Santa Monica Personal Trainer Reveals Strength Training Benefits

Note: If you tear your arms off while weightlifting, you’re doing it wrong.

Strength training is near and dear to my heart. As a former Mr. America and certified personal trainer, strength training and fitness are my passions. For those of you who work out with me, or one my amazing trainers, you know the key to your fitness success lies in strength training. The number one question I get from new clients is “Why?” Let me see if I can break it down for you.

What is Strength Training?

huge arms Barbell Curls

Barbell Curls

Strength training and weight lifting are key to your core fitness. While weightlifting is a key component to strength training, strength training may utilize more than just weights and machines. It may also encompass body weight resistance, such as resistance straps, bands, ropes, weighted balls and more. Both are essential to building muscles and increasing strength.

Strength Training Benefits

The more muscle you build, the more you increase your metabolism and reduce your body fat. Enough said? Who doesn’t want to feel stronger and look better with, or without clothes? I know I do. But I don’t just do this to look good, I do this for my long term health benefits. As do my clients. The health benefits to strength training are second to none. Name any other form of exercise that increases bone density, reduces blood pressure, improves balance and coordination, builds muscle and heart strength? Added bonus, fewer trips up the stairs with groceries, opening your own jars, lifting your luggage into the overhead bin, the list goes on.

Strength training helps with many intangible things as well. Increased energy and less stress. More confidence in your physical appearance. Clothes fit better, your posture improves, you look and feel better. And yes, people will notice.

Antiaging Effects

over 50 fit bodies

over 50 clients Eric and Gale

In addition, as we age, our bodies start to break down. There isno better workout for a person, young or old, to help stave off the physical manifestations of aging. Sarcopenia – the breakdown of skeletal muscle, arthritis and osteoporosis are all symptoms of aging and can be alleviated in many ways by strength training throughout your lifetime. Even clients that come to me in their 50’s and 60’s have seen dramatic improvement in bone density and muscle strength after a short time.

Nutritional Plan

If you want to get that beach ready body, you’ll need a nutritional plan that will help you to build muscle and cut excess fat weight. Proper nutrition mixed with the right amount and types of exercise will get you the body of your dreams given enough time and consistency as long as you do everything right.

Below is a brief overview of basic nutrition concepts.

Nutrients

Fat
woman holding almonds
Do not confuse fat with unhealthy junk food. Healthy fats from nuts, coconuts, fish, olive oil, and dairy play a key role in building muscle. Fats provide the body with the energy needed to fuel the muscle-building hormones in the body. Make sure to get the right amount of fats daily, especially during the morning hours.  Be aware that you can eat too many healthy fats as well.  Fat contains 9 calories per gram, more than double to 4 per gram contained in protein or carbohydrates.  By the way, alcohol contains 7 calories per gram.  Alcohol will derail your fat loss efforts, read about that by clicking this link.

Protein
seared ahi tuna with steamed vegetables
The major factor for muscle-building is protein. This is the most important substance to intake, as it is what allows your body to repair and create new muscles. If you workout daily, your body is constantly building muscle, even on rest days. Whey powder is the most popular way people get the minimum amount of protein per day, but eating foods that contain protein is recommended over whey powder. The amount of protein varies depending on your body type and fitness routine, which you can find out from a personal trainer. Protein can be found in foods like beef, poultry, fish, milk, whey, and egg whites.

Carbohydrates
bowl white rice
Carbs is another thing people get confused about. There are healthy carbs and unhealthy ones. The carbohydrates you want are the ones from fruits and vegetables. Any other source is unhealthy and will not aid you in bulking. It is recommended that you eat vegetables with every meal. Fruits are best eaten in the morning to provide your body with natural energy throughout the day, as well as after an intense workout to prevent excess fatigue.

Calories
In order to build muscle while losing fat, you will need to make sure to meet your calorie requirements.  If you eat too few calories, your body responds by slowing the metabolic rate and feeding on muscle for energy. The amount of calories your body will need depends on your workout that day as well as your age, height, weight and body type. This is why it’s important to create a customized nutritional plan, which a certified sports nutritionist like me can help you with. If you follow the advice of your personal trainer and stick with the plan, you will look like a celebrity in no time!

bodybuilding meals

Click pic to order from Icon Meals – my shortcut to perfect nutrition!

For me, though, strength training is a lifelong journey. I strive to increase my health and fitness every day.  I eat clean, balanced meals, I work out with weights and I take care of my body. I don’t just want to look great, I want to feel great and know that I do my best every day to take my health and fitness in my own hands.

It’s never too late to start with a health and fitness program, but why wait? Think of all the good you’ll do your body now.  Today.   No two people are the same, and no two workouts are the same when you’re training with me, or my trainers. We customize a workout and nutrition plan that’s right for you. Your strength, fitness, health and well-being are all addressed in your first consultation and we continue to monitor your success.

Contact me today to set up an appointment.

Why wait to change your life?

PS: Live in the South Bay?  Check out my Manhattan Beach personal trainer site!

Esther 2004 Venice Muscle Classic
Venice Muscle Classic Figure Short 1st place!
Comeback at age 46
2010 Orange County Masters and Open Bikini 4th
Esther 2004 NPC Tournament of Champions
Tournament of Champions Figure A (3rd)
Esther 2004 NPC Tournament of Champions
Tournament of Champions Figure A (3rd)
2004 Max Muscle Naturals
Esther and Coach Jason
Esther 2004 Max Muscle Naturals
Max Muscle Naturals Masters Short (3rd)
Esther 2004 Max Muscle Naturals
Max Muscle Naturals Masters Short (3rd)
Esther before and after 2003
Esther's initial transformation at age 39
Esther before and after 2003
Esther's initial transformation at age 39

Rest Days – Why They’re Important To Avoid Overtraining

There’s no magic pill when it comes to building up your muscles and getting the perfect body. You’ve got to put in the hours and put out some sweat to get results. Most dedicated bodybuilders know this, and understand that giving in to the temptation to lounge on the couch rather than hitting the gym can be the start of a slippery slope which leads to flab and wasted muscles. However, the opposite tendency can in fact be equally bad for your regime.

couple walking on beach

Schedule rest days for best results.

Overtraining, exhausting your body, never giving it any time to replenish itself, and becoming obsessive about exercise can be just as bad for you. The trick is to recognize that moderate amounts of rest are a vital part of your workout regime, and to incorporate them into your training schedule. Here’s what can happen if you don’t…

Overtraining Symptoms

Your Mental Health Will Suffer

mike o hearn bodybuilderOf course, you already know that being fit is a state of mind as much as of body – without the right frame of mind, you will never be able to get yourself to stick to your training schedule, and all your hard-won fitness will quickly degrade. However, if you start overtraining, that healthy frame of mind can slowly lead to an unhealthy obsession.

Although experts are divided on whether or not the endorphin rush that comes from a workout is actually ‘addictive’ in the strict scientific sense of the term or not, the phenomenon known as ‘exercise addiction’ nonetheless blights lives and can require serious amounts of therapy to overcome. ‘Addicts’ become incredibly anxious when unable to exercise. Workouts become an all-consuming feature of their lives, bringing about an incredibly deleterious effect on their relationships, social lives, and careers. ‘Addicts’ also frequently suffer from depression and swiftly develop exceedingly poor body image. Eating disorders and stress-related insomnia frequently follow hard on the heels of an exercise addiction. As such, it is important to avoid letting exercise take over your life.

Your Muscles Will Shrink

gold standard wheyThis is fairly basic biological science, but it’s worth repeating: muscle-growth is the result of repair-jobs that the body does on micro-tears in muscle fibers caused during exercise. During rest, the body gets to work on laying down new protein strips to heal existing tears, and adds a bit more in for good measure, to ensure that the injury won’t happen again. This is why protein shakes are so popular and effective. However, the body undertakes this repair and improval work while you’re at rest. If you don’t give your body enough rest time in which to repair, renew, and build up your muscles, you’re simply heaping injury on top of injury. Your muscles will be sore constantly, necessitating a lot of discomfort and expenditure on pain-relief techniques. What is perhaps more distressing, however, is the fact that your muscles will actually deplete during this time. This is because your body, exhausted and desperate to conserve vital glycogen resources, will burn muscle in preference to fat. The more catabolic exercise you do, the more inclined your body will be to cannibalize its own muscle. If you never give it the chance to replace that muscle, you’ll end up seeing actual inverse results from all the time you spend working out.

Your General Health Will Suffer

Overtraining and the subsequent exhaustion leads to your body pouring all of its resources into keeping you upright and moving, when it should be concentrating on other vital things like digestion, immune function, reproduction, hormone regulation, and so on. Almost all of your neurochemical and hormone levels will drop –with the exception of cortisol, which is released during muscle stress. Cortisol is known as the ‘stress hormone’, and has been associated with increased anger, anxiety, mood swings, and depression. Elevated cortisol levels also come with numerous health risks, like lowered immune function, weight gain, heightened blood pressure, and many more. All of which will be occurring anyway as a result of resource-exhaustion – the last thing you want is for cortisol to exacerbate the problem! If you’re a woman, the decrease in hormone levels can lead to your periods drying up, which may have a serious impact upon your reproductive health. Skeletal density can also decrease due to a drop in estrogen levels. All in all, it’s far better to begin to work rest periods into your workout, and start thinking of them as a vital part of your training schedule, rather than a lazy cop out!

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