Today we are learning more about strength training from the wonderful Megan Benedict. Megan is the cofounder of Fit Kitchen Direct and is regular here on the podcast! She is going to share with us all the amazing benefits of strength training. Welcome Megan and thank you so much for being here!
Before we begin, I wanted to take the time to remind you all that the next round of the 30 Days to Thriving program starts March 1st! Head on over to fitlandiafitness.com/programs to check out everything that is included and sign up. It is all there to support you and to help you get you back on track…and it goes perfectly with today’s episode where we continue our series on the amazing variety of exercise we have available to us.
So Megan, take us back to when you started strength training and how you got into it.
Megan explains that she was always really active growing up and was an athlete in high school but noticed in college she was not as active as she used to be so she took up running. She ran a couple half marathons but began learning through her education that strength training is incredibly important to pair with any cardio.
She began teaching herself, despite the intimidating college gym culture, and became more aware of what proper form looked like, different ways of creating workouts and programs, and experimenting due to changing her major to Exercise Sports Science. She got started with Crossfit and made many friends who also were learning and growing in their strength training
Megan has been strength training ever since and talks about how for many years she was competing and lifting as much as she could but she noticed it taking a toll on her body and learned a few important lessons that influence her training today:
Megan’s Current Strength Goals/Ideals:
- Find the balance between lifting heavy and lifting right
- Maintain strength without causing unnecessary injury
- Create a strong core
- Upkeep the main lifts (back squat, dead lift & bench press-daily movements)
- Compete against myself, not against others
- Give myself permission to be safe and stay in good form
So why are we talking about strength training today? Why is it so important and what did you learn in your education that led you to become so passionate about it?
Megan explains that strength training is the building blocks to other movements. It helps build muscle, prevent injuries, support other movements and exercises, tone muscles, prevent bone and muscle decay, and supplement all other activities. She explains how she saw many of her fellow runners getting injured for silly reasons, simply for stepping wrong, because they were not doing any strength training to support the movements they loved to do in running. It was nothing they were doing wrong, it was simply that you need to train your muscles to support your activities.
Sometimes it seems like many trainers sign on to a certain strength training technique and ignore all the other (ex: bands, free weights, kettlebells, body weight, machines, etc.). What do all these philosophies mean and what do you recommend?
Megan explains how variety is key. It not only helps you develop and build muscles all over your body but it also helps you keep things interesting and avoid boredom. You can try many things, learn a whole lot, and find what you really enjoy. Some other important reasons to use a variety of strength training techniques include:
- Using machines as a beginner to avoid injury with free weights
- Not all movements/techniques are created equal and you want a well-rounded workout
- You can strike a balance between working all your muscles and doing what you love
If someone is interested in including more strength training in their workout routines, what sort of advice can you offer to beginners?
Megan’s Tips to Remember for Beginners:
- Invest in a trainer at first to learn proper from…no injury!
- Find the right trainer who helps you develop form and feel confident
- Do some serious research before you begin (books/websites/videos)
- You don’t need to use huge weights, do what works for you
- Find a sense of power in strength training even without large weights
- Don’t be afraid…it does not need to be bodybuilding intensity
- You can start at any age at any time!
- Listen to your body…only in competition with yourself rest is okay!)
You mentioned the importance of finding a trainer who help you develop form and confidence, with your experience as a trainer yourself, what does someone who is just starting out with strength training look for in a personal trainer?
Megan’s Personal Trainer Choice Tips:
- Focus on a successful relationship, be able to connect with them personally and know you get along (they should be kind!)
- Find someone who will push you physically and mentally and know when they can push you past mental blocks and nudge you to dig deep
- Many PTs are trained to sell, be open that you want to find someone who will teach you proper from, give you confidence, and then let you go on your own
- Interview more than one…this is your investment in your health
- Make sure they have experience; it takes time for someone to get good at knowing what is best for each individual client
- Find someone who will help you conquer self-doubt and self criticism and provide you with the tools and confidence to continue.
Well thank you, Megan, for all your amazing tips and for a peek into what strength training is all about. If you want to hear more of Megan, check out her website for Fit Kitchen Direct and follow her on Instagram!
As promised, here are some of Megan’s resources for learning more about strength training before you begin on your journey.