Woah … This news is really HEAVY! – as in weights, get it?
I confess! For years I was that girl who would grab the 2.5 lb weights to work my biceps and shoulders and maybe the (whoa) 5 lb big boys to work glutes and thighs. Oh, I was certain that my way was the best way. After all, I didn’t want to bulk up (gross) or start lookin’ all manly (eeww) I mean, everyone knows that lifting big heavy weights leads to a massive, Schwartzenager-esque physique, right? And c’mon, I personally wear lipstick, brow pencil AND fragrance to the gym so the last thing I wanted was to become less than feminine. Toning and shaping were what I was after, not mass, muscle and heaven forbid, strength, oh no.
Since then, I have become much more enamored of the heavier-the-better method when it comes to weight lifting. Why? Well, because first off, it makes me more powerful and gives me an edge so I can push myself in ways that I could not before. I can now jump, run, plank and TurboKick with the greatest of ease where in the past I would lack the stamina and wimp out more quickly.
I am also now a fitness instructor/trainer who sees the gorgeous results in the bodies of my class participants. Let me tell you, the girls who lift heavy are the ones who actually achieve that lean and sculpted look. And as for myself, well back in the days of the itty-bitty weights, I was kinda fit looking, but had no real muscle definition (AKA: Tone). Lifting weights that actually challenge me helped me to carve out firmer arms, legs, shoulders and tush.
Not convinced that you want to increase your pump — or even get your pump on at all? Here are some superfun fact about weight lifting:
1) Muscle tissue burns calories even after your workout is done. Wait, did you hear me? Because I just said “Muscle tissue burns calories even after your workout is done!” Unlike steady-state cardio conditioning, where the burn ends when you jump off the treadmill, the results of your strength training endure. The expected rate of additional caloric burn can be significant. It is believed that 20 pounds of muscle burns 100 calories in a day – even while just sitting around watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” While 20 pounds of fat would burn only a measly 40 calories.
2) Osteoporosis, yo! We girls have a greater tendency to succumb to this medical problem which can lead to brittle bones. One way to fight that is by developing stronger bones. How? You already know … lifting heavy weights. In fact, studies show that strength training can not only help to prevent bone loss but can even help to build new bone.
3) How about enhancing that feminine physique!? When you start to build muscle, you can get an even more girlish figure. Working your abdominal muscles helps to slim and taper the waist and strengthening butts and thighs helps that backside become firm and lifted. And by the way, how much testosterone are you packin, sister? I’ll give you the easy answer: NOT ENOUGH TO BULK UP. Your body’s own natural hormone balance (tipped away from the testosterone) will prevent mass. Only men have the amounts of T that will allow for building big muscles. Ready to drop those 2.5 weights and hop on the heavy lifting band wagon? I’ll save you a spot (and a set of 7.5 – 10 lb dumbbells) in Hardbody class!
~Susan Magilton, W3 Group Exercise Instructor & Personal Trainer