I witness people making this mistake all the time, and it's mind-boggling to see. Read on for everything you need to know about how to avoid this common waste of time.
Ninety percent of the things that people do in the gym are a complete waste of time. One that I see all the time absolutely confounds me. I see regular human people using weight so light that they might as well be lifting two cotton balls on either end of a toothpick.
A woman will do twenty leg presses, for example, without any effort. She does not slow down near the end or push through the last few reps.
WHAT GETS RESULTS
With resistance training, if you are not working hard, you are not working out. When exercising, you must put stress on your body to get results. The body adapts to the demands imposed upon it. If you are not demanding that your body get stronger, it WILL NOT change.
Exercise involves exertion. (Please note: There are situations that seem to require very low effort. Individuals who are extremely out of shape, those recovering from injury or illness, and those performing corrective exercises will perform at a very low intensity. This article is not directed toward these groups.)
Remember: if you are not using effort, you are not exercising.
For example, if the woman doing leg presses with feathers instead increases the amount of weight so that her legs are fatigued after 3 sets of 10 reps, her body would make muscular and neurological adaptations that would make her stronger, and improve her muscular endurance.
It wouldn’t be long before she saw shapely, sexy changes in the way her body looked. Even better, she would feel more accomplished after her workout.
Weight training is the most effective way to lose weight and get that “toned” look. That “tone” is muscle, and the best way to get muscle is to use resistance.
When weight training, you should always push yourself past and through the point where your muscles begin to burn, while always maintaining proper form. The point at which you cannot perform the exercise with proper form is the point you must stop.
Your exercises should get tough at the end of a set, and very difficult during the last repetitions of your last set. Otherwise, you should use heavier weight. Anything less is a waste of time.
BUT I DON'T WANT TO GET BULKY!
Are you worried that lifting heavy weights will make you bulky? NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
First of all, bulky women do not get that way by accident. It happens with many years of intense, 24/7 dedication to muscle building routines and a perfect very high-protein diet. AND STEROIDS.
Some people associate women lifting heavy with images of extremely big, bulky women, not realizing that they only get that way because THEY USE STEROIDS.
Lifting heavy weights will not make you bulky or manly. The reason is that women do not have enough muscle-building hormones to get big, bulky muscles.
The primary physiological factor of muscle growth is testosterone. While women also produce some testosterone, it is at about 1/15 the rate of our male counterparts. This is the primary reason that men tend to have more muscle mass than women.
Ok, ladies? We chemically do not have the ability to bulk up the way men do.
Not lifting weights because you don’t want to get bulky is like not planting a few tomato seeds because you don’t feel like becoming a farmer.
What will happen when you train with heavy weights is that you’ll burn more calories, not only during your workout but throughout the entire day, even while sleeping. You will get the “toned” look that men and women find so attractive. You’ll get a flat stomach (even six-pack abs if your fat percentage is low enough), shapely, sexy shoulders and legs, and a lifted, round bum.
USE THESE KEY NUMBERS
Many types of exercises don’t use specific sets or repetitions, such as running, stretches, calisthenics, and certain kinds of HIIT workouts. If you’re going to use weight training—and you should—use this information to get the results you’re after:
To increase your strength, use very heavy weight and do 2-6 sets of 4-8 reps. Rest for 2-5 minutes between sets to allow muscles to recover fully and regain strength.
To increase your endurance, use lighter weight to do 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps. Only rest for about 30 seconds between sets.
To increase both strength and endurance and get fit and toned, 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Rest for about 30-90 seconds between sets.
For each range in each of above examples, use the amount of weight that fatigues the targeted muscle at the end of the set.
The most effective way to burn calories and boost metabolism is through strength training workouts. Here's why. Your body burns calories all the time, even while you sleep. Even while completely at rest, muscle burns three times as many calories as fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn all the time, including while you eat and sleep. Packing even more of a punch, strength training—unlike cardio—fires up the metabolism for hours after the workout is over.
SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Are you worried about how you will look when you’re struggling with those last few reps? First, no one at the gym cares about you. They are paying attention to their workout. Their minds are preoccupied with their lives. They might notice that you exist, but they are not judging you. And even if they are judging you, WHO CARES? The opinions of judgmental strangers at the gym don’t matter.
What matters is that you push yourself past your comfort zone so your body can change. Because while it can be a nice place, nothing strong ever grows there.