I figured it out! I figured out the “Fountain of Youth.” Yes, it is strength training. Strength training is so crucial for our bodies that honestly I don’t think I ever really realized it until I started doing CrossFit and saw such an amazing change in my body!
“Four Reasons Why Endurance Athletes should do Strength Training.”
Here is reason #3:
Improve Body Composition
Strength training will improve overall body composition. You will NOT get huge muscles while you are training for an endurance event. That is actually impossible; it is called “Basic Exercise Physiology.” I know triathletes and runners don’t want to “get big” if they are lifting weights, but if you are doing cardio for more than 3x a week at 30 minutes a day, it will be impossible to get “big.” I will hear that excuse a lot actually with athletes: “I don’t want to get ‘big,'” or “I don’t want to get injured.”
Let’s talk a little bit about Exercise Physiology; more specifically, anabolic and catabolic metabolism.
- Anabolic Metabolism – Metabolic process that BUILDS muscles, such as in weight lifting, anaerobic efforts, etc.
- Glucose becoming glycogen (We want MORE glycogen in our body and not “individual glucose.”)
- Catabolic Metabolism – Metabolic process that BREAKS DOWN the muscles, such as in endurance sports.
- Glycogen becoming glucose (We want MORE glycogen in our body, and not “individual glucose.”)
So, as a triathlete, our body is generally in the catabolic metabolism state that can “degrade bone, muscle, etc.” As an endurance athlete, if we start hitting the gym, we will go into an anabolic state ONLY if we stop our swimming, cycling, and running. Our bodies can NOT DO BOTH. The anabolic and catabolic will cancel each other out, so we will NOT get big!!!
If the triathlete hits the gym 2x a week, we are starting to build more glycogen in our bodies to utilize for our swim, bike, and run, in addition to being more efficient out on the race course by keeping our body composition down and our speed up!