There seems to be an enormous myth in the fitness world, especially in the teenage and college crowd. There seems to be a misconception that if you, a lady, lift big, heavy weights, you will become big, buff and muscular like your male friends. No lady wants to “get huge,” (unless you’re training for some Hungarian weightlifting championship, then by all means, go all out) but what is the best way to achieve the lean, sexy body you want over the four years you spend in college? Should you stick to the baby-weights so you don’t “puff up” your muscles or is there a way that makes more sense . . ?
I’ve heard a lot of girls say they have tried all sorts of crazy dieting and fitness plans to get the “hot college body” they yearn to have, but I’ve also heard that most of those programs didn’t work. If you think there is a one week crash course, automatic hot body building fitness plan out there, you’re being fooled. The only way for you ladies to get lean and sexy is to get strong. How does one build strength? You have to start light, but the 5lb, 10lb dumbbells won’t build you a cut physique. While that type of workout is great for building small muscle strength in the shoulders and other niche areas, the heavier you can lift, the more lean you will become. Here’s why.
The truth is that it all depends on what you’re eating before and after your workouts. You will become more muscular from lifting heavy weights, but the thing is, you actually tear and break-down your muscle fibers while working out. It is only once your body begins to recover that you repair torn fibers and synthesize more than you originally had as an overcompensation mechanism.
We can discuss the biomechanics and intricate chemistry involved in exercising, but the basics that you should take away are as follows
- Stop Resisting Resistance Exercise! When you do resistance exercise, muscle fibers are broken down and protein synthesis is stimulated for 2-4 hours post-exercise. One of the reasons a lot of people drink protein shakes after a workout is to feed the body protein when it is most susceptible to receive it. During this “golden window,” the body will utilize the protein you intake
- Build muscle not fat- It is a scientific fact that muscle is more compact and takes up less space than fat. If you are a dress size 10 and work out 3 times a week, compared to your friend who is a size 14, you should weigh less, right? Wrong. Muscle is more compact, however that doesn’t mean it weighs less than fat. In actuality, muscle weighs more than fat. So don’t worry about the scale so much, worry about getting toned.
- Eat the right foods at the right times- Proper post-workout nutrition is crucial for maximum muscle repair and growth. Depending on your fitness level and intensity, you may want to increase carbohydrate intake, but generally around 45 grams of protein paired with 30 grams of carbohydrates will allow you to replace glycogen stores and maintain energy supply while also beginning the muscle repair and growth process. The most important part of this shake is the protein. BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), the building blocks of proteins in your body, are utilized in muscle repair and are abundant in most protein powders. Just be sure if you’re utilizing protein powder it is low in sugar and has around 5-10 grams of BCAAs per serving.
So, ladies, ditch the baby-weights and go max out your box squat, like in the video on this site. All of these women got to the great shape they live in every day but lifting heavy weights a few times a week and eating right. You can also take a look at this article: should you do cardio and strength on the same day? and learn more about how exercise and weight lifting can put you in shape.
What do you guys think? Is a heavy barbell in your future? Leave a comment below.