Dear Fellow ALPHA,
The best thing I ever did for myself was pick up a weight. Weight training helped me grow physically and mentally more than anything else I have ever done. Grueling training programs taught me self-discipline, gave me a strong physical body, and instilled in me the self-confidence to believe I could achieve anything. For my personal physical activity, there is resistance training, and then there is everything else.
Resistance training is the best way to build high-quality muscular tissue, and one of the benefits of increasing muscle mass is that it instantly increases metabolism. Because this tissue is metabolically active, it must constantly be repaired and maintained, which consumes a vast number of calories. When you work out, you burn calories; after the activity, your body goes into maintenance and repair mode. Maintenance and repair consume additional calories, which is why muscular people usually have lower body fat levels.
Muscles are attached to the bones by tendons. When you engage in resistance training, the tendons covering the surface of the bone—the periosteum—is pulled. This stress engages it in a complex process to develop new bone; that is, it hardens and strengthens every bone that is placed under muscular resistance. Put simply, lifting weights strengthens bones.
As you age, the density of your bones—your structure—tends to decrease, often leading to osteoporosis in both men and women. Osteoporosis is more likely to occur after a decrease in normal physical activity, such as occurs with older people.
Heidi M. Weingart, M.A., and Len Kravitz, Ph.D., at the University of New Mexico found that introducing a resistance-training routine in elderly patients not only significantly increased their bone density and their structural stability, it also increased their lean body mass, which improved their overall metabolism.
Testosterone levels are a main factor in building strong, dense bones and developing quality muscular tissue. In the United States, many men find that, as they age, their testosterone levels fall. After age 40, these levels decrease by about 1 to 2 percent annually, resulting in a loss of muscle tissue, bone density, sex drive, and energy levels. Low testosterone can also cause an increase in body fat and increase the risk of developing heart disease and other health conditions.
As it turns out, though, men with a regular and intense weight-lifting routine enjoy higher testosterone levels than their peers who participate in other forms of exercise. Many studies suggest that regular resistance training maintains and even enhances natural testosterone levels throughout life. In fact, men who weight train regularly throughout life often experience levels similar to those of untrained young men.
Testosterone is a major factor in keeping our body functioning at a high level and maintaining a youthful appearance. But there is another hormone that works synergistically with testosterone and is used by the anti-aging community, namely, HGH, better known as human growth hormone.
This hormone serves many of the body’s functions. When we are young, the body needs a high amount of this hormone in order to rapidly build, repair, and regenerate tissues. It is one reason why children have a high metabolism and heal incredibly quickly. HGH also stimulates protein synthesis for the building of muscle tissue, promotes lipolysis (literally, the burning of fat), and increases the retention of calcium. The retention of calcium contributes to a higher rate of bone mineralization, which in turn leads to stronger bones.
As we age, our production of HGH decreases, and by the age of 60, it can be 80 percent lower than we had as children. However, in the 1980s, W. J. Kraemer and others at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, researched the effects of resistance training. They found that resistance training can induce growth hormone and testosterone release, regardless of a person’s age. In other words, an intense resistance-training routine triggers the release of HGH, a healing substance, and promotes a healthy, flexible, and strong body.
I have seen men and women in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s who have never trained with weights before join a gym and begin a resistance-training program. They walk in hesitant and achy, not sure what to expect. Within a few months, these same people show the positive effects of anti-aging hormones racing through their bodies. They are happier, stronger, and beaming with confidence.
In an article by M. F. Chen and others published in the December 2010 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the positive effect of regular to moderate intensity exercise on MKP-1 cells in the body was described. Increased MKP-1 cells decrease inflammation and promote immunity. Regularly engaging in moderately intense exercise has the potential to increase resistance to environmental toxins.
Studies have also found that exercising with your significant other can have a positive impact on the relationship. In an article that appeared in the January 2014 issue of Psychology Today, Theresa E. DiDonato, Ph.D., reported that couples who exercise together tend to be happier, have a more optimistic outlook on their relationship, and stay together longer.
While there may be many other factors at work in a successful relationship, the fact that they are both engaging in the same lifestyle choices suggests that they share a similar state of mind. Often these couples eat the same healthy foods and share a congruent outlook on life.
In short, exercising regularly will positively influence many areas of your life, from your body structure to your immune system. Even the impact on your primary relationship will be significant and encouraging. And you’ll look and feel more confident the next time you hit the beach!
Until Next Time.
Attack Your Life With Passion!
Co-Founder & CEO RAM Advantage