Motivation is fake
Clinical Exercise Physiologist and strength coach Kylie Morgan drops some strength training knowledge
Strength training is so good for us. It makes us stronger, faster, healthier, and even age better. Simply put, all of us should be doing some form of strength training.
When Clinical Exercise Physiologist and strength coach Kylie Morgan joined me on my podcast, she was great to offer her expertise in this area.
“My personal belief in exercise in general; I never want my health to limit what I want to do.”
Strength training lowers the risk of injury
Kylie has a wealth of knowledge in her field and some of the benefits of strength training she listed were very useful for trail runners. A well-rounded strength-training program lowers our risk of injury because as we strengthen, we also improve our range of motion and the mobility of our muscles, ligaments, and tendons and prevent muscle imbalances.
Strength training also improves our cardiovascular health, decreases blood pressure, and lowers our LDL (our bad) cholesterol, all the while increasing our good cholesterol and improving our blood circulation!
But wait, there’s more! What else can as little as one 30 minute session a week do?
“One session of strength training a week reduces your risk of heart attack or stroke by 40% to 70%. The increase in muscle mass we gain from strength training helps with improved blood sugar management. Strength training improves our bone health, which decreases our risk of osteoporosis. It improves cognitive function and it's very much a use it or lose it. We lose muscle mass as we age, so it's important to be strength training continuously. We want our muscles, joints and bones to be up to the demand that running places on them.”
What should I do as a trail runner who wants to strength train?
Kylie talked about the importance of training our body in different planes of motion for trail running because we have to run over roots and rocks, through creeks, etc. Our body is doing all kinds of things on the trails it doesn’t have to on the roads. We have to get our bodies prepared for all the movements trail running is going to put us through because injuries most often come from muscle imbalances or weaknesses. Our body has to be able to handle the load at all times and strength training helps us prepare our body to do this. The particular exercises that work best are easy enough to imagine “if you think about the movements that we're doing on the trails, you can correlate them to the gym very easily. You climb up into a rock that's a big step up or a lunge.”
Strength training makes running “easier”
“We want to be economical. Strength training improves our running economy. And that's largely due to neuromuscular improvements. Your brain is talking to your muscles and it's telling it to recruit the most fatigue-resistant muscle fibers. So then your longer run feels easier because you're more economical. One really cool study showed that an eight week strength training program improved 10K times by two and a half percent.”
Motivation is fake
This was my favourite part of the conversation with Kylie as she made a great point about motivation. We can all relate to feeling unmotivated and wanting to find a trick or easy way to flip the switch. The truth of the matter is that we need to make that decision for ourselves, and no external tricks are going to make the difference.
“Motivation is kind of fake. It's never going to be there. You're never always going to be motivated to do something, so it's more consistency and dedication. What is your end goal? I like to tell people if they're really not feeling their workout that day, give themselves ten minutes. Just get through your warm up. Nine times out of ten, you're going to want to continue because you feel good and you started. And if you don't feel good, then, hey, no worries, you gave it a shot. Try again tomorrow.”
It’s amazing what simply starting something can do to help you finish it. Simple enough, right?
Kylie made it clear that there are so many benefits to strength training that it’s really difficult to ignore. Clearly, strength training is something we can all benefit from and should be included in our routine. Not just as trail runners, but as people wanting to age gracefully and keep living a healthy life as we grow old.
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