Lifting weights or using resistance bands, works your muscles, boosts your metabolism and helps you burn fat faster! It tones your body and believe it or not, helps you sleep and gives you more energy! This is so important if you have little ones running around and it feels like you have a million things to do.
In the past, I've heard numerous women say, "I don't want to lift weights because I'm afraid I'll look like a guy." The women who are afraid to get bulky go running instead, in hopes to lose weight and get toned. Sure they may loose a few pounds, but they will not have that tiny waist and nice perky butt they were hoping for.
Just to ease your fear, the insanely muscular women that make up a tiny population, are extreme bodybuilders, and are most likely professional. To get those bigger muscles, you have to lift super heavy for years on end! Not only that, but you also have to eat A LOT, not to mention a lot of carbs!
In a recent article, those with sarcopenia (the loss of muscle tissue as a natural part of the aging process) were at a higher risk for cancer. "Sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) was identified in 1,086 patients, or some 34 percent of the group. The rate of low muscle radiodensity was even greater, with 1,199 patients (37 percent) presenting those traits. The median follow-up time was six years. Over that time, 619 of the patients died. The patients who had sarcopenia showed a 41 percent greater mortality rate, according to the stats analysis by the scientists. Patients with the greatest amount of total adipose tissue (body fat) showed a higher death rate, at a 35 percent higher rate. Taken together, those with the muscle loss and high-fat composition fared the worst, with an 89 percent higher mortality. (BMI calculations did not significantly relate to overall mortality, however). Those with greater muscle mass had a lower risk of cancer. Those with higher fat content had a higher 35% rate and those with lower muscle."
I started lifting weights in college about 15 years ago, when I decided to play a sport. Although I hated it at the time, it sparked a passion and created a new and healthy habit for me. It was nothing crazy, but it was something that I was happy to add into my daily routine. I had continuously lifted weights and ate healthy, but I had reached a plateau and wanted to challenge myself even more. So in 2014, I decided to do my first fitness competition. I wanted to do it the right way so I hired a coach who sent me custom weekly workout and nutrition plans. These would change based on my progression. I followed my personalized plan and did everything my coach told me. My workouts didn't change too much, but I was working out about 30 minutes longer and I was eating more, but more of the healthy foods. I wasn't going out and eating pizza, ice cream or drinking alcohol. What I did was quite extreme, but there are ways to incorporate healthy eating and working out into your life. And no, you will not look bulky.
What to do
So if you decide to start lifting weights and want to lose weight, here are a few things to remember:
- Start slow at 2-3 days a week, 30 minutes a day. Then either add a day or 30 minutes.
- Start with light weights, resistance bands or even body weight (like air squats) if you're timid, then work your way up. Remember, this is a lifestyle change so don't try and rush it.
- Fat is your friend, in small amounts. If you completely cut out fat, your body will literally think its starving and hold on to fat. Some healthy fats are avocado, olive oil, coconut oil and nuts.
- Natural sugar, like fruit is OK, also in smaller amounts. I personally try not to eat fruit after lunch.
- The right carbs are good and are definitely needed when lifting weights! You can't build that nice round booty without the right carbs. Chips and bread don't count. Eat sweet potatoes, brown rice and quinoa.
- Try to stay away from processed foods, which is basically anything that comes in a package. If you're craving chips, trying making crunchy sweet potato fries.
- After a few weeks of lifting weights, you will start to feel bloated or puffy. Stay calm. This is normal! Your body is still learning to boost your metabolism to burn that extra fat while building muscle at the same time. Trust the process and continue on.
For the Moms
It is not easy to get to the gym. Let's face it, if you have little ones running around, you're probably too tired to do anything. And if you have the energy to do something, you may feel like you should do chores instead. I totally get it because I am right there. I am in it. I am deep in the vicious cycle. I've been too tired to go to the gym, which means I'm too tired to cook and prep my meals, which means I eat like crap. Then after eating that sugary crap, I crash and get tired again. It's an ongoing cycle. And when you're not working out or eating the right foods, you won't be sleeping well. The good thing is that you can stop all of that. Yes, only you and yes that is a good thing. You have control. You have the power to make the right choices. Sit down with your husband, babysitter or caregiver and work out a schedule so you can either go prep your healthy foods or workout and stick to it! The accountability is key and will aid in your success long run. Not only will you have more energy to keep up with your little ones, but you will also look Ah-Mazing! It's so possible.
I would love to answer any of your questions about how to make this work for you. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email!
The Mama H was created as an outlet to share different ideas than those generally shared through mainstream. I am a wife and a mama, living in Southern California. I am currently working a full time job in the corporate world, but my real passion is to educate others on traditional nourishment, safe products free of harmful ingredients, staying fit and taking care of ourselves from the inside out.
The Mama H