Weight training is a science that only a few really comprehend well in India. It is in a nascent stage and many gyms/gym instructors know just the basics.
This lack of knowledge can lead to a ripple effect of injuries, misconceptions, myths and accidents. Since last year when I committed myself to Crossfit as a way of staying healthy and fit, the idea of weight training started changing in my mind. Namma Crossfit Box where I am a dedicated fan has helped me understand the role of lifting weights. ( Crossfit Boxes reserved for another post )
Since I am not a pro “weight lifter” as yet I decided to feature a fellow “crossfitter” who has been lifting weights since his teens. He is quite an inspiration at the box and is a total powerhouse – No edits and totally unabashed- I present Jabez!!
1. Tell me a little about yourself and when you started incorporating exercise and fitness into your life
I’m Jabez Johnson and I’m a Technical Marketing Engineer at Intel. I grew up playing a lot of sports, thanks to my parents. I was a national level speed skater, took part in district swimming competitions, played cricket & basketball for my school, did some Olympic style weightlifting and bodybuilding in college. For the last 1.5 years I have been doing Crossfit.
My inspiration to start lifting weights was probably due to cartoons, Rambo/Arnold movies, etc and mostly due to the rush I get out of it. Started by doing 50 push ups in one go at the age of 14 and then progressed to lifting weights in the gym.
2. How important is lifting weights in regards to a fitness routine?
Lifting weights in the right manner can make you Stronger, Faster, and look better (Brad Pitt or Jessica Biel) . Who doesn’t want all of these?
On a serious note and down to the fundamentals. Fitness consists of cardio-respiratory endurance, strength, muscular endurance and flexibility. So a major portion of fitness is lifting weights (body weights, free weights , etc).
3. Is it a plus if you start earlier? and What are the drawbacks if you start lifting weights later?
Yes, it’s a plus if you start early, But at least not until you turn 15 or 16 years old. There is a huge debate on whether young teenagers should lift heavy weights, which I don’t want to get into. There are no drawbacks as to lifting weights later. It’s never too late. The disadvantage of starting late would be as the person gets older and busier in life – time available, hormone levels, sleep, diet takes a toll on your fitness progress.
4. Briefly can you explain “the science of lifting weights” to a layman? who has probably never done it before?
It’s very simple. Lifting weights will cause micro-tears in your muscles. With adequate nutrition and sleep, the body recovers by repairing these micro-tears to become faster or stronger. Nutrition and Rest are as important as lifting weights.
5. There are so many myths about lighting weights. Can you bust 2/3 myths for us?
Myth 1: Especially for women, but applicable for men too: Lifting weights will make me bulky.
The Truth: Trust me, it’s very hard to get bulky and look like Arnold or “The rock” with out steroids and years of training. For women it’s close to impossible to become bulky. The stunning actresses of Hollywood can probably lift more than an average man. Do you get it?
Myth 2: Lifting weights will convert your fat into muscle.
The truth: Only Jesus can turn water into wine. As an earthly mortal, you have to lose fat and gain muscle.
Myth 3: Once I stop lifting weights, I will become fat.
This is half true. Allow me to explain. Once you start lifting weights, your metabolism shoots up and you start consuming more calories. Once you stop lifting weights, your metabolism drops and here is the sad part, if you still consume the same amount of calories you WILL become FAT. If you stop exercising (lifting weights), adjust your diet accordingly.
6. If you had to recommend 5 weight lifting essential movements which ones would they be? / What are the 5 weightlifting routines which are a must?
“Push ups”, “Pull ups”, “Deadlift”, “Squat” and “Clean and Jerk”.
Since Jabez didn’t have videos of himself doing these movements I found some of Hugh Jackman – eye candy for the men & women!
THE MIGHTY PUSH-UP
ASS TO GRASS SQUATs WITH 150+ KGS
BEAST- LIKE DEADLIFTS WITH 180KGS
CLEAN AND JERK – 242KGS DONE BY A PRO OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTER! ( BE AMAZED)
If Jabez & Hugh Jackman has inspired you, please don’t go out there and carry 150kgs. But stop shying away from weight lifting, start incorporating it into your fitness routines ( 2/3 times a week). Reach out to your trainers to ensure your form is correct, start with your body weight, and scale up every few weeks.
Form is THE most important aspect of any type of movement. So spend time perfecting the squat, your push-up, lunge, etc. before you start piling on the weights. The wrong form will lead to injuries, aches and you will not get the desired results
You will see the benefits of weight training on strength and stamina in a month along with some very nice muscle definition on your arms, legs and other parts of your body.
(Please note: I have only touched the surface on weight-lifting in this post- I promise to feature every movement in detail to help you along this journey to becoming the next Hugh Jackman/ Jessica Biel!)