I can’t lift that it will make me huge!
By Mark Gallagher 29/02/2016
Ok, so you are the gym or a class and the weight you are lifting is getting easier and you could probably lift a bit more. So do you move up in weight or just stay where you are? Common sense would suggest you move up in weight and make it more difficult. However there seems to be a universal myth that lifting heavy weights will make you have big muscles and look like a bodybuilder. All I am saying is I WISH! I’d like it to be as easy as picking up a heavier weight and instantly putting on loads of muscle (that’s if I could pick the weight up in the first place). It’s my job to convince you that this is the case. So that’s what I am about to try and do. Stay with me!
So why should I lift heavier weights?
Well firstly if it’s safe to do so and you are finding it pretty comfortable at the weight you currently use then why not? I know that’s a pretty basic answer but sometimes most of the time keeping things super simple is the way forward. But on a more serious note there a couple of legitimate reasons as to why we should increase the weight, sets and reps when exercising on a regular basis. Here are my thoughts on the subject:
So lets get lifting!
Now it’s time to increase the weight you use next time you are at the gym. Even just a couple of kg’s or the next weight up from what you have been using previously. Here is a though…
“If we keep doing what we have always done, we will get what we always got.”
So lets challenge ourselves and not just go through the motions at the gym and in life.
Next time we will discuss Progressive Overload, not the sexiest of titles but it is directly linked to the topic of muscle building we have just went over.
It seems to be the consensus among the general population that protein shakes/ powders are for weightlifters and weightlifters only. There seems to be a stigma attached to them that they are not for NORMAL people to consume. Some stereotypes are they give you big muscles, make you bulk up and taste like something you wouldn’t even give to your dog. Thankfully none of these pre-conceptions are true (although I must admit flavours are a bit odd, cookies and cream protein shake anyone?).
So Why Do We Take Protein Shakes?
We need sufficient amounts of protein in our diets to ensure optimal growth and repair of our bodies on a daily basis. Although the amount can vary depending on your lifestyle, age and activity levels and can range anywhere from 0.8 to 2.5 grams of protein/per kilogram of bodyweight/day. Now in an ideal world we would want to get all of our protein sources from whole foods such as meat, poultry, fish and some dairy products but this isn’t always feasible given the hectic lifestyle many people have. This is where protein shakes can come in handy and help provide a top up of protein to your diet and be linked in with your current exercise regime.
During exercise our bodies are breaking down our fuels sources and using them for energy. Depending on what intensity you exercise at this could be fat or carbohydrate as well as protein. After exercise our bodies require us to replenish the nutrients we have just used up in order to have sufficient energy levels and re fuel for your next session. A quick and simple way to achieve this is by having a post workout protein shake.
There are two main types of protein powders available on the mass market, which are whey and casein. Now to put it simply whey is fast acting and gets into your system and where it needs to go very quickly (ideal for after exercise). Casein is a bit slow on the uptake and is gradually released into the system more suited if you haven’t got time to make a meal and casein mixed with some healthy fats or carbohydrates will keep you going till your next meal.
Don’t Knock It Till You Have Tried It.
Protein shakes can be a great addition to a health diet and you should definitely be considered if you are serious about your health and fitness. They are so many brands out there all doing relatively similar products so find a flavour and brand that you like and stick to it. A protein shake after exercise won’t give you huge muscles (believe me I know) but it will help replenish the body with the vital nutrients it needs after exercise. So don’t be afraid to jump in the pool and try something new.
You never know might actually like it.
People often get caught up in finding the best way to lose weight, put on muscle or get better at specific sport. The truth is there are many different ways to achieve the desired results so we can’t dismiss another method until we have at least understood the method or tried it for ourselves. People seem to quick these days to think there is a quick fix and if I follow this certain plan/regime for the next six weeks my life will be changed forever. When the goal should be not to change in the short term but to change for the long term and invest in your future.
Lets look at the various methods people use to achieve their goals:
Cardio has long been hailed as the No. 1 solution for fat loss and weight loss programs and can be found in various forms. We mainly have LISS (Low intensity steady state cardio) and HIIT (High intensity interval cardio) both have their place and promote different reactions within the body. LISS is cardio performed over a longer period of time (i.e 40 Minutes) at a low pace which will over time burn fat in the body as fat is the main fuel source used when working at lower intensities. HIIT on the other hand is high intensity interval training and in this method we working extremely hard for a short period of time followed be a rest, then repeat several times which puts a lot of stress on the body but by doing so means it will use everything it has to cope with the added stress. Which will also allow you to lose body fat while maintain lean body mass.
Both systems have their advantages and are both effective ways of losing fat, it just depends on your circumstances and what you enjoy.
Now weight training has unfairly in my opinion been tagged as an exercise regime that is only for big burly men and people with not a great deal of intelligence. However it is a training system that anyone can undertake and I feel should almost certainly have it as part of their weekly exercise routine. Men, Woman, boys and girls can all benefit from resistance training albeit with adjustments required for each specific population. Basic resistance training programs should be focused on compound movements such as Squats, Deadlifts, Shoulder Press, Bench Press, Lunges. These exercises work various muscles and reflect movements in everyday life, which we all want to be physically capable of. We can also implement various bodyweight exercise into our routine such as press ups, pull ups, dips and some core exercises to build up strength and ultimately help will us with the big compound lifts we mentioned earlier. Technique is key to all movements and must not be overlooked when trying to lift additional weight.
It all depends what you want to achieve when it comes to exercise and health. These training systems work in different ways to suit your needs and goals. There are many variables when it comes to exercise and training and we need to adapt and change them as we move through different stages of training. Nutrition is another massive variable but that’s for another day.
Like I said there is more than one way to skin a cat or get to you’re your ideal body composition so don’t focus on one, utilise all the best bits of each to suit you and get moving.