Why I don’t like to lift heavy
I’ve been working out in gyms and at home since as long as I can remember. I have been through phases of going to the gym every day, then at other times working out at home and not attending a gym at all. I’m a qualified personal trainer, I have done cardio only, CrossFit, marathons, triathlons and I have done heavy lifting weights programmes – there is not much I haven’t tried.
I hadn’t done a weights programme for a while, but recently I’ve done one. The reason I did was that there is a lot of pressure out there at the moment and a lot of buzzwords around lifting heavy and the benefits of doing so. I wanted to try a break from my usual style of working out (which is quite different to the norm and it is how I train my clients). I just want to clarify what I mean by ‘lifting heavy’ just in case there are some of my clients reading this and thinking, ‘hold up, I lift heavy in class or PT” – my answer to that is “no, you really don’t”. That is not what I am talking about when I refer to a heavy weights programme. I am talking about, training one or 2 muscle groups in a session, i.e. chest and back days, legs day, biceps and triceps, shoulders and abs days and doing reps and sets.
Like I said before, I have not done this style of workout in a very long time and I’m happy to say that I know why I don’t and why years ago I made the decision to not lift heavy. I realised back then that I prefer my body not doing this and have just confirmed that for myself once again.
Why I won’t be lifting heavy again! (unless it’s for research purposes).
I don’t like the way it makes my body look. This is very personal to me and my ideal body shape. Every time I go down the heavy-lifting path and start a new strength focused training programme, my legs become really muscular and my back and shoulders become broader. The difference is sufficient that I need to increase in a size of some of my clothes. For me, unless I eat really, really clean during a heavy weights programme, then I bulk up – but I am never going to be in the position to eat that clean for very long – I find it boring, miserable and hard work – it’s just not necessary in my life.
By saying this, some of you might think I am crazy, especially those that know me well, and you may say that I don’t look any different no matter what I do. Well I would just like to say that you know that feeling when you say to someone “I’m trying to be good at the moment, I need to lose a few lbs that I gained from my holiday” and you get hit back with “don’t be so stupid, you don’t look any bigger, there is nothing of you, you don’t need to lose weight” – blah blah blah. That’s just frustrating right? It’s because we all know in ourselves when we don’t feel at our best. It’s the same as when you are having a bad hair day – when you are off out for a night, sometimes your hair curls perfectly and other times it just goes all wrong, but no one else really notices that, it’s just you.
Training in a specific way just because it’s a current craze is not me and it’s not how I want you to feel. Being happy and enjoying the process of getting and being fit is much more important. You should never do a workout programme if:
- You don’t like the results;
- You don’t like doing it; or
- You think you should be doing it because everyone else is.
Training that works for me
I very rarely, if ever, do the same workout twice in any given time. Sometimes my workouts will have a similar style, but I will add different variations. Many of the clients that I have been seeing for more than a year have never had the same workout twice, other than specific fitness tests that I do every 6-8 weeks to check progress. I practice what I preach, and this is what works for me – it keeps things interesting and I never get bored. The majority of my workouts are using bodyweight only, and I love to add some dynamic strength training and stretch & tone sessions. I also love using kettlebells, dumbbells, suspension training and resistance bands. Most of my workouts are fairly short, around 20 minutes in length with a couple of longer sessions each week. Usually, my longer sessions would be a stretch & tone workout and perhaps a longer weights cardio session – mainly because I teach a weights focused class on a Wednesday and do the workout along with the girls. Weights Fat Shreds workouts and Weights FIIT workouts are my favourite style and what works for me best. These workouts can be found on my website – full-length fully-instructed workout videos for you to follow.
My goals aren’t about trying to squat a certain weight, do a certain number of press-ups in a given time or trying to deadlift a PB. This is why I don’t lift heavy weights anymore, and this is why I don’t stick to one workout programme. Mixing things up is key to my success, my mind and my body, and it’s what makes me happy.
Pressure to lift heavy
I know there is a lot of pressure put on people in gyms these days to lift heavy. I went to a gym the other day and hadn’t been in one for 18 months. At first, I felt embarrassed doing my usual combinations of exercise (doing a bodyweight circuit or using the really light dumbbells and doing exercises like ninja jumps to overhead get-ups). I felt like people were looking at me like “what the hell is she doing, she should be using a machine or on the squat rack”. But that’s my type of workout and it’s what I enjoy doing, and believe me, if you train with me you will see how tough it can be. I recently challenged a guy to do one of my weights cardio workouts – he wanted to use heavy weights – “I shoulder press 20kg easily” – so I gave him 6kg and got him to do my circuits. After 10 minutes he wanted to drop to 4kg!! I can prove to you that you can see major gains in lean muscle and definition by shredding fat whilst building muscle.
I don’t judge women who lift heavy or do CrossFit – they love it so I’m happy for them! So, I don’t think other people should judge me and other women because we don’t do those things and don’t see the benefit in doing them.
Choose a workout that is right for you!
Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing! Don’t do something just because you think that’s what you should be doing or because everyone else is doing it. You shouldn’t dread working out either – it should be something you actually enjoy. If you don’t like lifting heavy weights, don’t do it! If you think Pilates is a waste of time, don’t do it! Everyone’s different. There are SO many ways to exercise and get in shape these days, you don’t have to conform to what everyone else is doing to get results and be happy.
Also remember that if you are not getting your technique correct, training the right way, activating your muscles effectively, then the effort you make will not be as beneficial as it would have been had it been done correctly. I can give the same workout to 2 people of similar weight and height and one could burn 500 calories in that session and the other perhaps just 150.
All the workouts on my website are fully-instructed, and I also have technique masterclasses, activation tests and fitness tests.
I am so excited to be starting a new bespoke online programme – it will be like having my in your pocket all day long! I will do a operate post with all the details.
Join my Monthly Workout Plan, you can do this with me and follow my instructions – who is going to join me?
Any comments of questions you have – drop me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org