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Myth-Hack on Strength Training

Cardio is Better! 

Aerobic exercise is important in overall health, but there are more optimal ways to lose weight, burn fat, and transform your body. Those that spend their time running in order to get the results they want to end up looking “skinny fat” meaning they look small, but still have unwanted belly or arm fat that they cannot get rid of.  I am not saying running or endurance exercises are bad however if you want to transform your body then hours of cardio are not what you want to do. 

What we know about strength training is that improves your ability to;

  1. Perform daily activities
  2. Enhances performance in sports
  3. Increases bone density
  4. Elicits hormonal responses to aid in fat burning
  5. Increases your metabolic rate. 

By adding strength your body is able to handle not only challenging movements in the weight room but also in everyday life. If you are a parent and you are constantly picking your child up well preparing your trunk in various planes of motion and building both upper and lower body strength can help prevent unwanted aches and pains. In addition, if you are an athlete by building eccentric strength you can not only prevent injuries but apply more force into the ground while running, cutting, or jumping.

There seems to be a misconception that by doing cardio you will burn fat because of the idea that steady-state movements target fat for energy. However, DR. Pat Davidson explains that fat Insulin levels are a key player in how much fat the body stores. If you can lower insulin levels you can elicit more fat burning. Therefore resistance training lowers glucose levels which can result in decreased insulin levels (Davidson, 2019). 

The movements that help transform the body and burn the most fat are those that use the whole body (i.e Deadlifts, Squats, Pull-Ups). The reasoning is that movements that require a lot of force and muscle fiber recruitment trigger to most response in the body both during the lift and at rest as well due to their metabolic rate increasing. As crazy as it sounds by adding muscles to your frame you end up burning more calories during activities such as walking and biking. 

Lifting Weights will cause you to look like a bodybuilder 

When I was competing in bodybuilding I remember everyone was chasing that type of look. In today’s age, everyone is scared to look like a bodybuilder or get bulky. In order to look like a bodybuilder, you have to do way more than just lift weights! 

Most bodybuilding workouts look like this: 

  1. 6 Days per week in the weight room- Body part splits
  2. 2-4 Days of 30-60 minutes of cardio (typically fasted early in the morning)
  3. Specific macronutrients to eat each day
  4. Weighing everything that will go in their body
  5. Supplement stacking
  6. Zero contact with the outside world 

Is this what your regiment looks like? 

If the answer is no then you are nowhere close to looking like a bodybuilder. In addition, the biggest difference between a biomechanical program versus a stereotypical bodybuilding split are the styles of training. If you are looking to get the most bang for your buck then compound lifts that are multi-joint movements are what you should focus on and not pec-dec flies. 

Bodybuilding splits tend to focus more on bilateral movements, isolated machine exercises,  and focus on the “showy” muscles. It is important to train with the intention of improving what you are trying to do outside the weight room (sports, playing with your kids, enjoying the outdoors). Therefore, your program should include exercises that improve your quality of life verse looking good in a tank top. 

Barbells are unsafe!

Barbells are not unsafe! Bad coaches and programs are. If you have a good coach they will progress you accordingly to your abilities and wait until the client is emotionally and physically ready to load a bar and move well while performing the exercise. 

The six main exercises I use Barbells for are: 

Deadlifts- Sumo or Conventional

Landmine Press 

Landmine Rotations

Landmine Squat

T-Bar Row

Bench Press

People commonly think of the barbell being used for squatting, deadlifts, and benching. Those are all great exercises but for the right person. Learning how to squat, hip hinge and press both vertically and horizontally are essential movements for a healthy life. Therefore, you can use the barbell for movements that are safe and effective and allow you to properly load the bar based on your ability.

While dumbbells and kettlebells have their own benefits it is very expensive to have dumbbells and kettlebells of various weights. By purchasing a barbell and some iron plates or bumpers you can now load the bar with various weights to continue challenging your body. As I stated above, when you increase muscle mass and strength your body changes hormonally and metabolically which will give you the best results.

If you are nervous about using a barbell then sign up with a certified coach who can watch your movements and prescribe any modifications so you stay healthy. The short term financial sacrifice will pay off because your bill to your coach will be less expensive than the hospital visit if you tear a ligament.