There have always been stereotypes associated with weight training and everyone seems to have an opinion on the topic that it can be difficult to know what to believe. To break through the chatter and get down to the truth about weight lifting, our Fitness Director, Steve DiDio, shares his thoughts on the most commonly asked questions on the topic.
WILL WEIGHTLIFTING MAKE ME BULK UP?
Many people associate weight training with power lifters and body builders and think, “I don’t want to get big and look like that.” The fact is those athletes work very hard to excel in their sports through diet, supplements and a strict lifestyle dedicated to performing at high levels (and getting big). For the average person, weight training would never result in a body transformation of that magnitude any more that playing flag football on the weekend would prepare you for the NFL.
WILL WEIGHT TRAINING MAKE ME INFLEXIBLE AND MUSCLE BOUND?
One of my favorite stories about weight training and its acceptance into the mainstream is about Dr. Peter Karpovich, a professor at Springfield College back in the 1940’s. He held a low opinion of weight lifting as an activity citing the stereotypical misnomer that it would make you slow and inflexible. However, he became one of strength science’s most eminent and visible advocates after witnessing a demonstration of weight lifting at a student assembly. During the demonstration, athletes performed great feats of athleticism like a backflip holding a 50 lb. dumbbell, Olympic lifts with over 300lbs., and a standing long jump of over 11ft. After the performance, in an effort to prove his muscle bound theory, Dr. Karpovich asked one of the athletes to scratch his back between his shoulder blades. The athlete did so with ease and did a full split while reaching forward and lying flat with his elbows on the floor. Following the demonstration, the professor apologized to the athletes, saying that he had always been taught that heavy lifting would make a person slow and inflexible, however what he had seen that day changed his mind.
WILL I BURN MORE CALORIES WEIGHT TRAINING THAN DOING CARDIO?
The answer to this question is not clear cut. The quick answer is doing moderately intense cardiovascular training burns more calories during the activity itself. However, immediately following cardio your metabolism goes back to resting whereas following a weight training session, your metabolism remains elevated for hours afterwards enabling you to continue to burn calories. Also, the more lean muscle you have the more calories you burn. For example, someone 150lbs with 10% body fat burns more calories than someone 150lbs with 20% body fat.
WHAT ARE THERE HEALTH BENEFITS ASSOCIATED WITH WEIGHT TRAINING?
Also known as the “Fountain of Youth”, weight training comes with so many benefits including the following:
• Improves heart health
• Improves cholesterol – increases HDL (good cholesterol) and decreases LDL (bad cholesterol)
• Reduces risk of diabetes and insulin needs
• Lowers high blood pressure
• Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
• Decreases risk of osteoporosis by building bone mass
• Helps with injury prevention
• Helps with posture
• Lowers risk of breast cancer – reduces high estrogen levels linked to the disease
• Reduces symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
• Reduces stress and anxiety
• Decreases colds and illness
Dedicating more time to weight training now, will help you stay active longer. It will make doing the everyday activities of life, like climbing stairs and carrying groceries, easier as you get older.
We hope this blog post helped set the facts straight on weight training and highlighted the many benefits for people of all ages. The Studios at Pine Brook Fitness offer a variety of classes as well as one-on-one and small group training that all incorporate weight training. Visit our website to learn more or contact Steve DiDio, Fitness Director, directly.