You decided. Today was the day you were going to make a change. You signed up at a local gym, bought a pair of sweatpants, and walk into a room of clanking barbells, grunting dudes in sleeveless shirts, tons of equipment you’ve never used before, so you go into the cardio room and start walking on a treadmill….
unless you’re gonna warm up or its HIIT day… then carry on…
Let me give you a short back story to why doing cardiovascular workouts only will not work to keep you healthy in the long run.
I’ve been hitting the gym for about 12 years regularly. Up until about 5 years ago you wouldn’t have noticed it. I was thin, but not toned. “Skinny fat”, have you heard of the term? Well, that was me.
I had a little tone in my legs, but was mostly just average looking (and felt average) for as much time as I spent in the gym. I would do 30-60 min of cardio, 4-5x a week a long with 2 hour dance classes. Counting every damn calorie I ate, daily.
Thing is, eventually I got tired, and did less cardio. Less cardio, meant less calories burned. My weight rebounded everytime, eventually after pretty much leaving the dance scene, I gained 15lbs of mostly fat without changing my diet much.
So why is this? Cardio exercises one of our most important muscles, the heart. However, metabolically speaking, cardio provides a short term energy expenditure, meaning that the energy (calories) used to do the exercise are used for that time period alone.
Your body does use a bit more glucose during the day after a good cardio workout, but for the most part, it’s a short term fix. It will not create a lasting effect on your Basal Metabolic Rate.
You should do 25-30min. of cardio 3-4x a week for heart health (type of cardio varies depending on your fitness goals, and yesss you can do circuit training and lifting in place of traditional cardio, another post will go over this), but for fat loss, bone health, and overall phyicality, I give you 5 good AF reasons every one of you (women especially) should weight train.
- 1. Because food. For every pound of muscle you gain, you burn 30-70 more calories a day. This is on top of what you burn doing the exercise (Bodybuilding.com). Girrrl, need I say more? Muscle adds up. No you won’t get “bulky”. Our hormones do not allow us to build muscle like men, but imagine being toned, no jiggle, and being able to eat more? Yes please.
- 2. Because bone health. According to J.E. Layne and M.E. Nelson’s study of The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density, “Physical activity, particularly weight-bearing exercise, is thought to provide the mechanical stimuli or “loading” important for the maintenance and improvement of bone health, whereas physical inactivity has been implicated in bone loss and its associated health costs”. Mayo Clinic also states “By stressing your bones, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis”. Think of it this way, if you have muscle to support movement, your bones are less likely to break down from everyday movement and age. Think of muscle as cushion. In addition, stressing your bones with weight increases bone density. Women in particular are at a higher risk for bone density loss due to the natural decline in estrogen as we age. So do something to prevent it now, no? Also, my 80 year old grandma does resistance and weight training 3-4x a week…. just saying.
- 3. Because you can build something someone paid $$$$$ for. According to statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 14.6 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, including both minimally-invasive and surgical, were performed in the United States in 2012, up 5 percent since 2011. Check out the statistics! 18k butt augmentations! I’m telling you from experience, you can grow a booty, lift breasts (to an extent of course), and do so much with weight lifting. I will flat out say, in 2010, my butt was flat as a pancake. I grew my shape. I’m not naturally curvy, but through lifting I was able to reshape my physique and build an hourglass figure. No scars to show for it either. #builtnotbought
- 4. Because stress. Oh lawd, let me tell you I know the stress game all too well. Not to shine a dark light on traditional cardio, but sitting there repeating the same movement allows for our minds to wander. I guarantee you your mind will wander back to the stressful thoughts as you pedal that eliptical! Us women, we think a lot (too much, I blame inteligence). No matter if you’re a mother, a corporate leader, or a student, I can bet you’re stressing about something and weight training can serve as an outlet to let it all out. When you weight train, you have to keep in mind your form, your body, the movement, etc. There’s literally no room to think about anything else but your lift. It’s a literal escape, away from the stress. I’ll tell you a little secret, sometimes when I’m stressed, my gym sessions are the best ever👌🏻. Finish off your session with 10 minutes of HIIT, and let those endorphins do work!
- 5. Because confidence. Weight rooms can be intimidating. I am going to tell you in contrast, the feeling you get after lifting, seeing progress, hitting new PR’s, will boost your day like nothing else. After a good session, you feel strong AF. Girl, I strut out of the gym after a good lifting session! Your day will go so much better after a weight session. Treat this time as your time. Hit it hard, sweat it up, and conquer your day. At the end of a workout, especially if you got there after a hard day of work, you’ll be able to say ” I did it”. Feels damn good.
I hope I gave you at least one reason to incorporate weight training into your routine. Trust me girl, its the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself.
Ultimately, create change for you, because only you can create change 🙌🏼