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How Strength Training Can Completely Transform Your Body

How Strength Training Can Completely Transform Your Body

Exercise is one of the most powerful physical and mental health interventions anyone can undertake. Everyone should participate in some form of exercise every day. Unfortunately, most do not exercise regularly at all and even among those that do, participating in a strength training program is more of a rarity than the norm, especially with women and seniors.

But things are changing and strength training is having a real renaissance moment right now.

Until recently, strength training wasn’t always considered to be as important as cardio and many didn’t pay it the reverence it deserves, instead focusing on cardiovascular exercise and events like 5K’s, marathons and triathlons. However, now it’s hard to look through my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed without seeing updates about squat, deadlift, powerclean and bench press PR’s. Weight training has even made it to prime time TV with the CrossFit Games and National Pro Grid League. This is great because now many people are realizing the power of strength training and how it can completely transform your body.

Increase Strength

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    One of the most obvious effects of a strength training program is the increase in physical strength. And being physically strong has a number of awesome side effects.

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    Yeah, you’ll notice the obvious things — like you’re not intimidated by the weight room anymore. You’re totally comfortable with a barbell in your hands and you’ve graduated from the vinyl coated dumbbells stored in the group exercise room to the ones on the weight rack.

    But you’ll also realize that your life is easier. Never having to think twice about carrying your kids, groceries, or the inevitable snow shoveling this winter. Things that used to be a real chore aren’t such a hassle and don’t leave you out of breath, sore and hurting for days. All of your ADL’s (activities of daily living) become much easier and less of a strain when you’ve changed your body through strength training.

    “Lifting weights is excellent for improving bone density, joint mobility, and body composition.” Not to mention that daily tasks such as lugging groceries, moving furniture, and climbing stairs become easier.” —Alexander Koch, Ph.D

    Increase Muscle Mass

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      Let’s face it, most of us start working out to look better naked and strength training is one of the best ways to achieve that goal.

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      Unfortunately, many “fit” looking people focus only on “cardio”, yoga and other forms of exercise that, while possessing their own benefits, don’t include building muscle. This results in someone who is very thin yet has a high body fat percentage and suffers from the dreaded “skinny fat” phenomenon. They appear to be fit and healthy with clothes on but actually have a comparatively high body fat percentage due to their low muscle mass. Skinny fat is probably most prevalent with women who are (incorrectly) afraid that weights will “bulk them up”, so they focus solely on cardiovascular exercise. Fact is, most women don’t have the hormone profile to add appreciable muscle mass. And even if they do, it usually takes years of dedicated, intensive, weight training and diet to build extreme muscle mass. If you’re still scared you’ll bulk up, keep in mind that research has consistently shown most women feel better about their body after they start strength training.

      Adding some muscle mass, changing the size of a muscle, is really the only way to change the shape or “build” of your body. If you finally want the arms, shoulders, legs or butt you’ve been after, you need to lift some weights. This goes for the guys, too. Strength training through progressive overload is the only way to stress the muscles, force them to grow, and add the muscle size and shape you’re after.

      Decrease Body Fat

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        Like cardio, strength training burns fat, too! Although not able to match the fat-burning rates of cardio, strength training results in an “afterburn” effect where calories are burned at an elevated rate after exercise has stopped. The afterburn can last up to 72 hours after exercise. While most people focus on cardio for losing the last 5 lbs of fat, most trainers will agree that the most effective formula for weight loss is usually a combination of nutrition and strength training.

        When combined with the increase in metabolism that results from adding more muscle to your frame over time, it’s obvious that strength training can be a powerful tool in the battle against body fat.

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        Improve Posture

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          Many of us look and feel depressed, sickly, even fat, simply because we have poor posture. Our, “Desk Jockey” lifestyle has lead us to exist in this hunched over, hang off the skeleton, stance. And it is wreaking havoc on our health. Proper strength training can help strengthen weak postural muscles, even out imbalances and help to reverse this posture. Not only will you appear taller, stronger and more attractive, you’ll feel that way too.

          “We found that the effect of the direction of thoughts (positive/negative) on self-related attitudes was significantly greater when participants wrote their thoughts in the confident than in the doubtful posture.” —Pablo Briñol, Richard E. Petty and Benjamin Wagner

          Build a Better Skeleton

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            Building and maintaining bone density is important for everyone as we age. Strong bones mean a lesser risk of the debilitating injuries that can result from bone breaks and fractures that can occur to anyone but become especially dangerous and prevalent as we age. Women are especially susceptible to bone loss as a result of age related hormonal and lifestyle changes. Strength training produces strong bones that cardiovascular exercise just can’t match.

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            “Both aerobic and resistance training exercise can provide weight-bearing stimulus to bone, yet research indicates that resistance training may have a more profound site specific effect than aerobic exercise. Over the past 10 years, nearly two dozen cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have shown a direct and positive relationship between the effects of resistance training and bone density.” —Layne, Nelson

            Bones are thought to increase density primarily in response to compressive forces. This is what makes strength training exercises like squats, shoulder presses, pushups, lunges and deadliftts so effective at creating bone mass. They place a compressive stress on the larger bones and lead to an increase in bone density and a stronger, more resilient skeleton.

            Improve Brain Function

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              We’ve known for a while now that cardiovascular exercise can physically change the brain by actually growing brain cells. Now we know that strength training can have brain benefits too. According to Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, weight training can beneficially change the structure of the brain, but “a minimum threshold of exercise needs to be achieved.”

              While most of this research is new, it’s promising and is the first to show that strength training, as little as twice a week, may also result in a physical change to the brain.

              Strength training and adding muscle mass can literally transform your body. You can start out weak, slumped, soft and frail only to transform into someone strong, resilient and solid. While we’re all bound by our genetics and frame, strength training and adding muscle mass is the only way guys are going to build biceps that bust t-shirt sleeves and girls are going to build glutes they buy jeans show off instead of hide. In fact, many celebrities and models focus primarily on strength training when they need to get in shape fast and look their best.

              But, keep in mind, strength training is about so much more than just lifting weights, building your muscles and looking great. It’s about vitality, energy, confidence and independence. Once you’ve experienced the benefits of strength training you’ll understand how strength training can completely transform your body, inside and out.

              photo credit: Pinterest

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              Last Updated on October 30, 2018

              How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

              How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

              What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

              To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

              All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

              There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

              With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

              What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:

              1.Think big.

                From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                Instead be ambitious.

                2.Find what you love to do and do it.

                  From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                  “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                  This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                  Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                  If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                  Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                  Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                  Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                  3. Learn how to balance life.

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                    From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                    “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                    All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                    If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                    However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                    If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                    In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                    To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                    4. Do not be afraid of failure.

                      From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                      “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                      There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                      Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                      His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                      He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                      Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                      Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                      5. Have an unwavering resolution to succeed.

                        From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                        “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                        This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                        It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

                        If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

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                        Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                        6. Be a person of action.

                          From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                          “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                          Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                          Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                          When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renissance era Italy, we think of Michaelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci.

                          Or think about the present day:

                          Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                          You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                          All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                          Applying this to you?

                          Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                          7. Avoid conflicts.

                            From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                            The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                            The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                            People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                            This is key to good leadership.

                            It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                            But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                            What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                            As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

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                            8. Don’t be afraid of introducing new ideas.

                              From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                              “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                              It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                              Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                              If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                              9. Believe in your capacity to succeed.

                                From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                Keep dreaming!

                                10. Always maintain a positive mental attitude.

                                  From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                  “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                  Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                  Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                  If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                  However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                  11. Don’t let discouragement stop you from pressing on.

                                    From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                    “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                    It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

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                                    When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

                                    Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                    If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                    Take a look at these 5 Ways to Stop Self Doubt in its Tracks.

                                    12. Be willing to work hard.

                                      From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                      “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                      You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                      Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                      True success comes from work.

                                      You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                      Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                      13. Be brave enough to follow your intuition.

                                        From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                        “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                        In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                        If you strongly believe and desire something, the chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                        It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                        Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                        Final thoughts

                                        What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                        Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this:

                                        How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                        More Recommended Lifehack Experts in Success

                                        • Mandie Holgate — Successful life coach in the UK, helping businesses and individuals achieve greatness
                                        • David Carpenter — Lifelong entrepreneur and business owner helping others to realize the American Dream of business ownership
                                        • Ray Zinn — An inventor, entrepreneur, bestselling author and the longest serving CEO in Silicon Valley

                                        Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

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