Fitness Articles

Girls Who Lift: Welcome To The Weight Room

By November 1, 2017 No Comments
[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1509566087482{padding-bottom: 20px !important;}”]It’s funny how one of my favorite places on the planet is also one of the most intimidating. The weight room can be a scary place, especially when you’re just getting started! When I started lifting, it wasn’t even just the atmosphere or environment (or the fact that I wasn’t entirely certain what I was doing) that made me nervous.

Really it was the uncertainty of the effect lifting weights would have on my body. Not only did I not want to look like a complete idiot in front of all the dudes, I didn’t want to end up looking like one.

Myth: You Will Look Like A Man​

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”]
[/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]One of the main reasons most of us started on our fitness journeys is because we wanted to love the way we looked, right? So naturally I feared turning into a muscle bound, vascular….man. Things have changed a bit over the years and I have been working on gaining strength and lifting weights. I’ve been lifting heavy, pushing my body to its limits tweaking my diet, supplementing, you name it.

These things didn’t happen overnight though! After years of doing those things consistently, I’ve definitely gained strength. At various points throughout the cycle I have even decreased my body fat. What I haven’t done though, despite even my best efforts to do so, is gain any noticeable size.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1509567143577{padding-bottom: 20px !important;}”]The bottom line is: it’s hard. It’s a strategic balance that requires the greatest attention to every detail: nutrition and macronutrients, your workouts, your supplementation, your sleep, and your recovery. You won’t be getting big and bulky in the blink of an eye just because you pick up a few weights a couple of times per week; especially as a female. It’s just not in the cards for us to effortlessly attain such a physique.​

The Weight Room​

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner equal_height=”yes” content_placement=”middle” column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]So now let’s address the weight room itself. If you’ve ever set foot in a gym, I don’t need to tell you the guy to girl ratio is overwhelmingly unbalanced. My life goal is to change that. Okay, so maybe that’s a lofty goal, but it starts with you!

If you’re worried about looking lost, or like you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t be. Everyone is there to lift, and to work toward their goals. Most people don’t even notice, let alone care what everyone else around them is doing! Sure, they may seem like veterans, and you’re the rookie, but everybody starts somewhere!​[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”]

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Gym Orientation

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner equal_height=”yes” content_placement=”middle” column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”]
Weight Room Orientation
[/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]If you still aren’t sure about heading over to the dark side, take baby steps. Maybe take a few minutes to walk a lap around that part of the gym. That way you can see what equipment is available to you before you even pick up a weight.

Want to take it a step further? Think about taking a strength class if your gym offers group fitness classes. Take what you learn in the classes with you outside the studio and build onto that foundation. Still not ready? Ask someone who works at your gym if they offer some type of equipment orientation where they’ll show you how to use whatever you’re interested in.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1509572812602{padding-bottom: 20px !important;}”]Most commercial gyms offer this type of service free of charge, and smaller gyms likely have someone who would be more than willing to show you the ropes. Just don’t be expecting them to write you a program in the process! They’ll likely just address functionality of equipment and weight room etiquette, not tell you how many sets and reps you should be doing to achieve your goals.​

The bottom line is that regardless of your fitness goals, you should definitely incorporate some type of weight training into your workouts. Whether it’s just bodyweight exercises, high repetition/low weightlifting, or Olympic lifting, there’s a place for it in your workout. Not only will it keep your routine interesting, it’ll help you add lean mass, which in turn helps burn fat. Not to mention your body will continue to burn calories for longer after a weight lifting session than it would if you were to just spend 30-minutes on the elliptical.​

That brings me to my next point…

Myth: Do Cardio To Lose Weight​

People automatically seem to think that if they want to lose weight, they need to do an exorbitant amount of cardio. The reality of it is cardio isn’t actually the answer for fat loss. Yes, there’s a place for it in your workouts, and countless advantages in terms of heart health, but we’ve been looking at it all wrong.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner equal_height=”yes” content_placement=”middle” column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]When you work out, you’re essentially putting stress on your body. Stress as we refer to it here (appropriate amounts, of course) is the driving force behind changes and adaptations your body makes. On the flip side of that, prolonged stress, in the form of excessive steady state cardio, places the body under a lot of stress with very little benefit. Furthermore, if you aren’t also providing your body with a sufficient amount of fuel or recovery time, it’s going to take it upon itself to slow fat loss.

Put simply, that means the changes you may have seen at the beginning of your two hours of cardio per day journey are going to slow drastically as your body begins to reactively hold onto fat. This is an easy trap to fall into because we tend to think, “Well, if my progress has slowed or stopped, the only logical thing to do is increase my time spent doing cardio.” You see where I’m going with this…vicious cycle.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”]

Women Doing Cardio
[/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]So the take away then is that cardio isn’t the optimal method for fat loss. I’m not suggesting you avoid it altogether, but don’t make it the primary focus of your workouts. When it comes to changing your body, variety is key! Yet another reason to lift weights; there are countless ways to change things up!

So it’s time to broaden your horizons! Do a little research, ditch the elliptical, find a type of lifting you enjoy and get to it! Be confident and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not as scary as you think, and I promise you won’t wake up one day looking like the Hulk. What do you have to lose?!​[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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