The Other 10%

Exercise

You gotta do something.  Walking or jogging, biking, sit ups, crunches, push ups,  lifting weights.

Ladies, if you lift weights you will not bulk so lift heavy not the old low weight high reps stuff.

The amount of exercise you do depends on your goals.  To just maintain some form of fitness walking is all you need. If you want a beach body, more exercise will be needed.

Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that taking long walks is all you need to do to lose weight. It’s 90% nutrition!

A recent study showed 20 min twice a week of HIT is sufficient to be fit.

If you do not perform resistance training when trying to lose weight, you will lose 1/4 lb. of lean muscle for every pound you lose, according to registered dietitian Natalie Digate Muth

“The More You Know” Thursday: The Truth About Weights… for WOMEN

by Janine@ThePurpleGiraffe on January 12, 2012

Alright, this one is for the ladies… sorry guys, I’ll make it up to you later.

Okay girls, be honest – how many times have you gone to the gym and ONLY worked out on a cardio machine or taken a cardio class?

It’s okay, you can admit it… the truth is, most of us girls stick almost exclusively to the cardio machines or to some version of cardio when working out. And there are plenty of reasons we give for this…but the one I hear most often is the one that drives me bonkers.

“I don’t strength train because I’ll bulk up like a man… I don’t want to look like a body builder!”

News flash ladies – it’s physically impossible for you to bulk up without hormone treatment or some other artificial intervention. Women lack the growth hormones required to get as muscular as men. We simply don’t produce the amount of testosterone required to gain muscle mass like men (or female body builders who are taking supplements to support growth) do.

The fact of the matter is, if you want to be fit, lean and toned, you need to do more than just cardio. You should be incorporating strength training workouts into your routine  IN ADDITION to your cardio workouts! The COMBINATION of cardio and strength training is what will get you the results that you’re looking for – feeling strong and looking lean!

But that’s not all!  There are so many benefits for women that come from incorporating strength training into an exercise regimen:

Improved muscle tone (and increased self-esteem)! I don’t know about you, but I always feel better about myself when I am looking fit and trim – lean muscles are sexy!

Increased bone density! A healthy bone is more dense; meaning that it has more calcium stores, is stronger and has a higher bone density. Weight bearing exercises, or strength training, help to deposit calcium stores within your bones, leading to healthier, stronger bones!

Increased immunity to illness! Several studies have now found that strength training increases both the number and the amount of activity of immune cells whose primary jobs are to detect and destroy cancerous and virus-infected cells! In addition, muscle is your body’s way of storing protein – which is essential in the production of antibodies when your body is fighting an infection.

Ability to slow (and even reverse!) the aging process! A recent study conducted at McMaster University Medical Center showed that lifting weights can actually reverse the aging process in the muscles. Participants in the study not only got stronger, but the molecular mechanisms which generate power for their muscles became as active as those found in much younger people.

Your body will metabolize food and drink more efficiently! When you strength train, you experience a boost in your resting metabolism… so if you are trying to reduce bodyfat, you’ll be able to do so more easily! The reason for this is that strength training increases muscle fibers, and as such, they consume more energy – which boosts our metabolisms.

So now we know the benefits of strength training… but why else aren’t’ we doing it?

“It’s boring. It takes too long, and I don’t feel like I’m getting as much of a workout as I do on the treadmill because I’m not sweating as much!”

Two things here. First, sweat is not necessarily an indicator of how hard you’re working or how good of a workout you’re getting. Sweat is your body’s way of cooling itself. However, this is not an indicator of how intensely you are working out or how many calories you are expending. In fact, many people actually burn more calories running outdoors in the cold versus summer in the heat!

Second, strength training doesn’t need to be time consuming. Since it requires very little equipment and time, you can fit it into your lifestyle however it works for YOU! And because of that, it doesn’t HAVE to be boring – switch it up! Free weights, resistance bands, rubber tubing or your own body weight will all enhance muscular strength and endurance with as little as 20 minutes to one half hour a day of training.

Okay – so now we know the benefits, and we know that we don’t have to do it for an hour a day to see results, and it doesn’t have to be boring… so what sized weights should we use?

“Women shouldn’t lift heavy weights, but instead do light weights and high repetitions!”

False, false, false! Ladies, DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEAVY WEIGHTS! Your muscles respond to resistance. If you’re using weights that are so light that they’re not challenging or providing resistance to your muscles, you’re not going to see the results that you want (and deserve)!

Choose a weight or load that produces muscle fatigue somewhere between 8-12 repetitions of an exercise for the upper body, and 12-15 repetitions for the lower body. Most current research recommends 1-3 sets per muscle group, depending on your goals and current fitness level.

Remember ladies, strong is the new sexy. So get to it!

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