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Myths about lifting weights, according to a trainer

    If lifting weights has always been the only gym activity you find too scary, complicated, or intense, you’re not alone. I used to do cardio and was obsessed with running. It was all I knew how to do, but when I started working as a personal trainer, I learned more about the benefits of strength training. My life has not been the same since then.

    Lifting weights intimidated me at first. At the time, she was working as a personal trainer at Equinox, an upscale gym. There were several trainers who organized a training group for employees. During the sessions, they performed basic barbell exercises: bench press, deadlift, squat. I was afraid to try them so I focused my workouts on cardio since I was afraid of hurting myself with the weights.

    But one day, inspired by how strong the rest of the trainers were, I decided to get out of my comfort zone. I dove into his training program, surrounding myself with trainers who were more knowledgeable about weightlifting than I was. These group workouts they taught me how to properly strength train. And about three weeks later I started to see what I was really capable of. Committing to training and starting to feel more confident made me very proud.

    In the end I realised that he was strong and could lift much more—and much more weight—than he thought possible.

    Meet the expert: Lauren Kanski, is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist based in Denver. She is the founder of the Ladder app and a kettlebell specialist. You can follow him on Instagram (@lauren_kanski).

    Now, as a longtime personal trainer and founding coach of the strength training app ‘Ladder’, I inspire women who think they can’t lift weights. And trust me when I say that there are still many women who do not know what they are capable of or that they have heard many myths about strength training and weight lifting. I discovered that the biggest barriers to overcome are those that are in the head and the myths in which we believe.

    In this sense, let us analyze some misconceptions about lifting weights so you can eliminate excuses and strengthen your body.

    Myth: Women cannot lift very heavy weights.

    I coach a lot of moms who are hesitant to lift anything heavier than 20 or 25 pounds because they think it will be too much for them. But I reject that thought. “How much does your 7-year-old son weigh?” I ask. “You lift it all the time but you’re afraid to lift a 50-pound barbell?”

    Real life examples can help women realize that they are actually lifting much more weight than they realize on a daily basis.. Once they understand that, I see their confidence improve.

    Lauren Kanski swings a kettlebell in the studio

    Philip Friedmann

    Myth: Lifting weights is all about building muscle.

    No. Strength training isn’t just about building your biceps and glutes. There is many positive effects on general healthfrom a better glucose regulation (which provides energy) until fight diseases (Skeletal muscles are actually part of the endocrine system!). Lift heavy objects too speeds up metabolism, since muscles consume a lot of energy, burning calories during your workout and throughout the day. When you lift weights your muscles are constantly working and then rebuilding themselves, like a machine.

    Fun fact: strength training is also excellent for women going through perimenopause and menopausesince it can help regulate hormones such as estrogen and progesterone thanks to this connection between the endocrine-muscle-skeletal system.

    Myth: You can’t lift weights if you’re pregnant.

    Another false belief. In fact, there are hundreds of studies showing the benefits of workout during pregnancyfrom protect from back pain until preparing for childbirth. And I am the proof. (Note: It’s always good to get the go-ahead from your doctor beforehand, especially if you’re starting out with strength training.)

    I am currently pregnant with my first child and still lifting weights.. The way I see it, I am preparing my body to give birth. I have never labored childbirth, but I have trained hundreds of women who have, and they all say it is one of the hardest things a woman goes through. The heart rate accelerates, severe contractions are experienced, the pelvic floor is torn.

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    I’m training for that moment. I’m not trying to break any weight lifting records, but I am working on a “maintenance phase” during my strength sessions. You can continue to lift weights during pregnancy, as long as your doctor has given you the go-ahead and it is comfortable for you. And you can stop when it is no longer.

    Myth: Cardio and weight lifting don’t mix well.

    Another misconception. Strength training can improve your cardiovascular performance and cardio can improve your strength workouts.. A strong cardiovascular system improves the flexibility of your blood vessels, which prevents heart attacks or strokes, and speeds blood to your muscles, helping you recover faster.

    I generally do cardio two days a week, sometimes along with a shorter strength session.. On those days I do some “talk pace” cardio or another low-impact activity that helps me recover, like walking on an incline treadmill or spinning. And if I want more intensity I love to use the rowing machine because it works more muscles.

    Myth: You have to lift weights every day.

    I like to relax. I always suggest starting with two to three strength training sessions a week and prioritize those sessions. (Even if it’s hard!) As you get used to those workouts, you can slowly increase the intensity, weight, and volume. After that, start adding more days of strength training.

    But it’s important to note that the process doesn’t have to be perfect for it to work. Life will give you problems. If you can only take advantage of 80 percent of the time, do what you can and you’ll be fine. If you commit to training little by little to achieve what you want, in the end you will achieve your goals.

    Women are much stronger than they think, so don’t let any myth stop you from lifting weights and building the muscle you need. When in doubt, remember how much you are already carrying… literally and metaphorically. Weightlifting will seem like crap by comparison.

    Lauren Kanski is a NASM-certified personal trainer based in New York City.

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