Satu is a Personal Trainer specialising in resistance training. She is passionate about helping people and especially women find their way (and their confidence) in the world of fitness. We know there is a lot of pressure on having a particular kind of body. This, plus lots of misinformation about fitness and exercise, makes it a confusing space and it can be hard to know what’s real, what’s not and where to start. We are taking it back to what fitness is all about, looking after your body and mind. Satu is answering our most pressing fitness-based questions in this ‘Ask Satu’ Series.

Here is the latest one…

What are some surprising (or not so surprising) benefits of Resistance Training?

There are several benefits to exercise, and specifically to resistance training. Some are visible and expected such as changes in muscle tone, others not so expected and often invisible to the eye but are even more important to the individual who has chosen to take on resistance training. Here are just some benefits that you can expect to gain with resistance training, whether you are a man or a woman. 

Better Sleep

If you look at the science, it shows that resistance training can improve your sleep quality in both the amount of rest you get, and the length of deep sleep. I don’t think people appreciate that. It will free certain types of hormones in your body that will then improve sleep quality, which in turn will improve your ability to deal with stress. That’s both mental stress as well as the ability to recover from physical exercise. 

It is worth noting, however, that vigorous exercises before bed can have a negative impact on the quality of sleep depending on your personal circadian rhythm, so if evenings are your only time for exercise, it may be more beneficial to choose a more slow-paced form of exercise. 

Mental Health – Feeling Strong and Proud

Mental health is such a multi-faceted construction. But in general, exercise has shown to have a positive impact on mental health. 

It can be a real boost to overcome and fulfil goals and it can really improve your self-confidence. Many of my client’s state that they hope that working with a personal trainer to achieve their goals will result in them “feeling awesome”. And it is exactly that confidence I aim to deliver. 

The time at the gym can be your time. Achievement can make you feel invincible. I think it’s a benefit that often people don’t think about. The ‘you’ time and doing something very good for yourself both physically and mentally. Just knowing that you are capable.

Research also shows that people undertaking resistance training have an increased capacity to face daily challenges. For example, there is something that researchers call “interference” – it’s the ability to tolerate and block off noise or other background annoyance. People having a regular exercise routine have shown to be able use this more effectively than those who are not exercising. This in turn shows itself as improved capability to deal with stress. 

It’s that freedom of movement that I have gained from resistance training, I have become stronger in my body. It’s a nice feeling to be able to be proud of my body because it can do things. For me, it’s not so much about how I look. Although my daughters ask, “can see your muscles again?!” so it’s nice to be an unexpected role model!  


If there is a time in your life when you have to give up who you were – it could be a sudden case of unemployment, graduating from university and seeking for the first job, becoming a mum, going through peri- and menopause, a number of things! – building a new identity can feel threatening. 

Sometimes these identities are put upon you. All of a sudden you are someone’s spouse, or because your partner is in the military you are seen as a military wife. Or you’re seen as someone’s mum, or you become a dog mum! 

Building yourself that healthy, fit identity can be very beneficial for mental health. Doing exercise and seeing yourself through that lens of “I am a person who goes to the gym”. You can still hold on to that identity whilst creating other ones. 

Energy Levels

Having more energy to do more! For instance, more energy to play with the children. Personally, for me, going to the park was always a bit of a chore but it’s actually not anymore. Because I have enough energy – and strength – to do that and other things. If they want to play football, that’s absolutely fine. It’s not something I dread! We can even have a competition on the monkey bars, which is something I was never able to do before.


Improved posture. Your postural change that is a positive side-benefit of resistance training will also change your mental state and attitude. When you are standing tall, and you can present yourself with a smile, that will have a positive effect on your mood as well. 

Pain Relief

One of the reasons why I got into resistance training was back pain. It was chronic for years and it’s not 100% gone but weightlifting and mobility training are great ways of managing pain. Lot of my clients seek help for sciatica, shoulder and neck pain, and lower back pain. Resistance training can help all this through improved mobility and gained strength. One of the common nominators often is quite a sedentary job, which has led to imbalances in the body. 

Growing older better

Resistance training helps to improve your mobility for when you are older. When you’re in your ‘laties’, you should start it if you haven’t already! If you think of growing older, it’s an unfortunate truth that especially for women, there are quite a lot of hormonal changes that happen around 40 something (in between 40 and 50). Especially over 50s. Resistance training can help with bone structure and osteoporosis (one of the older population’s problems is bone fractures). In your 40s, 50s, and carrying on into your 60s and on, you can already improve your later life quite significantly. 

Also, it’s not massive but it will be noticeable, there is something called sarcopenia which is the reduction of muscle mass. Hormonal changes will contribute to that but you can definitely combat it with resistance training. If you just think of normal things like getting out of a chair or playing with the children or grandchildren on the floor, how easy or difficult is it to get off the floor? Carrying your shopping bags? Picking something off the floor? Even wanting to go travelling, will you actually be able to carry your suitcase? Is there a difference between your movement, and that of your parents? 

The biggest shame is that people don’t see far enough into the future, especially if you are fit and well. If it’s not a chore to do daily tasks now, then you don’t appreciate the benefits that you could have in 30 years’ time from starting resistance training now. Especially if you are in your 30s! 

Change in Body Composition

Starting resistance training came with a shift in mindset and I found myself wanting to nourish my body better. So, without “being on a diet” or constantly watching what I ate, my shape and body composition changed.  But for me, it was never the goal to lose weight.  It may not be a significant weight loss: with the resistance training combined with a good diet, the body composition changes slowly but surely. As a personal trainer I wouldn’t sell anything on the pretext of ‘have a six-week challenge and lose a dress size’ because it is possible but it’s not sustainable.

It can help perimenopausal symptoms

There is nothing that can stop it, but you can combat the hormonal changes with resistance training.  For example, oestrogen levels are linked with osteoporosis, but also with mood changes. So, you can see those endorphins through exercise, cortisol levels and testosterone levels so you can combat the changes. Not completely and it’s very individual to each person. It’s not to say that those people who exercise will never have any symptoms. Perimenopausal symptoms are things like mood swings, anxiety, lack of motivation, lack of ability to focus. The people who do regular exercise might still experience these symptoms, but they may not have as many and in general, they have better mood levels, less anxiety and can combat the stress better. Just generally improve the experience. 

There we go, a big dollop of fitness knowledge for you to digest! If you have a question that hasn’t been answered yet, let us know! You can check out Satu on social media and even book her as your own personal trainer.

If you want to know more Abou Satu and her passion for fitness you can find her interview here. Stay tuned for more ‘Ask Satu’ answers!


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