Everyone has the preconceived notion that if you lift heavy, you will turn into a bodybuilder. What I wouldn’t give for that to be true! Lifting will turn you into a bodybuilder like running will turn you into an Olympic athlete. What people fail to realize is how much actually goes into attaining that BIG bodybuilder look! Fear of “getting too big” should by no means steer people away from getting to know the iron. Don’t get me wrong, once you start hitting the weights you will notice great changes in your body but they will be changes you love. Most people get into the fitness world with the general idea of wanting to lean out, tone up, or bulk up. Each of these goals, along with other aesthetically pleasing changes, can be attained through weights alone (or with the help of nutrition, but that’s an entire separate post on it’s own).
Let’s not forget the many other advantages that come along with lifting weights. In everyday life, no matter what our job may be, we will always benefit from gaining strength. Whether you are a mover, spending all day long picking up heavy couches and dressers, or you’re simply grocery shopping, and have made a pledge never to make a second trip back to the car. Building strength through lifting will allow you to do your work with less effort and reduce your chance for injury too.
Let’s talk about the benefits that happen inside your body when you decide to start lifting heavy. When your muscles become stronger, your connective tissue also strengthens which in turn makes your body more efficient at transmitting forces that will give your body the ability to produce more powerful movements. Not only does your connective tissue get stronger, but your bones actually get stronger as well. With strong connective tissue and bones, you greatly reduce your risk of injury and help to prevent osteoporosis and other degenerative conditions later in life.
Building muscle means a faster metabolism for you, our bodies burn more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain body fat, and we all know that the faster our metabolism, the more we get to eat! So, the more calories you burn at rest means you will get to eat more calories while still burning through fat. When it comes down to swimsuit season and you’re looking to fine tune your physique, it will make burning through fat much more efficient! Building a faster metabolism has a great impact on our health as well by lowering your risk of many common health problems such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, or metabolic syndrome.
Now, while all that is still very awesome and important, let’s get back to the main point many people are concerned with – the effects of lifting heavy on your physical appearance. Lifting heavy will allow you to build up some muscle which is the main factor to giving you that “toned” look. Once you add some muscle to your frame, build up your metabolism and shed off the excess fat, you will reveal the desirable shape of your muscles which will give you those defined arms and legs, nicely shaped shoulders as well as very well rounded out firm glutes (which we all want!) When you begin using heavy weights with compound movements, you are going to be using multiple muscle groups, which in turn will burn the most calories inside and outside the gym.
One of the best benefits of learning to lift heavy is the mental strength that comes along with it. You come in the gym daily, learn to put yourself through mental and physical challenges which I guarantee will impact your everyday life. I’m not just talking about the fact that your tolerance for physical pain increases. We learn how to grind through the hard times, we learn to keep pushing even when sometimes the weight feels too heavy to overcome. We learn to not give up, because when you overcome that hardship or heavy weight the sense of accomplishment is overwhelming. That same sense of accomplishment will do wonders for your confidence levels, which is reinforced through being able to show off that hard earned muscle. The muscle represents more than just going to the gym, it represents dedication, hard work, mental and physical strength and the ability to push through no matter how much weight (literally and figuratively) is trying to told you down.