Strength Training – What Are You Waiting For, Kick Off in 2014

Article by Dr. Paul Kennedy
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Dr. Paul KennedyThe topic of strength training is never easy because so many people define it in so many different ways. In many cases, it is referred to as “weight lifting’ which carries a competitive connotation for some and is a turn-off for many others. It is looked at as an activity that is only for people with large muscles and, perhaps, even larger egos.

For many, it is skipped altogether for three major reasons.

These reasons that I have encountered over the years as a fitness specialist are:

  1. Lack of knowledge as to what to do,
  2. Not enough time
  3. Too dangerous or too hard.

The first reason is understandable since much of the information provided to those seeking it is contorted, misapplied and even dangerous. What must be understood, however, is that the proper label for a program that involves gaining muscular strength, flexibility and added muscle tissue is “strength training.

Sadly, however, it appears that many (most) individuals that are involved in a fitness “program” do not include strength training on a regular basis and, for many, the strength training exercises that are being used are extremely unchallenging in terms of “workload”—the amount of weight being used, “intensity”—generally defined as getting as close as possible to momentary fatigue, and “comprehensiveness”—training only a few muscle groups (usually the chest and arms) to the exclusion of many others. It also appears that only a small percentage of individuals engaged in a regular fitness program do not include strength training as a regular part of their routine. For example, a recent study of over 16,000 adults involved in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) it was found that only about 13% had participated in some form of strength training and even fewer participated in some form of strength training twice or more per week. Considering the fact that at least two to three times per week is recommended to increase or at least MAINTAIN lean muscle tissue, it indicates a huge gap in “comprehensive strength training activities” in the general population.

So why the gap?

Well, the three reasons listed in the first paragraph shows that there is mush left to do to teach this vital skill set to the general public. And this is especially true when one understands that muscle tissue is the major “driver” of our metabolic rate—the rate at which we burn calories. It is estimated that up to 85% of the calories that we use each day are used to support lean body tissue in the form of muscle. Allowing our muscle tissue to waste away due to “disuse” is not only an underlying cause of fat weight gain, it is also crucial in the prevention of Type II diabetes and even many circulatory diseases. And a strength training “routine” or “workout” does not mean three sets of bench presses and a shower! ALL of the major muscle groups need to be involved so that the workout is comprehensive enough and involves sufficient intensity of effort.

Remember that only a small percentage (about 10%) of individuals that DO strength train do so comprehensively by training all major muscle groups and it is comprehensive (total body) programs that are far more superior—and can be LESS time consuming—in terms of effectiveness. There are over 600 muscles in the human body BUT it is possible to train the vast majority of them in a safe, efficient and effective manor that can enhance total fitness.

On our website, we have a series of videos that teach and demonstrate proper form and function of a comprehensive strength training routine (known as “The Quick Set System”) that can be accomplished by anyone wishing to improve their metabolic muscle function and lose fat weight while gaining lean tissue. Just click on “Wellness”, and then click on “Video” and select “The Quick Set System” series. There are separate videos for each muscle group and videos on how to complete a comprehensive workout in less than 30 minutes using ALL the major muscle groups in a safe and effective manner. Of course, see your doctor or health care specialist before starting any fitness program—especially if you have been sedentary for an extended period of time.

Happy New Year Everyone! That’s the “Be Fit, Stay Fit” Topic of the Month for January 2014. Good luck with YOUR program! I KNOW you can do it!
Dr. Paul Kennedy

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