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EVF Strength Class: Why You Should Be Lifting Weights by Coach Ryan Hanley

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 So you’ve recently gotten back into fitness, or maybe you’ve been working out for some time. You’re taking group classes at EVF or bouncing around from gym to gym with no clear direction other than just “getting fit.” It always feels as though there are so many pieces to the puzzle, and you’re left questioning why some are consistently getting stronger and looking more fit while you feel you’re not progressing. There are definitely a few things training with the strength class at EVF can provide that will help you achieve your strength and aesthetic goals.

   When thinking about strength, the first thing that comes to mind is lifting heavy weights and building big muscles. Yes, we do lift heavy weights, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who lifts heavy will look like a bodybuilder. The main reason for working out is training our bodies for situations we will encounter outside of the gym. We practice motor skills to increase balance and coordination, and we work cardio endurance in case we need to run to somewhere or from someone. We lift heavy weights so that when we need to pick up something heavy we can feel confident and enabled and don’t have to worry about getting injured. Most importantly, the results we get from strength training will leave you feeling empowered and capable of doing more in everyday life.

   Whether you’re new to EVF or you’ve been training with us for a while, our strength class can benefit you no matter your level.  The class will give you a structured lifting plan, teach you proper technique and progressions for each lift, improve body composition (ie, more muscle, less fat, making you look more “toned”), and increase performance in your other EVF classes as well as in life outside of the gym.

   In our strength class we provide a structured, progressive plan for you to follow. A lot of times when getting into working out, especially in class settings, you can see immediate improvements in your fitness, but eventually you plateau and the improvements seem to be fewer and farther between. If you’ve been taking our CrossFit classes, then you already know what it’s like to follow a plan that gradually increases your weight and intensity over time, as well as the benefits of gradual overload. EVF Strength class should be used as a supplement to our other classes. The strength class moves at a much slower pace than 360 and CrossFit, with bigger rest periods between your work sets. Where 360 and CrossFit are all about constant movement and elevating heart rate, EVF Strength slows things down so you can focus on proper form during your lifts. The longer rest periods allow you to progress your weights and intensity gradually, increasing your overall ability to lift heavy weights confidently. We believe in small, incremental increases in weight over long periods of time.

   Strength training has many physiological changes, increased muscle mass being one of them. However, as I said before, that doesn’t mean you’re going to look like a bodybuilder. Strength training causes the body to adapt by recruiting more muscle fibers, which in turn builds muscle density, allowing you to lift more weight. This also increases metabolism, which over time will contribute to achieving a more lean physique. The most noticeable change, and what I personally feel is the most rewarding benefit of strength training, is better performance.  Being able to step into a 360 class with confidence in your movement, knowing exactly which weights (and modifications if needed) to use in your workouts is incredibly empowering. Being the one to lift that heavy thing at work that no one else wanted to touch because they didn’t want to get hurt, or hitting PRs during test week in CrossFit makes it all worth it.

   With all the benefits strength training has to offer, everyone should be getting their hands on a barbell in some capacity. If you’re not sure how to start, come check out our strength class at EVF.  Columbus Circle meets Tuesdays at 7:30 am and Saturdays at 11:30 am with me (Ryan), and UES meets Wednesdays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 10am with Coach Joseph. We’ll teach you everything you need to know to get stronger, look and feel better, and perform to the best of your abilities. See you in class!