We took to the street to ask New Yorkers what their strength training goals are for 2016. If your answer would be, "I don't have any," then it's time to reconsider. While there will be plenty of "eat more vegetables" and "run at least once a week" resolutions, we're proposing one that many resolutioners haven't thought of: to add more strength training to your workouts. We know you've marveled at fitsgrams of strong-as-hell girls, secretly swooned over Ronda Rousey's muscles and envied the sheer power of Christmas Abbott. It's time you stop admiring and start doing.
There's a ton of research showing strength training has countless benefits—and that it gets you in shape way better than cardio alone. Sure, cardio burns calories, but muscle keeps your body burning fat all day long. Hence, more muscle equals more calories burned, even after the gym. (Sounds like a win-win, right?) Accoding to a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, women who did weight training for an hour burned an average of 100 more calories during the 24 hours after their training session ended than women who only did an hour of cardio. We're not just talking a regular workout burn, either; another study found that women who lifted weights lost more intra-abdominal fat (deep belly fat) than those who just did cardio. This decreases your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers—in addition to scoring you a hot body.
Say you don't want to lose weight; strength training also helps you look more defined, build curves, protects your joints, and even prevents osteoporosis (studies show strength training maintains bone mass and can even build new bone). Not convinced? It even helps your brain. Studies show that just 20 minutes of resistance training can even improve your long-term memory. And, possibly the most important reason you should give the barbell a chance: it'll make you feel like a stright-up boss.
So why are so many people still churning away at the elliptical with no weights or weight loss in sight? Maybe you know the benefits of resistance training, but are too scared of breaking your workout mold, unsure of what to do, or are just terrified of the free-weight section of the gym. Start with an easy strength training plan that's all mapped out for you, or get an experienced gym friend or personal trainer to show you the ropes.
If there's a time for you to muscle-up and give strength training a shot, it's now; get a fresh start in 2016 and make it your strongest year yet.