation’ as much as the next person, but I love being alive more. I love my clients reporting back that their cholesterol levels have decreased dramatically. I love hearing how their blood pressure has dropped, their stress has subsided and that they no longer suffer from insomnia. Those are the real success stories. We focus so much on physical change that we often miss the harmony that settles in on the inside when we transform ourselves in this way.
What matters most
My greatest achievement as a strength coach has not been the world champion athletes I’ve had a hand in training, but the women under my watch who have taken ownership of their lives, their health and their minds through lifting weights. Turning your focus to strength won’t just change your life, it will save your life.
The more women who have the knowledge that resistance training reduces irregular menstrual cycles and increases weight loss because of the body’s ability to increase its testosterone production, the more we’ll experience positive changes in our bodies, both internally and externally.
When ladies hear the word ‘testosterone’ they think of hairy chests, brawn, muscles and manliness. The truth is that testosterone is highly beneficial for women and it is made more abundant with strength training. You won’t suddenly produce more male sex hormone than your boyfriend, husband and male colleagues. Rather, you’ll simply boost your rate of production above average and as far as benefits are concerned, a bit of this potent hormone goes a long way. It will reduce premenopausal symptoms and all the depression, anxiety and mood swings that come with ‘shark week’, while also aiding weight loss. An improved testosterone-oestrogen ratio will also lower your risk of breast cancer. That should be more than enough incentive to prompt a reassessment of your views on weight training. As we write the next chapter of our lives in 2021 , make this year about longevity, self-improvement and empowerment. Learn to love yourself and prioritise your needs.
Author: Logan Leigh Rix
Logan blends her passion and profession by working as a digital and social media marketer and content creator in the fitness, health and wellness industry. She’s also a personal trainer, former Face of Fitness finalist and Fitness Magazine featured athlete.