Why weight training should be a hobby of yours

Or alternatively: my late contribution to Fat Shaming Week (FSW).

Originally I planned this post before reading about FSW on Return of Kings. Seeing as there was such an effort going into the posts there I may as well get this up now.

The benefits of maintaining a healthy body outweigh the costs by such a great margin that there should be no reason as to why it isn’t a goal of the vast majority of individuals. Unfortunately it is clear to see that it really is not even a consideration of a growing percentage population in the UK, USA and elsewhere.

The aim of this post isn’t to try to stop the growing obesity crisis as I doubt that would have much success. Rather I hope this post will motivate or further encourage those who read it to train hard and eat cleanly. The improvements mentioned in this post are what I have noticed in myself or others after months and years of serious weight training (as in more than bicep curls).

The most noticable improvement is an increase in testosterone. It is widely established that testosterone levels in men have and are continuing to drop at an alarming rate. What better way to treat this than lift some heavy ass weights? Funnily enough obesity is a major cause of the current decline in testosterone levels. So this is practically killing two birds with one stone so long as your diet is in check.

Other physiological changes that occur include an increase in bone density. Given that osteroporosis is a serious health concern for women I would highly recommend that ladies too should take up weight training. And by that I don’t just mean little pink weights and exercise balls. I mean the big scary dumbells and barbells.

Next there’s the huge effect it has on your posture. Two reasons spring to mind as to why this might occur. Firstly you need to pay attention to your form and have good posture to lift heavy. Deadlifting or lifting a barbell overhead with lazy form is just asking for serious injury. For that reason I think the posture and form learned from exercise carries over into the rest of life. The second reason is more about getting your money out of a gym membership (or weight set if it’s a home gym). You wouldn’t want to hide all those gains by having slouched shoulders would you?  No you wouldn’t and when you factor in the previously mentioned testosterone boost you’re going to be wanting to stand proud and tall.

Talking about pride, this moves us nicely into the effect it has on your mood. It’s pretty damn hard to not feel great after a hard and tiring workout. This also carries over into the rest of your life. There’s a feeling of being calm and in control when others are panicking which I believe comes from a difficult training regime and the testosterone boost it provides. There’s also the confidence you get from the sheer act of getting stronger. For example; doing difficult uni work or exams doesn’t bother me as much as it did before I started training back in 2010. Perhaps more interestingly I have noticed that I am less anxious when talking to people, especially girls. This makes sense really. You’re probably going to be less concerned about approaching a girl at a nightclub when you know you’ve lifted heavier weights than her above your head.

More about girls now. Being ripped allows you to get away with so much more than if you were skinny and especially if you were a fatass. This depends on the girl of course but generally they’re much more likely to laugh with and be interested with a guy with a body than one without. Zyzz said it better than I have in this video.

There is however one downside of taking up weightlifting and it comes with any form of self improvement. Your friends and maybe even your family may not like it. I’ve been lucky enough that all of my immediate family have an interest in their own personal fitness however I’ve lost interest in spending time with other people. This is because when you improve one section of your life you tend to not want to leave the others lagging behind either. You’re likely to want to push yourself further and further, and you simply can’t do that if you are playing videogames or smoking weed with your friends every night.

When you develop the discipline to make time to work out or eat correctly you’re likely to be made fun of or ridiculed by those you know. This has happened to me. Unfortunately unless you can get them to change or at least accept your life choices you may have to let the relationship decline (a bit more serious if it’s a family member of course). Friends, and especially girlfriends, may present a way of living that ultimately isn’t going to help your goals in the long term. The saying ‘You are the average of your five closest friends‘ is what I’m trying to get across here.

This is nowhere near a comprehensive list of the benefits of weight training but it should be enough to motivate someone enough to take it up and find a decent routine. Just to finish this off, go easy on the cardio. While running is pushed as the main path to physical fitness in the media, and it is important, long-distance running will not be as beneficial for weight loss or testosterone production as heavy lifting. I’d suggest doing a few kilometres every week to train improve your endurance but not over long distances. To make my point clearer just think about the average physique of a marathon runner.

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