Brain Warriors need to be strong… in every way! I meet so
many people who want help achieving a healthy weight, looking younger, and keeping
their mind sharp as they age. There’s one exercise that can help with all of
Here are 5 ways strength training can help you reach your
Warrior goals and optimize your brain function.
1. Boost metabolism all day long.
The more muscle you have your body, the higher your
metabolism. It’s simple math. Every pound of muscle burns roughly 6 calories a
day while every pound of fat burns approximately 2 calories per day. That’s not
all. Having more muscle means you can power through tougher workouts—a steeper
hike, for example—which adds to the calorie burn. Plus, there’s the afterburn
effect, known as EPOC, which shows that your body continues burning more
calories for hours or even days after weight training.
2. Fend off dementia.
Did you know that the stronger you are, the less likely you
are to get Alzheimer’s disease? Canadian researchers found that resistance
training plays a role in preventing cognitive decline.[i]
3. Lose more belly fat.
When combined with a brain healthy eating program, strength
training helps you lose more fat while maintaining muscle tone. Dropping
abdominal fat is especially beneficial because as the size of your belly goes
up, the size of your brain goes down and increases the risk for cognitive
decline and memory problems.
4. Increase your protein reserve.
In medical emergencies, having more muscle on your body can
help you recover faster. As an ICU nurse, I saw first-hand how elderly patients
who were frail died faster than those who were stronger. Frailty prevented them
from recovering and increased their risk of falls, broken bones, and pneumonia.
It’s also associated with a greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Strength training can reduce your chances of developing type
2 diabetes even if you’re at increased risk for the condition. A 2019 study
with 4,681 adults showed that strength training and increasing overall muscle
mass lowered risk by 32%.[ii] Other research has shown it helps stabilize blood sugar levels and reduces insulin
resistance, two things that are very important for optimal brain function.
How much strength training do you need?
I recommend two 30- to 45-minute strength-training sessions
a week—one for the lower body (legs, lower back, and abs), the other for the upper
body (chest, arms, and upper back). You can use traditional weights or just
your own body weight—think pull-ups and push-ups. Compound strength-training
moves that involve multiple muscle groups like lunges and squats are particularly
Remember, after a tough strength-training sesh, it’s
important to replenish your body with protein to help with muscle repair and
a delicious post-workout shake, try any of the many smoothie recipes on my website and start with OMNI Protein in Vanilla or Chocolate. And if you want more energy
and focus to motivate you to hit the gym on a regular basis for your
strength-training sessions, check out Focus & Energy. It gives you the lasting
energy and endurance you need—without the jitters or caffeine crash. Enter the
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