I’ve always been moderately fit naturally, but it wasn’t until mid 2016 that I started taking my fitness seriously. Body Pump classes at my local YMCA sparked my interest in lifting and once meeting my boyfriend, Johannes, I began to take my workout regimen into uncharted territory. I was lucky to have found a partner that lifts heavy at least 6 days a week at a time in my life when I had a newfound desire to explore weight training… and he was very willing to teach and train me.
At first, I was extremely hesitant to train heavy alongside him. I mean, saying that he’s a big guy is an understatement, and I was definitely a novice. The first words of advice I remember him giving me was that if I wanted to increase muscle mass, I should “lift like a guy”, because the truth is “lifting like a girl” doesn’t have the same connotation as its counterpart. The reality is that women generally follow the light-weight-high-repetition method because we are told that this is the way to “tone”. Those are the women that you’ll see knocking out twenty reps in each set, but the first rep appears to be the same intensity as the last rep… because we as women should only want to tone our bodies, not bulk or build muscle, right? As you can guess, I reject and resent that notion.
The reality is that the more muscle you carry on your body, the more fat you burn throughout the day. And with more muscle, you can expect to see an increase in overall strength. So why exactly should I fear building “too much muscle” when I know that gaining muscle mass would be positive for my overall health? Somehow, society began associating weight training with the enormous bodybuilders that live the actual sport of bodybuilding every waking minute. But the truth is, without the introduction of hormones, your body simply can’t accumulate that much muscle mass.
I slowly began testing the waters on lifting heavy. If you’re not used to pushing your body to that extreme, it will feel particularly awkward at first. And let’s not forget how uncomfortable one can feel at the gym… especially when you’re the only girl in the free-weights area surrounded by grunting meatheads slamming dumbbells down after each rep. The soreness you will feel after intense workouts will be uncomfortable, but it’s the best indicator that you worked hard. But have no fear, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! Well, more like only a few months into the tunnel because, after learning Johannes’ workout regimen, I was comfortable and confident doing a heavier isolation workout on my own.
Once you find that comfort level with the equipment in your gym and your weekly routine, you’ll find that you can finally focus on your goals. After nailing down my core workout plan for each day, I was able to start lifting heavier weight. We focus on isolation workouts, so we work out only 1 muscle (maybe 2) each day for a minimum of 1 hour. Our goal is to individually isolate and tear down each muscle to promote large muscle gains while minimizing the risk of injury. While isolating each muscle we go to failure or as close to failure as we see fit.
Want to try out my workout regimen? Check out my weekly workout schedule post coming soon.
Granted, I think if anyone truly dedicates themselves to any type of workout regimen, they will increase their confidence, improve their health and have greater overall self-love. Having said that, I’ll always be partial to heavy weight training. After a little over 1 year of lifting heavy on an average of 5 days a week, I see vast differences in not only my muscle mass, but in my overall confidence. I am a very competitive person, so lifting is a great outlet for me to channel my competitive nature and compete with yesterday’s version of myself. I’ve grown more resilient and dedicated than I’ve ever been and enjoyed the added benefit of seeing my body change in my quest of becoming the best version of Lauren that I can be.
So, if you ask me, I think everyone, man or woman, can and should lift heavy. Challenge yourself and you’ll be surprised with how strong you really are.
Lift heavy and be happy!