Myths About Muscle
New Year. New You? Yeah, yeah. This is peak time where gyms make most of their money from folks who are encouraged to take better care of their bodies. The major problem is that by March, most of those people lose interest in their commitment while trapped into a monthly membership. This is also the season where every American who is easily influenced by the witchcraft of memes believes that a new diet or cleanse will solve all of their problems.
No. We’re not doing any of that.
This year, regardless if you get that gym membership or change your eating habits, you should really focus on muscle because a regular strength training program is going to help you reduce body fat and burn calories more efficiently. For most people, this results in healthy (and sometimes faster) weight loss. Preserving and enhancing your muscle and bone mass, will have your body looking snatched for the gods, regardless of your age. Even if you play sports or jog regularly, you need to add strength training to your regimen, otherwise you are going to start looking lopsided and elderly.
There are a few misconceptions that we should clear up before you pick up any fucking weights.
Women Should Only Use Light Weight
#Bishwhet? No no no no no no no no no. Unless you are recovering from an injury or just gave birth to a super cute baby, a 2-pound weight is not going to cut it. And even if you do start out with light weights, you should be progressing towards heavier weights as you get more comfortable and familiar with the exercises. There are lots of classes that advocate using light weights so that you won’t bulk up but the reality is that your body doesn’t produce enough testosterone for that to happen and you would need to go on some pretty intense supplements to put on that type of mass. If you are naturally thick and curvy, this is a valid concern as what you might think is fat is actually muscle that wants to be toned. Here is the compromise: commit to the strength training but add cardio into the mix. HIIT drills or a sprint on the treadmill after lifting will be your best friend.
Remember you are still cute as you are and have shit to do. Why spend 90 minutes at the gym lifting a light weight 80 times when you get more bang for your body by lifting a 15-pound weight 6-8 times in a 30-45 minute workout.
Men Should Always Go for The Heavy Weight
In the words of Saint Beyoncé, #nigganah. Dude, if you don’t know your limit, check your masculinity. Some exercises may be foreign to your body so you might have to pick up a lighter weight to train. Proper form > being able to handle 160 lbs. on the gym floor (or what I like to call the bro championships). If it has been a while since you have worked out, be patient. If you have been hitting the gym for a while and aren’t seeing results, before increasing that weight and putting unnecessary strain on your body, evaluate your lifestyle. Are you drinking a lot of alcohol? Are you changing up your routine? Do you need to consult a trainer? Maybe your form has been off this whole time. Do you even lift? (I had to). You only get one body. Limping is only for pimping!
Training Everyday Will Get You There Faster
Doing this will actually do more damage than you think. Anyone who has overtrained will tell you that it is not fun. Symptoms include a change in resting heart rate which can lead to anxiety, the constant feeling of thirst, never-ending muscle soreness that won’t go away with massage, insomnia, mental fatigue which will trigger depression, mood swings, a weakened immune system, surprise injuries, and delayed progress. God created a day of Sabbath for a reason. Give your body 1-3 days a week to recover. What a great reason to take a Hatha Yoga class or Netflix and Foam Roll on a Sunday afternoon. I use my rest days to get acupuncture and chiropractic treatments covered by my sweet expensive insurance.
More Advanced Exercises Are Better
Slow down. Master the basics first. Try taking a sculpting class or getting a few sessions with a trainer. A lot of gyms even offer small group training which is cheaper than one-on-one sessions. Learn your muscle groups. Learn how they work. Learn how to train them individually. THEN move onto the impressive stuff. Training programs like CrossFit have put many people in the hospital because they didn’t know the basics. Don’t be a statistic. You are better than that. I love you.
Anything That Comes from the Mouth of a GNC Sales Associate
If you really feel like you need to supplement your strength training with vitamins or magical potions, talk to your doctor first. Make sure you are getting regular check-ups. The next step would be to consult a dietician, or another health professional regarding what your body may be lacking and needs. Blood work, urine tests, and oral swabbing can point out deficiencies or confirm that you are already on the right track and don’t need to add any junk to your system. You more than likely don’t need to increase your protein intake as most Americans eat more protein than they need. But if you really want a protein shake mix, I highly Nutiva’s Organic Chocolate Hemp Protein. Add it to unsweetened chocolate almond milk with a banana or avocado…. OMFG so bomb.
Those sales associates at GNC will try to sell you any and everything and do not have any training on how the body works. Essentially, they are drug dealers in polos. Proceed with caution if you really have to go there. And before they force it on you, NO YOU DON’T NEED THAT PRE-WORKOUT. #saynotoliverproblems