“Where there is power, there is resistance.”
We “modern” Americans do a lot in our heads, and in our hearts…maybe…but not in our bodies. I’m sure I don’t need to pull out research and stats on this one, right? (Although there are, of course, plenty of studies into our sedentary habits!) It’s nothing we don’t already know. We simply don’t move enough so we need exercise to pull us back to NORMAL human working levels – and therefore improve our fitness, longevity, mental health and overall quality of life.
At OPEX, we coach coaches and clients from all over the world in individualized fitness programs, so I have first-hand experience of this problem. Most exercise, nutrition and lifestyle prescriptions an OPEX Coach offers today is to help people get from below normal functioning levels back to normal. In this context, “normal” would mean experiencing balanced energy during the day, sleeping well at night, and moving easily whenever you want.
Resistance training is the most popular and most beneficial recommendation we make to our clients at OPEX. It literally helps everyone. Exercises that make your muscles work under a stress that is greater than they are used to offer four key benefits:
Immune System: Resistance training strengthens your immune system, which improves your ability to make lean body mass (i.e. increase muscle).
Balance: Small balancing receptors at each joint are improved with resistance training.
Function: The ability to adapt to climbing stairs, walking much further than usual and lifting heavier things, for example, is greatly improved by resistance exercises.
Metabolism: Improving your lean mass to fat mass ratio with resistance training also improves your resting metabolism.
I’m sure that the above health benefits of resistance training are more than enough to persuade you to give it a try, so next I’d like to give you some help with getting started. As a general rule, a resistance program that 1) works all your muscles, from head to toe, 2) can be done daily and, 3) is easily recovered from, is a very good choice. Ideally, a fitness program should be individualized, but I understand that that’s not always possible, and that even where it is, it may take a while to organize.
So that you can get going right away, here are three simple options to get your resistance fitness training up and running today.
On-line Coaching: If you are on your own, are competent in some exercise already and want to take your fitness and knowledge further, OPEX coaching could be for you. To speak to an OPEX coach, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and tell her you’re from HappyLiving.com. We currently have over 500 clients in our fully-supported online setting. They achieve massive success with our online coaching program, and you could join them!
With Gym: If you have access to “the gym” already, get yourself into the weight training area. Weight training machines are an easy and safe place to start. Machines for making your muscles work are the best option when you’re starting out – begin with the smallest loads on there and do a set per muscle that lasts 30-40 seconds. If you are feeling tired after each set, you’re getting it right.
Without Gym: If you cannot make it to the gym, then let the world be your resistance training ground. Performing against your bodyweight is a good alternative to machines – try the four exercises below to start with. You can increase the reps and add in movements in time. Do these exercises in a circuit with little breaks between each one.
Push ups: Chest to deck – to get the full range of motion if necessary. Head bobbing push ups are not counted! Only count the good reps in your total for that set.
Lunges: Touching your knee to the ground as you step forward over and over – 30-60 seconds of total work per set.
Side bridges/planks: Elbow on ground, feet stacked, on your side, lift your hips up and hold them there for 30-60 seconds per side.
Carries: Carry something heavy, and of roughly the same weight, in each hand and walk with it WHILE standing tall for 30-60 seconds.
If there is one area in which fitness can create efficiency (i.e. wasting less energy in the work we do) and promote longevity in most people today, it is resistance training. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and get resisting!
Enjoy. Be happy.
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