The Benefits of Weight Training

There’s so many different types of exercise out there so how are you meant to know which one is best to shave those inches off your butt? Or how about if you wanted to beef up your back? Or even if you’re in training for a triathlon? 

It’s tricky and to be totally honest, the best answer is…. Mix it up. 

This post is going to be the first in a series of helping you to understand the benefits of different types of exercise and break down some of the mystery surrounding them. 

I’m starting with weight training, my favourite. 

Firstly, let me debunk the biggest myth about weight training. Ladies, if you lift weights you’re NOT GOING TO TURN INTO A MAN. That’s because we women simply don’t produce enough testosterone to grow manly muscles. Yes, we can increase our muscle mass and decrease our body fat to look toned but you’ll never be ripping out of your tops, don’t worry. 

Here are the benefits of lifting heavy things and putting them down again:

1) Increased muscle mass will speed up your metabolism, helping you to burn more calories when at rest because muscle burns more calories than fat. It will also allow you to eat more food without putting on weight. Result

2)  Everyday activities will become easier as your body gets stronger. Just think, you just might be able to carry all of your shopping bags into the house in one trip

3) Bone density is improved by putting heavy loads onto your bones through activities like weight lifting. This is particularly important as you age and you can  actually reverse the early signs of osteopenia or osteoporosis through weight lifting

4) You’ll get lean, that all-encompassing golden fitness goal. While you might not see any difference on the scales, your clothes will feel looser and you will be tighter all over as 1lb of muscle takes up a lot less space than 1lb of fat

5) Your posture will improve, instantly giving the illusion that you’re taller and slimmer. By strengthening your core (including your back) you’ll be able to pull your shoulder-blades down your back, elongating your neck and pulling in your waist

6) Improves motor skills like balance and coordination. If you can clean and jerk like a boss then your everyday life will be a breeze

7) Decreases the risk of injury through strengthening bones, ligaments and tendons. Say goodbye to back pain, twisted ankles and twinges in your knees

8) Weight lifting, like any exercise, releases endorphins which will instantly lift your mood and make everything seem better. Remember this one when you can’t be bothered to go to the gym. 

9) It allows you to focus very specifically on muscles and areas that you want to work. For example, you can work on bulking up your calves or ‘toning’ your upper arms by working on your biceps and triceps. I seem to spend an unnecessary amount of time on my glutes for some reason…

When you start weight lifting it’s a good idea to have a session either with a Personal Trainer or Gym Instructor so that they can show you the proper form and technique on the resistance machines and free weights. Technique is so important when you’re loading your body with heavy things as it can be very easy to do something wrong and not work out the part of your body that you’re trying to target or get injured. 

Get in touch if you have any questions or if you want to start lifting heavy things with me!

My weekly workout schedule

A few people have said to me recently that it’s impressive how I’ve stuck to eating healthily most of the time. My reply is normally ‘it’s easier when you exercise’!

If I’ve worked out I feel much more inclined to eat proper nutritious food. I’m also more likely to fuel properly before a workout because working out after eating junk food is a straight road to chunderville. Not cool.

Also, if you eat carefully and don’t workout, then yes you’ll get skinny. But I’d rather be lean and strong. Because I’m basically in training to be Wonder Woman. 

So here is a snapshot into my typical weekly workout schedule:

Daily commute (5 miles total) – walk/cycle/run

Monday: 19:30 – 20:30 Mash Up with Kate

Tuesday: 8:00 – 08:45 Circuits with Rowan OR 20:00 – 21:00 Warriors with Rowan and Sapan

Wednesday: 19:30 – 20:30 Boxing with Dave

Thursday: 19:00 – 20:00 Personal Training with Sapan

Friday: Active rest day (walk 4-5 miles or swim 30 minutes)

Saturday: 11:00 – 12:00 Booty Camp with Sapan or 5km run

Sunday: Rest day (lots of sofa time and TV)

And this schedule, paired with eating clean 80% of the time is slowly giving me the body and strength that I’m after! If you’d like to join me for some/any/all of these classes at London Fields Fitness or runs then let me know and you too can look completely gormless in post-workout selfies…

The Case For Fitspo

As women we’re constantly bombarded with images of how we should look, from red-carpet A-listers to top catwalk models. However unless you have those genes that give you legs that are about a mile long, it ain’t happening. 

You can go online and find scary ‘thinspo’ images which are meant to inspire you to get thinner and thinner. Having seen some of these I can honestly say that they are terrifying. They fetishise bones, delicate limbs that wouldn’t support any sort of physical activity, and starving yourself. None of which are healthy in any sort of way… 

Enter ‘fitspo’. These images are shared around the internet to inspire women (and men) to get fit, build some muscles and become healthy. Now don’t get me wrong, when fitspo goes too far it can also be terrifying. The sorts of muscles that extreme fitspo promotes can only be achieved through extreme diets, massive amounts of protein and obsessive exercise. 

‘Real’ fitspo: 

Extreme fitspo:

image

As someone who is going through everyday struggles to stay on track with eating healthily and exercising, real fitspo has kept me going. It shows me that by eating properly, exercising cleverly and staying committed you can make real changes.

Women come in many different shapes and sizes and I don’t see anything wrong with trying to be the best shape that you can be, within the parameters of your own body. Just like with thinspo, there’s no point in trying to be something that is physically impossible. It becomes dangerous and damaging. But trying to be a bit more healthy and be happy with yourself, that’s what’s cool. 

Anyway, who wants legs that look like they can’t carry you up a mountain, run a race or power you through a swim? Not this girl, that’s for sure… 

The siege is over

It’s been 5 weeks. 5 frustratingly demoralising weeks.

But finally I have taken a step off my weight plateau and lost my first pound in 5 weeks. I’m still 6lbs away from my goal weight but I’ve accepted that these last few pounds are going to be the most difficult to lose. I’m trying to focus more on how I feel and look which is helping but after spending my entire life looking at numbers on the scale it’s tough to step away from using that as a measure. 

To remind myself of how far I’ve come, I made this:

That’s 14lbs (1 stone) down and 2 dress sizes *dance of pride*

To blitz this last bit of weight I’m ramping up my exercise do include more cardio and hiit workouts with my trainer. I’m also going to up the amount of protein I’m taking in by trying out Maxitone Sculptress protein powder to replace 1 meal a day (probably breakfast) accompanied by some fruit. 

Wish me luck!