As health clubs proliferate and weight training joins fitness in becoming the greatest social movement at the dawn of the 21st century, let's look back at how this worldwide phenomenon began. In the early days we used to say, "Train for shape and strength will follow." How true! Even competitive Olympic weightlifters who trained for performance results indulged in a bit of muscle-building to enhance their power. Proof of other benefits was scarce, but no one could deny what lifting weights could do for your appearance. As a consequence, bodybuilding thrived on an enhanced image of beauty.
We've certainly come a long way. Looking good is still a top priority, but exercise is now recognized as the common denominator in the quest for good health. Resistance training specifically has highlighted the fitness movement with several benefits: Not only does it figure heavily in bodyweight control, but it lessens the risk of a host of ills such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes, several types of cancer and more. In one test, researchers at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) found that the transit time of food through the intestine was shortened by half after subjects engaged in three months of strength training, reducing the risk of such problems as diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, constipation and possibly colon cancer.
In addition, clinical trials have shown that resistance training reduces the "bad" LDL cholesterol while aerobic exercise raises the "good" HDL cholesterol. Talk about a one-two punch! This supports our belief that a combination of weight training and aerobics may be the ideal regimen for losing weight and improving cholesterol levels.
While a lifetime of fitness is the goal to strive for, many scientific studies in recent years show that lifting weights becomes increasingly important past age 50 in preventing such common causes of disability as brittle bones, back pain and instability. It can maintain or restore strength and vitality as well. Researchers at Tufts University (Medford, Massachusetts) also support the superiority of strength training for postmenopausal women: They found that while walking prevented bone loss only in the spine, resistance training actually thickened the bones of the spine and hips, reducing the chance for fractures in these vulnerable areas. This led to a greater capacity for overall activity that could help keep the bones strong.
The magic of progressive-resistance weight training is its fast-acting effect. For beginners, a single set of 8-12 repetitions per bodypart using a barbell, dumbbells, a machine or bodyweight in a 20-30-minute full-body workout 2-3 times a week will start to build muscle, boost metabolism, fight low-back pain, increase bone density and shield the heart from overexertion. On top of weight training you should also improve your diet, try to eat more meals that are high protein and low in carbs and fat. To help in improving you diet, adding a protein shake like BSN Syntha-6 will make the whole process easier. Once you start bodybuilding, you'll probably never stop. I haven't. Neither have our millions of followers.