Sunday, August 23, 2015

How Lifting Weights Helps You Burn Fat, Not Bulk Up

I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have heard "But won't lifting weights make me manly or bulky?" from countless women who are new to the world of fitness.
After all, weightlifting was created & fueled by men back in the 1800s in which Strongman was a spectator sport where a man tried to prove that he was "the strongest man in the world." But, it wasn't until the last couple of decades in which women really began jumping on the weight train.

When women first began competing in bodybuilding competitions, most turned to anabolic steroids to keep up with the men. Why? Because women do not have the appropriate hormones in order to put on a ton of muscle mass like men do. This is also the number one reason why a female can't possibly "bulk up" like a man from just lifting weights alone. Myth busted.

Here are a few ways that lifting weights actually helps you to burn fat-NOT bulk up!

  • You will lose weight: Did you know that having more muscle mass on your body allows you to burn more calories-even while your body is at rest? It's true since it raises your resting metabolism!
  • You will reshape your body: If you are truly wanting to change your body and not just lose some weight here and there, weights are going to help you do just that. By lifting weights, you will build and sculpt a leaner body-something that cardio just cannot do. Cardio will only make you smaller and is half the equation.
  • You will gain strength-not size: The primary stress imposed upon the body is placed on the nervous system, not on the muscles.  Therefore, strength will improve by a neurological effect while not increasing the size of the muscles. If you want to increase your size, take advantage of that training window pre & post workout for fueling your body with the right amount of macros: carbs, proteins, and fats to support muscle growth.
Now, with a couple of important things to note about "bulking":
  • Bulking up does not happen overnight: No, you won't wake up looking like The Hulk the morning after a good workout session. It takes time and time again of lifting heavy and eating the right amount of macros to build bigger muscles. It is not an instant thing (though some of us wish this were the case)!
  • Bulking up is calorie-dependent: Remember how I mentioned above that your macros have to be on par to gain muscle mass? If you constantly eat more than you are burning, you will gain weight. If you eat less than what you burn, you will lose weight. Its just how the story goes.

So, whats a good size weight to begin with? 

I always tell my clients to start with the amount of weight that:
  1. Feels most comfortable to them.
  2. Allows for free movement throughout the exercise.
  3. Allows you to perform the exercise correctly or with good form.
Please remember this: Everyone won't be on the same level. For example, I use 15lb dumbbells which may be absolutely heavy for you or it could be simple as pie. Mmmmm... pie...

So, all kidding aside, find the weight that BEST suits YOU. Do ten reps of an exercise. If you aren't tired or if you do not feel physically challenged by the 10th rep, move on up 5lbs, and so forth. 

Now, go lift some weights!!

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