Good health is all about achieving a balance between a healthy, nutritious diet and a mix of weights-based and cardio exercises.
A good set of cardiovascular exercises aims at building up your stamina. But what about body strength - pure power? Not everyone looks forward to a Mr. Asia-kinda physique, but a tiresome workout session with weights is what keeps your body robust and mind at peace.
Why is weight training important?
Human body consists of two distinct tissues:
a) Muscle which is compact, dense, firm - metabolically active
b) Fat which is flabby & jelly-like - metabolically not very active.
During weight training, muscle cells breakdown & repair by increasing in size so as to handle the same or more overload again thereby leading to increase in muscle mass & strength. As muscle mass increases, BMR also increases (muscle being an active tissue) which aids in burning fat, as well as giving a leaner & toned look.
Here are some myths and facts, however, that you need to watch out for -
MYTH: Higher the protein consumption, greater the growth in muscle mass.
FACT: Anything in excess is bad. Daily protein consumption of 1.2-1.7g/Kg body weight (depending on the intensity of the workout) is sufficient to support muscle wear and tear. Excess protein ultimately gets deposited as fat thereby increasing fat percentage, overloads the kidney causing kidney damage & increases uric acid level leading to gout. Overdose of protein also leads to nausea, vomiting, hair loss, skin problems, flatulence, bloating, osteoporosis (causes calcium loss from the bones). The form in which protein is consumed pre & post-workout plays a very important role in getting the desired results.
MYTH: Carbohydrates are not as important as proteins during weight training.
FACT: Carbs are fundamental for strength training as they are stored as glycogen in the muscles & provide energy during exercise. In a low carb-high protein diet, muscle proteins are used as a source of energy due to lack of availability of carbohydrates. Besides protein uptake by the muscle, it is also affected in absence of carbohydrates leading to loss of muscle tissue & poor muscle protein synthesis. Complex fibrous carbs pre workout & fast absorbed carbs like glucose or fruit juice post workout are essential.
Why are antioxidants necessary after workout?
In this competitive urbanized environment, people are a victim of stress, anxiety, tension, pollution, illness etc. which leads to release of free radicals that hinder muscle repair & also cause problems in other organs of the body as well. Exercise also causes release of free radicals & to fight its harmful effects; antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E , Vitamin A , zinc, selenium etc are needed in appropriate amounts. Therefore, a well-balanced nutritious diet is very important to compliment your effort.
Remember: Keep your body well hydrated by drinking sufficient water before/during/after your workout to promote blood flow to the muscles thereby aiding in faster muscle recovery.