To Gym or Not to Gym

This past week has been a peak for my fitness goals: my first yoga class and my first weighted squats. Of course everyone wants to look and feel good, me included, but I had never really given strength/resistance training (muscles) much consideration when planning to 'get fit' for 2015.

'Fit', in Scotland anyway, has two meanings in relation to physicality.
  1. Fit: in good health, especially because of regular physical exercise.
  2. Fit: extremely good looking, synonymous with "hot" and "sexy".
Thanks to Google for the first definition, and (unsurprisingly) Urban Dictionary for the second.

Up till now, I always believed strength training only fulfilled the second definition of 'fit' and thought cardio was the way to live a healthier life. After lots of research, I discovered this isn't the case which did surprise me if I'm honest.

Three excellent articles I've found are from WebMDBreaking Muscle and Body Building(.com) which outline the main benefits of strength/resistance training and disprove some myths, but here are what I found the most interesting:

  • Has many similar benefits to cardio workouts such as reduced risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high estrogen levels (known to cause breast cancer) as well as stress and anxiety and much more.
  • Apparently it reduces symptoms of PMS which is the lead-up before your period - hopefully that means fewer stomach cramps and breakouts?! I'll look for confirmation on this...
  • Increases your immune system which means fewer colds and illness overall.
  • Obviously your muscles will become bigger and stronger, but your muscle endurance will also increase, meaning you'll be less fatigued during your everyday life.
  • Increased flexibility
  • Better posture
  • The build up of muscle prevents back and joint pain
  • And obviously, you'll be looking fit
These are just some of the benefits, but if you're still not convinced then I suggest you read the three articles I linked to above for more information.

Luckily for me, my friend Dana is an expert on all things fitness and works at Napier gym ([EN]GAGE), meaning she could show me the ropes. This was also where I went to my first yoga class and I really would recommend joining here if you live in or near Edinburgh - the membership prices are pretty good and the facilities and staff are great. The only thing missing is a swimming pool - but for swimming I go to the WHEC because the macaroni cheese is the best. Anyone agree?

Ultimately, in partnership with cardio workouts, it appears that strength/resistance training is an important aspect for a healthier lifestyle. And if I get a bikini bod and a bubble butt along the way, I'm not complaining. 

Malta 2k15 here we come!

What's your opinion on strength training? Do you focus on cardio more? Oh and has anyone used protein shakes to maximise results? They're so expensive!

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