Many women fear lifting weights. They believe they will be bulky, manly or have “too many muscles.” Ladies, lifting weights will make you stronger and burn calories. You must lift, eat, supplement and be consistent at it for years to even get close, and still likely not get there without performance enhancers, to get to the image you fear. Here is why you should lift and my own progress in photos.
This time of year, many will hit the gym, sign up for classes, get on the cardio equipment, and when the weather warms, many others will hit the pavements. We do what we know how to do to burn off calories and go at it full steam to lose weight.
Things happen over the age of 35. Each year we experience a gradual loss of muscle tone, firmness, strength, and skin elasticity.
Those muscles that looked firm under the skin in your 20’s without even trying, do not look like that in our late 40’s and beyond. That natural muscle tone that kept our metabolism running regardless of our bad diets as young adults. In our later years we gain weight even eating less than we did as a teen and in our twenties. We not only do not shed weight as fast as we used to, but our appetite increases, and our results are not the toned limbs we once enjoyed.
We believe that more exercise is the answer. True. However, check your goals with the outcomes. If your dream is to run a marathon, look like a marathon runner and enjoy running. Do it. Same for swimming, triathalon, gymnastics, tennis, aerobics etc. Grab it and do it, and do it consistently. Get better at it, get lessons, get coaching. Reach your goals.
However, when it comes to improving your metabolism, and lifting the fallen bits, cardio does not help any of those things. Cardio is the shortened name for cardiovascular. When you run, cycle, bike, or ride an elliptical you are working your heart and lungs primarily. If you crank up the tension to an uphill climb you will engage more muscle, but not necessarily enough to achieve your body image goals. Good for burning calories. Not good for lifting the sags.
If aestetic goals are your desired result, and your end game has more to do with how you look than excelling at a sport, then please take another look at bodybuilding. Take a look at some results in my first full year of weightlifting. In all of these pictures I actually weigh about the same, between 137 and 145. (remember I started at 174lbs earlier that same year!)
When I got to the point of asking for help with weightloss, and was led in the direction of weightlifting, I did not hold any preconceived notion of “getting big” or “bulky” or of getting anywhere close to being a female bodybuilder. I just wanted to lose weight, only 10 or 20 pounds. Fortunately I had the time to do it and a trainer that knew what to do. He got me started on both cardio and lifting. That along with a nutrition lecture combinaion was enormously successful!
When I accomplished a huge weightloss hurdle, I was doing cardio intervals on the elliptical, 45-60 minutes per day, and weightlifting at 60 minutes+ per day. Okay, I hear what you are saying “Oh my gosh, that is a lot!” Well, yes it is. But I went from 174 to 144 in 4 months flat. That is 30 pounds in 4 months. I changed my eating, but mostly changed what I ate. So at a rate of almost 8 pounds a month that rate was fabulous and exceeded my expecation.
Even at that much weightlifting and protein at each meal, and additional protein shakes, my butt fell. I was working hard and toning up, but after a while, the excessive cardio overran my weightlifting efforts. I cut back the cardio to 20 minutes a day AFTER my weightlifting session and that is where the real toning and firming began to happen.
It was at this time that I got serious about my muscle. I set my goals and got a trainer who could give me the ins and outs of a Figure Competition.
Figure competitors have rounded firm muscles, but without striations (where your muscles have muscles) and maintain feminine looks. Figure models onstage wear blingy “swimsuit” style attire (some restrictions apply) eye popping blingy jewelry, and 5″ clear heels. That trainer had me doing cardio, but a different kind. Low Intensity, Steady State. Stairmaster. Walking treadmill with a steep incline. No Running.
After the show, and I did well by the way, I was able to cut the cardio down to a 5-10 minute warmup. I continue at that rate to today. Because, now I want to win!
I have also taken classes in Sports Nutrition. I have competed in 4 different Figure competitions over the last year. Some of the things I learned from my experiences:
- Cardio will burn calories, but not firm sagging muscles. However, it is an awesome tool if used together with weight training and nutrition.
- You can also burn calories with a great heavy weightlifting plan that will firm your figure.
- It takes longer to gain muscle than lose weight! Note: The pros have spent years, even decades getting to their level of muscle.
- In maintaining muscle tone, eating right is more important than eating low calorie!
Do not be afraid of weights. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to know more about weight loss through weightlifting!