Why Aren’t You Closer To Your Goals?
As a woman, what are your fitness goals? Do they include losing fat and developing lean muscle tone? Maybe you want to accentuate your curves and slim your waist?
Now, what have you tried to achieve these goals? Cardio, spin class, yoga? Have these gotten you to exactly where you want to be, or is there still some progress left to be desired?
While all of these exercise methods can play a role in shaping your body, the one thing you are missing from your routine is resistance training, aka weight lifting, aka pumping iron, aka meathead stuff.
If You Work At A Desk, PAY ATTENTION
We all can agree that exercise is good.
It makes you look better, feel better and gives you an excuse to buy kick-ass yoga pants that have dangerously bold designs on them (rarrrrr). But not all exercise methods are created equally, and some are actually more beneficial than others, especially if you work behind a desk.
If you’re a boss lady who is busy all day snapping necks and cashing checks, odds are you spend a fair amount of your time seated at your desk or in meetings. This is great. Continue to kill it!
The human body, however, was not created to be stuck in a seated position for most of the day, and this type of lifestyle takes its toll on your posture and your hind-side (talkin about ya butt).
The good news is that lifting weights can counteract the negative effects of sitting all day, and in time reverse any damage that has already been done.
Fact: The World Needs More Lady Lifters
Now I can hear some of you gasping already.
“He wants me to lift weights!? Won’t I get bulky?”
Well, ladies, the answer is no. Actually, the answer is HELL no.
Lifting weights is one of THEE best exercise methods to promote fat loss and overall body transformation, and it comes with a whole slew of additional benefits when it is performed correctly.
Listen, I know at most gyms there is an invisible barrier that separates the place into two sections. On one end, you have the “cardio” section, frequented by a plethora of yoga pants and pony tails (mostly ladies).
On the other end, the “weightlifting” section is dominated by loud grunts and sleeveless shirts (mostly dudes, sweaty dudes). I am urging you to break that barrier. Many women have already, and their results alone should give you that nudge to make the voyage.
It can be intimidating to cross that barrier and immerse yourself in a world that is unfamiliar, but the following facts should provide you with enough inspiration to walk across that line, grab yourself a pair of dumbbells and claim your own space in front of the mirror.
Reason #1: Lifting Weights Forces Your Body To Adapt
Sometimes it is tempting to consider all types of working out as a “good workout”. After all, when you do cardio or a tough spin class, you leave feeling like you’ve gotten your butt kicked (I suck at spinning, so hats off to you!).
But just because you feel like you got your butt kicked does not necessarily mean you did a ton in terms of REALLY changing your body.
Cardio and interval workouts are great for burning calories. And yes, the more calories you burn, the better your chances are at losing some fat.
But the thing about steady-state cardio (elliptical, treadmill, stair-climber) or high-intensity interval cardio (spin class) is that they lack a significant amount of resistance for your body to overcome.
Yes, the act of exercising may be taxing on your heart and lungs, and you may feel a burn in your legs, but your body will only adapt and develop lean muscle if you give it a reason to.
You need to expose your body to heavier resistances in order for your brain to trigger a significant amount of protein synthesis (muscle building) to occur.
This is how lean muscle is formed. Why is lean muscle important? I’ll explain in a second.
And please get that image out of your head of manly looking lady body builders (stella from Napoleon Dynamite). They do not train to look lean and toned. They use hormones to look fuggin’ JACKED. This will not happen to you.
I am also going to arm you with some kick-ass (pun INtended) exercises to do so you look like a seasoned pro as you train.
Reason #2: Lean Muscle Burns Fat, ALL DAMN DAY
Why is developing lean muscle important for transforming your body? Well, the more lean muscle mass that you have on your body, the more calories you will burn all throughout the day. And these calories come from fat.
That means you will burn more calories while you sit, stand, eat, sleep and work out.
Your body has to burn more fuel in order to sustain your newly added muscle, meaning your metabolism must remain at a more elevated state all of the time.
This means that the more lean muscle you put on, the more your body turns into a fat burning machine, day and night.
If you work behind a desk and your job requires you to remain immobile for the majority of the day, it directly benefits you and your fat loss goals if your body is burning more calories while you work. Adding lean muscle to your frame will do just that.
Reason #3: Lifting Weights Improves Your Posture
We as a society spend too much time slouched over, sporting the posture of that chick from Mean Girls that has too many feelings to share at one time (SHE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE).
Posture affects the way we look AND feel. Numerous studies have been done linking poor posture to a whole list of problems, ranging from back pain to digestive issues all the way to depression.
Think of all the time you spend with your shoulders and head slumped forward.
Looking at your computer (this time it’s okay because this article is blowin’ ya mind, hopefully), looking at your phone, watching TV, driving a car. The time we spend in poor posture usually is greater than the time we spend in good posture.
Lifting weights can fix this! Doing exercises that strengthen the muscles of the shoulders and mid back have a profound effect on pulling our shoulder blades back, which results in far better posture.
Also, any type of rowing exercise is great for strengthening the back of the shoulder as well, which helps improve posture almost immediately.
Here are a few examples:
Exercise 1: Prone DB Lateral Raises
This exercise targets your mid/lower trapezius as well as your rear delts. These muscles give your shoulders that nice shapely rounded look, and strengthening them will improve your posture.
– Simply lay chest down on an incline bench with a pair of dumbbells. Start light, por favor.
– Retract your shoulder blades (squeeze them back and together, do not shrug them up to your head)
– While keeping your arms straight, raise both arms up laterally until you make a T with your body. Lower slowly.
– Perform 3 sets of 15 reps
– Below is a video, and yes, Garth Brooks is playing in the background
Exercise 2: Modified 1-Arm Dumbbell Row
This exercise also targets the muscles of the mid back and back of the shoulder, but it also incorporates the lats as well (see picture above if you have no clue what the hell a lat is). Again, activating these muscles that do not get a lot of stimulation if you spend a lot of time at your desk, will improve how you look and feel.
– Place 1 hand on a bench and lean on it until your back is flat.
– The leg that is on the same side as the arm that is rowing should be back 2-3 feet
– While keeping your arm straight, retract your shoulder blade (squeeze it back, not up towards your head)
– Row the weight by pulling your elbow to the rear of your rip cage
– Lower slowly
– Perform 3 sets of 10 reps, each arm
– Video demo below
Not trying to get all sciency here, but when you sit for most of the day, your hip flexors stay in a flexed position which deactivates your glutes (glutes are that sweet muscle that makes up ya buttt).
When any muscle spends a lot of time deactivated, it experiences atrophy (if you don’t use it, you lose it) and that muscle begins to lose its size and definition. Don’t let this happen to your butt. It’s the only one you have!
Lifting weights gives you the power to turn your glutes back on to build an ass that kicks ass. Below are examples of exercises that will jump start your glutes and help develop a better butt, thus making the world a better place.
Exercise 1: Goblet Squats
Squats are an incredible leg and butt builder. Goblet squats are great because you do not have to carry an awkward and heavy bar across your back. All you need is a dumbbell.
– Grab a dumbbell and hold it vertically against your chest
– Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart
– Simultaneously sit your butt back and lightly push your knees out, and lower your butt until your thighs are at or below parallel with the ground
– As you stand up, make the conscientious effort to squeeze your butt, and stand tall at the end of the rep
– Throughout the entire movement, keep your chest up. Slouching or rounding your back will make you look and feel like an Ogre (not Shrek tho, his posture is actually pretty good for a swamp dweller)
– Perform 4 sets of 10-12 reps. Good form is ALWAYS more beneficial than more weight.
Exercise 2: Weighted Glute Bridges
Glute bridges, aka hip thrusters aka air humpers are literally one of the best exercises for glute development. A super smart dude named Brett Contreras did a scientific study to see what exercises work the butt the most using heat-sensing technology, and the clear winner was the weighted glute bridge.
You’re welcome, butts.
– Grab a dumbbell
– Lay your shoulders across a bench
– Walk your feet out until your heels are directly under your knees
– Place weight on your hips and let them sag down til your butt almost hits the floor
– Raise your hips to the ceiling by purposely squeezing the hell out of your butt cheeks. Pause for a second and lower slowly
– Perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps
Exercise 3: Rear Elevated Foot Split Squats
Another great leg and butt builder, this exercise requires a little balance. Feel free to try it without weights before progressing to using dumbbells.
– Place your back foot up on a bench, with the top of your foot facing down and flat on the bench
– Your front foot should be 2-3 feet away from the bench depending on your leg length and personal preference. Feel free to play around with the positioning until you find what is comfortable for you
– Once in position, lower your hips straight to the floor (don’t lunge forward) until your rear knee hits or almost hits the ground. Note in the video: my butt actually moves back towards the bench as I lower, and comes forward as a rise. DO THIS
– As you stand back up, drive through the center of your foot (not the front) until your front knee is completely straight
– Perform 3 sets of 8 reps each leg
– Just a warning, the sun is glistening off of my buttocks in this vid, which may be unsettling to some
Reason #5: Lifting Weights Releases Your “I’m A Bigger Boss Than Beyonce and All Of The Housewives of Hotlanta Put Together” Chemicals
When you lift weights, your body releases endorphins and other neurotransmitters that act as a reward mechanism for your body.
These chemicals act on the brain by reducing stress and increasing a feeling of glorious euphoria. These chemicals improve your energy levels, your ability to focus and your overall sense of well-being. It’s like cappuccino and mimosas had a baby.
Getting a daily dose of endorphins is extremely important when you’re working a stressful job that involves deadlines and co-workers that suck.
Lifting weights can help keep your sanity and encourage you to enjoy life everyday, so why not start?
Let’s Recap Why You Should Go Grab a Pair Of Dumbbells, Right MEOWWW
– First and foremost, gender norms are dumb (i’m a sociology major, so had to throw that in). Women should never be dissuaded from lifting weights because they are afraid of how others will view them.
– Taking exercise classes and doing cardio are great, but if your goals are to add lean muscle mass and burn fat (remember muscle burns fat 24/7), then you need to provide your body with a reason to adapt and develop lean muscle- lifting weights will do this.
– If you spend the majority of your time at your desk, your posture and your butt and your metabolism will most likely hate you if you do not do anything to correct the problem. Lifting weights allows you to fix all 3 problems. This alone should get you excited to hit the gym!
– Lifting weights make you feel good. Science says so. So do it!
Want To Lift Weights But Don’t Know How?
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