I started lifting weights five years ago and immediately became addicted to how powerful it was.
Since I have been exercising on average five times a week, I have learned a lot.
I’ve realized that exercise is overrated for fat loss and consistency trumps perfection.
In the summer of 2017, I agreed to do six weeks of personal training as an introduction to weightlifting for an article†
I used to try different things as a lifestyle journalist, but they were mostly fleeting interests for content.
However, strength training was different. When I agreed to write that article, I had no idea it would spark a passion that would become a lifestyle.
I had never picked up a barbell when I started, and although I loved dancing and netball as a teenager, I didn’t consider myself a “fitness person.” Every now and then I subjected myself to a boring stint on a cardio machine.
But five years later, the discovery of strength training has changed not just my body but all my life. Fitness is now my specialty as a journalist, I have a healthy relationship with foodand I am also stronger, fitter, and slimmer†
“Resistance training is the key to almost any training goal”, personal trainer Luke Worthington previously told Insider†
I’ve been lifting weights consistently for five years, it makes me feel strong and, instead of seeing sports as a punishmentI feel like going to the gym.
I’ve learned valuable lessons along the way that would have helped me when I started, including that exercise alone won’t make you lose any significant amount of fat, and there’s no such thing as “toning.”
1. Exercise is Overrated for Fat Loss
Even though I’ve exercised more than I’ve ever done, I haven’t lost weight for almost two years after my fitness journey† I actually gained weight, and while some of it was muscle, it was also fat. I was just eating (and drink) too many.
I didn’t lose fat until I taught myself about calories and minimized overeating† Strength training and eating a high-protein diet also helped me maintain muscle†
After losing body fat and losing 35 pounds, people mistakenly assumed I had just started working out. But I was already strong (I could deadlift 255 pounds), I just didn’t fit the image most people associate with someone working out.
Formal exercise makes up only 5-10% of the calories the average person burns in a day, personal trainer Graeme Tomlinson previously told Insider† This is why I train to get stronger, fitter and stronger, don’t burn calories — if I want to lose fat, I aim for a calorie deficit with my diet.
2. Lifting Weights Doesn’t Make You Bulky
Contrary to the common misconception, lifting weights does not automatically make women “bulky.” Building muscle is actually a very difficult, slow process, especially if you don’t eat all at once calorie surplus†
“If you do it three times a week, the gain in muscle will not be noticeable for most people,” personal trainer Sarah Carr previously told Insider†
Female weightlifters’ physiques are the result of hard training and dedicated nutrition, Carr said, and genetics also play a role.
Five years later, I love the muscles I have and I still need to get bulky.
3. Show is a myth
Lifting heavy weights can help create the “toned” physique many women to desire. But it’s a myth that muscles can be toned – they just grow or shrink.
The “toned” look essentially means you have some muscle mass and low enough body fat to see it, personal trainer Pete Geracimo previously told Insider†
The way to do that is to build muscle through resistance training and lose fat through light weight training calorie deficit†
4. Consistency trumps perfection
Not every workout will be great. Some days my workout feels heavier than others. Sometimes I don’t feel like going to the gym at all. But 90% of the time I go, I show up and do something.
Knowing that I won’t always be motivated to work out, and will sometimes have to push myself to get to the gym, was key for me to stay consistent and meet my fitness goals. I also don’t save myself when I have a lighter workout every now and then.
overtraining doesn’t help me reach my goals faster and sometimes I take an extra day of restbut I’ve made progress — and made fitness a part of my lifestyle — by recognizing that consistency is more important than perfection.
5. Changing your training is good, but the basics always work
Every time I’ve changed my training style (such as from a bodybuilding program to a CrossFit-style training plan), my body has adapted†
This often leads to delayed onset muscle pain (DOMS), which is erroneously regarded as a sign of effective training† So I don’t change training every month into a quest for DOMS.
My workouts always include fundamental movements such as squats, hinges (deadlifts), pushes (bench presses), pulls (pullups), lunges, and carries.
The foundations are foundations for a reason, and to progress you have to train them consistently, apply them progressive overload, Worthington said:†
6. Anyone can become a ‘fitness person’
I always thought that “fitness people” were born that way, and if I wasn’t, there was no hope.
The past five years have shown me that’s not true.
Finding a way of exercising that I actively enjoy has changed everything for me. Not everyone will love lifting weights, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an exercise type for you. You may not have found it yet.
Read the original article Insider