From Jenn

Why Heavy Weights Are the Bomb-Diggity

jenn-fitpit

Yep, that's me! Credit: The Fit Pit

Nothing makes my fit bottom twitch more than when I hear a girl say that she doesn’t want to lift heavy weights because she doesn’t want to “bulk up” or “get big.” I’m not saying this because I know every darn thing about the human body or because I look like Jillian Michaels (look left, clearly I don’t). Instead, I’m saying this because, in my experience, heavy weights take you from a pretty-fit girl to a strong girl—both mentally and physically. Lifting heavier weights also makes you feel like a bad-ass, which never gets old, in my opinion.

For the past few months I’ve been going to a gym that has pushed me to work out harder—and lift heavier—than I ever have before. I’ve flipped tires, sprinted up hills, performed Olympic lifts and done too many mountain climbers to count, among other various feats. I know now that when push comes to shove, sure, I can do 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, 100 push-ups and even 100 assisted pull-ups (a MAJOR coup d’état for me!) in 30 minutes. I may be sore for three days after, but it’s a badge of uncomfortableness I wear proudly.

I’ve also learned that when it comes to working out, the girls can roll with the big boys. At The Fit Pit, there’s no women’s or men’s classes or workouts—we do it together. Sure, I may do it a little slower and with a little less weight than the dudes (or the amazing women who have been doing the workouts for years and can bang out 25 real pull-ups like it’s nuthin’—can you say “inspiring?”), but I’m doing the same moves as the guys and the same number of reps. Whether it’s swinging a 35-pound kettlebell (see photo above), dead-lifting 75 pounds or slamming a 25-pound medicine ball down, weight is our friend. And heavy weights get results.

I started out going to The Fit Pit once a week and almost immediately began to see my body change and get stronger. After a month or two, I started going twice a week. That’s when that line on my arm appeared—and I really got hooked because I started to look as strong as I was starting to feel. Now I’m flirting with the idea of going three days a week, although I’m waiting for my body to tell me when’s the right time to do so (read: I can go and not be sore for more than a day).

But—and here’s the real reason why I’m telling you all this—these hard, high-intensity workouts (many of which don’t last much longer than 20 minutes, mind you) aren’t just building muscle, they are showing me that I can do so much more than I ever thought. Much different than running a marathon, which tests your endurance and, in many ways, your will, these Cross-Fit style workouts are making me an athlete. They’re working my body in ways that my previous workouts haven’t: power, explosiveness, agility and coordination. I’m in better shape now at 30 than I was in college, when I was teaching multiple group exercise classes a day. Now I’m working out a max of five times a week (usually two at The Fit Pit, two short runs and one yoga session).

Oh, and by the way, lifting heavier weights will not—I repeat, will not—bulk you up unless you spends hours and hours doing it and possibly buy some “supplements” from that shady dude with the huge veins at the gym (note: never, ever do this). So what are you waiting for? Lift a little more and work a little harder, no matter if you’re just starting your fitness journey (with your doc’s permission, of course!) or if you’re a resident gym rant. Your body and mind will thank you! —Jenn



Comments

  1. TS says

    “Lifting heavier weights also makes you feel like a bad-ass, which never gets old, in my opinion.”

    ***DING DING DING***
    That’s the # 1 superficial reason my family lifts weights (even more than muscle definition). It’s still behind the good for the bones, faster results, useful for daily life reasons, but this totally feeds the ego and keeps motivating us to workout.

  2. peaksam says

    I find that a weekly workout routine with ExerciseTV and weight lifting produces great results!!

  3. says

    I have been weight lifting for about 20 years. I am now 58 and don’t even look close to that age. I am still approached by the 20 and 30 somethings, asking how they can get their arms, shoulders, back, etc. to look like mine. I love the way that I look and feel. The compliments never ever get old. My doctor says that I am an inspiration. I love it!!!

  4. Iron Old Lady says

    Good for you!! And even greater to hear you are getting the message out. Lucky for us there ARE trainers out there who don’t fear giving us heavy weights…it makes my heart break to see women in the gym using one and two pound pink “barbie” dumbells because they fear being bulky. I’m in it to help me keep young and gain bone density but you hit the nail on the head with “makes you feel like a bad ass”…yup’ you are right!!!! Yesterday I did walking lunges with 100 lb barbell on my shoulders and it’s a great feeling. Keep up the great work and thank you for getting the message out!!!

  5. zan says

    This is just what I needed to read today. I started working with a trainer and after years of half-assing it on weights, I’m now lifting substantial amounts. I started to get a tad paranoid about “bulking up” which is essentially an old wives tale!

  6. says

    I’m going to have to say “Amen” to that. Women think they are going to wake up like She-Hulk if they lift heavy weights, and clearly, as you state, they are making a BIG mistake.

  7. says

    You didn’t really touch on this, but for me, weightlifting is my therapy. Some people meditate to relax and get away from the world, but for me, lifting some heavy ass weights does the same thing. Plus, it’s fun being able to lift more than your bodyweight (max deadlift is currently at 155lbs) :)

  8. says

    Thanks for the kudos, Jenn! Any FBG that wants to give the Fit Pit a try need only to mention this blog post and they can workout FREE for a week. The Fit Pit loves you, Jenn!!!

  9. says

    I LOVE lifting weights. I recently overcame my fears about lifting heavy, because even though I knew I could do it, and that lifting heavy wouldn’t bulk me up, I still had this weird competitive thing going. I do group classes, and I had this weird thing about not being able to do all the reps!

    Then I realized I was wasting time. ;) So I upped those weights.

    I love the fact that when I flex, I have sexy shoulders. I have definition in my arms. When I do a squat, I can SEE the quads bulging against my yoga pants!

    I have a long way to go, weight wise; but had I not been lifting weights, I think my lost inches wouldn’t have been there. Though I’d been on a months-long “plateau” with my scale, I’ve gone from a size 16 to a 12. I have lost several inches… everywhere! I am SO much stronger – and I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to the burn. ;)

  10. says

    Well we have to lift weights according to our own body’s capabilities. I lift not so heavy weights but I still got the best chance to tone my muscles. Lifting heavy weights is not ideal at all times.

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