Beyond the Mirror

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It's pretty cool that diet and exercise can effect the way you look and the way you perform.

⬆️ That's an understatement; it's actually friggin amazing. 

 The other day I was going through client programs and goals. I wanted to see if there's anything I could do more research on and learn a bit more about to help my clients more effectively.

Eventually I started getting bored, reaaaallll bored. My eyes were glazing over staring at Excel file after Excel file until something finally caught my attention.

 Through all of the people whose goals were to "lose 15lbs of fat", "tone up", "put on lean muscle", etc. I came across a few individuals whose goals weren't determined by a number on the scale or the barbell.

One person's main goal was to "move better and feel better. Have more energy throughout the day, move pain free (currently suffering from minor chronic back and knee pain)."  And learn to eat healthy.

What?! You mean there's more to diet and exercise than just looking good??? 

I know, it's crazy right? 

We all get caught up in health and fitness in terms of how it makes you look, but the benefits of resistance training go far beyond the mirror.

 Some of the amazing things resistance training and a healthy diet can do (other than making you look sexy AF) include:

- Improving Insulin Sensitivity

You can tolerate more carbohydrates and they're more likely to be delivered to your muscles as "muscle glycogen" instead of being deposited into fat cells. This immediately combats diabetes.

- Increase Bone Mineral Density

The benefits of this is obvious. stronger bones, less likely to be broken or fractured. Can handle more stress and load. Research also shows a decrease or reversal of osteoporosis!

- Improve Cognitive Function

This one is hugeeeeee. If you wanna have a better chemical balance in your brain, be more attentive and productive, exercise and diet can have a huge impact on your ability to be productive. There's a reason why many successful people take time out of their busy days to workout and eat right. 

- Improves Mood

 There’s a chemical response to exercise - during and post exercise. Hormones are released during which enhance concentration and helps take your mind off of anxieties and worries you have outside of the gym (or sport, or whatever exercise you partake in). Ontop of that, your body regulates it's hormone response post exercise which helps relieve tension, stress and anxiety. Mostly your adrenaline and cortisol regulation.

- Anti-Depressant Substitute

Studies have shown that an exercise regimen produces just as effective long term (at least 6 months) Anti-depressant effects compared to people on Anti-depressant drugs. I don't know about you but I'd rather not put synthetic hormone altering drugs in my body if I don't have to. Moral of the story: Get up and move! Cardio, resistance training, sports, yoga whatever you  prefer.

 - Increased Fat Free Mass / Injury Prevention

This means more than just building muscle. Fat Free Mass includes your ligaments as well. Having stronger ligaments and connective tissue means less risk of injury no matter what you're doing. Injuries are no good to anyone so if you want to stay healthy - start lifting weights.

 This is even more important for:

1. Athletes - Stronger connective tissue helps prevent injury. This should always be #1 in terms of training for an athlete. Improving actual performance measures like vertical jump height, Sprint speed, etc all comes second. What good is an athlete if they can't play?

2. Elderly people - aging naturally decreases fat free mass, both muscle, bone and ligament strength leaving you susceptible to injury. Resistance training combats this by keeping your body strong and active.

Crazy info: some scientists are now correlating the amount of relative muscle / strength to life expectancy. The more healthy muscle and mobility you have, the longer you're likely to live. That's nuts. Chalk up another one to resistance training. 

 - Improves Cardiovascular Function

Yes, resistance training has cardio-protective benefits. You don't only need to do steady state cardio to decrease risk factors of cardiovascular disease. Resistance training improves strength of the heart walls, cardiac output and blood flow through out the body. It also decreases blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).

- Genetics and Gene Expression

 I saved the best for last here. You might think that genetics are purely hereditary and there's not much you can do to change what your parents gave you. If you think that , well, you're only half right.

You see there's genes, and then there's gene expression. The Environment you provide your genes with plays a massive role in your genetic health and potential. 

Diet and exercise are responsible for the way your genes are expressed. If you eat like shit and don't exercise often, you're not giving your body the ability to express some very important genes. This can promote the likely hood of suffering from a host of diseases.

Exercise stimulates the expression of so many protective, feel good and performance increasing genes in our bodies. Same with diet. In fact protein and antioxidants for example are too of the most important in terms of genetic expressions.

The Takeaway

For now, take a look outside the box and see if your life needs something more than just fat loss or muscle building. If you're not resistance training regularly , feel stressed or down, suffering from diseases such as osteoarthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, or anything of that nature - I urge you to consider hiring a qualified and experienced trainer to get you on a healthier and happier life path. It's astonishing to see how the body can drastically change via diet and exercise. Your health issues may begin to disappear.