Why should we be strong?
Anybody who watches TV, goes to the movies, reads magazines, or uses the internet know that it is abundantly clear that the number one reason you should pursue getting stronger is that it directly increases your status in our society. In fact, it is scientifically proven that your value as a human being is directly correlated to the number of muscles you can visually distinguish on your abs. Other benefits of building muscle include getting more women (or men); driving fancy cars; living in a big house; meeting celebrities; maybe even becoming a celebrity; crushing on Tinder; shooting big guns; blowing up on instagram; getting access to exclusive nightclubs; and generally living a lifestyle as is depicted on Dan Bilzarian’s instagram account. Right?
Wrong. In all likelihood none of the above will happen simply because you decided to start working out. As ridiculous as it sounds to suggest that it would the reality is we live in a society that constantly floods us with images, videos, and ads that are specifically designed to make us believe that the above paragraph does in fact describe the way the world really works. Why? To get us to buy stuff I suppose (honestly, sometimes I’m not even sure what the hell it is they want me to buy).
What I see as the true shame is that many people in our society see these videos, shows, etc… (which are basically attempting to guilt shame them into buying something to change their appearance) and as a result associate the pursuit of a strong, and yes, muscular body, with the pursuit of all the things listed above. It is my belief that the result is that more people are turned away from exercising then are turned toward it.
Now if your goal genuinely is the pursuit of all the things listed in the first paragraph then good for you, but we’re probably not the right folks to help, best of luck though. But if your goal is something more along the lines of to live an active and healthy life; to be able to play sports; feel good; keep up with your kids/grandkids; go snowboarding/hiking/mountain biking/surfing and not hurt for a few days afterward; to increase your life expectancy and quality of life; or live an active and pain free life well into ‘old’ age, then we can help. And the best way that we can help, is to make you strong.
Healthy Muscles, Healthy People
First off, most people simply associate adding muscle merely with changing the way that you look. But adding muscle isn’t just about shaping your beach bod, it’s about improving your overall health and wellness. According to Dr Andy Galpin, a professor at Cal State Fullerton, your muscle actually functions as a giant endocrine organ. When used your muscles fire off myokines that are utilized by almost your entire body.
“In the liver this signaling helps regulate your blood sugar. In the brain, it helps to regulate rest patterns and sleep quality. The list is very, very long.”
The take home point being that muscle is extremely important to your body’s function and your overall health. A strong body is a body that works smoothly and efficiently, it means less stress on your heart, increased life expectancy, and a higher quality of life.
Strong For Your Function
One thing that people tend to forget is that strong doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to everyone. Sure, there are plenty of definitions out there about what strength actually is, contractile potential, ability to move an external object, etc… But for us, being strong is relative to your function. For example, if you are a mountain biker you need strong legs and good muscle endurance. If you are a powerlifter, you need to be able to bench press. The point being that strength each person requires is relative to their function in life.
Lots of people get turned off from strength training simply because they think there is just one approach for everyone. Namely, they think some meat head is going to try to turn them into a body builder. However, increasing the strength you need for your sport or just your daily life will increase your performance and likely just make things feel easier.
A lot of people ask, if I’m active already isn’t that enough? Well the answer is, not always. Very often our daily lives expose us to the same few movement patterns in high density. Think sitting at a desk. Even the sports we play tend to have repetitive movements built in. Think throwing a baseball or pedaling a bike. Quite often this repetitive exposure to the same movements can cause muscle imbalances that hamper improvement and lead to injury. A good strength program will help to balance your body out and prevent overuse injuries. A well designed and properly implemented strength program can also help you to recover from previous injuries and get you back into action.
Strong Bodies, Lean Bodies
Now for those of you that do want to get a headstart on that summer bod, as it turns out the best way to burn fat is to build muscle. All joking aside, there is lots of great research that shows why a lean body is a healthy body. We aren’t going to get into the details here but if the topic interests you just reach out and we’d be happy to have a conversation. Back to the topic at hand, fat is essentially a storage system for our body and it takes very little energy to maintain on our body. In other words once we build fat deposits on our body they will most likely stay there unless we actively try to burn them off. Muscle on the other hand works just the opposite, muscle is what makes our body move, it’s what makes our lungs work, and our heart pump. Consequently it takes a lot of energy to maintain. In fact as we build muscle our bodies will actually burn through our fat stores in order to fuel our muscles. So if losing a little fat is one of your goals (not saying it has to be but let’s be real, most of us wouldn’t complain about being a little leaner) one of the best ways to go about doing so is to work on building muscle.
We hope this article motivated you to work on becoming a stronger, healthier version of yourself. If you’re ready to take action but are not quite sure where to start just reach out and we’d be happy to help!