I’ve been working on another book, this one on the health benefits of strength training, and it’s called “Muscle Up: How Strength Training Beats Obesity, Cancer, and Heart Disease, and Why Everyone Should Do It”. I ordered a couple of mock-up covers, just to see what might work, and here’s one of them:
If you have any opinion on this cover, good or bad, I’d be more than happy to hear it.
The book covers what seems to me to be an under-emphasized topic: weightlifting for health. Obviously there are tons of books and sites dealing with lifting for the bro set, that is, lifting to build muscle. While building muscle is an integral part of any program of strength training, the aspects of lifting that improve health seem mostly to be ignored.
Probably about 99% of people who exercise do some form of aerobics, whether walking, jogging, or cardio in the gym. Strength training for health is just ignored, because it has been little promoted. Health authorities have promoted aerobic exercise for decades now, as if that were a unique way to health, which it is not.
Worse than that, those 99% of aerobic exercisers believe that their aerobic exercise is both necessary and sufficient for health, when it is neither. It is not necessary, because strength training has a substantial aerobic component, and it is not sufficient, because aerobic exercise has a poor record at fat loss and does nothing for or even accelerates sarcopenia, the loss of muscle with age.
Despite most people letting themselves get fat and out of shape, there are plenty of people who want to stay fit and who exercise regularly. I see people out walking for exercise all the time. The problem I have with it is that these people have been told that walking a few miles a day is all they need to do for health. They could do so much better, and I believe many of them would put in the extra effort at something like strength training if only they were told about it.
As for pure cardiovascular fitness, there’s an even better alternative, high-intensity training, and there will be a chapter on it in the book.
When aerobic exercisers try to use their form of exercise for weight loss, perhaps in conjunction with a low-calorie diet, they almost invariably lose a fair amount of muscle along with the fat. As I show in the book, this is bad for health; it appears to be so bad that not losing the fat in the first place, so long as you keep the muscle, might actually be better for health.
Strength training has a much better record at fat loss, particularly as it pertains to waist circumference, which is a much better measure of health risk than Body Mass Index (BMI). Even with a “normal” BMI, a larger waist circumference means higher risk of illness and mortality.
As for sarcopenia – muscle loss with age – it appears that strength training could all but abolish it. Even people in their 90s – even hip fracture patients – greatly benefit from resistance training, as I document in the book.
You may have noticed that I’ve used the term “strength training” a lot here, as well as in the subtitle to the book. That’s because “weightlifting” will probably turn off lots of regular people, who associate weightlifting with bros and steroids. The aim of the book is to show how a program of strength training can benefit everyone, not just guys looking to add muscle.
I got the idea for the book from the fact that my post showing that muscular strength decreases cancer mortality is consistently one of the most popular and searched posts I’ve written, and in fact at this moment stands at number one. I’d say most people think that cancer just more or less strikes at random and, beyond not smoking, there isn’t a lot you can do to decrease your risk. This of course isn’t true at all, and strength training is one way of decreasing cancer risk.