Lift Heavy, Build Muscle

No exercise program can be complete without some kind of resistance lifting program. People get so focused on looking “skinny” or trying not to get “bulky,” that they miss the boat with lifting heavy. Lifting weights actually helps weight loss and creates a slimmer figure. Lifting can help increase muscle mass. Muscle burns 30-50calories a day compared to fat, which burns 5-10 calories. Basically if you can create more muscle then you can burn more calories, making weight loss easier and more efficient. Since the muscle takes up less space it actually makes you leaner and slimmer. This is great for physical appearance and body fat percentage but there are other benefits to lifting as well. Benefits include:

  • greater muscular strength
  • increased endurance
  • enhanced bone density
  • improved muscle tone
  •  improved cardiovascular fitness
  • helps maintain flexibility
  • helps prevent osteoporosis
  • improve posture
  • reduce risk of injury
  • better support joints

   An added bonus is the improved mood it brings, with increased levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. It’s important to train with heavy weights though. You have to push muscles so they adapt by increasing in size and power, so that the next time you do the same workout it is less stressful than the time before. Important to note that you need to continue to lift heavy because strength will decline if you do not continue a strength stimulus (which is why lifting heavy is essential because it stimulates more muscle fibers). You don’t want to do it everyday though because you’ll need more time to recover (muscle is built and restored after workouts, not during, which is why rest (including sleep) is important). I liked one quote I found that said “you can’t train heavy all the time. . but you can train heavy every time.” Lifting light weights doesn’t trigger new muscle growth, so if you’re going to the gym and not feeling it and think you’re going to just take it easy; go home. Lifting light isn’t going to accomplish anything and clearly your body needs more time to recover (you’re doing more harm than good). Skipping a workout or delaying it a day or two is not the end of the world, it’s better (I know most of us feel we need to workout all the time to produce results, but really that can be counterproductive, as we’ve looked at before with chronic cardio). Determine your one rep max on a lift and aim to lift between 70 and 80% of that when you lift. Make a goal to lift two or three times a week (if you only do one and need more time to recover that’s fine too, you’ve stimulated a lot of muscle obviously). Women aren’t going to get bulky either from lifting heavy weights (we’ll discuss women’s weight lifting in detail at a later date). So go out there and get your Hercules on, feel strong, gain muscle and lose some fat!

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