10 Reasons Everyone (And Their Mom) Should Do Strength Workouts


“What’s the best kind of exercise?”


I used to answer that by saying something like, “It depends on your goals, your preferences, your injury history, your blah blah blah blah blah.”


Lame.


Oh, it’s a true answer — it just isn’t helpful. You may as well consult a Magic 8-Ball to help you create your workout routine.


It might be a stretch to call strength workouts the “best” type of exercise. It’s not a stretch at all to say that it’s the only type of exercise every single person (and their mom) would be smart to include as part of their routine — regardless of their goals.


So if you don’t do strength workouts now (or don’t have someone creating a personalized program for you), I have 10 reasons you might want to reconsider. I think you’ll be surprised by a lot of them.


I’ll make it a “top 10 list” (but in no particular order). Starting with…


#10 — It’s good cardio! (Say what???)


Yep. If you hate jogging, or biking, or rowing, or swimming, or sex, or ellipticals…


🙍‍♀️: Wait, what’d you say?

👨🏻‍: Ellipticals.

🙍‍♀️: No, before that?

👨🏻‍: Swimming.

🙍‍♀️: I must have misheard you.


Anyway, if you hate that stuff, strength workouts can do wonders for your heart health — assuming you have a well-designed workout and aren’t just hopping from machine to machine.


Doing cardio specific exercise is great, but for the everyday person without a lot of time on their hands…


*in other words, if you’re only going to do one thing*


…strength-based workouts will get more done in less time.


Heck, on our walk today I sprinted up our neighborhood’s very long, VERY steep hill and felt fine, and I haven’t done “cardio” in a long time.


#9 — It’s good for flexibility.


Full disclosure: I’m one of the least flexible people you’ll ever meet. Always have been.


I hated the “touch your toes” test in elementary school.


I even quit gymnastics as a kid because I didn’t like the coach telling me I needed to stretch more (at least that’s my memory of it).


Admittedly, I’m biased, but I think stretching is overrated.


Now that you know my personal feelings, let me give you the cold hard facts:


✅ There’s not necessarily a benefit to being more flexible than what you need for normal daily tasks.


✅ A lot of issues people try to solve with stretching would actually be better improved (in the long-term) with more strength.


✅ Strength exercises (when done correctly) can improve your flexibility at least as well as stretching — and in some cases more so.


✅ The toilet paper roll should always be over, never under (this isn’t exercise related, but it’s still a fact).


There’s a lot of nuance to these points (other than the last one), so don’t misunderstand.


I am NOT anti-stretching.


In fact, I’d probably do well to add a regular stretching routine to my day. But that’s the thing… there are so many things I “should” be doing.


I don’t have time for it all.


I’d rather start with what will get me the biggest benefit in the least amount of time.


That’s why I prioritize strength-based workouts. They’ve taken the Shakespearean tragedy that was my flexibility and improved it to being more of a modern day rom-com.


It’s not perfect, but I never feel limited at all. And isn’t that the goal of flexibility anyway?


#8 — It’s how to tone up.


For the record, I highly recommend NOT toning up to the point of trying to have a six pack. The amount of effort that takes isn’t worth it.


Especially since no one gives a flying duck (thank you autocorrect) about whether they can see your abs anyway.


On the other hand, with 20-30 minutes of strength workouts 2-3 times per week (and a nutrition plan that complements that routine), toning up to more of an “I have an actual life outside of the gym” degree isn’t all that difficult.


No, I didn’t say it was “easy,” Karen. (Sorry to any actual Karens out there. What a bummer for you, huh?)


It’s just that achieving that sort of goal is much easier than most people think.


So here’s the deal. Toning up requires 2 things:


Losing fat and building strength.


For the first part (losing fat), you don’t necessarily have to do strength exercise — although your efforts will be WAY more effective if you do.


But for the second part (building strength), it’s pretty obvious that requires strength exercise.


In other words, toning up without strength exercise is impossible. (Read “How to Exercise if You Want to Tone Up” for more on that.)


#7 — It’s the secret to healthy weight loss.


Losing weight without strength training can lead to a vicious cycle.


That’s right — it can cause children to stop believing in Santa, which then forces him to start laying off elves. But Santa can’t just bring himself to continue firing one elf after another, so he ends up keeping too many workers on the payroll. And the next thing you know, Mrs. Clause is taking Rudolph out behind the barn because it’s the only way they can afford to eat.


Is that what you want?!


And if you don’t care about that (what kind of person are you?) then check out this other vicious cycle that’s actually real…


When you lose weight, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re losing fat. Your weight can also drop from losing muscle, bone, and even organ mass.


This means you’re losing “lean mass” rather than fat.

⬇️

If you aren’t strength training, a larger percentage of the weight you lose will be from that lean mass.

⬇️

The more lean mass you lose, the more your body will start to think something is wrong.

⬇️

At that point, you’ll have a more difficult time continuing to lose weight AND you’ll be more likely to gain the weight back (as more fat) later…

⬇️

Starting the cycle all over again. 🔁


On the other hand, even just 2 well-designed strength workouts per week can significantly change that. It signals to your body to hang on to more lean mass and lose more fat.


Listen, there are other things to consider when losing weight, too. If your diet is off, that doesn’t help either.


This is just one of the “big picture” things that you really have to consider if you want weight loss to stick.


(And if you don’t want Rudolph to end up on Santa’s plate for Christmas dinner).


#6 — It makes you feel younger (more so than other types of exercise).


I don’t want to sound like a jerk here.


I don’t mind if I really am a jerk, just as long as I don’t sound like one. 😜


Unfortunately, I don’t know a nicer way to say this…


If your body feels more and more like it’s falling apart, it’s not because you’re getting older — it’s because you don’t have a well-designed strength program you can follow consistently.


Woah. 🐎


Before I get a bunch of hate emails, hear me out.


Your body does change as you get older. There’s even a good chance that eventually you’ll die (the science supports this — I googled it).


There are certain things you can’t change, and I’m NOT insensitive to things like disease, injury, etc.


But MANY of the negative effects attributed to “age” can be significantly reduced, slowed down, or negated completely with strength exercise.


And MOST people who feel their age catching up to them are actually still capable of feeling as good or better than when they were supposedly “in their prime.”


Just ask my 64 year old mom (and client) who, 10 years ago, could barely do more than a few unweighted squats. Now she’s the person I trust most if I need help moving something heavy.


“Why strength training though? Wouldn’t any type of exercise help me feel younger?”


Maybe.


It’s just that strength (or the lack of it) plays a big role in how our bodies function (or stop functioning) as we get older.


And you’re not going to accidentally get stronger.


If you never exercise a day in your life, you may be active enough to have a healthy heart. You may eat well enough to not gain weight.


But if you aren’t intentional about building (or at least maintaining) your strength, you’re going to lose it, and you’re going to feel “old” WAY sooner than you have to.


Strength workouts aren’t a magical fountain of youth. But between that and a well balanced diet, it’s the closest we’ll get.


#5 — It strengthens your bones.


Stronger bones may sound booooooriiiiiinnnnnnnng — as my kids say. But you know what’s not boring?


👍 Being less prone to injury.


You know what else isn’t boring?


👍 Having less joint pain.


Anything else?


🤘 Oh, idk, how about having a rockin’ posture that looks good in family photos? Un-boring enough for you yet?


What if I start using euphemisms to skirt around inappropriate topics? Now are you paying attention? Fine. But only because you asked me to…


In case any men read the headline wrong, we’re talking about getting stronger BONES — not about something along the same lines as taking horny goat weed.


(There. Happy? Because I feel gross.)


Anyway, if you’ve over the age of 30, you are currently losing bone density. For women, this only gets more and more dangerous the closer you are to menopause.


The best way to stop it — or even reverse it — is to do strength workouts. Especially with heavy weights.


Since it’s not a good idea to just jump into the gym and start lifting heavy for the first time ever in your life, I do recommend getting help.


And for anyone who’s scared of the idea of lifting heavy, as long as you have expert help (and aren’t just following some random program you found for free on the internet)…


You have much less to be scared of with lifting heavy than you do with the consequences of continuing to lose bone mass.


Just something to think about.


#4 — It’s good for your metabolism.


Want to know what makes your metabolism slow down? Let’s see if you can guess. Is it…


A. Getting older

B. Muscle loss

C. Eating junk food

D. How often you eat

E. Karma (from that time you lied to your kids about how the ice cream “went bad” when you really ate it all while they were sleeping)


The only correct answer is “B.” (Although I can’t rule out “E” completely).


If it surprises you that the other answers are wrong, it’s because they’re popular myths. You’ve been lied to.


The one that shocks most people is learning that getting older doesn’t slow your metabolism — at least not between the ages of 20-60.


It IS true that most people tend to burn less calories as they get older. It’s just not CAUSED by age.


The real cause is from becoming less active (which isn’t a “metabolism” issue), or from losing muscle (probably without even knowing it). Or both.


Being more active can be fixed as simply as taking daily walks. Muscle loss, unfortunately, is inevitable…


Oh, unless you’re doing strength workouts.


Duh. 🤪


At which point you can significantly slow down muscle loss even AFTER the age of 60.


Meaning you can have a well-oiled machine of a metabolism your entire life. (Read “Does Your Metabolism Slow As You Age?” and “Is My Metabolism Damaged?” for more details.)


#3 — It helps balance your hormones.


Pretty much any type of exercise is good for managing hormone levels.


Don’t believe me? Just google it. (Or don’t. Whatever. I’m too lazy to try and convince anyone of that basic point.)


In fact, many hormone issues could be completely resolved with nothing more than an effective exercise program and a nutritious diet.


Let’s be fair though.


Not ALL of the struggles people experience with their hormones are based solely on lifestyle.


I won’t list all the possible scenarios where this is true (again, lazy), but the negative effects of MANY of these situations are intensified by a loss of “lean mass” (i.e. muscle, bone, etc).


That’s why, once again, strength workouts are key.


I’ve already talked about the concept of “lean mass” in previous points and I don’t want to beat a dead horse. (Not that I want to beat a live horse either. Who comes up with these expressions?!)


But the bottom line is if you want to impact your hormones and have a positive effect on recovery, stress, blood sugar, libido, energy, weight loss, etc…


Strength workouts aren’t the ONLY solution, but they aren’t optional, either.


#2 — It can decrease pain.


I could speak from personal experience and tell you all about how I threw out my back for the first time — at age 12 — and continued to have back problems for 15 years.


I could go on and tell you about how, after years of ineffective workout programs, I finally learned how to do it correctly and built up some decent strength.


I could tell you how my life isn’t perfect 🤯 and I still occasionally deal with minor back issues, but mostly I don’t, and I haven’t thrown out my back in the past decade.


I could tell you all that.


But I’d rather tell you about a recent client (who is in her 70s) who had to be careful not to walk more than 4-5,000 steps per day because it would cause knee pain and leg spasms.


I’d also go on about how she’s built up enough strength now to where she can do closer to 7,000 steps without issues.


And how she started out having trouble with squats, but can now do 20 of them while holding a 15 pound weight.


Regardless of which story I tell you (they’re both true), I want to make something clear…


Pain is waaaaaaay more complicated than it gets credit for, and strength isn’t a miracle cure.


But for the average person whose only experience with building strength has been doing something like P90X for a few weeks…


Or the occasional lap around the machines at the gym…


Or a round of physical therapy just until you start to feel better (or insurance runs out)…


For that person dealing with pain, strength exercise will always be a necessary part of the solution. And you need a personalized plan so you don’t end up doing more harm than good. (Read “7 Things to Try When an Exercise Hurts” for more on this topic.)


#1 — Strength creates confidence and self-reliance.


I see this play out with moms and dads alike, but it’s especially fun to see with our female clients.


When they can play with their kids in ways they never would have tried before, or realize they’re carrying something heavy that they would have had to ask for help with before…


There’s something really cool about seeing the external strength match the internal fortitude we all know moms have.


And that’s the point.


Man or woman, learning how to become capable of doing things you weren’t strong enough to do before… sure, it’s great physically, but it’s also an important mental skill.


For my kids, as I think about my son growing up, I want him to be a strong, independent man, capable of caring for a family if that’s what he chooses.


I also want my daughter to become an independent woman who doesn’t NEED a man to feel secure.


No, it doesn’t take strength training to make this happen. But after witnessing the changes it DOES make in a person’s life, I have no doubt that it helps.


That’s why — even if there weren’t all the other physical benefits I’ve already listed in this top 10 list — building strength is a skill worth learning.


It’s one you can be sure I’ll hand down to my kids.


If you’re ready to build up skills like that for yourself and your family, we can help.


We offer personalized, online nutrition coaching + workouts for realistic weight loss so diet and exercise don’t take control of your life. As homeschool parents with 2 kids, we’ve made it our mission to find a down-to-earth approach that not only works, but that creates a healthy life and positive relationship with food for ourselves AND our kids.


Click here to see how we can help you reach your goals.

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