Fit Myth Busting | Why Lifting Won’t Make You Bulky

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Two of the most common questions I get as a trainer are, “What’s the most effective way to lose weight?” and “Will lifting make me bulky?” Surprisingly enough, the two go hand-in-hand. In fact, incorporating dumbbells, kettlebells, etc. into your routine can help you slim down and tone up faster versus those long miles on the dreadmill. (Yes, you read that right!)

I know what you’re thinking…but trust me when I say ramping up your routine with weights will not turn you into the Hulk anytime soon. To further break things down, I decided to tackle some fiction and share the must-do-ASAP facts on all things strength-training. Mhm, you’re welcome!

MYTHS: 

  • Women shouldn't lift weights.

  • Aerobic exercise (running, spinning, etc.) burns the most fat.

  • Muscle can turn into fat. 

TRUTHS: 

  • We pick up, move, place down and carry heavy things (I mean, my purse/grocery juggle is a solid 20 lbs. alone!) in our daily life now and farrrrrrrr into the future so in terms of remaining strong and healthy (ahem, preventing injury and lowering our risk of medical conditions like osteoporosis...) for the long run, men and women should exercise with heavier weights. 

  • Lifting will not turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger overnight. It takes a lot more re: nutrition and supplementation to put on that much muscle. Also: We gals have lower testosterone than men so it's not physically possible to get as jacked!

  • Higher intensity workouts with weights expend more calories in a shorter period of time, while of course engaging multiple muscle groups, versus running your life away. Translation: Your body may not transform as much as you had hoped by sticking with cardio only. Yes, it burns calories but by no means does it increase lean muscle mass, which is far superior and efficient metabolically. (Mhm I’m looking atchuuu, after burn!)

  • With regards to “muscle can turn into fat” — losing muscle mass simply means you burn less calories throughout the day, which does not have to translate into gaining weight. Your caloric intake (and hello, hormones!) plays more of a role in packing on pounds.

  • While I adore isotonic movements and isometric holds, I'm also a huge advocate for activating fast twitch muscle fibers (type II) with heavier weights and powerful, explosive movements found in both HIIT and functional training. The benefits are seemingly endless from improved brain power to an increased lifespan.

  • Weightlifting is empowering! I may or may not have crushed more than my hubby the other morning in a partner workout and felt beyond badass and accomplished. So I mean, that’s that. (Sorry, Mike!)

lauren cardarelli