If you’re new to the world of working out, then the safe option in the gym will probably centre around the cardio equipment. We all kinda know how to run or cycle, so for those first few sessions/weeks/months you’ll probably gravitate towards what you know how to do, with a few crunches thrown in at the end for safe measure. Does that sound like you?

We’ve all been there, and we don’t blame you for shying away from the unfamiliar, but this little listicle is here to show you just how much you would gain from ditching the cardio equipment and picking up a couple of dumbbells and giving weight training a go.

1. Boost in your metabolism

Cardio for weight loss, weight training for building muscle right? Ummmm, not entirely. Cardio can of course help you lose weight, but it’s main benefit is improving your cardiovascular health (the clue is right there in the name).

Muscle burns more than double the calories of fat while your body is at rest. So while you may burn calories while you’re on the treadmill, that stops the second you step off. Building muscle will help you to burn fat while you sleep or binge a box set on the sofa.

2. Increased strength

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You could lift weight to bulk up, but you don’t have to. Based on the type of weight training you do, bulking up isn’t always the outcome of weight training. However, no matter what training you do, you will get stronger. Improving your ability to carry your shopping, drag your suitcase, or throw your lover onto the bed. Whatever you plan to use your muscles for; weight training will help to strengthen them.

3. Confidence boost

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As a bonafide beta-male, I will never preach that muscles make the man. It’s the strength of your character that makes you a man, not the strength of your biceps. But it can’t hurt. Consistent weight training will see you progress to heavier weights faster than you might expect, bringing with it the huge boost of confidence that you damn well deserve! When you pick up that weight that you never thought you could, you’ll feel like a frickin rock star!

4. Overall fitness will improve

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With the increased strength comes many other #gains (you also get to start using that hashtag in your tweets). By increasing the strength and performance of your muscles, it makes sense that you could expect to get faster and more flexible as well.

5. You will sleep better

Bigger muscles will mean your metabolism is operating at optimal energy levels, meaning you’ll find it much easier to sleep. More activity during the day will mean that your body is more ready for sleep at night. However, if you find that a new weight training routine is making you toss and turn at night, try working out earlier in the day.

6. You’ll have more energy

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We’ll be honest, at first you’ll be knackered. But it won’t take long before your body adapts to your new routine and has more energy than ever. Strength training can also prepare you for more activities in your regular life outside of the gym. Playing with your kids, carrying heavy shopping, climbing stairs, power walking down the high street; all of these will become easier with regular weight training.

7. You’ll conquer your fears

(Or at least some of them, the gym has yet to cure my fear of sharks, vampires, and commitment).

Flashbacks of P.E. class and those fucking football games you were pressured into playing as a kid will melt away when you discover that you can lift heavier weights than your average bro.

Take the time to really learn what you’re doing and perfect your form, and you’ll progress far faster and farther than the uninformed hetero who just wants to make grunting sounds while doing bicep curls. (Plus you’ll get to throw plenty of superior shade).

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