It’s no secret that I’ve been singularly focused on working up a crazy sweat each and every day this year. Today is my 176th consecutive day of sweat, something I am very proud of.
That said, while I have grown stronger and healthier, and notice my clothes fitting me much better, the actual pounds haven’t been dropping as quickly as I’d like. It seems to me that for someone who burns on average 2,400-2,600 calories per day, and consumes between 1,800-2,000 per day, that I should be seeing a lot more change on the scale.
My experience has profoundly shifted these past two weeks though. I have lost a pound a week, two weeks in a row – and haven’t changed my diet in the slightest. The only thing that has changed is the fact that I have added a lot more strength training to my workout regime.
So, hold on a second. You mean to say that lifting weights helps you lose weight faster? Why yes, Nancy, that is exactly what I’m saying.
But hey… why am I surprised?
It’s not like I haven’t heard this advice before, from virtually every fitness instructor and personal trainer, I have met over the years. Yet somehow I always default to treadmill, elliptical, jogging, biking as my go-to workout.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely want to keep doing the cardio every day because it is helping make my heart and lungs stronger and healthier. [Side note, I forgot to mention the good news from my visit with my doctor last week: my blood pressure medication was cut in half again! So now I’m down to 1/4 of the original dosage I was on a year ago! YAY ME!]
Lots of cardio is definitely good for me, but it truly has been amazing to see what a difference the addition of regular strength training has done for my weight loss.
So, why fight it then? Why not embrace weight training?
I think there’s something in the way girls are hard-wired that makes us
think truly believe that if we just do more cardio (oh, and don’t forget those crunches ladies!), that we’ll solve all our body issues. In fact, there’s a built-in go-to excuse for us girls, “Oh, but I don’t want to ‘bulk up’.”
Let’s get real folks, I know there is zero chance that I’m going to ‘bulk up’ at the amount of weight I’m lifting, so let’s agree to just quash that excuse.
I think the other reason more girls don’t weight train is that we’re intimidated by the meat-heads we often see in that part of the gym. It’s a combination of not having the proper skills or training to feel confident in form and execution and a fear of looking weak or incapable by lifting less than the men.
I have remarked in previous posts about how much I love the BodyPump class offered at my gym. Primarily because it allows me to play with barbells, do some really cool lifts, all in the warm and inviting (and safe) setting of a group class environment.
Unfortunately, I only found myself doing it around once a week, which was not enough to see real change in my body.
These past couple of weeks, I’ve planned a lot better and have been able to get 2-3 classes in. Oh, and apparently my body responded favourably. 🙂
What I love about the BodyPump is that it takes the guess work out of weight training for me. I have, what feels to me like, a personal coach guiding me on how much weight to lift, and telling me how many reps to do, in what order, at what pace, all choreographed to great music.
From what I understand, the ‘secret sauce’ of this program is essentially the power of the repetition. You perform 70-100 reps per body part, for a total of approximately 800 reps per class. Tell me you’d do that many on your own. Don’t lie! But in this class, you do… and while it’s flippin’ hard, it also feels amazing! And somehow you just do it.
As Hanz and Franz would say:
On days when my schedule doesn’t allow me to get to a class, I have made a point of lifting weights either in the area with the machines [I’m so technical with my terms, aren’t I?], or by doing free weights. It’s never as fun (or nearly as tough) a workout as BodyPump though. Motivation to get to class more often!
Okay, so let’s recap: The more lean muscle mass we have, the more fat we will burn.
We like to burn fat.
Ergo, by adding more muscle, our bodies will become more efficient fat-burning machines.
Seems simple enough to me.
Time to re-wire my girly brain and train it to focus on strength, strength and more strength. Giddy up folks!
Get moving! (And get lifting!!)