Don’t you hate titles like that? I do. Yes, I realize the irony that I have such disdain for click bait titles like that and I am using one, but I am using it to make a point. I can’t stand fitness marketing. Especially the fitness marketing geared towards women. There is a constant myth being touted that in order to get in shape one must exercise for hours in the mythical “fat burning zone,” eat 1000 calories a day (that’s my breakfast), and firm/tone their thighs. I hate it mainly because that type of marketing is usually accompanied with a picture of a lean, airbrushed, bikini model, who, in reality, probably does none of the things that her image is selling in that particular ad.
There is a prevalent mythology that in order to “tone and firm” we must do cardio non-stop. Don’t get me wrong, cardio is important, very important. But to obsess over calories burned, keeping your heart rate in the “fat burning zone,” trying to stay on the elliptical for hours on end will lead you in circles. Quick weight loss from calorie deprivation always comes with consequences, and those consequences are usually putting the weight right back on.
Do you want to learn how to tone and firm and burn fat? It really isn’t a secret. Lift weights and sprint. No, not those 5 pound dumbbells in the gym, actual weight. I refer back to a study I came across last week titled “Intensity of Resistance Exercise Determines Adipokine and Resting Energy Expenditure Responses in Overweight Elderly Individuals.” The link is too long to post here, but it was shared on Be Well Chiropractic’s facebook page last week if you want to read it. The study was published in the journal “Diabetes Care,” and the authors found that Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) was increased up to 48 hours following resistance exercise, and that the length of time REE was elevated was directly related to the level of intensity of the workout. So, what does that mean? Resting Energy Expenditure is similar to your basal metabolic rate, but it refers specifically to the amount of energy (calories) you burn while resting in the hours following a workout. If you workout with a high intensity level, you will have a higher REE. In other words, you will burn more calories during your recovery than if you were to go for a walk, or lift weights that are far below your maximum. Muscle is a very metabolically active tissue. When you exercise at a high intensity, you will break muscle down to a greater degree than if you were to workout at a lower intensity. For example, running 5-10 sprints instead of walking for an hour or performing deadlifts at 50% of your maximum versus doing curls with a 5 pound dumbbell. These higher intensity activities will break down muscle fibers to a far greater degree, and as a result they must be built back up. Building muscle back up is a process that utilizes a great deal of energy, hence a higher REE. You burn more calories in response to higher intensity exercises, which equals a leaner HEALTHIER body.
This is why it is so important to quit avoiding the area in your gym where the barbells and weights live! The single most efficient means of transforming your physical health and body is with the functional, dynamic, compound exercises like the squat, press, and deadlift. Most people avoid these exercises out of intimidation or a fear of getting “bulky.” Folks, getting bulky and looking like a bodybuilder is hard. Very hard. People who look that way, or who pack on tons of muscle have a level of dedication that very few will ever know. Their life revolves around building muscle. Typically, it requires trips to the gym 5-7 times per week, for several hours at a time, and a diet that is zeroed in on the exact number of carbohydrates, protein, and fat that their bodies require. Someone who says you will get bulky from lifting weights doesn't know what they are talking about, and are very patronizing to those who have dedicated countless hours to training and eating to develop muscle like that. Believe me, I know from personal experience. Back when I still competed in weightlifting, I trained 2 hours a day and ate like it was a part time job. I would even drink protein shakes in the middle of the night to keep my metabolism going while I was sleeping. If you are not willing to do those things, you will not get bulky, I promise.
The other reason people avoid these movements is a fear of getting hurt. That is very understandable. They do appear intimidating, and many trainers (unfortunately) don’t know how to teach them correctly, and as a result, don’t teach them at all. That is why we are hosting our free workshop Monday, January 25 at Be Well Chiropractic at 6 PM. Dr. Anna and I will be teaching you how to safely lift weights to get the most out of your workouts. We will cover high intensity interval cardio, weightlifting form, and how to set up a week of workouts from beginner to advanced. Don’t miss this workshop!