When I first decided that I was unhappy with the way my body looked, I did what all of my girlfriends were doing: I started to run. And run. And run.
(Oh yeah, and I also did literally one thousand crunches per day, every single day).
Granted, I’d also throw in a little biking, stair-stepper, swimming, yoga, some bodyweight circuit training.
But usually, I’d just throw on a pair of shoes and take off running.
Down the street, through the woods, over tree roots, leaping over puddles and guardrails, dodging cars in the intersections.
I enjoyed running because it was easy to prep for: all I needed was a good pair of shoes, and maybe a watch. I loved the way I felt after a really long run too -- my clothes soaked to the skin, face red, lips salty, my body feeling a little bit skinnier.
After a few months though, running became a chore.
I ran out of running routes, the treadmill was torture, and I felt like I needed to keep running faster and farther to get that same awesome post-exercise “high”. Not only that, but after about 2 months, I noticed that my energy levels were pretty much zilch, and I stopped losing weight. In fact, I even started to gain a couple pounds back.
To make matters worse, I felt like there was nothing else for me to do: I couldn’t possibly run any more than I already was, doing any more than 1000 crunches per day seemed absurd, and I definitely wasn’t overeating either. So how the hell was I gaining weight?
Talk about frustrating!!!
Instead of staying in this awful running-crunching weight loss rut, I decided to do something about it. I was sick and tired of having no energy, spending hours working out with no results, and gaining weight practically just LOOKING at food. I didn’t feel good, and I didn’t look good either: I was what I know like to call “skinny fat”. All skin, bones, and fat… not much muscle.
And so, I started doing my research, and realized that I’d been doing it all wrong.
Granted, cardio is definitely an important part of any workout routine: it’s good for circulation, it’s great for your heart, builds endurance, and strengthens your lungs.
But, when it comes to losing pounds of fat, sustaining weight loss, and promoting energy and metabolism, you must not neglect your body’s natural fat-burning powerhouse: MUSCLES!
That’s right -- MUSCLE is the key to looking and feeling your best, girls.
Men seem to understand this; most women do not.
The problem is threefold:
- Most women are afraid to lift, for fear of getting “manly” or “bulky”.
- Most men are afraid to let their women lift, for fear of them getting manly, bulky, or losing their feminine figure.
- Society recognizes these fears, and takes advantage of them by marketing cardio & aerobics to women, and weightlifting to men.
This cycle is reinforced not by positive results, but by what is generally “accepted” by society (you wouldn’t be here reading this if your old routine was working). Not to mention that the gym is definitely not a woman-friendly place. For instance, the first time I went into the gym to start lifting, I tried to bench press and crushed my chest because I could barely lift the bar.
Talk about embarrassing!
We women are also (rightfully) terrified when we see masculine-looking women lifting heavy weights in the gym. But, look a little closer and you’ll see that these same women show all the tell-tale signs of steroids: deep voices, square jaws, shrunken chests, fuzzy faces. Perhaps this is also why your boyfriend or husband is desperate to keep you away from the weights: he’d rather you have a little extra weight on your hips and thighs… than see you start sprouting a you-know-what.
But, I can assure you -- as long as you don’t inject anything into your body, or swallow any testosterone pills, it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to bulk up from lifting. I have been lifting pretty heavily for years and years, can bench press and squat more than a lot of men twice my size, and definitely don’t consider myself ‘masculine’ by any means! In fact, lifting will actually help bring out your more feminine aspects…like a firmer rounder butt, sleek abs, toned shoulders, and strengthened pectoral muscles to keep your lovely-lady-lumps from sagging later in life!
If this is not what you want, then perhaps lifting is not for you.
Today, I could not be happier with my current workout routine. I lift 3-4 times per week, run twice a week, and definitely enjoy what I do. I look forward to working out, am addicted to breaking old lifting records, am eating way more than I ever used to, am super happy all the time, and have more energy than I even know what to do with.
I think my enthusiasm for exercise is maybe even annoying to some people. And of course I still get that stupid guy telling me at least once-a-week that I’d “better watch out - you don’t want to get bulky!” When I tell him I’ve been lifting longer than HE has, he shuts up.
So, to all my frustrated female friends out there -- stop killing yourself with a routine that doesn’t work. Instead, incorporate weightlifting into your current routine to get your very own fat-burning, muscle-building metabolism by accessing my complete fitness and nutrition program! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never lifted before -- all you need to know about getting started is right here!
What do you have to lose???