Mike Donavanik is a Beverly Hills-based personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He also holds certifications from the NCCPT and an advanced certification from the NASM as a Performance Enhancement Specialist.He is known for his expertise in functional training and is regularly featured in national media.

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Functional Fitness

by Mike Donavanik, Functional Fitness
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We've all heard the old adage, "Women need to lift lighter weights but with more reps, so they don't get bulky." Sorry, ladies. I'm here to tell you that statement is far from the truth.

In order for women to get that lean, long, defined and all-around toned look, lifting weights and lifting them hard is a must.

I'll outline and display the biggest myths that women have about weight lifting.

Myth 1: If I start lifting heavy weights, I'm going to get bulky.
Answer: False
Explanation: Women don't have enough testosterone in their body to get bulky. It's a scientific fact. Women aren't made to "bulk up" like a man because they lack the testosterone to do so. When you see a woman who is unnaturally muscular she is getting testosterone from an outside source -- usually a steroid or some other type of testosterone-boosting supplement.

Myth 2: I need to lift lighter weights, but perform higher repetitions.
Answer: False
Explanation: In order to become lean while having a naturally toned and sexy look, you need to weight train hard and heavy. When you see an actress or female athlete with a gorgeous body, you need to realize they put in the hard work at the gym. While they may have more free time in order to train, they still hit the gym hard. If you are able to perform 15-20 repetitions, the weight is way too light. If you are able to perform 10-12 without struggling on the last 3 or 4 reps, then it's still too light.

To gauge how difficult your selected weight is, pay attention and see if you are struggling to finish the last 3-4 repetitions. If you are, the weight is good. If you are not, you need to increase it. Anywhere between 8-12 repetitions is recommended to build muscle and strength.

Myth 3: I can just do Pilates or yoga to get long lean muscles.
Answer: False
Explanation: This pretty much goes hand in hand with intensity. You need to train hard to achieve results. Pilates and yoga are great forms of exercise to develop and improve flexibility and core strength. However, when it comes to developing total body strength and building muscle, Pilates and yoga alone just won't cut it.

You need to supplement your yoga and Pilates with strength training and cardio for a well balanced exercise program - especially if you want a Cameron Diaz or Lucy Liu body. Having trained Pilates instructors, I can tell you firsthand that they agree and follow through with the concept ...    Continue

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@ 1:06pm ET on April 20, 2009
interestng ideas.

@ 11:54am ET on August 3, 2009
Great article. Very helpful. I was one who believed that you should lift lighter weights/more reps.
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