Starting a workout routine can be absolutely daunting...I know this. Whether you have never worked out a day in your life or it's just been a while, figuring out where to start is half the battle.
Gyms can be super intimidating, endless cardio can be downright boring and torturous, and don't even get me started on the plethora of videos available online.....so where's a girl to start?
I've already started to get a lot of questions from people about how exactly I started my fitness journey, specific workouts that I did, etc. And don't worry...I will get to that. I promise 😄 It just takes time for this working mama to get it all out there. That said, I thought it would be helpful to share something now that helped me tremendously in terms of really starting to see a difference in my body when I made this a focus.
When I first really started trying to lose the baby weight after my pregnancies and trying to get into better overall shape, my main focus was cardio. I had extra pounds and inches that I wanted to lose so I thought that cardio was the best way to do that. I dabbled in pretty much everything you could think of.... running outside...which right after having babies, those attempts were practically a joke...I could make it like a quarter mile before I felt like I was going to throw up and pass out. I also started doing insanity videos with the hubby...and don't get me wrong, those videos are legit and intense and they WILL help you to lose weight. That said, what I was missing was the lean body and definition that I was looking for. I didn’t want to just be skinny or just lose pounds, I wanted to get strong and healthy. Plus I was also getting really tired of the endless cardio.....treadmills, running the same path in my neighborhood, burpees everyday…..oh the burpees! 😫
As I continued to focus on my health I started to research different weight loss and fitness methods and started reading a lot about weight lifting. Now, back in high school I lifted weights in the school gym as part of athletics, but outside of that, I really hadn't paid weights much attention.
However, the more I read about it, the more intrigued I became. Here are some fun facts about weight lifting 😁
1. Lose Body Fat
Weight training builds muscle. As lean muscle increases so does metabolism. A higher metabolism means that you will burn MORE CALORIES all day long!! Studies found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories per day. That can really add up over the long term; for example, 4 extra pounds of muscle can burn up to 10 extra pounders per year! 🙌🏼
You know the girl that seems like she can eat whatever she wants and she always blames it on “her fast metabolism?” Well girls….now you can be that girl! Start building that muscle and increasing your metabolism and you’ll be burning off those weekend cocktails in no time!!
2. Gain Strength Without Bulking
One of the biggest reasons many women shy away from weight training is because they don't want to get "big and bulky." Well my friends, I'm here to tell ya that IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN! Women aren't made like men...clearly...for so many obvious reasons like how much better we are at multi-tasking, driving, dealing with pain, etc 😝 ...but I digress. For the purposes of weight training...women do not have even close to the levels of testosterone running through our beautiful bodies as men do. Testosterone is what creates those huge, body builder like muscles. So, girls...unless your shooting yourself up with loads of testosterone, it's safe to say that you won't be bulking up anytime soon. Instead, weight training is going to help you build strength and muscle definition.
You know that girl that you frequently notice at the grocery store or the PTO meeting with the amazing arms? She didn’t get them on the treadmill. Ya...she's lifting weights. So should you.
3. Reduce Risk of Injury
Weight training increases strength in connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments, and tendons are important to prevent injury. Now this one I can really speak to!
As I mentioned earlier, after having the kiddos, when I tried to start shedding the extra pounds I started running. But soon after starting my knee was KILLING ME!! Like every time I would run, halfway through my run I would be limping and would eventually just quit. The sad thing was, for the most part I really enjoyed causal running and it was a real bummer for me to be dealing with this.
I went to the doctor thinking something was seriously wrong.... he proceeded to tell me I had runners knee.... basically just a fancy name for pain in the knee, many times associated with running, that there isn't much to do for, except live with it. And live with it I did. I tried to focus on running only on soft surfaces like a track or grass and avoided asphalt like the plague...but that's tough to do. Anyway, long story short, after I started focusing on weight training for a while and really started to build up muscles in my legs, I have NEVER had the knee issues again while running!! They just disappeared!! All because through weight training, aside from the great muscle definition I was starting to see in my legs which was fabulous for summer shorts weather, I was also strengthening all those tissues and joints around my knee and they were now able to handle the wear and tear of running without pain and issues!! Score!!! 🙌🏼
5. Burn More Calories 👏🏼 YASSSSSSS!!!!
Weight training has been proven to raise your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout. The more intense the workout the more calories are burned. After an intense workout, there is more Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC, meaning there is an increase in oxygen consumption, helping break down fat stores in the body. So, what does that mean exactly??? It means that if you go for a 30-minute run or you lift weights for 30 minutes, you're going to burn MORE CALORIES for MUCH LONGER if you chose the weight lifting option….and that’s the whole point right??
6. Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain
Weight-training will strengthen your back, shoulders, and core. Who doesn't want beautiful posture?? Enough said.
So. Now that you've seen some of the benefits to weight lifting, the question becomes, "Ok, well what exactly am I supposed to do?" 🤔
A starting point that I would suggest is to invest in a couple different pairs of dumbbells. Dumbbells are great to have at your house so you can start toying with weight lifting in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Now, the heavier the weights, the better the workout. That said, if you are just going to start with a couple of pairs, I would suggest a 5lb and 8lb or maybe an 8lb and a 12lb, depending on your starting strength level. Now, you might be thinking that 5lbs sounds really light, but trust me....once you get into lots of reps you'll be wishing you had them...especially when working muscles like your triceps….which by the way, are KEY for those fabulous looking arms!
Here is an example (excuse the mess) of the dumbbell options we have built up over time at my house. And don't be fooled...this mama doesn't touch those 50 pounders that you see 😳 those are for the hubs.
I absolutely LOVE 💜 weight training. People ask me what I do to workout.....the short answer is weight training. I consistently work out every morning, Monday - Friday for 30 minutes. During those 30 minutes, I weight train. Yes, there is more to it like what muscle groups I work on which days and what exercises I do, and again, I will share all of that with time. But know that weight training is what I do on a regular consistent basis. Doesn't mean I don't do cardio. I love HIIT workouts because they are fast and super impactful and also include strength training .... occasionally I do straight cardio, mostly by taking some kind of class like a spin class or an occasional run if the weather is nice, BUT on the reg, I'm consistently lifting weights at home.
I will post MANY workout options that you can do once you invest in these dumbbells to get you started. You will grow to love weight training just like I did IF you commit to it until you start seeing the results. It won’t happen overnight. It won’t happen if you pick up the dumbbells once every couple of weeks. You have to be consistent. The positive is….. in my opinion of course… that getting into a consistent routine and finding the motivation to lift weights is a lot easier than motivating yourself to run a few miles on the treadmill. For me, the results from weight training have been far more signification and noticeable than cardio alone ever was.
So…your call to ACTION!!
💪🏼 Go out today, buy some dumbbells (Target, Walmart, Academy…just to name a few places that you can find them)
💪🏼 Get out your calendar (or phone) – pick 2-3 days of the week that are good days for you to commit 30 minutes to lifting weights. Mark those days AND times on your calendar for the next 8 weeks. Don’t move them. Stay consistent.
💪🏼 Come back to the Mama.Fit.Life blog, Instagram (@mama.fit.life) and Facebook (@mamafitlife) pages, for strength training videos that are soon to come that you can easily incorporate into your routine.
💪🏼 Sit back, and watch the results start to show! You got this!! 👊🏼