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Lifting Heavy: Strength Training Myths, Fears, Facts, & My Thoughts

Posted Jul 29 2010 3:51pm
Hi Bloggies!  How has your week been?  Did it go by pretty fast?  I'm glad that the weekend is clearly in sight now.  Yay for that!  Any plans for you for the weekend?  I already know Scott is traveling next week for work so I hope we get to spend plenty of time together over the weekend.   I am also probably getting together with a friend of mine who is Scuba diving in San Diego for the day.  She's coming down from LA and it will be fun to see her.

I love to Scuba dive, just not here.  I explained here why I almost quit many times in the dive certification process.  I'm so glad I stuck it out and am certified, but I have sworn off cold-water diving, but I am all about diving in Aruba. 

Here some pictures from my Christmas trip to Aruba
For Newer Readers who Missed My Trip, Enjoy Pictures Here or Here or Here

Ahhh, ok my trip down memory lane is over now....

From Yesterday...
I wish all of you could come to San Diego to help me Tap my Kombucha Keg !
I am so happy with the flavor of my 'booch from my oak barrel 
So is Skylar!

And it sounds like many of you are Ebay and Craigslist fans!  Both buying and selling.  I think it's great to be able to find some deals as a buyer or unload some things you otherwise don't need as a Seller.  It sure beats the old-fashioned method of garage sales, hah!   Aimee and Ela both reminded me about , too.  Another good resource!

Thanks to those of you who had tips on caring for my new little aloe plant .  
Sounds like I just need to not over-water it, leave it alone, and pretty much ignore it.
Perfect.  I can do that!

And for those of you who shared your Five Wacky Wednesday Facts , I really enjoyed reading everything from those of you who re-use your plastic baggies like I do to those of you who hate people dropping by at the dinner hour (Katie)

To those of you who have a pet rabbit who loves raisins as treats (Jill)

To Naomi who "tried spinach in my fruit smoothie for the first time. You all fibbed; it was horrible!".  I agree Naomi, I am not a "Green Monster" fan at all.  I eat tons of raw veggies but in my smoothies if I make them - I like to chew more than I do slurp - but my smoothies will be filled with chocolate, not spinach!

Great 5 Wacky Wednesday Facts Everyone!  I love learning about you guys!  It's what keeps things interesting for me!

Gym & Weights Workout Today From This Tab : Day 2 Back/Abs

Tip of the Day: Vega 3 Day Summer Sale
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Save 15% Off Store Wide - Three Days Only!

Starting today – and for three days only – save 15% off everything in the Sequel eStore – including all Vega products. Save as you stock up on nutritious, convenient food for all your summer excursions!
Sale ends Saturday, July 31.
Enter promo code VNEWS-SUMMER10 at checkout.

Dessert: Raw Vegan Chocolate Brownies

Today I want to talk about Lifting Heavy Weights in the Gym.  I know Katie , April , April , Jessica , Alyson , Naomi , Susan , Janetha , Gina , and tons more of you Gym Rats Fellow Weight-Training Fans all appreciate the wisdom behind lifting heavy.  There's been tons written about it, but recently Katie sent me this article and I wanted to pass it along and share my thoughts and a bit of my own journey with weight training and lifting heavy.

Here's an Excerpt from the Article :
"....In order to build muscle, you need to work hard. You must tear the muscle tissue in order to rebuild it, so the more strenuous a workout, the more effective it will be. And this is true for anyone and everyone, regardless of age, gender, experience, or goals. (Training hard and lifting heavy is just as essential for losing weight as it is for gaining it – it taxes the Central Nervous System and burns far more calories. As such, resistance training is a much more successful way to burn fat than cardio.)

Don’t even get me started on the people who think that to lose body-fat they need to lift a light weight to more reps. Or that by lifting heavy they will unintentionally ”bulk up” a body part. If that were true it wouldn’t take a series of ten articles to teach the basics of getting bigger – I doubt you will stumble upon it by accident.

If you are throwing up a weight that is not physically demanding, well then you really aren’t doing anything, so don’t waste your time....." (Source)

I hear from so many women, readers, friends, and I am speaking only from my personal experience and albeit only 6 months of lifting, but when training for my Fitness Competition and currently in my daily sessions at the gym, and yes there will be more fitness shows for me, I just don't know if I plan to announce it publicly to the world this time like I did for my June show because that kinda puts a smidge of pressure on me when 5000 of my closest friends are checking in daily for a progress report, but anyway I lift as heavy as I possibly can.
  More Show Pictures Here and Here

I used to think that if I lifted heavy, I would get big and bulky and look too masculine.  Although for my particular body type, I really need not fear getting bulky as I don't think I am genetically wired to ever become a muscular hulk of a human being, but in general, women's bodies are not going to get "big" from lifting alone.  Nor are high reps/low weight going to help you lose weight if that's your goal, either.

And like the excerpt I linked indicates, if it were that easy to get big, then why would people have to try so hard to do it, going to the gym every day, grunting and sweating, and pumping iron set after set wouldn't be necessary if we just snapped our fingers, "looked at weights" and "got big" with such ease.  It just doesn't work that way.

When I was training for my Fitness Show, my trainer in Phoenix made a good point.  He said that adding real size and "getting big" is a function of:
1. Lifting Heavy
2. Eating.  You have to take in more calories than you are expending to add real size.  It's mathematics.  You must take in more than you are burning, in conjunction with lifting, in order to add size Just lifting on it's own is not going to make you "get huge".  

This was like a lightbulb for me and I let go of 30 years of fear that I would turn into a Female Incredible Hulk if I lifted heavy.   I used to think that if I lifted heavy I would bulk up over night.  Boy, how wrong I was!

In training for my show, I realized just how hard it is for my body type to add lean muscle while staying true to my vegan convictions and beliefs , while balancing that with my Food Allergies .

I also posted about Protein and my thoughts on it, and why I don't believe I have a particularly high protein requirement, and my system does not tolerate excess protein well at all, but I am proof that you can add lean muscle from a plant-based diet .  It may take longer to do it this way than chugging egg whites and whey shakes but in the long run, I know that the size I have added is lean muscle, and not slop, and I have stayed true to my beliefs and have honored my body's needs as well.

Knowing that I can lift super heavy and the result is going to be increased definition, and sculpted muscles, without getting "too big" has been so freeing!  And as the definition in my muscles has increased, I've also had some size increases in my arms and legs when measured with a tape measure and also to the naked eye.   

I have come to love seeing muscles on myself and I am okay with adding some size, which is what I was scared of in the past.  Part of this probably stems from growing up because I am nearly 5'11" and heard lots of comments growing up about being "bigger than the boys" and that "I could beat them up" so that has always made me scared of adding mass on my tall frame, but I am over that now!

I also did a Tough Love Post on Abs .  
How to Get Abs, Exercise Tips and My Thoughts.  Click Here to Check it Out.

I don't have it all figured out, I don't have all the answers for me, let alone for you so if you do have questions about your fitness path and your goals, I suggest doing your own legwork and research and start somewhere, trial and error, and keep changing up your dietary and exercise paths until you find what works, for your goals, health, and body.  No one can do it for you!

This has been my path, my journey, my realizations, and I am just sharing what has worked for me.  But what I can definitely say is that you should: 
Not be afraid of weights and strength-training
You should not be afraid to lift heavy
You should embrace your body and where you're at and if you like where you're at great, and if you don't, start making changes and playing around with your diet and exercise choices until you find something that works, for you!

Now go lift heavy and grunt for me!
 More Pictures Here

1. Do you have any lifting or strength training fears?  Did you ever?  What has your transformation been like mentally or physically with regard to getting your mind around strength training? 
As I said, I used to be scared of it, but not anymore! 

2. If you lift weights, did you used to think that lifting heavy would make you "big" and that you didn't want to get big or bulky so you avoided it?  Do you avoid lifting heavy, even now? 

3. Do you know what your fitness path is?  Have you found your "sport" or your activity that you adore that you know will always be a part of your life?  Or are you still searching for what works for you and your lifestyle and needs?
Here's my post on All Things Yoga and Yoga FAQs , and although yoga will always be a part of my life, and it is so much more than just the physical yoga practice for me, it's the off-the-mat benefits and mental/emotional/spiritual benefits, too, but I have come to love both yoga and lifting!  They both have their place and both have incredible benefits!

4. Was this post helpful?
I almost didn't want to post it because I don't want to say that my thoughts, my path, my choices are right for anyone else, but I also want to put the word out there not to fear weights!  Not to mention, I get tons of emails about this every week so now I can refer everyone to this post.

5. What made you happy today?
Me = Sunshine and blue skies, a great workout, Skylar's smile!

Stay Tuned For Pressing Kind of Give Away...
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