Introducing Quick Hits, a new series in which we ask top industry experts and trainers to answer our burning questions about the health, wellness, and fitness industries. Got a question you want to see answered in the future? Leave a comment or email kristen (at) asweatlife.com!
What’s one wellness myth you’re busting right now?
Gunnar Peterson, (@gunnarfitness)
Myth: Lifting weights will make you “get big.”
Truth: If you want to get big, you can—but it won’t happen by accident.
When Gunnar Peterson was recently at a weightlifting conference, he heard a passing man says he “avoids lifting because [he] doesn’t want to get big—I almost had to walk away,” Peterson tells us.
Peterson, the famed celebrity trainer, is busting the popular myth that lifting weights will make you get big—unless that’s what you’re actively trying to do.
In order to achieve muscle hypertrophy, he explains, you have to be doing all the right things in addition to the heavy strength sessions (lifting heavy with a rep range of 8-12 reps, and moving at a fast pace with little recovery), like getting the right amount of sleep and eating excessive calories. Testosterone plays a big part too, Peterson adds; generally, women have about one-tenth to one-twentieth the amount of testosterone that men have, so increased muscle size without some sort of hormonal aid is almost impossible.
“At any rate, strength training isn’t a runaway train,” Peterson concludes. “You’ll see small changes, and you can get off the train any time.”
Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD, Chicago Cubs Nutritionist (@djblatner)
Myth: Cravings are bad. If you have a craving you should fight it.
Truth: Eat what you crave! Just make it with better-for-you ingredients.
If you want to eat burgers, pizza, ice cream, and chips, but instead force yourself to eat a plain chicken breast with steamed broccoli, you will feel restricted, deprived and are likely to binge, go off the rails, and have a strained relationship with food.
The better way: decide what you crave, and then make a supercharged version. For example, if you love tacos (who doesn’t!??) make it a taco salad with lots of veggies, taco-seasoned grass-fed beef, crushed tortilla chips, and guacamole.
You can enjoy what you eat AND be healthy at the same time. Mic drop!
Nicole Uribarri, Fitness Business Director at Exhale (@exhalespa)
Myth: Women should avoid strength training.
Truth: Healthy weight training is key to building strength and more.
Women tend to be afraid to lift weights because they don’t want to bulk up. However, women do not have the same levels of testosterone as men, and therefore will not bulk without the assistance of performance enhancers. Maintaining a healthy weight training regime will help women build strength and muscle density, increase metabolism, and lose body fat. It’s important to start small; think 8 to 10 lbs weights, performing 10 repetitions, and then slowly work your way up to heavier weights. Work in good form to the point of fatigue.