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Why Women Should Lift Heavy Weights

Happy Hump Day!

Yesterday, I took a Body Pump class at my gym. Just like Cycle, this was a class that I used to regularly take back in the day. I wanted to change up my strength training workout this week, so I figured Body Pump would be a nice change.

The only problem was I didn’t realize that it was an “Express” class, which means it was only 30 minutes. (compared to the normal 1 hour class). Turns out, in the express class you only do: squats, chest work, and back work. You can imagine my surprise when the instructor told us, “Okay, Body Pump is over put your weights away and get a resistance band.” Apparently, she was starting the next class which was a “CX Worx” class (I had never heard of this until yesterday).

According to the Les Mills website (creator of CX Worx), “CXWORX™ really hones in on the torso and sling muscles that connect your upper body to your lower body. It’s ideal for tightening your tummy and butt, while also improving functional strength and assisting in injury prevention.” I stayed for the class and ended up not liking it at all.

First, I didn’t like using a resistance band. While they can be a great tool for resistance training, I prefer free weights. In my opinion (which is based on a lot of research), there is really no such thing as “toning”. You don’t “tone” your muscles, you build them. You can only build muscles by lifting heavier weights (more on this later). For me, using a resistance band did nothing for my strength training. The second reason why I didn’t enjoy this class was because most of the moves were very awkward (picture a lunge with a resistance band crossed under your back leg, twisting your upper torso while holding the handles at chest level). While this class might be someone’s favorite, this was definitely one of my least favorite classes. I did enjoy the abs work (lot and lots of planks). For me, this type of class does nothing for my body with regards to building muscle, which leads me to today’s post:

Why Women Should Lift Heavy Weights

I used to be someone that thought if a woman lifts heavy weights, she will “bulk up”. Unfortunately, I think a lot of women believe that this is the case. However, nothing could be more far from the truth. Women’s bodies are not capable of “bulking up”. Without getting too scientific, I’m going to give you just the basics of building muscle.

For someone to get muscle definition (commonly referred to as “toned” or “lean”), you must cause your muscles to go through a process of micro-tearing.

Basically, by lifting heavy weights, you are causing your muscles to have tears in the muscle fibers (aka micro-tearing). After you’ve caused these micro-tears, your body spends time over the next few hours trying to repair those tears. It does this by increasing the blood flow to that tissue. It is when your body is repairing the muscle tissue that you are actually building muscle. Therefore, you are not actually building muscle when you are lifting the weights, you are building the muscle after your strength training session is over for the day. This is why your body is still burning calories after you’re finished lifting weights. As a result, your metabolism is revved up!

Now, if you’re lifting lighter weights because you’re afraid of “bulking up”, you are not causing those micro-tears. If you’re not causing those micro-tears, your body has nothing to repair. If your body has nothing to repair, no muscle building is happening. Therefore, you are not causing your body to change and you will not see the definition in your muscles.

In addition to lifting heavier weights, you also need to feed your body proper nutrition. This assists in the muscle repair process (this is why nutrition plays a major role in strength training). Another key factor in building muscle is allowing your muscles to rest (this is why you should wait 24-48 hours before strength training the same muscles). During this time, your muscles aren’t actually “resting”, they are repairing and building.

For all of the visual learners out there, here’s a flow map summarizing the points I made above.

image

There are more scientific components to building muscle and seeing muscle definition, but this is just a very basic overview.

I started lifting heavier weights back in May and I’ve seen my body change in ways that I never thought possible. It takes time, but it is definitely worth the hard work.

If you’re new to strength training and would like to learn more about it, please let me know.

Also, don’t forget that I create personalized fitness plans that meet your individual needs (1 month of fitness plans = $20 USD or 1 month of fitness & nutrition plans = $35 USD). If you’d like to read more about the packages I offer, check out the “My Services” tab or email me at info@operationnutrition.com .

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2 Comments

  1. Üdv!azt éátom, hogy ezek félmerev léghajók, de volna néhány kérdésem a hozzáértőkhöz:1: A radar nem kis energiát igényel. Azt honnan akasztja le?2: Mi a töltőanyag? Hélium? Vagy az esetleges generátor termeli mellékesen a meleget is?Tetszik / Egyetértek: 0 Az értékeléshez be kell

  2. If I were a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, now I’d say “Kowabunga, dude!”

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