Do You Even Lift, Bro?

By Emma Davis

“I do it for the ladies.” said senior Dante Burke, a Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School student on the football team. However, there are other reasons to lift besides this.

Did you know by lifting you decrease the risk of coronary heart disease? I know I didn’t. Not only that, but by engaging in physical activities such as weight training and aerobic exercise you have more chance to reduce and control high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol. Weightlifting overall has such a great impact on muscle, bones, and joints. It also helps with osteoporosis and arthritis.

Bodybuilding isn’t just for the body, but the mind as well. There is a well known anonymous saying, “healthy body, healthy mind.” People from many years of bodybuilding experience testify this to be true, if you keep your body healthy and fit, your mind will keep healthy and fit, too. Weightlifting helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help raise self-esteem and decrease depression by boosting self-image.

In order to begin bodybuilding, you first have to know the basics.

First, to make your muscles grow, you have to stress them. According to, when you are consistent in your lifting, it causes the enlargement of an organ or tissue from the increase in size of its cells, which is called hypertrophy. This is what happens due to the continuous stress to the muscles. In order to activate this process, you need to blend the right amount of volume with the right amount of load in order to create the stress that makes the muscles grow.

How can I stress my muscles? A good question!

Mr. Mendoza working on the bicep-tricep machine

Your local gym has many machines and equipment suitable for this practice and if you don’t have a local gym, grab some dumbbells and get creative! One of the most important factors in your training is the number of reps and sets you are doing. Resting between sets is also very important. In hypertrophy training there is an accumulation of stress that coerces muscle cell growth. Your rest time should at most be a minute and a half or two minutes, any more than that disturb the process.

Finally, don’t forget to hydrate! You are losing a lot of water sweating so it is very important to replenish the water you are losing. On another note, a good thing to end your lifting session with is a protein shake. The protein will help your muscles build and recover.

Lifting, although a sport itself, is used in conditioning for other sports, football for example. What do they do during the off season?

Dante 2
Mr. Burke performing a pullup.

“We lift from January until August. Lift in the morning before school, and after a couple months we do it after school,” said Mr. Burke.

Does Mr. Burke have the same build today as when he started playing football?

“No. I was a 185 pounds my freshman year and now I weigh about 245 pounds,” said Mr. Burke.

What kinds of exercises do the players do?

“Explosive exercises and sprints. As far as heavy lifting goes, we did: bench squats, deadlifts, dips, pull ups, push ups, and lots of agility circuits,” said Mr. Burke.

Now, that sounds intense. Football is not the only sport that uses these practices, wrestling does as well. Senior Joe Gonsalves, a Bishop Sullivan Catholic High student on the wrestling team, can comment on the subject, too. What kinds of technique should be performed?

“Basic form, especially after I injured my back. Good form, right technique, and what feels good to you,” said Mr. Gonsalves.

What are some good tips to start you off?

“ Look it up. Talk to more experienced people. Don’t push yourself, if you can’t do more than three reps, don’t do it at all. Stay hydrated, and eat good wholesome meals. Do at least three or more reps per set, form is good, have a spotter no matter what in case injured and so you don’t die,” said Mr. Gonsalves.

How has lifting impacted his body?

“I have gained lean muscle, I’m not trying to bulk. My weight is at 230 currently, I am  a lot stronger than I was,” said Mr. Gonsalves.

Least to say he is very happy with the results. Feeling inspired? As Zig Ziglar says, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

Mendoza 2
Mr. Mendoza training on the “stringy machine.”

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