Why should you lift heavy at the gym? Everybody these days wants to lose weight, burn body fat, and/or build muscle. How does one go about it this exactly? Most of the time, people struggle to shed weight or burn body fat because they forget to adjust their diet. People think they can give half effort and still expect great results. When people with solid dietary plans still struggle to build muscle and lose body fat, I found, more often than not, they aren’t challenging themselves at the gym! When you challenge the body, along with a healthy nutrition plan, the body grows. Hate to tell you, but lifting 5 lb weights for months on end is not nearly enough the challenge on the body to build muscles and burn fat.
Building muscles, losing weight, burning body fat is not rocket science. The better description would be ‘painful’! It takes time, consistency, and dedication. Just because you gave up cookies for 8 days, does not mean you’ll get shredded uber fast. You laugh but there are people who seriously believe that! Trust me when I say the process takes a while. Nothing worthwhile was ever easy to achieve. The body can be unfair; you can be doing everything right and it would still be months, before you start seeing good results. But if you slack off with your training and/or nutrition all that hard work could be out the door in 2-3 weeks.
Lifting heavy weights and seeing the results of that hard work is the reason why I go to the gym. Especially when you lift slow, then you feel the burn. I was working with this 40-year old engineer who had all his programs written out for the past 10 years! He came to me looking for muscle growth, as well as losing that stubborn belly fat. We set him on a program working on mechanical tension (slow tempo resistance training) and were able to increase his lean body mass (muscle mass) by 2% within 6 weeks! These are noticeable, definitive changes in the mirror results! Mechanical tension is one method of increasing muscle; learn more about the other methods here.
Like this client, I found it difficult to develop my leg muscles. I hated lifting legs! Slowly, I started developing my bird legs with light weights and just worked on getting into the habit of doing legs. Once I became comfortable, I started lifting heavy! Just after a couple of weeks of doing this, you could see a big difference not only with body image but also with my upper body strength. Did you know that most of your muscle building hormones are in your legs? One you lift heavy with the legs, the hormones circulate up to your upper body and this helps build it. If you hate leg exercises, give it a try and see if I am wrong!
6 Reasons Why You Should Lift Heavy in the Gym
1. You will Shred off Body Fat and Calories
When you think about burning body fat, you may be thinking to do more cardio. Yes, cardio burns fat, but did you know that high intensity strength increases your metabolism after exercise? This will help you burn fat well after you are done working out. After a hard training session, your body needs the energy to repair your muscles and this process can take up to 38 hours. This means that while you are sitting at work after your workout, you’re burning fat and calories, just by sitting there! If you have the correct lifting biomechanics, lifting heavy is the way to go. Research suggests mixing up a day of heavy lifting and a day of high intensity cardio session can burn double the amount of fat than just cardio alone.
2. Your Muscles will be Cut
When I tell people to lift heavy, especially the ladies, they immediately fear getting too bulky. Do you know what makes you bulky?
Too many calories and high amounts of carbs!
If you want to have well defined muscles, dropping down your carbs slightly and replacing that with lean protein will help your muscles become well defined. Women do not produce as much testosterone as men do, making lifting heavier weights mandatory for women!
3. You will Improve Your Strength Fast
How do you think you get stronger? You have to lift the weight! Do you really think lifting 5 lbs for a month is going to get you stronger? That’s like studying for 5 minutes and expecting to ace the test. If you do not know how to get stronger, try lifting 5-10 lbs more each time you do an exercise. Say you maxed out at 100 lbs on the bench press, the next session that you do it throw on 5-10 lbs more. Keep doing this each week and you will see fast improvements! When you get stronger, your body image will improve. This does not mean that you throw on a ton of weight just to fail, you need to lift a weight that is heavy and to a point you can control
4. Say Goodbye to that Belly
When you are building muscle, you are increasing your body’s ability to burn calories faster. Your muscles need more calories to build than fat does. Did you know the calories you don’t burn or convert to muscle transform to fat? As you are building muscle, your body will need more energy, so it will use the fat stored for energy. This means that it can get the energy from the stomach fat and this can make the belly fat decrease. Also, lifting heavy will make you use your core more and your core has muscles and these muscles will become more defined. This does not mean that just because you are lifting heavy, this means that you can eat whatever you want. You still need to bust your butt in the kitchen and fuel your body with the proper nutrients to grow the right way.
5. Helps with Injury Prevention
As we get older, if we do not use our body, it can breakdown. Think of your body as a car, if you do not take care if it problem can occur. When we lift heavy, not only will our muscles get stronger, but our bones, ligaments, and tendons will increase in strength. For example, if you deadlift and squat, this will strengthen the bones in your spine, hips, and legs [with proper form :)]. For the upper body, the bench press and standing shoulder press. If you are susceptible to fractures, lifting heavier will improve the integrity of the bones by our favorite law, Wolff’s law.
6. Builds Self Confidence
When you looking at this heavy weight, you may be thinking, “how am I going to lift this?”. After you pull or push this monster weight, you get a great sense of accomplishment. You feel great after finishing the set. We underestimate our bodies. Our bodies can handle a heavy stress applied to the body. If you are somebody who is either not getting results or just not having fun in the gym, challenge your body, put some more darn weight on the bar and hit it hard!
If you are somebody who keeps saying that you want to lose weight and body fat, what are you going to do about that? Are you going to be lazy and just lift the same dinky weights all the time and see little to no results or are you going to do something about it? Putting in hard work takes a lot of dedication and commitment! Just because you are working hard in the gym does not mean you slack of with your eating. If you are planning on lifting heavy, your body is going to need to repair itself. This means that your protein intake and rest needs spot on. You can do it!