So today I wanted to answer some questions (okay, these are frequent questions) that I’ve been getting from readers. I hope these can be of help to you!
“What are your thoughts on BodyPump?”
I’m not a big fan of BodyPump. I do think it’s great to get you introduced to weights- it helps you learn good form and learn the basic exercises. I did it for a few months but never saw any change in my body- and now I know why. BodyPump is an endurance based workout based on higher reps- which does absolutely nothing for your muscles but allow you to pick up a light weight multiple times. It’s a myth that “light weight, more reps” makes you toned. Toned comes from having an lot of lean muscle- which is built with heavy weights with repetitions in the range of 6-12. So long story short, if your lifting to gain more lean muscle, lean down, etc- stick with the heavy weights. But please note if you really enjoy BodyPump just to stay in shape, of course that is fine.
“I’ve been lifting heavy for 2 weeks now and haven’t seen any sort of change!” Or “I’ve been lifting for 2 months and nothing!”
Just as I’ve mentioned that it is impossible for women to get bulky, it’s also SUPER hard for females to build muscle. It takes months, even YEARS before you wil start to see changes and more muscle definition. Those figure models you see on Oxygen did not get that way in a short amount of time- they go through rigorous bulking and cutting diets that take years before they look the way they do. People are out for a quick fix- they want instant gratification. But that is not the case with weights- you have to be CONSISTENT and PATIENT. If you aren’t, your body will never change. I’ve been doing this for a year now, and am only now starting to see real changes. If you give up early on and keep switching programs, you are doing nothing for your body- keep it up, be consistent, and be patient and you will see results.
“How many rest days do you take?”
I take 2 rest days at the moment. I used to have trouble taking rest days but now I train harder and SMARTER- which means MORE rest. If your lifting heavy, there’s no way you should be able to lift 6 or 7 days a week. Maybe in the beginning your body can handle it (mine handled 6 days for a short while-but that probably wasn’t very smart of me) but then you are putting yourself in risk of injury and you are also going backwards with progress. Muscle is built at rest- so you NEED to take days off. If your working out everyday you’ll never see any sort of progress or change, and more importantly it is really unsafe.
“How much cardio do you do?”
Right now none- maybe once or twice a month if I’m bored for 15 minutes. Heavy lifting keeps me lean enough. And I get really out of breath and a high heart rate from lifting!
“I do HIIT 2-4 times per week…”
Okay, so that’s not really a question but it’s a pet peeve. If your doing HIIT correctly, you shouldn’t be able to do it more than 1-2 times per week. (From all the studies I’ve read).
“What about if your trying to lose weight? Should you just focus on cardio and dieting or include weights?”
This is one of the biggest mistakes people make, my prior self included. When trying to lose weight you actually want to put all your effort into heavy weights and your diet. Cardio is just the icing on the cake- weights should be priority. This is because when you lose weight, you not only lose fat but you lose muscle too. This lowers your metabolism and can actually make you look “fatter”. To preserve muscle you need to lift heavy, and also eat protein to spare your muscle.
“I’ve just started lifting and my clothes are getting tight! And my legs are getting bigger already!”
There’s no way that you have gained muscle OR fat that quick. Most likely you are experiencing a muscle pump- more glycogen and water in your muscles. It’s temporary and will go away eventually. When I first started lifting heavy one of my favorite jeans got tighter and I was devastated. However, it went away and now my legs are more toned than they started with.
“I can only do a 60 pound bench press and your doing 90! Am I not going to get lean or grow muscle because I’m not lifting heavy weights?”
Weights are all relative. What’s heavy for one person may not be heavy for another. When I say lift heavy, I mean lift what’s heavy for YOU whether that be 50 pounds or 100 pounds. Your body does not know the number on the dumbbell, all it knows is whether or not your challenging it with a weight to grow.
“Thoughts on the Smith Machine?”
From everything I’ve read, the Smith Machine can actually be pretty dangerous. I think it’s okay if your too scared to do certain lifts in the beginning, but it’s better to use free weights even if you have to go lighter. The Smith Machine puts your body in an unnatural form and uses unnatural body mechanics. I would use free weights, but I do think occasionally I think the Smith is okay- I use it every so often for certain things.
And last but not least, “I’m lifting heavy (and have been for a while) but haven’t seen any muscle growth or definition”
In order to grow lean muscle/get toned/whatever, you actually have to GAIN weight, which means eat over what your body needs to maintain your body weight. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s a big mind gain. But if you really want it, you will do it. Yes you may feel stuffed, but think of all those little muscles growing
These girls didn't get their bodies by lifting light weights and little food!
And neither did these!
I hope this answers a lot of your questions! Have a wonderful day!