I’m not trying to hate on any one type of fitness trend right now. If you like kickboxing, yoga, spinning, crossfit, whatever, good for you! The last thing I would ever want to do is discourage any type of physical activity that’s good for you. The only point I am trying to make in this blog post is that there is not nearly enough positive information circling around regarding weight training. It’s a type of training that is mainly dominated by men. However, it’s clear to see that women stand to benefit from weight training just as much as men. So, why isn’t weight training more popular among women? Is it because it’s not all that glamorous? Or is it because it’s not as trendy and cool as say yoga, zumba, or an aerobics class? Or is it because it doesn’t seem very “lady like”??? We do have to get into some awkward positions and grunt and workout around the men. Hmmm…that doesn’t sound very lady like at all. Perhaps it’s because of it’s unpopularity among mainstream fitness that I wanted to share these pictures of myself, to show what lifting weights has done for me. Also to put to rest some of the myths or fears around weight lifting. “Did that chick really take a picture of her own A$$?!?!” Yep! I sho did!
Lets take it way back…when my daughter was born in 2011 I had the baby weight to lose, but I also had some other issues as well. I had a serious pain that would shoot through my wrist and forearm when I did certain movements (sort of like carpal tunnel). The pain was so bad that at times I was afraid I might drop my daughter when I was holding her. The thought of that happening was enough to scare me into doing something about it. I went to the doctor and he prescribed me a type of medication (that was almost 4 years ago, so I don’t remember exactly what it was) whatever…it didn’t help. I try to take a common sense approach to these types of things so I thought maybe I could try to heal myself through physical therapy. I remembered my sister and brother in law telling me all about the benefits of lifting weights and how good it was for women. They were both dedicated gym goers so I decided to take their advice. I went on bobybuilding.com and found some workout plans. I picked out some that focused on upper body since that’s where I felt weakest. Then I took some of my husband’s weights in the garage and started lifting. The first month I lost approx between 5-7 lbs. (those numbers are always approx) and I did zero cardio. I never stepped foot in a gym either. I was almost 30 years old before I ever touched a weight. I did not come from an athletic background of dance, gymnastics or sports. I had been a cheerleader in high school for two years but that was it.
After I shed the baby fat I was skinny. That just wouldn’t do. I wanted to be strong. Skinny was what I had been called my whole life. I didn’t want to be skinny anymore. Skinny was weak. Skinny couldn’t lift her daughters jogging stroller. Skinny was all the things that I used to be. Not the person that I had become.
So, here’s where I get all scientific on you and tell you all the reasons that you should incorporate weight training into your workout routine if you haven’t already done so.
Your body will always try to reach homeostasis, meaning it is perfectly designed to run as efficiently as possible without us even trying to make it. What that means for women is that if you are trying to lose weight and are reducing your daily caloric intake and then start doing cardiovascular exercise, you will more than likely lose as much muscle mass as you do fat. Again, your body is only trying to run as efficiently as possible. If you’re driving a truck hauling a trailer loaded down but you need to get better gas mileage, you’re probably going to want to downsize and get rid of the trailer. (i.e. muscle mass).(that’s a really weird analogy, I know, I hope you get the point I was trying to make) Your body will drop off that muscle before shedding all the fat. Why? Because you are a woman and you need more fat than a man. However, even a man will burn off muscle too if he engages in extensive cardiovascular exercise.
-Muscle is metabolicly active so you will be burning calories even at rest just by having more muscle mass on your body. Women start to lose muscle mass over the age of 30 anyway, which is why it is particularly important to incorporate weight bearing exercises as you age.
-It’s good for your bones. Your bones are continually being broken down and reformed. Weight bearing and resistance training exercises are the best ways to build bone density. When choosing weight training over strictly cardio exercises, think of it as depositing money into your savings account rather than your checking account. The more money you deposit into your savings, the longer it will take to run out. Weight training is one of the best ways to prevent osteoporosis. Most cases of osteoporosis are found in post-menopausal women over 50 and it’s estimated that osteoporosis affects one fourth of women over age 60. (Crowley 503)
-LADIES! You will not look like a man or get “bulky” from lifting weights. This is a statement that I am fully able to rant about because I made this statement when I first started. I was afraid of getting too muscular. HA! Soooooo ridiculous! I’ve had other bodybuilders remind me that I’m really not all THAT muscular… like as if I’m going to forget. You might have seen my videos where I am deadlifting 135lb.s. I lift very heavy weights 5 days a week. No one has told me that I’m too muscular, bulky or manly. Besides, lets just say you do want to have big muscles. Go for it! I think you should be and look however YOU want to look. Not how society thinks you should look. Lifting weights will make you STRONG, not bulky.
-It’s the best way to spot reduce. As you age, or after you’ve had children you might have noticed that you have fat deposits in places that you didn’t have when you were in your early twenties. No matter how much you diet, exercise and do crunches you just can’t seem to get them to go away. The saddle bags just don’t seem to go anywhere. Sound familiar? I had the saddle bag issue. Genetically that is where my body deposits most of my fat. Spot reduction is not possible. However, adding muscle mass to my upper and lower body has enabled me to burn off more of those fat deposits than cardio alone.
Now, here’s where I become your best friend. Do not be afraid or intimidated by the weight room. Don’t think for one second that you need to lose weight or get in better shape before you head to the weights section of the gym (that goes for men & women). Don’t think that the weight room is only meant for the boys. Bench press is for girls too! #girlscan
The happy ending to the story is that I never dropped my daughter from the wrist pain, and I was able to cure myself through lifting weights. The wrist/forearm pain went away within a couple of weeks of weight training never to return.
Fun facts about me! My favorite exercise is deadlifts, but my favorite body part to train is SHOULDERS! Yeah, I’m like one of the dudes sometimes, I love to workout shoulders.
Don’t be shy either. Don’t be afraid to ask me questions. I LOVE hearing from people.
Think.Do.Be. crazy, healthy and happy!
Side note: My progress pictures from 2012 were after I had already started weight training, so they aren’t the best to show how much progress I’ve made. They’re just the earliest pictures I have.
Crowley, Leonard. “The Musculoskeletal System.” Essentials of Human Disease. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Jones & Bartlett, 2014. 493-503. Print.