If you’re lucky enough to still have an insanely high metabolism, then most likely you won’t have to work hard to keep your figure trim. But for many of us, the extended periods of time we spend at a desk reduces the time we are active, resulting in a decreased metabolism. So what’s the next best thing to do to get back our bikini beach bodies? Exercise, of course. We all know that a daily dose of exercise is good for our health. But the biggest fear that most women have is that working out too much will make them have the aesthetics of a male. Better buckle up your seatbelts because here’s the truth: it won’t. You’re more likely to get bulky from eating too much McDonald’s and KFC everyday than exercising. Because of this myth, the first thing most women do when they go to a gym is head straight to the cardio machines. But unless you’re doing interval training, you most likely won’t see much in terms of results if all you’re doing is spending 2 hours on the elliptical at the same speed the entire time.
Let’s first address why spending long periods of time on a cardio machine won’t help you lose all of that weight that you’ve packed on. First of all, your body learns to adapt to situations. So when you run for long periods of time and repeat the process over and over, your body gets used to it and eventually learns how to use less calories to compensate for the amount of energy that you’re expending. In the long run, you’re essentially running for nothing. Sure you’ll feel like you accomplished something because that 10km run will start to feel effortless, but it literally will be effortless. So at the beginning of your long-term weight-loss plan, running may help you to lose about 5lbs initially, but progress stops there.
Now we’ll address the next question, “What can I do instead of cardio?” To put it simply, lift weights. Not only will you save time (each exercise takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on how long your breaks are), but you’ll see progress faster. When you lift weights, the stress on your muscles creates micro-tears that need to be nourished and repaired. When these tears are repaired, your muscles get larger. Did you know that for every 3lbs of muscle you gain from weight lifting, you end up burning an extra 120 calories per day without even having to lift a finger? So lesson learnt, cardio won’t help you burn extra calories in the long run while you sit on your couch watching Sex and the City, but weight lifting will.
So for the question you’ve all been waiting for, “will lifting make me heavy?” Yes and no. Yes you can get bulky, if you literally live and breathe the gym like a body builder. Even then, only 1/10 women have the right body type and other variables in the necessary arrangement to bulk up like a man. You would have to commit to going to the gym everyday and spending hours upon hours there, almost like a second fulltime job in order to reach the level of a professional body builder. When lifting weights, the body changes in men and women are different because men release 10 times more anabolic steroids than women do. In particular is testosterone, which clearly women don’t have as high levels of or else they would already be men. So even though you may be going to the gym 6 times a week compared to your husband that’s going twice a week, he’ll see more and faster results than you. This is simply due to the makeup of a woman’s body. Basically, a man’s muscle is marinating in a testosterone broth. So don’t even worry about modifying your male friend’s work out. Even if you tried lifting as much as him, you wouldn’t even develop those rock solid pecks.
Although you may feel and look like you’re getting bigger, here are some reasons to change your train of thought. Firstly, we tend to over-analyze ourselves and magnify everything. That minute muscle growth which doesn’t even register on your best friend’s radar may make you feel like your biceps just grew by 2 inches. On the other hand, when you first start adding weight training to your work out, the micro-tears in your muscles get inflamed, drawing in a lot of water in attempts to repair it. This is what causes your muscles to feel sore and the so called “swole”. So don’t worry, your muscles haven’t bulked up because this change is only temporary. Remember how we also said that as you start to lift more weights, your muscle development will cause you to burn calories even when you’re sitting around doing nothing? Well that in turn will cause you to become hungrier. As a result, you’re going to either consciously or unconsciously eat more in order to compensate for the caloric loss.
[quote_center]The next time that you work out, will you add weight training into your routine?[/quote_center]
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