Every man should be on a lifelong quest for self-improvement. Many of our lists for improvement would have the goals of being a better son, father, husband, or coworker. These are all worthy goals that will surely make you a better man.
However, there seems to be a simple item that will make us better, but we’re just not doing enough of—lifting weights. Weight training is simple, takes little time, and provides benefits that will last a lifetime. James Kearns from JK Fitness explains how lifting weights makes us better men.
Simply put, becoming a stronger man will make you a better man. This isn’t to say that you need to become a competitive powerlifter. It just means that you should be able to move a heavy piece of furniture without feeling like you’re going to pass out.
When you lift weights, your muscles are under a lot of stress. Your muscle responds to this stress by… getting stronger. Training with your bodyweight will only go so far. At some point, you will have to add weights to force your muscle to adapt to the stress and get stronger.
Weight training improves self-confidence by teaching you about setting, and achieving, goals. As you surpass your goals one-by-one, your confidence will continue to grow. You will gradually make self-improvements that would have, otherwise, never been possible.
Higher Testosterone Levels
You may have noticed that the market is flooded with supplements that claim to increase your testosterone levels. Well, weight training will naturally increase your testosterone production which can provide you with the following positive benefits:
- Increased muscle mass
- Improved heart health and blood flow
- Decreases fat
- Stronger bones
- Improved cognitive function
- Increased sex-drive
Have you ever been sitting around at work and “mentally checked-out”? Even worse, do you ever feel like you just can’t get anything done at home? By taking some time out of your day to hit the gym and strength train, you can increase your overall productivity and get more done.
Weight training helps us sleep better, reduce stress, and improves our creativity. All of these things will contribute to our daily productivity. Think about the improvements that you could see in your career and relationships if you were a little more productive.
Improves Your Health
You probably already knew that weight training makes you stronger, but it also provides some serious health benefits that most men aren’t even aware of. By consistently strength training you can expect to see some of the following:
- Increased bone density
- Improved brain function
- Improved heart health
- Reduced risk of stroke
By now, you are probably ready to head to the gym and get started lifting some weights. But, do you know exactly which exercises you should be doing?
If you are already an experienced weight lifter, then you should already have a good idea of what to do. However, if this is a new venture for you, then be sure that you are doing these 3 movements that are perfect for beginners:
- Barbell Squat
Long touted as the “king of exercises” the barbell back squat has a place in every man’s workout. They work almost every muscle in your body, including your core. When done right, they are also a great compound movement increasing your range of motion (ROM).
- Dumbbell Bench Press
Possibly the most common exercise on planet earth is the barbell bench press. Unfortunately, it’s also a main culprit involved in rotator cuff injuries. The dumbbell bench press gives the rotor cuff a less-restricted ROM and is a perfect alternative for beginners.
- Barbell Row
Every strength training program should consist of exercises that target your posterior-chain. The posterior-chain could be described as all the muscles that you can’t see, like your back and hamstrings. The barbell row directly targets your back and will give you a balanced program.
Eating For Success
When it comes to weight loss or muscle and strength gains, you will have to arm yourself with a proper diet that will help you achieve your goals. Your ideal diet would consist of whole foods such as chicken, beef, fish, nuts, whole-grains, and plenty of fresh fruit and veggies.
Far too often men will read about the “next big thing” in nutrition and, without little understanding, begin a diet that is sure to fail. Don’t think of it as a diet, but a way of life. There are few nutritional concepts that will promote muscle and good health, and make sense.
- Don’t skip breakfast
- Eat every 3-4 hours
- Drink water
- Consume protein after workouts
- Eat protein at every meal
- Carbs are important for energy, so focus them around your workouts and limit them throughout the rest of the day
- Get “good” fats” like nuts, olive oil, and coconut oil
- Avoid fried foods. They will kill your gains.
Download your FREE suggested meal plan here
Lifting vs. Cardio
Maybe you already go the gym consistently and more than happy plugging away on the cardio equipment. If this is the case, then be sure to keep this in mind. Many of the cardio that can be performed doesn’t build muscle. In some cases it will destroy muscle.
Exercises like running and cycling only build small amounts of muscle mass in your lower body and completely neglect your upper half. Weight lifting is a much better source of muscle balance. In fact, the muscular imbalances from too much cardio can lead to increased risk of injury.
However, the cardiovascular benefits that can be attained from performing appropriate amounts of cardio can’t be ignored. Maybe it’s not a case of one vs the other, but performing a combination of the two would serve you the best.
Lifting weights is the next step towards self-improvement and becoming a better man. And, even though it’s not the deciding factor, women enjoy looking at men who are ripped and toned, and they’ll definitely pay you more attention.
Ready to start lifting weights now?
James Kearns is a freelance writer, martial artist and fitness fanatic. He got his break writing for Breaking Muscle in 2014 and is regularly featured in leading fitness magazines, blogs and journals.
Other posts by James: That Evil May Walk In Fear: Why Every Man Should Learn Krav Maga