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Destroying the Myths & Misconceptions
There are many reasons why people avoid partaking in a weight lifting program today and nearly all of them are based on fear and false myths and misconceptions that have been cycled around for years. Why people tend to believe these things that they hear rather than doing the research and becoming involved in an activity that will help them burn fat, lose weight, improve their health and well-being, and gain self-confidence is beyond the scope of this article to speculate on. The important thing is busting these myths and misconceptions so that people can begin a weight training program without hanging on to unfounded fears.
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Myth 1: Weight Training Makes People Gain Weight.
The first and most widely accepted misconception is that weight training will increase a person’s weight and make them overly muscled and bulky. While it’s true that some people will train that hard to attain the typical “meathead” look, it takes a lot of hard work, heavy weights, countless hours, and a ton of calories and extra “help” to get them to that point. Some of it is genetics, but a lot of bodybuilders turn to products like Creatine, Human Growth Hormone, and steroids to give them an extra boost.
There is, however, some truth that weight training can lead to weight gain, but this is due to the fact that muscle weighs more than fat. That means that there is the potential for a person to be heavier than they were starting out based on the scale number, but their body will be made up of lean muscle tissue rather than fat and they will appear thinner and more toned. That’s why you hear experts say all the time not to pay too much attention to the number on the scale. A better indicator of how you are doing is body fat percentages and body measurements.
Also take note that one pound of muscle burns more calories than one pound of fat. The numbers vary from study to study, but it is generally accepted that one pound of muscle burns anywhere from 6 to 35 calories a day whereas a pound of fat burns anywhere from 2 to 10 calories. This means that increasing lean muscle mass will turn the body into a calorie burning machine helping people to lose weight.
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Myth 2: Weight Training Increases Blood Pressure.
Fortunately, this statement is entirely untrue. Weight training can actually have the opposite effect on blood pressure and lower it over time. Numerous studies have shown that although systolic pressure rises about 35 to 50 percent during exercise, it quickly returns to normal levels after the training is done. In fact, weight training has been shown to have similar effects on blood pressure as it does on aerobic training. Carried on for several weeks, strength training has the potential to reduce blood pressure as well as LDL cholesterol and can even increase HDL cholesterol. The health benefits far outweigh the negatives, but as always, make sure to check with your doctor before beginning any sort of weight training program.
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Myth 3: Weight Training Takes Too Much Time.
Many people feel this way after seeing the routines presented in bodybuilding and fitness magazines that have programs that require multiple sets and exercises for certain muscle groups that need to be performed 6 or 7 days a week. Trying to perform these routines can take countless hours and generally are a waste of time. In actuality, a 30 minute weight training routine can be just as beneficial as an hour or more. Given the right program and the right intensity, a person could get in a full body routine, lose weight and feel great by doing just 30 minutes of weight training three times a week.
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What Factors into Calorie Burn?
There are many reasons to perform weight training other than calorie burn such as increased bone density, improved glucose metabolism, better blood lipid levels, less arthritic discomfort, reduced back pain and faster gastrointestinal transit, but this is an article on the calorie burn effects gained by weight training and there are many factors that play into the effect that need to be looked at. These include the frequency, intensity, resistance, time, number of sets, progression and speed of the training program. These are all factors that can be manipulated for a greater workout, thus increasing calorie burn.
There are, however, other factors that can’t be changed that also play into how many calories a person will burn by partaking in a weight training program. These include the person’s age, sex, height, and weight. Basically, a person who is younger burns more than someone who is older. A man burns more calories than a woman. A taller person has a faster basal metabolic rate (rate at which the body burns calories at rest) than a shorter person. A heavier person burns more calories than a thinner person. Unfortunately, these cannot be changed and are a part of a person’s genetics. This is why some people have an easier time losing weight than others.
It should be noted, however, that no matter what a person’s genetics, a good weight training program will increase calorie burn for many hours after the routine has been finished. This is called the Afterburn Effect and basically refers to the increased metabolism the body experiences for several hours after a good workout. This means that after a weight training workout, a person’s body will be burning more calories while at rest than it would if they had never done the routine. There is a great potential to burn fat and lose weight with a weight training program.
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How to Estimate Calorie Burn
Depending on the various factors explained above, a typical person can expect to burn anywhere from 180 to 500 calories during a weight training program. However, if you are looking for a better estimate to see what you would burn, there are ways to go about finding out this information. The first place to look is to go to HealthStatus.com and use their Calorie Burn Estimator to figure out a fairly accurate estimate. All you have to do is put in your weight and the time you are going to spend weight training. They have two categories for intensity: general and vigorous. Select one and fill in the information and you will get your estimate.
There are some general guidelines on Livestrong.com for how many calories a person will burn weight training based on their weight. For example, a 125 lb person will burn about 180 calories per hour doing a moderate intensity workout. For a vigorous workout, a 125 lb person will burn about 360 calories per hour. Examples for weights ranging from 150 – 240 lbs are also included.
Whatever route you choose, just remember not to be afraid of weight training and reap the calorie burning rewards that can be achieved through a well developed program. The health benefits are there for an added bonus as well. Weight training is a tool that is often overlooked in the fight for weight loss, but if you’ve learned anything from this article it should be that weight training is a great weapon to have in your arsenal.
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HealthStatus.com (2011, February 17). Calorie Burn Estimator. Retrieved from http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc
LiveStrong.com (2011, February 17). Calorie Burned from One Hour of Weight Training. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/220952-calories-burned-from-one-hour-of-lifting-weights/
Wellness.MA (2011, February 17). Time Out. Retrieved from http://www.wellness.ma/adult-fitness/strength-training-misconceptions.htm