Fri, Jan. 17

Why we should never-ever sit too long on that red wine-stained pale beige sofa...

So, you're probably wondering sometimes, why on earth regular folks should weight train... By now, it is ingrained in the human nature to avoid lifting unnecessary loads, parking that-much-further from the entrance to the shop than ab-so-lu-te-ly, but ab-so-lu-te-ly, necessary, and all of us smartly and dutifully flip the remote control (or controls, depending on the quantity of the TV sets in the given household) - all from the comfort of our favorite 25-year-old sofa, which, you see, used to be dark brown, but over the years became pale beige with some pizza and red wine stains all over, plus some well-seated in soft spots, faithfully marking the favorite places of the family members (dogs and cats included)...

It is not that I want to shake our community members out of that comfort zone of the comfy pale beige couch, but truth needs to be said: we do have to make some effort in order to stay healthy (or become healthy again!). You see, our health and well-being does not appreciate us sitting on the pale beige sofa with red wine stains on it. Our bodies need us to move beyond moving the finger over the remote control channels. Also, it needs us to lift some weight. Our health won't thank us for pushing that shopping cart all the way through the store, out of the doors and to the back of our car; it wants and needs us to carry some loads. Yep. I know, it is hard truth. Sorry to break it to you all.

What do we gain, apart from working out sweat on the collective forehead, from lifting loads? Well, a lot. We gain strength, power, we become better at dealing with the tasks of daily life (functional fitness, anyone?!), and we build muscles. Building muscles is good for many reasons: as we build the lean body mass (i.e. muscle), we usually lose quite a lot fatty tissue. The fat is weighing less than the muscle, so you might not be happy with the results on the scale (at least initially...). But you know what? The lean body mass also burns more calories both while exercising AND while at rest: many, many hours after you are done with your bench presses of the day! The more lean body mass wee have, the better our metabolism tends to be and the more overall calories we burn a day (and night).

Moreover, the muscle mass acts as a nice cool "cage" for our bodies: the more muscles we have and the more we train them, the stronger and more pronounced they become and they end up protecting us from falls throughout our lifetimes! To give you an example, I have been through many falls over my active life, but only once a fall ended up in me breaking the radial bone in my left wrist. With dislocation. Ouch!!! L And how did that happen, you might ask? Well, I was roller skating on a cruise ship. Of course, as it always is the case, it was my last round around the deck before the lunch. Suddenly, the ship moved due to a bigger wave, and there I was, third day of my vacations and with a broken hand. And I was wearing all the protection as needed! At least all this ended up in a cool way, as we were just getting to Puerto Rico: my poor limb was duly taken care of, manipulated, put in place again and even wrapped in a bright magenta cast by a lovely local Puerto Rican orthopedic surgeon. He understood my need of color purrfectly well and produced the magenta cast in a whim. And the next day, you could have seen me trotting around the deck, pink cast in the sling, no painkillers needed! Ha. So, this is only to say that I might have fallen sooo many times more, but I do believe that my strong muscles, sense of balance and hours of various types of training, actually, have prevented me from falling. And I plan to remain like that at least until I am 127 years old, or maybe even 128. Seriously.

I have great news for those of you who run with panicked looks just at the mention of the words "gym", "dumbbells", "barbells" or "plates", and so on, associating all of the above rather with a poorly lit dungeon than with any fitness gains or possible fun: weight training might, but does not have to include all or any of the above. It can be done equally nicely just with your body weight (for example, using suspension systems, such as the TRX system, or using elastics, Pilates balls, sand bags, kettle bells, all of which I do have and use at my Be Fit Fit Studio).

Your weight training needs to be planned and structured and ever-changing, so our body does not adapt to the effort it is making and it continues to respond in the way we want it to various repetitions, sets and loads. You see, the body is smart and after a short while, it figures out what we want it do do and adapts in a way to use the least possible amounts of energy for the given task. So, you need to surprise your body with ever-changing array of training methods (this is, evidently, why you need me!).

For optimal results, it also needs to be supported by some flexibility, balance and cardiovascular exercises.

Believe me, it needs to be fun and it can be fun! E-mail me at to get in touch and schedule your first weight lifting session with me. For more benefits of weight lifting, visit my web site at (the "Benefits" Tab). You can also sign up there for my Free Fitness Newsletter. And in the meantime, fear not lifting those grocery bags and carrying them all the way to your car: no assistance needed (wanted)?)... Stay Fit!

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