Also known as resistance training, strength training exercises focus on developing muscle strength and endurance. Unlike an aerobic activity such as jogging or cycling, strength training is anaerobic, meaning you exert energy in short spurts to facilitate muscle growth.
However, there’s much more to strength training than lifting weights and building muscle. While muscular strength is undoubtedly a part of it, the benefits of strength training also extend to improved mental health, enhanced mobility, and a reduced risk of complications such as cardiovascular disease.
By understanding the types and benefits of strength training—including the crucial role nutrition plays—you can create a workout plan to help you get the most out of your exercise routines.
All strength training exercises are done in short spurts, always creating resistance to build muscle. However, several types of exercises and physical activities fall under this umbrella term.
Weightlifting is one of the first things that come to mind when we think about strength training. From free weights to machines, weightlifting exercises target various muscle groups. Here are some of the most common weightlifting exercises:
You can easily incorporate dozens of bodyweight exercises into your workout routine without any equipment. Bodyweight exercises are simple, can be done anywhere, and are perfect for those who don’t have time for the gym. Below are some of the most common:
Resistance bands come in different sizes and tensile strengths, and various exercises with resistance bands work many of the same muscle groups as the above.
HIIT is an effective type of strength training distinguished by an accelerated pace and high level of intensity. The idea behind HIIT is to exercise with maximum effort for a very brief period (such as 20 seconds), take a short break, and do it again. There are three main categories of HIIT, though a lot of people like to mix and match between them:
Incorporating resistance training into your everyday activities can help you reap the many benefits of strength training.
Whether you’re hitting the gym or doing bodyweight exercises at home, strength training helps burn body fat and build lean muscle mass. The balance of aerobic exercise and strength training is key to overall fitness. If increased muscle mass is a priority, training is just as important as nutrition, and including meals with ingredients that promote muscle growth and recovery becomes crucial.
Strength training also exercises your skeletal structure, improving joint health and bone density. People with strength training in their workout plan will likely have stronger, healthier bones and teeth in the long term.
Resistance training also has a direct impact on mobility and flexibility. Strength training exercises will help you stay agile, active and maintain a robust range of motion for much longer.
Finally, a regular strength training regimen reduces the risk of health complications or chronic disease. For example, strength training helps reduce blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer by 10 to 20 percent!
The physical benefits of strength training may be more obvious, but this type of exercise also boosts mental health. Building muscle and psychological well-being haven’t always been connected, but we now know that strength training exercises play a critical role in reducing symptoms of depression.
Creating a balanced strength training program isn’t difficult, but there are some important things to keep in mind:
Nutrition and strength training go hand-in-hand. The benefits of a balanced diet on how much energy you have during a workout, how quickly you build muscle, and how efficiently your body recovers can’t be overstated.
Your energy levels directly correlate to what you eat, so having a balanced diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals is critical. Foods high in complex carbohydrates and protein—such as Muscle Mac’s Mac and Cheese products—provide the most energy, ensuring you have enough for strength training exercises.
Besides providing energy, proteins are also fundamental to muscle growth and recovery. If you’re serious about building strength, your body needs protein to repair muscles faster and allow you to get back to training. Dairy products such as milk and cheese also promote muscle repair.
Another way nutrition can affect training is through probiotics, which are live bacteria that are good for you and your digestive system. Usually, we call these “good” or “friendly” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy, a key element in overall health, mobility, and the ability to exercise. Specially designed meals, such as our White Cheddar Mac and Cheese with GanedenBC30® Probiotics, are a perfect way to ensure you get plenty of probiotics in your diet.
The idea behind Muscle Mac products has always been the same: to provide nutritious, muscle-building meals that are delicious. All our meals are packed with 20g of vegetable-based protein and a balance of macros that provide long-lasting energy, build muscle, and help you recover after training.
We use natural ingredients, GMO-free pasta, and real cheese for authentic taste and texture to create a workout meal that provides the ultimate flavor and performance. Nutrition is a part of resistance training. To build strength by growing muscle, check out our shop and add Muscle Mac to your diet today.