The Myth You Still Believe About Weightlifting

In recent years, weightlifting has become an increasingly popular form of exercise. But there's one particular myth that will not die — that heavy weightlifting makes you bulk up. As Riley O'Donnell, trainer at Fhitting Room, told In Style, "This is one of the oldest myths in the book and my least favorite." O'Donnell continued, "'Bulking' like a bodybuilder or professional athlete is impossible without extreme and specific training and dieting." So, what exactly does heavy weightlifting do?

According to Jacque Crockford, CSCS and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise, "Lifting weights can increase your lean body mass, which increases the number of overall calories you burn during the day" (via Shape). And all this calorie-burning can ultimately help you lose fat. "But it's not during the activity that the magic happens, it's after," personal trainer Kate Pearson, coach at Inside Out Fitness and Nutrition Coaching, told Cosmopolitan. "We call this the after-burn effect. Whilst running burns lots of calories, that process stops when you stop. Lifting weights, however, can help you burn higher calories for up to 72 hours!"

Weightlifting increases your lean muscle mass and base metabolic rate

Oh, and did we mention that when you increase your lean muscle mass, you increase your base metabolic rate? Yep! "Muscle is constantly being broken down, recreated, and synthesized, and all these processes require energy," Noam Tamir, CSCS, founder of TS Fitness, explained to Self. "The more muscle you have, the more energy it takes for this process," he added. It's simple.

And that's not all weightlifting can do for you. It can also help to improve your posture and mental health (like almost all forms of exercise) plus protect your bones. "Strength training involves muscles contracting against the bones they're surrounding," Rachelle Reed, Ph.D., manager of training development and barre kinesiologist at Pure Barre, told Prevention. "This force applied to the bones helps improve bone density over time." Looks like it's time to integrate it into your workout routine!