Size Matters, But it Isn’t Everything

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Size matters when referring to the size of the weight when you are weight training. Bigger is better but INTENSITY is key. A lot of people think that cardio or aerobic exercise is the way to go to burn fat. You do burn more calories when you engage in cardio/aerobic activities. But when you stop the exercise, your metabolism and heart rate soon return to their normal resting rate and you are no longer burning calories at an increased rate.

In my opinion, to lose fat and become a healthier person, you should continue your cardio workout for 25-30 minutes at high intensity about 3 times a week to build and maintain a healthier heart and lungs. To burn more fat, alternate your 3 cardio workout days with 3 weight training. On the 7th day, rest.

Lifting weights, somewhat heavy weights, breaks down the muscle fibers by creating tiny, tiny, micro fiber tears. This is not a torn muscle, just little tiny micro fiber tears that occur when you push your body to lift weights closer to your maximum. Our bodies are amazing. When we create these micro fiber tears, our body says to itself, “Hey, these muscles are getting worked! Let’s rebuild; and since it is getting used, let’s make it a little stronger and a little bigger!” This is important in burning fat because muscle on your body burns more calories than fat.

We eat food everyday to provide fuel to maintain our body. When we EXIST in a more muscular form, we burn more calories when at rest BECAUSE the muscle takes more calories to maintain. Burning more calories ultimately means a leaner body.

Do not be afraid of turning into a big hulking muscle head, without extreme training and diet modifications and supplementation you will not turn into a body builder. You will turn your body in to a fat burning furnace that burns more calories and fat when at rest. You will gain some muscle mass but, in my opinion, 10 pounds of muscle is a lot more attractive than 10 pounds of fat 10 pounds of muscle is also a lot smaller than 10 pounds of fat. More importantly, it is a lot healthier and you will feel a lot better.

So when you are engaged in your weight training. Keep track of your weights and how you feel after your last set. If you are not feeling like you really pushed yourself, increase the weight next time. That is the size part, so in a sense, bigger is better because you need enough weight to push your muscles close to the limit in order to create those micro-tears I mentioned earlier. Now for the bonus! One of my personal training techniques is to SLOW DOWN, maintain control, and maintain good form. Control your movement and resist the urge to quickly press up or lift the weight. Slowly raise the weight in a nice controlled manner. Give yourself a steady 3-count in lifting and then squeeze and flex the muscle in the peak position. That is half the lift. Lowering the weight with control is just as important. Do not allow the weight to drop and do not let gravity take over and lower the weight faster. Use the same 3-count or slower to lower the weight. Even with a light weight, you can increase the intensity and flex the muscle when lifting in a slow and controlled manner.

To sum it up:

  1. Push the weight close to your limit.
  2. Lift with CONTROL and INTENSITY.
  3. Lower the weight with control and intensity.

There are many programs and set/rep combinations that can be effective. Each body is different and each goal is different. I encourage you to try various combinations from 3-5 sets and 6-12 repetitions. Keep track note your feelings. As always, it is a good idea to contact an experienced certified Personal Trainer. I know a few good ones.

Work hard and take care of yourself. See you around!

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