I’ve been in this industry for over 6 years now, and I continue to hear the same ole’ concerns and myths about heavy lifting, especially from the ladies.  Being a female myself, I totally understand the initial concern about heavy lifting.  I’ve been there!  For years, I was stuck in the mindset of doing cardio, cardio, cardio with a little bit of moderate-high rep weight training.  I thought that doing all of that was going to help me get lean and toned, giving me the look that every woman wants.  Before I started lifting heavy weights I was a CARDIO QUEEN.  My schedule went something like this:

Mon – taught New Kids class for 1 hour, played Ultimate Frisbee for 1 hour (lots of running)

Tues – taught Spin class for 1 hour, taught Circuit class for 1 hour (endurance weight training with high reps, low weight)

Wed – same as Mon

Thur – taught Circuit class for 1 hour (endurance training with high reps/low weight)

Fri – taught New Kids class for 1 hour

Sat – worked out with weights for 45-60 mins (moderate weight/moderate reps)

Sun – rested

Most people that are stuck in the “old school way” of thinking will probably read over this schedule of 9-10 hours of exercise a week and assume that I was super lean, super toned and super healthy.  But guess what?  That’s not the case!  My HEART was very healthy and I could’ve outrun someone if I had to with all of that Frisbee playing, but that was about it.  I worked out all the time, I was hungry all the time, and I ate all the time! I weighed 155-158 pounds, and I was lean, but not in the lean way that I wanted to be.  I definitely had fat on my body, and my legs and arms didn’t look “toned.”  They just looked like normal, skinny arms and legs.  Yuck!

In the summer of 2007, I decided to give the “heavy weight lifting” thing a try.  I started doing low reps and heavy weight.  I initially trained heavy 1-2x/week, and I threw in a 3rd/4th day with moderate/lighter lifting.  I stopped doing cardio altogether, aside from the heart work that I was getting with my weight lifting workouts. I definitely started seeing some awesome changes in my strength and in my body.  That went on for about a year or more, and then I really focused on my nutrition in the fall of 2008.  I monitored my caloric consumption and focused on the quality of my food, and I began to see even more results with my body.  In Jan 2009, I decided to do a program called Maximum Strength.  It was 4 months of heavy lifting with big body movements and very little isolation work.  I did the basic exercises that all of you boot campers are familiar with like squats, single leg squats, dead-lifts, lunges, push-presses, pull ups, push-ups, chest presses, and more.  BOY, DID MY BODY CHANGE!!  I was so shocked to see my results over the 4 months.  I finally got to be the super lean, ripped chick that I had wanted to be for a long time!  I was so strong, so healthy and I was 10+ pounds lighter!  I had a 6 pack, amazing arms, legs and the whole 9!  What a great feeling!  I regularly received compliments like “look at those guns” and “your back looks amazing!”

So there you have it!  I’ve been there and done that!  I know the miserable feeling of working my butt off doing hours and hours of cardio and some weight lifting without seeing results.  No one deserves that kind of torture and dissatisfaction!  Every single one of you that’s reading this deserves to look amazing, feel amazing and be lean, super toned and functional in your daily living.  If that’s what you want for yourself, then you HAVE TO LIFT HEAVY WEIGHT!  Here are the benefits of heavy weight training:

•      You burn calories while you are working out with heavy weights, especially in circuit fashion like we do at HPF.

•      A full body workout with weights will give you 1-2 days of caloric after burn, unlike cardio.

•      The more muscle that you have in your body, the more calories you burn at rest  à  your metabolism gets higher and higher as you put on more muscle (whoo hoo!)

•      People think they aren’t working out hard during heavy days, but that’s not true.  The heart has to work hard to supply blood to your body during heavy workouts.  So you’re not dripping and completely out of breath?  Big deal!

•      Aesthetically speaking, it’s the way to go!  Muscle takes up a lot less space than fat.  If you’re building muscle and losing fat, you’re going to see the results that you want.  Your clothes WILL fit differently, and you WILL get compliments.

•      We know that lifting heavy strengthens your muscles, but it also strengthens your bones and connective tissues which protect your body from injuries.

•      Heavy lifting enhances functionality in your daily life.  You can do more things with ease like picking up stuff, moving furniture, climbing stairs, balancing, pushing the kids around in a stroller, etc.  Heavy lifting even carries over to other types of exercise and makes those easier as well.