If you are anything like me then you are caught between being legally an adult and acting like a child when you go home to see your parents. Heck, this may even apply if you’re significantly older than me, no judgment here 🙂 It’s a weird time warp when you walk back into your parents’ house, you now have rules, chores, and everything you are doing with your life is wrong. Just me? We listen to our parents and follow their example because we respect them, and they have been there. But if we are truly honest, there have been times when they were wrong, especially when it came to trends. I mean they tell us not to follow the crowd and get peer pressured but who in their right mind wears shoulder pads and dresses their kid in purple corduroy overalls and jellies, all of those items are just plain wrong. So excuse me while I don’t take exercise advice from the woman who had a beaded chain holding her classes to her face.
Sure those trends were cool at the time, and we will look back and regret our choices as well (ahem…man bun anyone?). But, some trends are led by research and should be taken seriously. Growing up, I went to a popular women’s gym that taught you to do a short workout of light reps (the machines didn’t even have weights) for a minute. Sure, it probably helped cardio a little but most people were not seeing the success they wanted, and it was too easy and just became a social hour. I’m not blaming the gym or the women who attended for that matter, the problem was that they were uninformed, they grew up with videos of women with ankle weights doing five trillion leg lifts and they looked like the cast of Baywatch. They believed the lie that men lift weights and get big and strong and if you touch a weight you will too. Slowly people are learning that working out with weights will not turn a small statured woman into the incredible hulk. But some people are stuck in the days of Jazzercise and shaking belts that ‘melt’ the fat away. First things first, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Second, nothing worth having comes easy, you will have to actually work hard to get to where you want to be. Lifting weights may be a struggle, and you may have to start with light weights, but don’t slow your progress and stick with the small weights because you are scared. Sure you may have seen a woman who looks like she could bench press an elephant and eat your dog if you look at her wrong, (not that there is anything wrong with that of course!) but that is not the norm, that woman probably takes supplements and trains incredibly hard. She should be respected but not feared. The average woman does not have enough natural testosterone to turn you into walking muscle machine.
Lifting weights and gaining muscle can help you not only look and feel better, it can help your bones become stronger and keep your ADLs (activities of daily living) longer. It may be surprising to some of you, but we need strong muscles to move around easily, to lift objects, to open heavy doors, to push a heavy grocery cart through the store. We all want to live long, but what about the quality of those years. Do you want to buy a ranch style home because you don’t have the strength to walk up stairs? What about kids and grandkids, do you want to run around and play with them, maybe pick them up? Well, kids get heavy and fast! Toned muscles are not only helpful, they are probably what you are aiming for aesthetically as well. Lifting weights still raises your heart rate and keeps you in that beloved fat burning zone. The muscles you develop will burn more calories for you every day just by being there and by maintaining them. Sounds awesome right? Lifting weights (heavier than what most people are currently using, let’s be honest) will help you get that toned body you are looking for. Great tips to live by in the weight room: if you can lift it twenty times or more, it is too light for you, starting off, go for 10 reps and then repeat 3 times with a break in between each set. Make sure you have the right form, it is okay to ask for help from the desk or look up a video, stand in front of the mirror to make sure the form is right (just don’t be that person that is practically touching the mirror or blocking other’s mirror space). And finally, always wipe off and rerack your weights, be a team player. Happy Thursday everyone!
*Always consult with a health professional before beginning any new exercise or lifting regimen*