Strength & Performance

Can weightlifting make me look bulky?

Can weightlifting make me look bulky?

It’s a question asked more times than a child probing are we there yet on a 10 hour car ride. Many women believe that using heavy weights will immediately transform you into a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Is this belief true? Can women really bulk up with a 30-pound dumbbell?

The answer in short, it is possible for women to get bulky, but highly improbable. Less than 1/10 of one percent of women can achieve such results. In fact, it would require long-term, consistent training and a big nutrition push to see results. One would have to be genetically gifted to get “bulky.”

Since few women actually get bulky from lifting heavy, who do so many of us think we do? 

First reason: Self Perception. No offense ladies, we have terrible self-perception. When a person feels their guns are getting swole, they start to look at their arms differently.

Second reason: Eating More. I can eat this cookie, I went to the gym today, sound familiar? Some women deliberately eat more because they think they need it to support their training.

Third Reason: Fluid Retention. In the early stages of training, you get a lot of inflammation and the muscles draw in glycogen and water. The fluid retention and inflammatory process is what causes the stiffness and soreness, same as what happens if you sprain your ankle and it swells up. So, women will train for a couple of weeks and swear they have ‘bulked up’ — and perhaps they have, but it’s not muscle. And that means it’s not permanent.

In a recent Huffington Post article on the subject of light weightlifting verses heavy weightlifting, several published studies suggest that is doesn’t really matter whether you go heavy or light. You’ll pretty much get similar results either way if you’re trying to build muscular strength – as long as you lift until you are fatigued or to muscle failure.

A study of 164 women, highlighted in US News Health found that weight training helped keep fat at bay better than cardio did. This is because you muscles are responsible for your metabolism. The more muscles you have the higher your metabolism and the more energy you’re going to have.

All in all, if you are looking to become lean and strong start adding more weight training into your work out. Additionally, diet plays a huge role in shedding the fat to display those new muscles of yours!

Want more information? Contact Just Fitness 4 U Dallas to get a consultation with our certified personal trainers. Click here to find a location near you.

How To Enjoy Your Gym Membership & Get Ripped

How To Enjoy Your Gym Membership & Get Ripped

Across the country, there are about 58 million people who sign up for a gym membership. After all, it is one of the best ways to stay fit and satisfied with your physical shape.

If you have just signed up for a gym membership or you are planning to join a fitness class or go one-on-one with a trainer, here are a few tips on how to enjoy your membership, make new friends, and meet your fitness objectives.

Call Yourself a Rookie but Don’t Make Rookie Mistakes

Every new member should learn to tread lightly on his or her first month at a new gym so you don’t make rookie mistakes. This is important as you get used to the environment, get to know the people behind the counters and equipment, and blend in. A rookie is someone who is new to a scene and invariably tends to make mistakes so here’s a list of how to avoid rookie makes in the first month at the gym:

  • Ask and don’t stop asking questions if you’re unsure about something, especially about how to use the equipment and facilities. Keep in mind that if you were a member in another gym, the equipment may look familiar but may have different operating mechanisms.
  • If there is a membership orientation, attend it.
  • If you like working out with music, make sure you have earphones or ear buds that can contain the volume well.
  • Wear the proper attire. Cotton is now considered outdated since it does not wick sweat well. Instead, wear something that dries quickly and does not drip. It’ll make you more comfortable but also not leave lots of sweat behind for others (and also, wipe down machines when you’re done!)
  • Keep your mobile phone quiet and take calls outside the workout area so you don’t disrupt the workout of other members. Nothing is worse than someone loudly talking on the treadmill and distracting people doing a serious workout.

Follow the Fitness Trainers’ Lead

Most fitness centers and gyms will ask you about your fitness goals. These goals will be relayed to the trainers and fitness professionals so they can help you attain your goals so take their lead. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy discussion about your program, but do give them the respect they deserve.

Change Up

Once you start getting bored with your routine, change it up. Join classes or request a new program. The repetitive exercise syndrome is one of the reasons many members tend to lag on their fitness goals.

In addition, repeating the same routine puts you at risk for injuries as you become less conscious and alert of your actions and more robotic.

Finally, enjoy socializing with other members but do try to keep it professional especially as a new member. Adopt a wait-and-see to find out who among the members you will most likely get along with and not end up in the middle of a dispute among cliques.

 

 

We would love to know: how have you enjoyed your membership at Just Fitness 4 U Dallas?

The First Step is the Hardest

The First Step is the Hardest

I’m not going to waste time – New Year’s resolutions have come and left. Many people made resolutions about eating better, going to the gym and making better choices for their health. Hopefully, if those were your resolutions, you have stuck with them and have been consistent for the first few months.

Just in case you haven’t stuck with them, I want to take a few minutes to encourage you. Even if you didn’t have resolutions for fitness, but you have a desire to make changes, you don’t need a new year or even the first of the month to start.

I know it is tough, but the first step is truly the hardest. Even if you don’t have a history of fitness or physical exercise, baby steps are better than no steps at all. Don’t feel like you have to start with an hour and a half weight training and cardio day. Start with 10 minutes of walking or some body weight exercises. Every little bit counts!

The Internet can be a great resource. Use Google to find some good introductory body weight exercises to get your routine started. Or, even better, join a gym and ask the fitness professionals there for some tips on how to get started. Most gyms can provide training services from certified personal trainers who can walk you through a routine as many times a week as you would like. They can advise you on cardio, weight training and nutrition.

My biggest advice regarding making a first step towards fitness is do not be one of those people that signs up and never comes back. Baby steps are key! The hardest step in physical fitness is the first step out of the door to actually go.

Use positive self-talk for encouragement and find others that will encourage you on your journey. Find accountability partners that will be tough on you if you make excuses and try to back out of going to the gym or going on a walk or run. If you really want to achieve your goals, you need the first step – motivated by positive self-talk and a community of loved ones that encourage you!

Physical well being is not just about fitness and exercise, but also about your nutrition. Fresh is always key when it comes to fruits, vegetables and meat. Lean proteins such as chicken and turkey are good for each meal along with fruits and vegetables. Try to eat only whole grains when it comes to carbs and avoid high fat and packaged foods.

 

What other tips do you have that encourage the first step towards physical well being?

Fitness Classes are Key

Fitness Classes are Key

Whether you have been working out consistently for many years or want to start a new physical exercise routine, fitness classes are a great way to mix up your routine or get excited about starting some new habits.

If you have never been in a fitness class and all you have seen is what is featured on movies and television shows – let me dispel some rumors.

First, you will not have a ‘Richard Simmons-like’ instructor who is decked out in bright colored gear making awkward facial expressions. People won’t stare at you if you do a move wrong or talk about you if you are out of shape. You aren’t required to do the entire class at the speed of the instructor – you can go at your own pace and stop when you need. You are allowed to ask questions and alter movements to fit your experience level or fitness level. The classes aren’t filled with professional body builders and models – so, unless you are a professional body builder or model (that’s cool, too) you will be surrounded by people just like you!

With all those out of the way, let’s look at what fitness classes are and why you should seriously consider them.

First, there are many different types of fitness classes. There are dance-style classes such as Zumba and Hip Hop, which do not require you to be a good dancer. These can be very fun and can maybe improve your dance skills, even if just a little. There are also cycling and spin classes that take place on a bicycle, which is mounted into a stand that allow you to pedal in place. Also, there are classes such as yoga, Pilates and Bodypump that use different types of exercise techniques to achieve results in flexibility, strength and quickness.

This is just a small sample of fitness classes offered through gyms or local community centers. There are so many styles of fitness classes to fit a wide range of interests and preferences. Not to mention, if you don’t like a class, you don’t have to attend and can try something else. Maybe you will find two or three classes that you like to attend on a monthly or weekly basis? Additionally, group classes are usually included in your gym fees, which means there is no excuse about an extra charge to participate.

One of the biggest bonuses about fitness classes versus individual workout routines in the team atmosphere and accountability they provide. After a while, you may find that there are a core group of people attending the class daily or weekly, which helps to develop new friendships and people who have similar goals for fitness and wellness as you. They can encourage you to keep working hard for your goals and you can do the same for them.

 

Why else do you think fitness classes are a good option for exercise?

Lift Weights, Lose Weight

Lift Weights, Lose Weight

The newest statistics indicate that 75% of men, 67% of women, and one-third of the teens in the U.S. are either overweight or obese, it’s time to revisit one of the easiest entries to exercise with the best return on investment: strength training.

Strength training has many forms. From weight room workouts, to studio strength workouts, to ballet barre and yoga classes, if your muscles are burning within a minute (or less) they will get stronger.

Your ability to burn energy, i.e. calories, depends largely on the amount of muscle you have in relationship to your weight. If you have a higher percentage of muscle per pound of bodyweight your body will be a better furnace. Muscle consumes significantly more calories per day per pound than fat (6.5 calories per pound per hour compared to 1.2 for fat), which in turn facilitates fat loss.

Throughout life, we lose muscle mass largely from lack of physical challenges that force us to be strong. Since carrying our water from the well, growing our food, and chopping wood for the fireplace are not on the to-do list, if you want to have a strong, lean body, fight back by lifting weights. It is hands down the quickest way to reshape the body, restore lost muscle mass, and stoke your metabolic furnace.

BUST THE MYTHS

No, ladies, you are not going to bulk up. You just aren’t. Your hormonal balance lacks the amount of testosterone necessary to look like those beefy people you have seen in the gym. They are following a specific nutritional regime, using supplements, and are spending an inordinate amount of time lifting. That is not us. We need this.

We all need it. Research overwhelmingly proves that strength training benefits all age groups.

Another myth: you lose strength as you age. Wrong. Loss of strength is not a function of aging, it is a function of disuse. Especially for women: use it or lose it.

Men, on the other hand, peak in strength in their late 20s. As men age, there is a small decrease in testosterone levels, thus their potential for strength will decrease. Key word here is ‘potential.’ Since most men never trained to their actual potential, most men can be stronger through consistent strength training as they age too. Additionally, because of their hormonal advantage, men generally have an easier time re-capturing lost muscle mass.

GO FOR OVERLOAD

For strength training to be effective, the intensity of the exercise needs to be difficult enough that your muscles fatigue (or be at “failure,” the point when you lose form) in about 30 seconds to one minute. This caveat of strength training is also what makes it so time efficient.

Cardio benefits heart health, but it does not make you strong. And no, it doesn’t count as strength training if you are sore the next day from a cardio workout. When muscles are not used to something, they will get sore. But since cardio is sustainable (the intensity is low enough that it can be done for extended periods of time), it will not reap the benefits of reshaping the body like lifting weights will.

GOT TIME?

Research has proven repeatedly that with minimal time strength training, the body will show results. With just 3 half-hour strength training workouts per week, in 8 weeks participants showed a body composition change on average of an increase of 3 pounds of muscle mass and a loss of 5 pounds of fat. The investment of time for results is highest with strength training.

BREATHLESS?

Good! Cardio does not have exclusive rights to elevating the heart rate. Strength training, when the exercise is challenging, will elevate your heart rate toward and even to breathlessness. You will get out of it what you put into it; greater challenge and effort equals better results.

WHAT ABOUT WEIGHTS?

Lifting weights will make you strong. But your body has plenty of weight to supply ample resistance when used against gravity. The problem with body weight is this: most of us are not strong enough to use our bodies against gravity, which makes weights a necessity. Take pull ups for example; for most of us, not going to happen. Planks are pretty awesome and most people can do a plank for a few seconds to a minute or more. But many of us cannot take that plank, lower our body weight to the floor and push it back up (the classic push up). We can modify a push up by dropping to our knees, effectively lowering the amount of load/weight that we push up. And we can make it even easier with light dumbbells: lie on your back, hold a couple of dumbbells at your chest, and push them up, i.e the chest press. The advantage of the push up (even the modified knee version) over the chest press is the superior activation of deep core muscles to stabilize your body during the push up, giving those important core muscles a work out too. So no, strength training does not mean having to lift dumbbells….YOU can be the weight. But you might need to work up to it.

HOW OFTEN?

Since strength training overloads the muscles to the point of fatigue in a short amount of time, it only needs to be performed every few days; every other day works great! If you add some cardio into your workout week, fat loss results will be further enhanced by the extra calories burned via the extra activity. One of the best investments you can make in the technology world is a pedometer. Pedometers range from simple mechanical models, which cost just a few dollars, to clip-ons, wristbands and watches. Phone apps will count your steps if you carry your phone all day. A good rule of thumb to work up to: aim for 10,000 steps per day.

NEED HELP?

To get results, strength training, lifting weights, and body weight training need to be performed with good technique and form. Injury can be avoided through proper biomechanics. A good trainer will not only keep you safe during the workout by coaching you on form, they will also be able to uncover details in your execution that will help you avoid repetitive stress injuries that could happen down the road. Good form and posture are the foundation to build on. If you need help, our staff of professionals is here to help.

GET STARTED TODAY!

Your future-self is not going to be any more motivated than your today-self. What you are not willing to do today, you are probably not going to be willing to do tomorrow. Start your program now. Many of our classes and group workouts at Just Fitness 4 U have a strength component. See our schedule on-line or on our App. Or drop and do those push-ups right now!

You deserve a lean, strong body. It is within reach with a consistent, sensible, well-organized program of lifting weights and strength training. Reap the benefits and get started today!