So it’s the start to a new beginning everybody! And most people get a little urge to try something new. For some people it’s baking, others it’s the Danish art of Hygge. And for a lot it’s getting fit, getting active. But what to do? Run? Taking up a spinning class? Hopscotch? Well I’m here to make the case for weightlifting… Ahem *clears throat*
1. You learn a new skill
It’s not like it’s insanely difficult to lift free weights. But it is more difficult than say the weights machines or using a treadmill which are controlled for you. With free weights you have to learn to control your body and learn the various techniques needed to lift the weight without damaging yourself. Each weight position has it’s own technique and they are easy to pick up (the technique not the weight ba-dum-dum-jssh). There are loads of tutorials online and many helpful gym people and personal trainers willing to give you a quick sesh.
2. It’s therapeutic!
It’s hard to explain but the people who have done weights will agree that it’s really good for the soul. It’s slow but tough and really allows you to push yourself without getting all sweaty and nasty. It’s been proven that if you raise your heart rate you can reverse damage to the brain caused by stressful events. What’s not to love! When you are finished you are stiff and sleepy but in a good way. I like to do weights in the evening, come home put on a big sweater, eat a big dinner and lie on the couch. I feel so good after it!
3. It’s good for your body
Weights are awesome for the body. They can make you strong, make you lean, make you buff. The tone you like nothing else AAAAND more muscle mass means a higher metabolism which means? MOOOOORE FOOOD! I know many worry about just getting burly. I know I did. But it all depends on the weight you lift and how often you lift them. I am not one to get into what people should be lifting, that’s for the experts. So ask. Tell them what you’re looking for and they will give you a programme that suits you. A programme for your body and your life.
4. It’s good for your brain
Yup! You heard right, lifting weights twice a week or more is good for the auld cranium. This discovery is fairly recent and not enough research has been made yet but earlier test groups are proving positive. Weightlifting is helping to decrease shrinkage and tattering of white matter in the brain. This helps to fight both memory loss and possibly even mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Happy days! Just think of how preventative weightlifting could be if you started now. The brain needs exercise to you know.
5. You gain some serious gym confidence
Without sounding to horrible, most people can just walk into a gym and jump on an elliptical machine or a bike. But you often see people wary of the weights corner (in my gym, women are outnumbered 5 to 1). You don’t know what you’re doing and you don’t want to seem like an idiot so you avoid and sometimes feel like the gyms not for you. But I beg you, get stuck in. Make mistakes, learn from them and get confident because as soon as you know your way around the weights section you feel like you fucking own the place! When I started, I followed my husband round like a little puppy, uncertain of everything. Watching the two other women frankly kicking ass and making me swoon. But week after week I learned and Cormac started sending me for weights and benches. Soon enough, I was going without prompt. I knew what to do! And I am telling you it felt awesome!
6. It’s genuinely fun
Lads, no seriously. Believe me, if you currently spend all your time huffing and puffing and panting into a wet mess during cardio then you are gonna love weights. It’s actually fun. Well power cleans aren’t, they still suck balls but the rest is good I assure you. It’s just a great switch up! It’ll feel like a rest day (sort of). You’re not overly sweaty, or out of breath and you don’t want to cry or puke. It’s even better when you do it with a buddy. You can push each other AAAAND have the chats while your working hard. Have you ever tried to have the chats on a bike machine? Not fun…
So. Have I convinced you to give weights a chance? I started properly about 5 months ago and it has become one of my favourite sessions of the week. If you’re looking to try something new this January, why not join a gym and give the weights room a try. Or maybe join a local weight/cardio class. Or maybe even start with tins of beans in your living room, if you feel you’re not quite there yet.
But do give it a go… it could be the start of something beautiful.