MYTH- Lifting Light Weights will “Shape” and “Tone” Your Muscles

This week I am going to debunk a few common myths that are often seen in the fitness world. Many times these myths are started by “personal trainers” trying to sell their “latest and greatest” product. In order for the product to sell, they need something to advertise. “Perform this exercise to lose belly fat in 7 days!” “Use this product to tone your arms/legs/belly/etc.!” There is so much misinformation out there today it is no surprise that these myths exist and are commonplace. 

I am going to start this week off with one of the most aggravating myths that I hear all the time.

Many people believe that when it is time to lose weight, the weights you are lifting need to go down while the repetitions go up. I have heard many people say that they think lifting light weights for high reps can “shape” or “tone” your muscles. There is also a belief (especially among women) that lifting heavy weights will make your body look too bulky. 

Here is the truth- The main difference between a “toned” body and a “bulky” body is the amount of fat that you are holding around your muscles. The “toned” look that so many people strive for can be achieved when you have muscle without layers of fat surrounding it. In order to build muscle, you need to challenge your muscle and “force” change in the 5-15 rep range. Any amount of reps over 15 reps starts getting into the realm of “muscle endurance” , is not optimal to build muscle, and may even result in you losing muscle mass. Most people would be better off performing full body strength training 3-4 days a week and using the kitchen as a way to lose the fat after the muscle is built.

TIP: “Heavy” (remember that heavy is relative to each person) full body strength training sessions in the 6-15 rep range 3-4 days a week will help you build the muscle you desire. Continue to perform these “heavy” training sessions while you change your diet for your fat loss goals. This type of training will help preserve your muscle while you lose fat. Once you start losing the fat, you will start to see your lean and “toned” physique take form.

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