How is Weight Lifting Good for You
How is Weight Lifting Good for You
I HAD to write this article. I am a big fan of weight training and I love how strong it makes me feel. Not to mention the high that I get every time I pick up a bucket full of water at home to mop the floor and realize how easy it is (sadly, fitness enthusiasts can’t get out of chores. I tried, but I got a sneer from my mom with “you do your so called strength training and you can’t even lift a bucket like me” after which I had to get off the couch and prove her wrong. Sadly, moms can’t be out-smarted or out-argued.)
On that note, I want to debunk some fitness myths that I have been hearing ever since I started training. It is a good thing I practice yoga and meditation on a regular basis or I would have certainly punched the invariable fitness-moron (oh, there’s always one hanging around at the gym, eyeing the poor lone girl in the weights section) who asks me if I am a bodybuilder when I’m minding my business and doing my deadlift.
1. “I don’t want to become masculine!”
What exactly is masculinity? No really. I honestly don’t know what the above statement means. Strength training makes you stronger, fitter, and more toned. Is strength a masculine trait? I don’t think so. The era of the thin waif-like models may lead you to believe that strength is not feminine, but a woman is feminine as much for her strength as for her sensitivity. Let’s face it; the damsel-in-distress act doesn’t really impress anyone anyway. Especially if you are conditioning yourself to be like that because it’s “feminine”.
2. “I’ll use only the 5-pound dumbbells. I’m a girl, I should not lift heavy.”
So, does this mean that you are never going to pick up your children? They are going to weigh more than 5 lbs, you know. And as for big muscles, did you know that our ancestors drew water from wells (a feat which I am yet to accomplish, by the way)? In fact women who live in villages still do that and they don’t have “big” muscles.So, if your true capacity is to lift 15 pounds, then what exactly are you trying to achieve by limiting yourself to 5 pounds? I’ll tell you what: you are just wasting your time. Higher reps with light weights take you absolutely nowhere. If it doesn’t challenge you, then baby, it isn’t a workout. Start reducing the reps and increasing the weight, that’s the way to get the best out of lifting. This doesn’t mean you should pick up a 20 kilo dumbbell straight away; you are just going to injure yourself. Increase the weights progressively.
3. “I’ll look like a female bodybuilder! I’m sticking with the treadmill.”
For heaven’s sake! I have been doing weights for 4 years now and I don’t remotely resemble a female bodybuilder. As women, we just don’t have enough testosterone (Yeah, the male hormone!) to bulk up. As for the bodybuilder women whom you keep looking at and thinking that weight training will make you like that, here is some information: they take muscle growth supplements (don’t confuse this with protein supplements now), steroids, testosterone injections and what not to become like that. Why? Because they go in for weight lifting competitions and winning those are their priority. It takes years for people like you and me to even grow a centimeter of muscle, so quit worrying!
4. “Weight training will increase/decrease the size of my breasts.”
I seriously don’t even know how people come with such nonsense. Breasts are made of fat, not muscle. If your fat percentage is extremely low, say less than 11% (and believe me, it is next to impossible for a normal person who leads a normal fat-burner-free life to even get below 20% fat, so don’t stop your morning run now) then you might risk looking flat chested. In any case, where we tend to put on fat is also a result of geneticsso if you look flat chested even at 30% fat, it can’t really be helped (but you might still want to start reducing fat immediately because at 30%, you are borderline obese, breast factor aside). It also depends on hormones, but that’s a discussion for another day.
5. “If I stop training with weights, all my muscles will turn into fat.”
Yeah I really heard someone say that. I’m not even kidding (I would never make such an ill-humored joke anyway, my sense of humor is not quite that bad *smug*). Muscle and fat are two entirely different species. Can a dog turn into a cat? Can rice turn into wheat? Can stone turn into gold? (Oooohh, how I wish!) The answer is NO.
What actually happens is this. Muscle is an active tissue. When you stop training with weights, you lose your muscle mass. See, muscle is a magical thing. It performs this magical thing called “afterburn” which means your metabolic rate goes up even when you are not working out (more fat burn, yes). When you lose muscle, you lose all these fringe benefits.:D which means your metabolic rate comes down which eventually leads to you piling on fat. And this is why you need to start lifting, fast!
Apart from the myths mentioned above, I know some women who are simply terrified of the dumbbells. They don’t mind doing push-ups (if they can, I can’t do more than 5 “full” push-ups), tricep dips, or even pull ups. But they wont touch dumbbells because they don’t like weights. If you belong to this category, I just want to tell you that push ups and pull ups are “weight training” too, just that you use your body weight instead of dumbbells. So stop clutching at straws and pick up those weights!
Weight training is among the best things you can do for your body (it’s right up there with stretching, massage and organic food). It strengthens your bones (we know how women are prone to osteoporosis), tones muscles and makes you feel like you can take on anything!
Seen Shruti? She is strong, lean, toned and oozes fitness from every inch. She is also a dedicated lifter. Enough said
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My today’s Lower Body Workout Routine with Weights And my Pre and Post Meals
Upper Body Weight Training Exercises