So I wanted to talk about a subject I’m so incredibly passionate about. Lifting weights. If you would’ve asked me 3 years ago, what do you do to stay in shape? I would’ve responded with, I’m a runner and a little CrossFit here and there. To be honest, I hated running. I created this mindset that I needed to run to stay in shape and it created this passive aggressive love/ hate relationship with running. It wasn’t until after Jackson was born that I really fell in love with lifting weights. I had a good friend teach me how to use some of those super intimidating machines at the gym and from that moment on I’ve never looked back. If I run now, it’s strictly for fun or because I want to feel that runners high. Maybe I’ll share some pictures soon of post Sophie and post Jackson, maybe even share some of my tips for getting back into shape post babes if y’all are interested. Lifting weights as a woman won’t make you look like a man. Repeat after me, you won’t get big and bulky. This took me a long time to really believe but trust me unless you take some serious supplements and completely change you’re diet, it’s just not in our DNA.
One of the first reasons I love to lift is, the After-burn. Now you may be new to this whole fitness world and wonder what is the after-burn? After-burn is one of the absolute best things about lifting weights. When you do cardio, you burn calories the entire time you’re physically doing the activity. But once you’re done, the calorie burn all but stops. Lifting weights completely changes the equation. When you lift weights, not only does you body burn calories during the actual lifting session, but you continue to burn calories for hours after the workout is over.So get this, this effect is so powerful, and best illustrated by this study done by Tufts University: The study found that when overweight women lifted heavy weights twice per week, they lost an average of 14.6 pounds of fat, and gained 1.4 pounds of muscle. The control group of women who dieted, but did not lift weights lost only 9.2 pounds of fat, and gained no muscle. This is because when you lift heavy weights, you metabolism revs so much from the actual exercise as well as the energy that goes into repairing and rebuilding your muscles, you burn extra fat for hours after the workout. If you only do cardio, the fat burning stops 1-2 hours after you stop exercising. Can I get an amen anyone? ( you go Glen Coco )
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Muscle not only revs your metabolism, it “costs” more calories to maintain than fat. So if you are building muscle because of lifting weights, you can eat more calories every single day than you could before building that muscle. Even better, eating at a slight calorie deficit will help you lose body fat more effectively because your body will burn fat to keep your muscles maintained.
It can change your shape. I get so many friends who ask me how to target specific problem areas and how they want to change certain parts of their body but don’t know how. My response without fail is diet and lift weights. Even without losing a single pound, lifting weights will change the way you look. Trust me I’m a walking example of this. I’m an entire pant size smaller after Jackson then I had been since college. As you lift, you will stand up straighter, naturally hold your core in tighter, your breasts will perk up (yes girl, you read that right), arms and belly will tighten, and you will notice your calves and quads start to tone up as well. I’d like to add, you will see faster change when lifting weights than cardio alone. (Now, who is not all about instant gratification?)
You will have more confidence and strength. One of the best things that ever happened to me since I started lifting weights was less “sucking in”. I used to be so self conscious even though I’ve always been petite but now that I have more muscle than ever before, I get less “bloated” days. Lifting will also help you with everyday movements. This is what is known as “functional fitness” because each movement has a function and will make your everyday life easier as you increase your strength and capabilities.Think about it: everyday tasks like lifting children, or pinning down a toddler.. (lord help all of us mommas and our backs) bending down to pick things up, or even carrying all the grocery bags in at one time. (I know I’m not the only one who does this).
Lifting weights can improve your mood. Ever since having kids I’ve struggled with stress and anxiety (thank you Jesus for the gym, CBD oil and wine). I know that almost every American has different levels of the same struggles. The endorphins released during weight lifting both lift and stabilize my mood, and help mind clarity on a daily basis. It’s one of the reasons that I lift as often as I do, to me there is nothing better than to get my day in order while getting a good workout in first thing in the morning.
Lifting weights can cause less joint pain. Now let me start by sharing a fun fact with y’all. For those who don’t know me well, I’ve had seven knee surgeries yes I said SEVEN, picture Monica saying seven 100 times. (Another solid Friends reference) I’ve been told a time or two I’m stubborn, hard headed and I don’t give up on things I love easily. Which I guess I’m a walking example of that, literally. Anywho, falling in love with lifting weights has truly saved my knees. Less impact and pounding on a regular basis.
Now, that I’ve shared my why. You might ask how, meaning how often do I lift. My usual schedule is working out 5-6 days a week. Lifting with 10-20 minutes of moderate cardio for warmup (walking, rowing, biking, stairs or sprints) then a solid 30-40 minute lift. I try and focus on muscle group isolation, another thing my weight lifting friend taught me. When you focus on specific muscle groups until exhaustion, you will see change.
Hope this provides a little perspective and maybe even changes your opinion of women who lift. By the way, I LOVE seeing women lift and bust their butt in the gym. For those of you who lift or want to lift, what area are you targeting the most?
Thanks for reading along!