If strength training is the topic of discussion, then everybody has an opinion. From spot reduction, to women “should” stay away from it to kids and adults should not think about doing it... strength training has always been surrounded by myths for regular gym goers. So here we are, clearing these myths for you - once and for all - with comments from strength and fitness coach, Arnav Sarkar, and fitness expert, Wanitha Ashok:
Myth: Strength training bulks you up, making women appear manly.
Arnav Sarkar: A majority of actresses in Hollywood and in our own Hindi film industry lifts weights and still manage to look feminine and attractive. They surely do not look bulky because of lifting weights. To build a lot of muscle size one needs their body to produce the male hormone Testosterone in abundance, which women have little to none in their bodies and thus cannot bulk up (even if they wanted to, unless they take it externally).
Wanitha Ashok: It’s a myth. As women do not have any testosterone, there is no way they will bulk up. Instead they will be increasing their bone density and muscle mass which are both beneficial.
Myth: Strength training is the best exercise for spot reduction.
Arnav Sarkar: The concept of spot reduction does not really work in the real world. You lose weight from all over your body and cannot pick and choose a targeted area. Having said that it is also true that the areas where you put on fat first will be the areas where you may be likely to lose fat slowest too. The key thing is to stick with your fat loss plan and be patient as the fat will come off for sure if you have a good program.
Wanitha Ashok: Myth again, as there is no such thing as spot reduction. Training in isolation will pack the muscles in the specific area tightly and visually makes you lot slimmer.
Myth: Strength training is simply not meant for weight loss.
Arnav Sarkar: This is an old and silly myth that is still, sadly around. The best example to counter this myth is to check out an episode of the hit reality series The Biggest Loser. You will see extremely obese people who lift weights and still manage to end up losing weight. So if lifting weights does not stop them from losing 50, 100, 200 and in some cases 250+ pounds then obviously IT IS part of a good weight loss program and is not a limiting factor. And besides a lot of experts are nowadays starting to believe that weight training is even more crucial to lose weight than cardio workouts.
Wanitha Ashok: Myth as the saying goes “to lose weight pick weights”. The increased muscle mass boosts your metabolism and one can burn calories even while resting. Calories are used up in maintaining muscle mass. Half a pound of muscle burns 50-60 calories. So you stand to be a loser all the way
Myth: Lifting light weights for high reps will help in giving you extra results.
Arnav Sarkar: This was an old concept that was popular for fat loss. To boost your metabolism and tighten your body you need to challenge your body with heavier weights for lesser reps. The tension that is created in your body via heavy weights is what will help tighten your body. Light weights on the other hand fail to create any significant tension in your muscles. Lift heavier weights in the 5-12 reps category and maybe a little higher in the 12-20 reps range for the lower body muscles to get that lean and ripped look.
Wanitha Ashok: Yes, light weights and high reps are good enough to sculpt and tone muscles. If you are working on strength gains and endurance then heavier weight and lesser reps is thumb rule.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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