It’s the Daily News with our Wednesday Wellbeing tips. Over the last two weeks I’ve shown you articles and videos on lifting heavy and challenging yourself at STRENGTH exercises. Today I’ve got some great information targeted at the girls (sorry guys) from Rachel Cosgrove, one of the top female fitness experts in the world.
Chapter 3 of her book, The Female Body Breakthrough is titled Change Your Paradigm, Change Your Body. It’s very relevant info for all the girls training down at Oxygen at the moment.
What do your workouts currently consist of? Are you a cardio queen, or do you avoid working out altogether? Maybe you stick to the rinky-dink, tiny weights and barely break a sweat, afraid to actually challenge yourself because you’re afraid you’ll sprout big, bulky muscles or become “too masculine.” More likely, you don’t want to actually see any results! Maybe you pick up some light weights for a lot of repetitions, because again, you’re afraid spontaneous muscles might pop up, so you don’t want to lift too heavy. if you don’t have time to fit everything in each week you skip your weights completely and just do your cardio sessions. After all, it burns the most calories…. you think. You watch what you eat and stick to low-fat foods while keeping your calories low, starving your muscles of enough protein so, once again, they don’t get too big and bulky. All this and I bet you are completely frustrated, because your body isn’t changing and you don’t look anything like a fit female.
So how do you get to look like a fit female? What does she know that you don’t know? First of all, a fit female is not afraid of challenging herself. She knows the only way to change her body is to put demands on it that are outside of her comfort zone. She looks toned and defined because she is strong and has muscle, the very thing you may fear you’ll build. Her strength training is her No. 1 priority because she knows it gives her the defined look she wants and boosts her metabolism. She doesn ‘t train more than an hour at a time, and she pushes herself during that hour. She’ll burn more calories in the 24 to 48 hours following her workout because of the demands she has put on her body and the intensity at which she trains. She has a strength-training program that she changes every few weeks to keep her body from adapting. She also knows that she shouldn’t change the program too often, or she won’t know if she’s make progress. She loves the feeling of being strong and fit and challenging herself. She knows that she will never look like a man because she is not a man and does not have the biological makeup to look like one. Instead, the stronger and more fit she gets, the more defined and sculpted her body will be and the higher her metabolism will be. She does not focus on the scale, but instead on how her clothes fit, how she feels, and how she looks. She fuels her body with lots of good food and eats every couple of hours, constantly feeding her metabolism. She does not deprive herself and knows how to fit in a splurge if she wants one without wreaking havoc on her body composition.
Remember, you have to put a demand on your body beyond what it’s used to in order for it to change. By really lifting weights and challenging your muscles, you will increase your lean mass, which is what really burns fat. Lean mass is what gives you the capacity to burn more fat and more calories even at rest. Lifting weights give you the body you’ve always wanted, but there are so many other reasons you should incorporate strength training into your life. If having the body you want doesn’t motivate you to push yourself with challenging weights, then the following information should. Besides changing the way their bodies look, other benefits women are missing out on when they don’t lift weights include:
* Completely stopping and reversing bone loss. You can actually reverse bone loss using strength training. This may not be a worry for you right now, but starting to lift weights now will set you up to have strong bones down the road. Bone mass usually decreases as we age. Lifting weights can actually help you increase it.
* Increasing your risk of injuries. You can’t be a fit female if you’re injured. Having a stronger, fitter body will decrease your risk of injury in sports and in everyday activities. Women tend to have hyper-mobile joints and need more stability to prevent injuries. The only way to create more stability is to add strength.
* Boosting your stamina and function in everyday activities. You may have a rigorous schedule that includes picking up kids, grocery shopping, doing the laundry, and cooking dinner, along with holding down a job and/or going to school. A study published in 2007 showed that women who did a heavy resistance-training program improved their functioning in daily tasks, which increased their quality of life. Participants’ weight stayed the same, but they all lost body fat.
* Reversing the aging process. Yes! You can turn back the clock! The average woman starts losing 8 to 10 percent of her strength each decade starting around age 40. We can reverse this with strength training! Fast-twitch fibres contract quickly and are well adapted to perform anaerobic exercise such as strength training, whereas slow-twitch muscle fibres contract more slowly. As you age these fast-twitch fibres are the first to go and are most important in keeping you moving like a young person.
* Increasing self-esteem and feeling empowered. This is by far the most important benefit of lifting weights. Strength training increases self-esteem and confidence, and will positively affect everything else in your life, including your relationships, your career, and whatever else you allow it to flow into. Even your sex drive will be higher!
Most women don’t realize they can reduce their risk of injuries and osteoporosis and speed up their metabolisms while losing fat, feeling younger, functioning better in daily life, boosting their self-esteem, and feeling good about themselves, all by making strength training a part of their routine.