Hello Frustrated Girls,
Are you making mistakes that will prevent you from losing body fat, and make your body firmer? Are you frustrated with every new diet that hits the market, since you still are trying to drop 20 pounds or more? I have spent over 20 years talking to women about fat loss. Most still seem to have horse blinders on when it comes to building muscle. They still think that to have a fit body, you need to do MORE cardio, and eat less. They refuse to believe what an important factor putting muscle on your frame really is. Simply put, muscle burns calories. Not only does muscle burn calories while you are in the gym, but while you are sitting on the couch watching the Superbowl. Most women in the gym that I belong to are on the cardio machines. I see the “skinny” girl running for her life, and I see the overweight woman walking, or slowly running for an hour. They are both waiting for their body to drop fat, and look fit. Let’s discuss again, why strength training, and adding muscle will benefit your fat loss goals.
Muscle is metabolically active tissue. That means for every pound of muscle that you add to your frame, you will raise your resting metabolism. You might have heard the term, BMR. That stands for basal metabolic rate. Your BMR is your resting metabolic rate, or how many calories your body burns while at rest. What that means to you, cardio queen is that what you should be doing is at least two or three times weekly getting your body to raise your resting metabolic rate. How do you do that? Adding muscle by strength training. One of the biggest benefits (out of many) is that the bigger the muscles, the higher the resting metabolism. Which explains why a 200 pound bodybuilder that has about 6% body fat, needs to consume around 7000 calories daily. The most incredible part of this is that his metabolism runs so fast and hard, that if he doesn’t consume enough calories, he will lose muscle! Which also brings up the fact that if all you do is cardio, and you have very little muscle on your body, you can end up burning through precious muscle tissue. Girls run their asses off (literally) and have no shape. Stop this madness. Ever see the girls in the fitness magazines. They are curvy, shapely, feminine and STRONG. Sure maybe they have clean dietary practices, but they all lift weights. They all strength train hard for those curves, and they don’t live on cardio machines.
One of the other biggest problems with cardio only is that it sets you up for overuse injuries. Repetitive movements from cycling, spinning, and running work hard on joints, and tendons. If the body has a strong foundation of muscle and balance, then adding cardio to the entire plan is great. This means great news if you are a marathon runner or triathlete! Numerous studies are being done to prove that a body that has a strength and conditioning program mixed in with cardio builds the fastest, strongest athletes. You need power to get you to the finish line. Power comes from building muscle.
If you are thinking that this makes sense, good for you. It truly does. One of the biggest problems we have as an aging society is that we are not strong enough to take care of ourselves in our later years. Sure, we live longer, but…do we live stronger? Not unless you have a plan for your body to make this happen.This does not mean buying a set of 2 or 5 pound weights. This means actually pushing your body to build muscle. Putting a demand on your body that it is not used to. Sure, it will be a bit tough in the beginning, but the most amazing thing happens when women lift weights. They are amazed at how quickly they get stronger. I have seen it happen time and time again. I show the client the 10’s, 12,s and 15’s and they look wide eyed and say…”I can’t lift those!” Well, with the right coaching, the right form and a bit of repetition, you WILL be lifting those in a few weeks. Progressively adapting to a “load” of work is the body’s amazing natural skill. All you have to do is put it up to the challenge. It doesn’t matter if you are 20, or 60. YOU WILL GET STRONGER.
The most important thing to think of in strength training and adding muscle is to use functional movements. Those are the movements that you would use every day. Squatting, pushing, pulling, and lifting. Building the muscles that get the most use. The glutes, the legs, and the back. Learning how to lift an object the right way, while putting a demand on the muscle is how you will start to build your muscles. This is also how you will strengthen your core, firm up your butt, and stand straighter with more confidence. Yes, weight lifting builds amazing confidence girls. Forget that the weight room is filled with men.
Make this the year that cardio is the add on, and strength training is the focus. Change your routine to 3 days of strength training and 1 or 2 days of cardio. If you are really ready to drop that body fat and see your shape under that layer of fat, then grab some weights. Remember, bigger muscles burn more calories, so you want to work hard at raising that BMR. Join a strength training gym, or hire a trainer that specializes in women lifting weights. Get ready to feel energized, confident and strong as you lift, push and pull weights every week. See how your body starts to feel tighter and firmer. Don’t worry about getting too big. Women don’t have the testosterone to get too bulky. Those women athletes that look like men have devoted years, hours, supplements and sometimes steroids to have muscles like men. You will not. You will have a butt that looks good in jeans. Arms that look good in tank tops. And, be able to take care of yourself for years to come. Now go on girl…pump some iron!