Busting 4 Weightlifting Myths
By Fitness Blogger and Personal Trainer, Beth Davis, CPT
People are always looking for the fast way to lose weight, change their appearance, and improve their health. They will do hours of cardio, try the latest weight loss supplement and subscribe to the various creatively named restrictive diets. What if I told you there was a way to burn more fat, improve your heart health and look better in your clothes? Well, there is and it is as easy as including some weight training 2 to 3 times a week into your exercise routine. Research has shown that beginning at about age 30 we begin losing about 10 % of our lean muscle a year. Less lean muscle mass means our metabolism is no longer able to burn as many calories and that stinks! While this all sounds good, I still get questions.
Let’s bust some myths and answer some of the most common questions about weight lifting!
Myth 1: “Will lifting heavy weights give me have thunder thighs?”
Myth Busted: One of the first concerns I hear from women is that they will get bulky. It is actually not that easy for women to grow huge muscles because men have about 15-20 times the testosterone that women have in their body. A woman squatting or lifting heavy weights can expect the muscle to respond and develop more tone and shape. Lift heavy and get tone!
Myth 2: “I am too old or too young to start lifting weights”
Myth Busted: In reference to something I mentioned earlier, we lose muscle mass every decade! Lifting weights can only help you maintain that strength that helps with mobility and strengthens bones to ward off frailty that comes with age. As for younger children, always supervise any weight training with a qualified professional. Any concern about ‘stunting growth’ is not true unless you drop a dumb bell on the growth plate and break it! Young & old can benefit from resistance training.
Myth 3: “If you build all that muscle it will just turn into fat later”
Myth Busted: Muscle and fat are two completely different types of cells and muscle does not disintegrate into fat if it is not used regularly. Muscle can shrink if it is not used; say if you decide to ditch the weight training and watch endless episodes of Matlock! It will shrink and allow more room for fat to move in when you expend fewer calories and start packing on the pounds! So no, muscle doesn’t turn into fat but if you don’t use your muscle you will burn less calories and gain fat!
Myth 4: “Doesn’t cardio burn more calories?”
Myth Busted: The answer is No! In fact weight training is the fastest way to burn more calories and continue burning calories after you complete your weight training session. There is a smaller ‘Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption or (EPOC)’ with aerobic activity then with weight training. You basically stop burning calories when you stop running, but the burn continues long after you are done lifting weights!
Put down the Pink Dumbbells
So hopefully I have cleared things up a bit about weight lifting and what it can do for you. Now, where do you start? Enlisting the help of a Certified Personal Trainer who is insured is a good start. You want to make sure you use proper form and don’t try to do too much at once.
Here are a few tips for you to get on the right track with your weight training routine!
1. Overload that muscle!
Dancing around with pink 2 pound dumbbells are doing nothing for you ladies! Your purse you carry daily weighs more than that! It is good to use weight that is challenging enough to just be able to complete a set with good form.
2. Periodization prevents stagnation!
Periodization of your training routine is necessary or you could end up stuck in the same spot, lifting the same weights and looking exactly the same! Boring and ineffective! Your body will adapt to a routine and it is necessary to change how you complete your workout at different periods. When you reach a plateau in lifting it is a good time to mix it up. Try increasing the weight gradually, changing the reps, and change exercises to keep variety and results.
3. Be Specific!
Specificity is necessary so you can create a plan to fit your goal. Do you want to be a bodybuilder? Power lifter? Train for weight loss and overall fitness? Each goal requires specific types of training. I generally get more weight loss clients so circuit training that includes cardio and weights is most effective.
Hopefully with a little more understanding of weight lifting and its benefits, you won’t resist the weight! Don’t forget that rest and proper diet are part of the picture. If you workout 5 hours a week, that leaves lots of hours to screw up with a bad diet or no rest! Plan your work and work your plan! Map out your plan on a notebook or keep it discreet and handy on your smartphone along with the tunes that keep you moving!