Why You NEED To Lift Weights
We are going to talk about lifting weights today!
I think it’s best to address lifting weights from an aesthetic perspective and from a health perspective.
Let’s start off from an aesthetic perspective. I know there are still some ladies out there who are afraid of looking manly if they lift weights. If that’s you, does this sound familiar? You stick to the stair master, spine class and even maybe once in awhile use the 2lb dumbbells for some exercises (5lbs if you are lucky), you do super high reps thinking that all of this will help you get “toned” versus “bulky”
Just to be clear here (not to go off on too much of a tangent), being toned really isn’t a thing. What it is, is just a Presence of muscle that’s visible.
For example, right now I am dieting, therefore I am losing body fat, which is making my muscle that was already built prior to the fat loss phase, more visible. I am not toning or building muscle now that I am losing fat. I am just losing fat, which is making my muscle that was already present pop, which makes me appeared more toned.
So if you aren’t seeing this toned looked that everyone is always looking for it came be because of one or two reasons
1. It may be covered in too much fat
2. The muscle isn’t there.
And I promise you, doing hours of cardio and sticking to the 2lb DB’s isn’t going to build that muscle. It’s not going to build that toned look you are looking for.
In order to actually build muscle, it’s important to train with intensity! There has to be a stimulus present to signal your muscles to grow and change. I’m sorry but you just don’t accomplish this with using 2lb dumbbells. Maybe if you do 100+ reps, but then there’s a law of diminishing return and I mean come on, you really want to wait around for 100 reps to go by before a stimulus is present!? An easy fix for this is to simply lift heavier in a more normal rep range. And then in order for your muscles to keep growing and changing, that stimulus has to continually place a greater demand on your body over time (i.e. lifting more over time). This is known as progressive overload
Now if I got you intrigued, but you are still on the fence of lifting weights…
Ladies, if you are natural (meaning you don’t take any performance enhancing drugs), I promise you that lifting weights won’t make you manly. The hormonal makeup of the female body prevents females from achieving this described physique unless they use performance enhancing drugs.
It’s physically impossible. Believe me! I have been lifting weights for 10 years, lifting HEAVY weight for 10 years and I am no where even near the realm of what is considered to be manly or too bulky.
So we have to break this fear because lifting weights has a disgusting amount of benefits! So let’s go over them
Lifting weights has been shown to build feminine curves, increase confidence and increase badass status.
2) More Effective Fat Loss
Many people think that if you want to lose fat, you should do more cardio, and that if you want to build muscle, you should lift weights. But it's not that simple. You can use weight training to lose fat, and in some ways it's actually better than cardio. A huge advantage to weightlifting is your body’s ability to burn fat during and after exercise – something that isn’t accomplished with cardio.
3) More Muscle, More Calorie Expenditure
The more muscle contractions your experience during a day, the more calories you will burn.
Those are just a few reasons to lift weights from an aesthetic perspective. But what about our health? If you are still scared on getting bulky, there are a few reasons that you need to consider before you can complete rule of weight lifting all together.
4) Quality Sleep
Studies show that strength training improves sleep quality, adding in your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and wake less often during the night.
5) Increased Energy
Resistance training causes an increase in energy expenditure hours after you train.
6) Heart Health
Strength training can reduce your risk of heart disease. Studies show that those who lift weights are less likely to heave heart disease risk factors.
7) Bone Health
As you age, you are at risk of losing both bone and muscle mass. Resistance training is an excellent way to combat loss of bone mass and it decreases the risk of osteoporosis.
I could go on forever! So I hope you are on bored to start lifting weights and to make it a priority and take the gym a bit more seriously. If so, I thought we would end of today’s episode with just going over some strategies to make weight training a bit more part of your routine.
1. Don’t go all in!
What I mean by that is that people think they need to jump on a 5 or 6 day weight training program. And no, not at all! Especially if you are NEW to weight training or you weren’t the biggest fan of it in the past
Simply just start going 2-3 days a week. Nothing major, nothing hardcore. When I was in school, I only went 3 days a week. I would do 4-6 exercises, day 1 was a lower day, day 2 was an upper day and day 3 was a full body day
2. Focus on getting better
Whether you build your own training program or hire a coach, just focus on getting better at multi joint movements over time. You don’t need to switch up the exercises every week. You are better off focusing on mastering these movements week to week and just focus on getting stronger with these movement patters
Which leads me into my next tip
3. Don’t chase soreness
I think this may be a reason why a lot of people don’t like weight training. They are switching up their exercises so regularly that each week they are so sore they can barely move and therefore, their muscles aren’t recovering. Chasing soreness is NOT THE ANSWER and does not be used as an indicator of whether you had a good workout or not
I briefly mentioned progressive overload previously. This is what you want to use as your indicator of progress. This is a valuable tool to ensure you are progressing in the weight room. In short, progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress on the body during exercise training.
It's a way to do more overtime. Now this doesn't mean just adding weight from week to week. There are a variety of ways to ensure you are progressing in the gym week to week
• Increasing your load
• Increasing your sets or reps
• Improving technique and ROM
• Increasing time under tension
• Decreasing rest periods
Why do we focus on progressing in more than one area versus lifting more week to week?
1. It is important to remember that strength gains are NOT linear. We are human and are going to have off weeks. We may see strength go down due to stress, lack of sleep, meal timing inconsistencies or even injuries. This doesn't mean we should ignore progressing in other areas.
2.Beginners can make some awesome strength gains, as long as they are consistent. However, after a couple of years of training, reaching new levels of strength becomes more and more difficult. This requires strategic planning and tweaks needed to your program to ensure you are able to continue to progress as an athlete.
3. If you are an active fat loss stage, progressive overload becomes very difficult but it should not be neglected.
So if you are wanting to progress and put on lean muscle mass, make sure you are always chasing progress versus going into the gym without a plan or with a laundry list of exercises that have not developed to allow you to achieve progressive overload.
Even if you don’t like weight training, even if you aren’t a fan of it like other people are… that’s ok! That doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Does anyone really like flossing their teeth? Nope! But we still do it…. Why? Because it’s NECESSARY! It’s necessary to our overall health and ensuring a quality of life.
So lift those weights! You are doing more harm than good if you aren't lifting already.
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