We only have SIX weeks left until our “after” pictures are going up on the world wide web. In case you needed a reminder- that’s 6 weeks. yeah.
I really enjoy lifting weights. Most days I prefer it over cardio. Weight lifting is something I think a lot of women forget about or avoid for one reason or another, but the benefits are definitely known. The following is a guest post by Julia.
It’s not easy. No one ever said it would be. Every day is different. Some days it’s a breeze. Some days it’s easy. Some days you just think you can’t do it anymore. But it’s not impossible. What am I talking about? While at first glance you might think I’m talking about parenting and the every day struggles (and joys) of raising a child. But what I’m really talking about is life after baby. You guessed it – getting back in shape.
While there are so many things that need to take place for body transformation to occur, the one thing I will touch on today is weight training. Hold on! I know what you’re thinking… “Weight training is not for me. I don’t want to bulk up.” Don’t leave me yet… hang in here with me!
There are countless benefits to weight training, some of which include:
* Increased metabolic rate (faster metabolism)
* Lower resting blood pressure
* Lower risk for Type 2 Diabetes
* Positive changes in blood lipid levels (lower bad cholesterol and higher good cholesterol)
* “Toned” muscles (more on this in a minute)
* Stonger muscles for every day activities
* Decreased risk of osteoporosis
* Decreased occurrence of everyday aches and pains
Are you still with me?
OK, good. So, while there are tons of benefits, the main one we’re all after is that “toned” muscle look, right? Well, that’s where weight training comes in. Let me first say (because I know you’re thinking it) that you will NOT bulk up. You see, large muscles grow in the presence of testosterone. Women do not have the high testosterone levels like men do. Therefore, we can’t grow muscles like them. And the crazy jacked-up women you do see in bodybuilding magazines that could probably pass for a male typically take performance enhancing drugs (steroids). So, please don’t be turned off by that image.
Since most people’s goal is to lose weight, the common misconception is that they must spend hours on the cardio machines. While there’s nothing wrong with cardio machines, it is important to understand what weight training does for weight loss. Research has proven that regular weight training exercises can increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) by up to 15%. Understand this: Your BMR is the rate at which your body burns calories at rest. That’s right… AT REST. So if you increase your musclejust a little, you are making your body more efficient at burning calories… while sleeping, resting, blogging, or watching TV! And who wouldn’t want to burn more calories just sitting there?
The second biggest misconception about weight training is that you must do high reps and low weight. Wrong! I don’t know about you, but every woman I’ve seen in a health club lifting little 5 pound plastic dumbbells never looks “toned”. There. I said it. But it’s true! They never have a body that I would long for. On the flip side, every woman I see in a gym pushing themselves hard and not afraid to challenge themselves with heavier weights looks incredible!! Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. I’m not saying that every woman should be benching pressing 300 pounds. But what I am saying is that the weights you do lift, should be challenging. Push yourself every week to go up in weight. If that means you start with 10 pound dumbbells for the first week, so be it. But try moving up the next week to 15 or 20 pounds. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at a) how strong you really are and b) how awesome your body will look in a few weeks!
I’m definitely running short on time in this post, but I’ll leave you with a few more tips. Pick exercises that work multiple muscle groups. For example, choose bench press (a multi-joint movement) over chest flies (a single joint movement). Choose lunges over leg extensions. Choose shoulder press over lateral raises. Secondly, don’t only be encouraged or discouraged by the number on the scale. Since weight training builds muscle (and remember – it burns more calories too!), you may not see a huge drop in numbers at first, but you will see your clothes fitting better and your muscle definition looking much better! And finally, stick with it! Give the weight training program a chance to work it’s course. Don’t do it for a few days and say it’s not working. Your body takes time to make changes. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Besides, what do you have to lose… besides weight?
Julia is a working mom of two kids, ages 2 and 6 months. She works as a college strength and conditioning coach at a Division I university. She provides detailed workout programs and nutritional guidance for all sports teams. Julia is also a mommy blogger, blogging about life with her kids, her faith, her craftiness, cloth diapering, living frugally and the occassional giveaway. Visit her at her blog- here.
Mr Linky is up- leave your post url if you wrote a post about Body After Baby this week. Here’s to a great week three!