Woman Please, Lift Heavy Already!
By: Anthony Borsellino, N.D., Neurotherapist, Posturologist, Personal Trainer
We hear it every day. I don’t want to bulk up. I don’t want to have big arms. I don’t want to have big manly shoulders. I just want a nice flat body with a nice six pack and a nice ass. The question is, how can you have a nice body if you don’t push yourself or at least get through the basics?
Unless you are taking enhancers, unless you are eating over 3500 calories each and every single day, THERE IS NO WAY to look like a body builder or “manly” like every woman says they will become. Most people, let alone women, barely eat 1200-1300 calories a day, or their recommended daily intake, because they are scared to bulk up. Woman are scared to lift heavy weights. What is your main goal when training? Lose weight? Gain muscle? Get toned? Get a bigger butt? Just be all around healthy? Well all of these aspects can be done by lifting heavy weight and sticking with the basics. Let’s understand why it is important to lift heavy weights.
Lifting heavy increases your metabolism. Lifting heavy allows the body to generate more lean muscle mass. More lean muscle mass results in a faster metabolism, putting the body in the “fat burning” zone. Remember that if the body is leaner the body, more fat is burned.
Keep it simple, stick with the basics. Base the workouts around the basic 5; squats, deadlifts, bench, pull-ups and overhead barbell press. Every girl wants to do butt kicks or all these “cool” variations of cable exercises that target the butt, or do exercises with the mini bands. These exercises all have their place in the workouts, but doing more complex exercises like the squat and deadlift are not only more challenging, they burn more calories because they use more muscles for the lifts. Doesn’t everyone squat to sit down? Doesn’t everyone need to bend down and pick something off the floor? If the body has poor biomechanics, then everyday tasks are harder and require more energy.
Enough with the traditional cardio! The best way to burn more fat is not by doing steadier pace cardio for 45 minutes at a time, it is actually shorter, more intense workouts of 15-20 minutes max. Interval training, sprints, or circuit training, are more effective at burning fat and revving up the metabolism than steady pace cardio. Steady pace cardio actually increases cortisol (stress), putting more fat on the body. Interval training actually elevates the growth hormone in the body, which is a hormone that helps produce more muscle and during the night repairs the body. Not to mention, the phenomenon of after burning, where for the next 24 hours after training, the body burns more calories than steady pace cardio which only burns calories for 2 hours after training.
Women’s metabolism and recovery is quicker than men. With any type of training, women can burn more sugar (glucose or carbs) at rest to use as fuel, as men burn more fat at rest. Although during training, women burn more fat than men. Women also recover quicker than men therefore can use shorter rest periods or longer intervals versus men. This means, if both men and women are doing the same exercise for 10 reps, men might able to rest 60-75 seconds before being able to lift heavy again, whereas women can rest 45-60 seconds and push the same weight or heavier than their previous set.
You want abs? Then clean up your diet, and reduce your stress! You can’t out train a bad diet. Eating clean is the key to success and the key to keeping the body generally healthy, not only lean. Eat real whole foods that make you full for longer periods of time. versus processed or packaged foods that have no nutrients and make you hungry again soon after eating. Stress in general throws off anybody’s hormonal system. Don’t restrict your calories! This is a mistake a lot of people, especially women do when they think they need to lose weight. Calorie restricted diets and intense training puts more stress on the body making it harder for the body to lose body fat in the long-run.
Lifting heavy supports the bones, the brains, and hormones. Getting stronger muscles also means building stronger bones. The muscles protect the bones! Lifting heavy signals certain pathways that protect the brain by acting like a safeguard from injury and diseases. Once more, lifting heavy increases metabolism, but also helps support and regulate the HPA-axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) which is the body’s filter for the CNS when information gets passed through. The HPA axis is affected by stress. It is the body’s primary regulator of stress, as its response to stress alters the body’s biochemistry to support the “fight or flight” response.
Do multi-joint exercises for a greater booty! It is nice to do cable exercises for the booty, but these are just single-joint exercises. They do not burn much calories and they only target a specific region. Multi-joint exercises, such as the deadlift, squats, lunges, split squats, glute ham raise, glute bridges, Romanian deadlift, and other variations, when done correctly target not only the butt, but also the stabilizing muscles around the butt. Not to mention, when doing any lower body, or upper body exercise for that matter, your core is immensely engaged, therefore working that 6-pack as well!
Hope that this article does you well and these tips can get you closer to your goals.
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