A few weeks ago, we talked about lifting weights as a means for toning up at our Greenville gym. More recently, the “Journal of Applied Physiology” weighed in with its own interesting findings about the usefulness of light weights. It concluded that working out with lighter weights was less intimidating, less risky and just as effective in terms of muscle growth as working out with heavy weights over time.

The study had young men perform resistance training with varying weights over a period of ten weeks to see if the results differed. The results showed that a person might only be able to go through a few reps with a very heavy weight, and they can perform much longer with a set of lighter weights. Because working out with weights is effective when a person uses them to the point of fatigue, it might make sense for some adults to hit that point later with lighter strain along the way than pushing themselves straight to the max. Plus, some people might be intimidated by bigger weight ranges and refrain from working out with weights altogether.

Commonly using heavy weights can also cause muscle and joint strain in the long-term, and that risk is diminished with lighter weights. And those pushing themselves to achieve more with a heavier weight may stray from proper form more commonly than those using a simpler routine. Overall, the impact of light weights in a regular fitness regimen can be dramatically better for a person’s physique in the long run than higher weights.

This research just goes to show that it’s not just about showing off and achieving great strides. Don’t overexert yourself or set unrealistic goals. It’s all about honesty, moderation and confidence. Don’t be afraid to come into the gym with moderate goals. Don’t compare yourself to the bodybuilder with the huge biceps standing next to you. If you psych yourself out – or worse, quit because you think you can’t do some huge workout task – then it won’t benefit anyone. And remember, you come in here to feel good about yourself!

The key is to commit to a regular routine, set realistic limits and stay motivated. If you can only do a small amount of work at a time, come in more days of the week. If you can only handle light weights, you can do more sets. There’s no single way to work out – ask our highly trained staff and personal trainers how you can define and meet limits that work for you in order to get fit and attain your ideal body.

Many people automatically equate being slender with being in good shape and healthy. But there’s more to good health than what you look like on the outside, especially if you were born slim rather than being someone who worked toward that goal.

A recently discovered “thin gene,” which predisposes individuals to be genetically svelter than others, has just been linked to higher instances of heart disease and diabetes – symptoms typically associated with being overweight. According to the study, published in Nature Genetics in June, it all has to do with how fat is stored rather than how it’s perceived. Although carriers of this gene don’t store fat in such a way that it shows from the outside, the same fats that are ingested can actually instead be kept in the body around the organs, which is much more dangerous to a person’s health.

To protect your body and stay heart smart, you should work out on a regular basis in addition to maintaining a balanced diet – regardless of what you look like. It also helps to reduce drinking and eliminate smoking from your lifestyle habits, which can also impede your cardiology health. Aerobic exercise – constant motion, like a boot camp class or walking on a treadmill, rather than lifting weights – is particularly good for lowering blood pressure and strengthening your heart.