Weight training will get you the lean and toned body you’re looking for.
I’d like to think that the days of weight training being associated with tree-necked bodybuilders and giant-sized powerlifters are over, but sometimes I fear the images won’t die. There are so many benefits to weight training that it’s a shame there are some negative associations with it.
I cringe when I hear women say they just want to get “toned” (add muscle and lose fat and you’ll look “toned”!).
If only I could have shook some sense into the 5’3, 200ish pound woman I overheard at Starbucks, telling her friend she didn’t want to do weights because she would get “too bulky”.
Her current obese state was already “bulky”, and certainly not in any positive way. I’m sure she’d find that if she started weight training she would actually slim down rather than bulk up her body.
I wish she’d give it a chance. I wish everyone would give weight training a chance.
Strength Training Rules!
It doesn’t matter if you’re a 17-year-old teen or a 72-year-old retiree – strength training is the way to go. I’m not saying that either of those people should be doing maximal deadlifts on a regular basis (unless that’s a goal they set for themselves), but developing strength will benefit everyone.
Keep in mind that, for some populations, strength training can just mean bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups.
Full-body exercises are particularly beneficial for those groups, as they help to develop functional strength (ie. strength for day-to-day life).
Strength training builds bone mass and density.
So unless you want your bones to get porous and prone to fracture as you get older, you’d be well advised to hit the weights regularly.
Let’s not forget that if you build muscle mass then your body will burn more calories all the time. At the same body mass, a body with a higher percentage of muscle and lower percentage of body fat is going to look a lot more appealing.
More “toned”, shall we say?
Don’t Forget to Progress
It’s fine to start off with bodyweight exercises if you haven’t worked out before, are recovering from injury, or haven’t been exercising for a while (Hello – post-partum ladies!). Once your body adapts to the exercise though, you need to add a little resistance (ie. weight) to continue seeing benefits.
Don’t Fear Getting “Bulky”
Don’t fear heavier weights. You need to work extremely hard and eat consistently to put on large amounts of muscle, which may eventually become your goal. You’re not going to “accidentally” put on tons of muscle and get “bulky” (sigh!) without a hell of a lot of work.
The fitness models you see in magazines didn’t get that way by accident. Most of them have been training HARD for years, 1-2 hours a day, 6 days a week to get the amount of muscle they have. And yes, some of them have even taken drugs to enhance their muscular development.
It’s not going to happen with a few weight training sessions a week, even if you try.
One of the greatest benefits to weight training is how strong it makes you feel. Don’t overlook that key advantage. If you feel physically strong you’ll feel stronger mentally. Nothing beats the feeling of being happy, healthy, and ready to take on the world.
Weight training can be the start of an amazing journey for you. Don’t let preconceived notions stand in your way.