Monday, June 2, 2014

Myth: Lifting weights ruins your body. By Veeraj Goyaram


lifting weights ruins your body
by veeraj goyaram

Barbell pas bon sa. Kan to areter to vine gros et gate to lecorps
"Lifting weights is bad. When you stop it will turn into fat. It ruins your body"

We have all been told the above at some point by people in our entourage who happen to be experts in weight training despite never having picked up a weight in their life. As a side note, it is encouraging to note the amazing level of knowledge that the layperson has in weight training. Everyone has expertise in training and the safety of supplements. Every pot-bellied uncle has been a bodybuilder in the past but will give you 1001 reasons not to lift weights. HELL NO. Lifting weights, be it for bodybuilding or just as a mode of exercise, doesn't ruin the body. In my opinion, it is the best thing you can do for your body for reasons that I will explain in this article. If you are here on this website most likely you lift weights and do not buy this myth. I want you to show this article to your friends, parents, doctor and whoever else discourages you from lifting weights.

 "Lifting weights doesn't ruin the body. In my opinion, it is the best thing you can do for your body"

Muscle turns into fat
This is rubbish. Muscle cannot literally turn into fat. I am even not too sure if stem cell scientists have been able to convert a muscle cell into a fat cell in the laboratory. Maybe what people may also mean by this is that a muscular body can turn into a fat body. But then, even a slim average body can turn into a fat body and the finger needn't be pointed at bodybuilding. We see so many fat people around with distorted bodies. So, are they all former bodybuilders? It is cupcakes, beer, fast food, soft drinks, excessive eating and lack of exercise that will distort your body. Not bodybuilding. But indeed, a muscular body can turn into a fat one when a person stops working out and doesn't adjust his diet accordingly. What happens to the muscle is that it will atrophy, meaning that it will lose size and strength because it is not being used. There are many pro bodybuilders who reverted back to a slim or athletic build once their competitive career came to an end. Google pictures of Lee Haney, Bob Paris, Shawn Ray or Kevin Levrone.

 "A muscular body can turn into a fat one when a person stops working out and doesn't adjust his diet accordingly"
Doug Brignole at 18 and 52. An Iron Warrior for life
"When you stop"?
That's a very commonly heard sentence. That's applicable for the average person, not the hardcore-to-the-bone Iron Warrior. A true bodybuilder never stops. Sure, we can encounter many hurdles in life but as we say, "once a bodybuilder, always a bodybuilder". I know people who have lost arms or legs in accidents but still managed to not leave bodybuilding. Others faced tragedies in their lives, tragically lost dear ones and important businesses but yet somehow got back to bodybuilding. In most cases it is bodybuilding that gave them the courage to face hardships. Life gave them lemons, so they made lemonade. Somehow bodybuilding doesn't only build the body.

"once a bodybuilder, always a bodybuilder"
One of the very famous pictures on the internet, showing that Doug Brignole
IMPROVED ON his fabulous physique after 20 years
Common example: Look what became of Arnold
Nothing bad became of Arnold. He still looks great. Why would someone expect him to maintain his Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia physique well after his competitive prime? Of course that's not possible because of "the reality of flesh" and because he left competitive bodybuilding to pursue acting and politics. So uncle, please no lectures! 

There are others who were wearing posing trunks in the 1970s and are still training today. For instance, two of our greatest contributors, namely Doug Brignole and John Bubb are still training. Doug just won the Muscle Beach Classic over 50 division in very amazing shape.  Grandpa John just turned 79 and has biceps that can rival men a third his age.
Grandpa John Bubb still looks amazing at the age of 79, more than 40 years after he was holding his own against Arnold, Oliva, Pearl and Zane.
The amazing benefits of lifting weights for young and the old

Results that you carry everywhere you go
We all know about the numerous benefits of weight training. It helps you look good, feel good and stay healthy. Clothes fit well on you. You are unlike the average person, you are something else. You are what others would want to be or claim to have been. Suddenly everyone starts wearing their jealousy hat and knows someone who looks like you or is bigger than you. The kids look up to you. They don't care if your cousin is a Division 1 soccer player. They are interested in your muscles because, as someone who lifts, you carry the results of your hard work wherever you go. Concerning how the girls steal glances, don't get me started. And if you are a girl, believe me you look great if you lift weights. Don't let anyone tell you weights is only for men. I will deal with female weight training myths in another article. 

Lifting weights is medicine
Progressive resistance (weight) training is well known to improve blood glucose control and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic patients. It does so by increasing muscle mass and reducing body fat levels. Therefore, resistance training is increasingly being prescribed for type 2 diabetes treatment (Mavros et al., 2013). 

Studies showed positive effects weight training in elderly people. Twenty to 30 minutes of strength (resistance) training, 2 to 3 times per week, has positive effects on risk factors for cardiovascular disorders, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis (Mayer et al., 2011).
Even Barack Obama lifts weights

Mavros Y et al., Changes in insulin resistance and HbA1c are related to exercise-mediated changes in body composition in older adults with type 2 diabetes: interim outcomes from the GREAT2DO trial. Diabetes Care 36: 2372-2379, 2013.

Mayer F et al. The intensity and effects of strength training in the elderly. Dtsch Arztebl Int 108: 359-364, 2011.

That's all for today. Have a great week ahead.

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My Bio: I am a Mauritian originally from Roche Bois, Port Louis and now based in Cape Town, South Africa where I am busy with my postgraduate studies in molecular biology of exercise. My research, supervised by Prof. Edward Ojuka and Dr. Tertius Kohn, looks at the influence of nutrition and exercise in gene expression in muscle, research which is relevant and applicable to exercising individuals, sports persons and diabetic individuals. The knowledge that I share with you stems from my 18 years of experience in bodybuilding and 8 years (and counting) of university education in the field. I have also published work in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism (2012, 2014), International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (2013) and co-authored two book chapters on exercise and diabetes. I also presented my research work at the 2012 International Sports and Exercise Nutrition Conference (UK). I am grateful to each and everyone at the UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. "Knowledge without sharing is worth nothing"
©,2013, Veeraj Goyaram, Bodybuilding Mauritius. Any reprinting in any type of media is prohibited.
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