We've all heard it before: "I don't want to lift weights because I don't want to get bulky".
It's an easy fear to develop when you're getting into shape. Everyone you see in fitness magazines and in ads are professionals. Of course what most people don't know is thatMUCHmore goes into their routine than simply lifting weights. They're going through grueling training that you would never achieve just by lifting a 50lb barbell for a few hours a week.
So fear not! The weights are your friend and we have five insane benefits that will make you change your mind about avoiding the weight room at your gym.
1. You'll burn more calories.
It's not just your muscle tissue that will change when you start lifting. Resistance training also increases the release of testosterone and human growth hormone (although the amounts may be different depending on your gender and workout). But, more importantly, your metabolism gets a boost. This helps aid in creating your lean body mass, which in turn helps you to burn MORE calories throughout the day. Yes, that includes those times when you're just chillin' on the couch or sitting at your desk at work.
2. You're shaping your body—not making it bigger.
You've probably bought into the idea that cardio is all you need to get the lean, slender look you're going for, but could spend hours on the elliptical, bike, or walking trail trying to burn fat. The real secret to a tighter body isn't in burning off every ounce of jiggle with cardio—it's in creating a solid, muscular base.
Want a perkier bum? Do squats and deadlifts. Want more defined arms and back? Do some shoulder presses and pull-ups. Just remember, you can't build a house without a strong, sturdy base and the same goes for your body!
3. You train for the results you want.
Weightlifting is a tailor-made exercise. If you want to have massive muscles you can train hard to get that way, but if your simply looking to get stronger with more lean and defined muscles there's a routine for that too! No matter what look you're going for there is always a regiment to fit your needs.
4. You'd have to bulk up your diet to bulk up your body.
You don't expect to lose weight just from working out—you know that a clean and healthy diet is part of the equation too. Well, the same goes for getting bigger. Gaining muscle mass comes from a combination of heavy weight training and an excess in calories. If you perform resistance training one to three days per week and you're not eating more calories than you expend in a day, you probably won't see a ton of muscle growth.
5. You won't wake up with insta-muscles.
I think it's safe to say that if you're reading this blog you've been on a diet before, and I'm sure you didn't wake up to find you had suddenly dropped ten pounds over night. The same rule applies to weightlifting. Just because you do a few bicep curls and eat a can of spinach doesn't mean you're going to wake up looking like Popeye! To get to a bulky or body-builder level of muscularity, you'd not only have to train and diet in an extreme fashion, AND you'd have to keep at it for years. Those types of athletes work extremely hard to look the way they do; you won't end up there by accident, we promise.
If you're still nervous about grabbing a pair of dumbbells, your best bet is to get some personalized advice from a trainer who can tailor a strength training program that works for you. Then stick to it. Guaranteed, you'll be feeling stronger, sexier, and more badass than ever.