- I started lifting weights five years ago and was immediately surprised by how strong it was.
- After training continuously at a rate of five times a week since then, I’ve learned a lot.
- I found the workout to be overrated for fat loss and consistency over perfection.
In the summer of 2017, I agreed to conduct six weeks of personal training to participate in weightlifting for an article.
I’ve always tried different things as a lifestyle journalist, but these were mostly fleeting content interests.
Strength training, however, was different. Little did I know when I agreed to write this article that it would spark a passion that would turn into a lifestyle.
I had never picked up barbells when I started, and while I enjoyed dancing and playing netball as a teenager, I didn’t consider myself a “fit person.” Every once in a while, I’d do a boring task on the cardio machine.
But five years later, discovering strength training has changed not only my body, but my whole life. Fitness is now my major as a journalist, I have a healthy relationship with food and am also stronger, fitter and leaner.
“Resistance training is key to almost any training goal,” personal trainer Luke Worthington previously told Insider.
I’ve been lifting weights constantly for five years and it makes me feel strong and instead of seeing exercise as a punishment, I look forward to hitting the gym.
I learned valuable lessons along the way that would have helped me when I was just starting out, including this exercise alone won’t make you lose a significant amount of fat and that there is no such thing as “toning”.
1. Overestimating exercise for fat loss
Despite exercising more than ever, I haven’t lost any weight for nearly two years during my fitness journey. She actually gained weight, and while some had muscle, he was also fat. I ate (and drank) a lot.
I didn’t lose fat until I taught myself to eat calories and cut back on overeating. Strength training and a protein-rich diet have also helped me maintain muscle.
After I lost body fat and lost 35 pounds, people mistakenly assumed I was just starting out in fitness. But I was really strong (I could fight 255lbs), I didn’t fit in with the image most people have of someone working out.
Personal trainer Graeme Tomlinson previously told Insider that formal exercise only accounts for 5-10% of the calories the average person burns in a day. That’s why I train to get stronger, fitter and stronger, not to burn calories – if I want to lose fat, I aim for a calorie deficit in my diet.
2. Lifting weights doesn’t make you bulky
Contrary to a common misconception, lifting weights does not automatically make a woman “big.” Building muscle is actually a difficult and slow process, especially if you don’t eat in excess of calories.
“If you do this three times a week, the muscle gains won’t be noticeable for most people,” personal trainer Sarah Carr previously told Insider.
Weightlifters’ physique is the result of hard training and dedicated nutrition, Carr said, and genes play a role, too.
Five years later, I love the muscles I have and I still haven’t gotten any bigger.
3. Muscle building myth
Lifting heavy weights can help create the “toned” physique that many women crave. But it’s a myth that muscles can exercise – they only grow or contract.
Personal trainer Pete Gerasimo previously told Insider that a “toned” look basically means having some muscle and a little body fat.
The way to get there is to build muscle through resistance training and lose fat through a slight calorie deficit.
4. Consistency to perfection
Not every workout will be great. Some days, I feel the workout is harder than others. Sometimes I don’t even want to go to the gym. But 90% of the time I go, I show up and do something.
Knowing that I don’t always feel motivated to exercise and sometimes need to push myself to go to the gym has been key for me to stay fit and achieve my fitness goals. I also don’t worry if I have an easier workout sometimes.
Not only does excessive training help me reach my goals faster, and I sometimes take an extra day off, but I’ve made progress – and made fitness a part of my lifestyle – by realizing that consistency is more important than perfection.
5. Changing your training is fine, but the basics always work
Every time I change my training style (for example, from a bodybuilding program to a CrossFit-style training plan), my body adapts.
This often results in delayed muscle soreness (DOMS), which is mistakenly seen as a sign of effective training. So I don’t change my workouts every month for DOMS.
My workouts will always include basic movements such as the squat, the hinges (the deadlift), the push-up (the bench press), the pull (the pull), the lunge and the load.
The basics are basics for a reason, Worthington said, and to make progress, you need to train them consistently and use progressive overload.
6. Anyone can become a “fitness person”.
I used to think that “people with a physique” were born that way, and if there was no hope.
The past five years have shown me that this is not true.
Finding a way to move that I actively enjoy has changed everything for me. Not everyone will like weightlifting, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a right type of exercise for you. You may not have found it yet.
Read the original article on Insider
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