There's a big push right now for women to lift weights and to lift heavy. As a trainer I get it. I want to be strong. I want my clients to be strong. But there comes a time, when for the average person, enough is enough. We have once again taken it too far. We do not need to preach that every women should be working on Olympic lifts and trying to get a new PR (personal record) every time they are in the gym. Why you ask? Well for one, a lot of women just don't care.
I am one of those women. I am strong. I am fit. But it's not measured by if I can bench press my body weight or clean and press a hundred plus pounds. In fact, just writing this, I had to ask my husband, what do you think I could clean and press - haha! That's how little that I care.
I workout because I like how movement makes me feel. I feel strong when I move my body, whether it is weight training, running or doing Pilates. I feel supple both when I am working out and when I am just living my life. I want to perform exercises that compliment my goals and keep me injury free. I want definition without looking like a tank and quite honestly I want to challenge my body with different types of movement versus amount of weight lifted.
Now don't get me wrong. I am not signing up for Tracy Anderson's class and from now on only lifting 5 pounds or less (another extreme) or going to start doing 50+ reps of every exercise I perform but I am not aiming to lift as heavy as I can every time I am in the gym. Guess what? I still get results. The key to weight training is lifting an optimal amount of weight to produce the greatest stimulus to see results. It's not about "killing" yourself every time you workout. Or feeling so spent after every workout that your recovery takes days. There are exercises that are maybe a little more important than others (cause of how we live our lives) but the fitness world has you believe that you will only get results by going to the extreme, and this could not be further than the truth!
My fitness beliefs are simple and as follows:
Sweat. Daily if possible. Get your heart rate up for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Find an activity you love and make time for it. For me there are two; indoor cycling classes, I love losing myself in the loud music and the intense intervals. And running. With four young kids and a business in which I am almost always "on", running is truly my time, my escape and my time to push my limits.
Lift weights. The benefits of weight training has been widely researched and proven time after time. It will change your body, keep you balanced and improve everything from your bone density to blood profile. You're not lifting to compete though. You're lifting for enjoyment and most importantly function. Lift heavy enough that it's a workout. Don't complete 20+ reps every workout or vice versa, work on power every single workout. Change it up. Feel strong and accomplished after weight training. Not destroyed and exhausted.
Move your body. Take yoga. Do Pilates. Play in the park. Crouch down. Stand on your tip-toes. Pull yourself up. Push things away. You were made to move, to bend to stretch and everything in between. But the old saying is true, if you don't use it, you'll lose it. Spend your day seated at a desk only to come home and sit on a couch, and I guarantee things will start to ache and your movement will be restricted. Keep yourself young just by moving your body.
Nourish your body. Not by jumping on the latest fad food or trying diet after diet. But by simply putting good food into it. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, lean meats, whole grains, and water. Experiment with recipes. Sit at the table and eat meals. Limit eating out. Avoid drive-thrus.
Is it really this simple? It can be. It's simply about finding out what you like. The key is consistency. Do it cause you enjoy it and you'll do it more often which means you'll get results. Seek out activities that make you feel good about yourself. In the end, that's all that really matters. I'd love to hear, what's your favourite way to move or sweat?
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