A colleague forwarded me the following link to a video of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Workout. Ordinarily I would just get a laugh at the horrendous form being used and dismiss it as simply another clueless trainer in a largely unregulated industry. However, Gwyeth’s trainer, a woman named Tracy Anderson, goes on to make perhaps the most asinine statement ever uttered by a so-called fitness professional. “We use three pound weights and only three pound weights,” Tracy exclaims. “No woman should ever lift more than three pound weights!”
I spend the better part of my life preaching to women about the importance of hitting the weights hard and dispelling the myth that they will get “bulky” from doing so, and some “celebrity” trainer–a person that Gwyneth Paltrow calls the “exercise genius of all time!”–tells them they’re going to turn into a she-male if they lift anything heavier than a a pink dumbbell. Please!!!
With all due respect, Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t even look like she works out. Sure, she’s thin. But chalk that up to genetics and diet. Body-wise, she has no noticeable muscle tone (not surprising given that she doesn’t lift anything heavier than three pounds!), and not much shape, either. That despite claiming to train two hours a day, six days a week! I’d say that’s a pretty poor return on investment. Look at the two photos posted here. Compare Gwyneth’s physique to a fitness or figure competitor and you tell me who has a better body.
Ladies, don’t be fooled. The only way to develop a fit, strong body is to challenge your muscles beyond their present capacity. This is called the overload principle, and it’s a central tenet of exercise. If you don’t progressively overload your muscles, they won’t develop and you won’t have muscle tone! Moreover, adding a few pounds of muscle to your body won’t make you look big or bulky. Rather, it will give you pleasing shape and definition. It will prevent areas from sagging with age. It will make you strong and give you better posture. And it will help to keep you lean (read: less body fat). Bottom line: Ditch the pink dumbbells and don’t be afraid to lift real weights!