Let me tell you a story about Julie. She loves her children unconditionally and gives parenting her all. Julie is also a self-proclaimed “soccer mom” and use to be fit and healthy. On most days of the week, Julie feels like staying in bed and keeps hitting her snooze button. She frequently thinks about when she was younger and knows she’s in desperate need of a change. Do you know the feeling?
Fast forward six months. Julie has completely transformed her body and how she feels about herself inside and out. Not only did she slash her body-fat in half, but now Julie can run circles around her children on most days of the week.
What was her secret? Weight training!
In this editorial, you will lean the ridiculous myths about weight training and how it can truly benefit you regardless of your goals and gender. More importantly, if you take action from what you learn from this article, you will see incredible physical changes just like Julie.
Why Weight Training?
Weight training is not just for bodybuilders or professional athletes. It can and should be used by everyone who wants to be in the best physical shape of his or her life. You need to know that weight training is simply just another form of resistance exercise and it increases your strength, bone density and tendon strength.
The Myths About Weight Training
Weight training will not make you muscle bound and hulky. That is a myth that drives me crazy and that I frequently hear from female clients. Women do not have the genetic makeup for this to happen. In fact, there’s been multiple times when I've had a husband and wife following the same resistance training program and their results are complete different. Why? Hormones and the multitude of other genetic factors make it much easy for men to pack on lean body mass.
Have no fear, ladies! You are not going to turn into She-Ra, the Princess of Power. With that said, please don’t be afraid of heavy weights in the gym or elsewhere. Based on research, higher intensity training with weights that challenge your body is far more effective for both men and women. What that really means is no more high repetition training unless your goals are based around improving muscular endurance. The optimal rep rage for your muscles is 15-6 per weight training exercise.
Weight Training & Flexibility
Many people also have the misconception that weight training makes people less flexible. This is untrue. There are many flexible individuals, including athletes that train with weights on a regular basis and have no adverse effects to their flexibility. In fact, it can have a positive impact on flexibility as it will strengthen the tendons and ligaments (when performed in the correct manner).
Here is a recommendation. If you lift weights at the gym, you also need to spend time stretching after your workout. This is the best time to stretch, as your muscles are warm and supple.
Please use caution when starting a flexibility program though. Avoid any pain, popping and do not force yourself into any positions whatsoever. For the best results, stretches should be sustained by the force within the body. Not by pulling yourself there.
When you lift weights consistently over time, you will notice that your body is in fact changing. Your goals will become more tangible and real. Each week, you will develop a more attractive body and your dream body will be more within your reach. For that reason, weight training has been and can be used to build just about any type of physique that you desire. If you want to look strong, thin and lean then you can use weights to achieve that goal.
On the other hand, you can also lift weights to give you the bodybuilder look. You can look very big, strong and muscular. The difference is in the approach and the diet that you eat alongside the weights you lift.
Burning More Calories
I know you have heard this a zillion times: By adding additional muscle to your frame, you will burn more calories daily. But how many more calories will you actually burn?
Each Pound of Muscle Burns How Many Calories?
There are many conflicting views about precisely how much each pound of muscle really burns. Realistically and based on current research, a pound of muscle burns 6 calories per day. No as many calories as thought previously. However, it should be mentioned that lifting weights will help prevent the loss of lean body tissue (muscle) for dieters. According to research, loss of muscle is one of the main variables that increase your chances of future weight rebound when your diet is stopped.
Seldom discussed, weight training also can build some mental toughness. When you are faced with a heavy weight, a certain level of resilience is needed in order to overcome and to complete the set. As a result, if you are able to consistently increase the weights that you lift in the gym, you will build confidence in the rest of your life and feel great about it.
The confidence that you have in the gym can be passed over to other areas in your life. All successful people know that if they can achieve a goal in one part of their life, then they can do so in another. The same principle is at work here. Weight lifting is an individual form of exercise, so you learn about persistence and discipline. These are great traits to strengthen with weight training.
The Truth About Weight Training
Even after reading this article, some people will still have the misconception that weights make people muscle bound. That’s Ok. You and I know it’s not true at all. Research has proven otherwise.
With all the benefits of weight lifting, you can mold your body into a leaner, stronger version of itself without increasing your bodyweight just like Julie did. It is something that weight training will bring you if you follow a consistent training plan. The choice and decision is yours.
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Matthew Johnson (Google+) is a certified personal trainer, nutrition expert and an on-line fitness consultant that started ChangingShape.com back in 2001.