Heavy Weights or Light Weights?

Heavy Weights or Light Weights?

People who skip breakfast are 450% more likely to be obese! Fuel up with a high protein/fiber breakfast to kick-start your day.

I get this questions all the time. “Should I lift heavy weights for low reps or light weight for high reps?” The common misconception in the fitness world is simple. To tone, use high reps with light weights. To bulk up use heavy weights with low reps. This is why you often see women doing lighter weight and more aerobic exercise while men are primarily lifting heavier weights to bulk up. NOT SO FAST!

New Research

New research and studies show that both men and women can largely benefit from the use of both heavy weight with low reps and light weight with high reps. The key is pushing your muscles to fatigue. Straining to lift very heavy weights isn’t the only way to pump up muscles, say researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Similar results can be achieved, they say, by lifting light weights a greater number of times.The secret is simply to pump iron until muscle fatigue sets in, says Stuart Phillips, PhD, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster.“Rather than grunting and straining to lift heavy weights, you can grab something much lighter but you have to lift it until you can’t lift it any more,” Phillips says in a news release.

The Science

Researchers recruited 15 healthy men with an average age of 21. Each was told to lift light weights and heavy weights with varying repetitions.

  • The weights represented a percentage of their best or heaviest lift. Heavier weights were set to 90% of a man’s best lift, and light weights at 30%.
  • Weights were set to 80% to 90% of a person’s best lift required five to 10 repetitions before fatigue set in. At 30%, it took at least 24 lifts before similar fatigue developed.
  • The researchers measured fatigue at the cellular level by examining results of muscle biopsies done 4 hours and 24 hours after workouts.
The Results

Similar amounts of protein used in muscle-building were produced whether volunteers lifted at 90% of their maximums until they ran out of steam and when they lifted only 30% of their best until they could lift no more, the researchers say. The key in both instances was lifting until fatigue. If in either set the subject stopped short of fatigue there was less of a muscular response.

Why This Is Important For You

Subjects trying to lose/maintain weight-Often times people are discouraged from lifting weights because they think it’s specific for body builders or those want to bulk up. The truth is that muscle mass is largely dependent on genetics, cells, diet, and hormones within the body. If you are a woman trying to maintain or lose weight, lifting weights is not going to make you bulk up.First, it is physiologically impossible for you as a woman to put on large amounts of muscle mass; you’re body’s hormonal makeup is not one that will allow you to do so. I cringe when I see people coming into the gym and going for a light jog on the treadmill every day for a half hour when their time and effort could be used much more efficiently doing full body/weighted exercises. People don’t understand that performing these exercises will burn fat more efficiently and help redefine your body composition.

For kids– Parents are afraid to let their kids lift weights because they think it will inhibit joint and growth plate progression. Light weights and high reps can provide less joint and bone strain while still producing the essential benefits you get from lifting weights and exercising.

For older adults or people with injuriesOlder adults and people with injuries can have joint problems or limited range of motion which would prevent them from training with heavy loads.  This study shows that they have the option of training with lighter and less intimidating loads and can still receive the benefits.

The Catch

While light weights and high reps can still activate the anabolic response in your muscles and produce similar muscle volume characteristics as heavy weights, pure strength gains are better generated by using heavy weights with low reps. There is also some debate about whether heavier weights gives you more of a myogenic tone ( A harder and firmer look) and training in higher rep ranges promotes more sarcoplasmic (fluid) hypertrophy (which in turn yields a “softer” pumped look). This is a topic for an entire blog in itself but regardless, experts agree that similar benefits can be achieved through lifting both heavy and light weights. The key is working to fatigue.

My Recommendation

Here is my current routine that I think people will find very useful and easily adaptable no matter what your fitness goals are.

Monday: Total Body: Heavy Weights With Core

Tuesday: Sprint Intervals

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: Total Body: Heavy Weights With Core

Friday: Sprint Intervals or Steady State Elliptical

Saturday: OFF

Sunday: Total Body Light Weights/High Reps With Core (For the past month I have been doing a body pump class which consits of 4-5 minutes of each major muscle group lifting light weight until exhaustion. Takes about 45 minutes)

For another great study on this topic check out this article at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120430105358.htm

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin
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5 Great Fat Loss Tips For Summer

5 Great Fat Loss Tips For Summer

Utilize Multi-Joint Exercises

  • Multi-joint exercises work large muscle groups which require the most energy and create the largest anabolic response in your body which  leads to the greatest amount of calorie expenditure. (long winded sentence?)
  •  Multi-joint lifts imitate our natural movements by working several muscle groups and in the process create a healthier posture and more proportional frame.
  • The body works better in movements along a kinetic chain; that is, large portions of the body assist other portions of the body in completing a complex movement. Dont limit yourself to isolated movements (like a bicep curl) if you want to burn fat.
  • Multi-joint exercises increase your metabolic rate and stimulate production of more fat burning hormones such as growth hormones and testosterone.
Examples

  1. Squats
  2. Deadlifts
  3. Power Cleans

Use Circuit Training And Short Rest Intervals

  • Circuit training creates maximal growth hormone responses which is the most efficient way to burn fat.
  • It is optimal for raising your metabolism which will have fat burning effects during your workout and up to 48 hours after your workout.
  • Short rest intervals ensure your heart rate stays elevated for the entirety of the workout which will create the largest amounts of caloric expenditure.
Examples
  1. Supersets and tri-sets
  2. Crossfit workouts
  3. Interval training

Eat High Protein, Low Carb, Low Glycemic, And Unprocessed Food

  • Foods that fall under these guidelines will ensure you are conserving/building muscle and lean body mass while burning fat.
  • Foods with a low glycemic index will allow you to control your blood sugar and maintain steady insulin levels which will limit fat storage and ensure a healthy metabolism.
  • Low-carb and unprocessed foods will be utilized by the body as energy and help to break down proteins and fats which will help trigger the fat burning function in the body.
  • High protein and high fiber foods will keep you feeling full longer and help prevent overeating.
Examples
  1. Lean meats
  2. Cruciferous vegetables
  3. Greek yogurt
  4. Nuts
  5. Nut butters

Cut Out Juice, Soda, Sports Drinks, And Limit Alcohol. 

  • Sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet and over half of Americans have sugary drinks every day.
  • Definitely the most relevant tip on the list for summer is avoiding any drinks that are high in sugar, calories, artificial sweeteners, and sodium.
  • Sugary drinks can cause enormous insulin spikes which will offset your hormonal balance and can lead to extra fat storage. Likewise, sugary sodas and drinks can stimulate appetite and cause you to overeat even though you may not be hungry.
  • Every liquid calorie is a calorie added to the day’s total.  Liquid calories don’t fill you up or deliver the essential vitamins, nutrients, and fiber you get from whole foods.  Drinking liquid calories doesn’t have a huge impact on what you eat that rest of the day either. Over the last 20 years, Americans have added between 150 and 300 calories to their daily diets — about half of them in liquid form.
  • Alcohol is an entirely different story in itself, but from my perspective, drinking one or two nights a week will not have a dramatic impact on fat loss. Just remember, EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!

Examples of what to drink

  1. Water with lime
  2. Tea
  3. Coffee
  4. Almond Milk
  5. Red wine/clear liquors without a sugary mixer.

Burn Calories Outside Of The Gym.

  • This one can put you over the edge in terms of reaching your body composition goals. Stay active, especially in the summer. Whether it’s a beach volleyball game, throwing the football around, or going for a walk after dinner having an active mentality and lifestyle will ensure your muscles get the work they need and your metabolism and heart rate stay mildly elevated.
  • Dont settle for exercise in the gym alone. Take the stairs, park farther away from the door, and perform activities other than sitting on the couch watching TV.
Examples
  1. Swim
  2. Walk your dog
  3. Go hiking
  4. Join a softball league
  5. Play pick-up basketball

Thanks for reading and hopefully these tips will help you achieve the summer-bod you have been working towards. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thanks.

From South Bend,

Kevin