Sunday, 16 June 2013

My Weight Lifting Routine & Common Weight Lifting Myths Busted.

I've decided to share my personal journey into lifting heavy iron.. And no I am not talking about the elusive Breville thing that lives in my cupboard for about 363 days of the year, I am talking about the big bad boy irons in the gym.


Guns!

As many, many other women out there, I had been living in an exclusive cardio world for a decade, by that I mean; turning up at the gym, plonking myself on a bike / treadmill and slaving away, bored out of my mind for a good 45 minute, followed by some very half hearted machine assisted weight training, which I never actually performed heavily enough to feel any real gain/pain, and that was probably mostly due to the fact that I was knackered from the cardio workout beforehand. I had never even considered venturing in to the free weights area, this area belonged to the big scary men, who would surely laugh and stare and point at me, for daring to enter their territory.

So I worked out. I did. And I enjoyed the feeling it gave me, mostly psychological, the feeling of knowing I had "been good"- and by being good, I then "rewarded" myself (everyday) with lovely foods.  Really what happened to my body & appearance was nothing - I never saw any changes, my arms, belly, legs just stayed the same. I didn't think of what my goal was or what I wanted to achieve  I guess I was on auto pilot, and just exercised out of a fear of turning fat..


My health took a huge turn (for the worse) a year or so ago, and a lot of things changed and ultimately these events led me to desire becoming the fittest and personal best shape and health I'd ever been in, so started looking to the internet for inspiration. 

To cut a long short, I began (slightly reluctantly, at first) a weights ONLY routine on 1st march 2013, 14 weeks ago & have lost 15 lb since then.


My routine is an All Body Workout with free weights and I perform this workout 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday & Fridays. 

The first benefit to using full body workout programs is that there is a much lower time requirement to perform them. If you're someone like myself who has something on the go every day of the week, it can be hard to fit in a four- five day-a-week gym program.
Since full body workouts can be performed over the course of just two or three days a week, this allows more time for other obligations life. (kids, work, house work etc)
Depending on how you structure the full body workout program, you may find they do take slightly longer in the gym to complete, but when you consider the overall weekly time commitment they require, you'll still end up much further ahead than with other programs such as the upper/lower body split routines.

This routine suits me perfectly, gym is now fun & challenging, I have aims and goals and since week one I have seen results and believe me, doing weights for 14 weeks have seen me lose 15lb of fat, gain a sixpack stomach and a sculpted body, something that 10 years of doing cardio never even came close to achieving.

10 weeks into the program

I will post & share my full workout routine at the end of this post.


But Let's Bust Some Common Weight Lifting Myths 


  • Myth #1 Women don't want to be big & muscly like men.. Wellll, due to the fact that women do not, and cannot, naturally produce as much testosterone (The main hormones responsible for increasing muscle size) as men do, it is impossible for a woman to gain huge amounts of muscle mass by merely touching some weights. Unfortunately, the idea that may come to your mind is that of professional female bodybuilders. Most of these women, unfortunately, use anabolic steroids (synthetic testosterone) along with other drugs in order to achieve that high degree of muscularity. In addition, most also have good genetics coupled with an unbelievable work ethic that enable them to gain muscle quickly, when they spend hours in the gym lifting very heavy weights. Believe me when I say that they do not look like that by accident. Women who weight train without the use of steroids, get that firm and fit cellulite-free looking body that you see in most fitness/figure shows these days. 

Hi, I'm Steve..


  • Myth #2 Women only need to do cardio and if they decide to lift weights, they should be very light. First of all, if you only did cardio then muscle and fat would be burned for fuel. You need to do weights in order to get the muscle building machine going and therefore prevent any loss of muscle tissue. Women who only concentrate on cardio will have a very hard time achieving the look that they want, and will probably never get that body they dream of (Believe me, I speak from a lot of experience) As far as the lifting of very light weights goes, this is just more nonsense (Sorry 2kg dumbbell fans)  Muscle responds to (heavy) resistance and if the resistance is too light, then there will be no reason for the body to change. Lots of repetitions of low weights will not change your arms.. Trust me on that one..



  • Myth #3 I am afraid of the weights area, I am worried all the men will stare at me. Ok strictly speaking this isn't a myth! Because this does happen, but my fellow females, please don't let that be the reason you don't set foot near the squat rack! If a man stared at you in the bakery section of Waitrose, would you be afraid to pick up a bun? I bet you'd just stare back, do what you had to do, and get on with your day. Apply the same rule to the gym. These men don't own it, and BELIEVE ME I was scared & worried the first day I set foot in the weights area, but I was determined not to allow myself to be so foolish, so set upon following my program (that I had printed out and taken along with me). I kept my headphones in and my head down, and yes they looked, but once they had seen what they wanted, they got on with their own stuff. And from that day it just got easier & easier, and now all "The Guys" know me, and even though I don't actually engage in conversation with any of them, they all nod, and some even save the squat rack for me, as they know that's my favorite place. So ladies, persevere, it's honestly not that scary.


I may be little, but you don't scare me!

  • Myth #4 I need to lose the excess weight, before I start lifting weights.  But.. Why? No, no this is not true and yet I hear this literally everyday from women..There is absolutely no logical reason why women think this, and I wish we could kill this myth, ban it, lock it up, stamp all over it. Think about this logically, if weight training and muscle building increases your metabolism, and helps your body to burn fat faster (all the time, even at rest) then W H Y would you chose to do it a different way? It will help speed up your weight loss and there is no reason whatsoever for your to wait till you have reached your desired weight on the scales, before you hit those weights. 
*To lose weight you need to mostly address your diet, but that's another blog post..

Top Left Before picture!


There are some major health benefits to weight / resistance training, not only do you see that fat that you've been fighting for so long suddenly come off, but also the more muscle you gain, the faster your metabolism works, so the more fat you burn, so you will see you get leaner & leaner, the more you lift.

You decrease your chances of getting osteoporosis

You feel a major increase in self confidence

Mental strength improves as physical strength improves
Your risk of diabetes, stroke and heart attack decreases
You'll be better at, well everything. Cleaning your house, climbing stairs, picking your kids up.
Your mood will improve and you'll handle stress a lot better.
You will finally see your body take shape, that gorgeous sculpted look that cardio will never achieve
You'll have a sharper focus, and find lots of tasks a lot easier to perform.
You'll sleep better
You'll stand taller, have better posture & carry yourself better. 

Me & my fellow lifting girlfriend, mummy & superwoman :)


Here's my program (alternate A and B workout) 

Now..

I hope you found this helpful, and that all of this made sense to you. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at stinas1choice@gmail.com or contact me on Twitter Here


I'll do a full blog post on my daily diet, calorie intake and macros this week :)

3 comments:

  1. Love this post, I dabbled with weights a few years ago but due to surgery in the past year I hadn't been able to get back into it and put on about 12lbs.
    I've started back into a weights routine a few months ago and I love it. I'm going to be kicking it up a notch after Glastonbury so really looking forward to seeing the results x

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  2. Thanks for your comment :) And good luck with your journey xxx

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