There are a number of health reasons to strength train (stronger bones, higher metabolism, great heart workout)… not to mention other good reasons (like shapely muscles, tighter/leaner body, cuz I don’t prefer to run and this is still good exercise)…
but one of the my favorite reasons is the challenge!
Weight loss provides it’s own challenge – usually a victory on the scale. And it can be super motivating to stick to your routine when you are experiencing those victories. But there is a time when that comes to an end, when the scale just isn’t going down any more… either because of plateau or you’ve reached the number that makes your heart happy. And then what?
There are challenges for runners – graduating from a 5K to a 10K all the way up to a marathon and beyond, but each of those steps requires more and more time (ie you can’t run 26 miles in a 60 min workout) – it’s time that I don’t prefer to accumulate. I just don’t plan on going for a 3 hour run on my weekends…
In strength training there is an ever-present challenge to progress to a higher weight or degree of difficulty and while it may take you a while to get there, you never get to a stopping point where you look around and say “now what?” There is always more to strive for (if you want to). And the challenge is personal. To run a marathon you have to run 26.2 miles – while it may be easier for some and impossible for others, that’s the number you have to hit. In strength training, the number – hence the challenge – is all your own. While someone maybe striving to do 100 pushups, perhaps your big victory is conquering 5 – and that may be just as difficult for you… so SCORE!
And no victory is stupid or silly – I remember the first time I got to 5 pushups just as well as the time I topped out at 33. I remember my victory for doing ONE full situp. And both were just as sweet I did 2 pullups one time and I filmed it I was so excited!
My sights are set, and I always have something to conquer, whether it’s a body weight squat or that awesome looking one armed pushup (that’s a while down the road!)… I always have something to “do” in the gym – I am working toward something, not just there to mark off some time in my log book… and since the scale no longer tells me whether I am making progress this is a huge blessing to me. There aren’t a whole lot of other reasons to get up at 7:30am on a Saturday to head to the gym except looking for my next victory! Today’s – I put 6 plates (+ 2 baby plates) on this bad boy and my legs (MY legs!) lowered and lifted them 8 times and that is FREAKIN AWESOME! that’s more than 3 times my bodyweight!