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Taking down myths on weightlifting

weightlifting Photo: Shutterstock

From causing high blood pressure to excessive weight gain, the practice of weightlifting can often garner the sport a bad reputation. Here we explore some of the common myths surrounding this activity:

Myth 1: Weightlifting will make you bulky
This is probably one of the most common misconceptions, likely caused by the bulky, muscular men in magazines and advertisements.

The truth is, unless you’re consuming a ton of calories during the same period of time, you will not be sprouting gigantic muscles out of nowhere. Getting bulky means gaining weight, and gaining weight points is a result of eating more, so simply training hard will not get you there.

Hence, if you are watching your diet and nutrition, your muscles will grow at a healthy, normal rate and create a leaner physique as opposed to a bulkier one.

Myth 2: Muscle turns to fat if you stop lifting
You won’t turn from fab to flab just because you took some time off from weightlifting. With muscle and fat made up of different components, one could never turn into the other. In fact, the presence of muscle helps you burn fat.

What will cause you to gain weight though is if you choose to maintain the same eating habits as your previous period of lifting. Since weightlifters tend to eat more in order to bulk up during training, it’s important to start eating less when you stop lifting, in order to prevent obesity.

Myth 3: Weightlifting causes high blood pressure
Your blood pressure does increase when you lift heavy weights. However, it soon returns back to a normal level after your workout. That’s one of the many ways lifting can improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Contrary to this myth of high blood pressure, weightlifting can actually lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, thus making your heart healthier.

Myth 4: Weightlifting is bad for the joints
Most believe that weightlifting puts a harmful load on the joints, causing damage and pain. In reality, weightlifting can help strengthen the muscles and ligaments holding the joints together. Weightlifting is known to cause less stress on the joints than running, as it involves controlled movements.

Hence, weightlifting can have quite the opposite effect as it builds muscles that help absorb shock, thus protecting the joints.