Shared via The Fitocracy Facebook page.
Years of blood, sweat, training and tears go into body building. Years. Seasoned body builders spend hours in the gym daily, have specific nutrition plans, use supplements and sometimes drugs to help them get the bodies they need to compete. They don’t train like you or I, AND they don’t look like that all the time (typically, they have on seasons and off seasons - it’s not possible to maintain that physique all year).
They do not get those bodies with 10lb dumbbells.
It can take months or years to gain a few (FEW) pounds of muscle. MONTHS. YEARS. Women are simply are not designed to pack on muscle quickly, (some women will die trying). Many women assume the ‘bulk’ they might see post workout is the result of muscle growth - in most cases it’s swelling or, over time, a TINY amount of muscle growth with a large amount of fat under it can appear to be more muscle than you expected. It’s not usually muscle though - muscle doesn’t grow that fast. We have fat on top AND beneath our muscles. If you’re concerned about bulking, you need to control your diet.
We burn fat at the same rate all over our bodies, and women have what I like to call ‘deep ends’ and ‘shallow ends’. Shallow ends are the places we tend to lose fat first (for me, that was my arms/bra line and boobs, but NOW I’d say my legs). Deep ends are where we tend to lose fat last (for me, belly all the way). Shallow ends can usually be taken care of with diet & moderate exercise, but deep ends? Not so much.
To take care of deep ends, you need to change the total composition of your body! Adding muscle (or if it helps you feel better about it - “toning up”) gives your body the metabolic edge to burn off the excess fat from the deep ends. It doesn’t mean you’ll be bigger (muscle is dense remember - needs less room, but heavier. Less room = smaller you). And it’s not just the areas that bother you where your focus should be: just like fat gets reduced at the same rate everywhere, muscle burns fat from everywhere too. Many women ignore massive fat burning muscle opportunities in their back, legs, chest (perks your boobs too!) and more. Bottom line: you need to do more than just crunches and squats once you’ve gotten the hang of them.
LAST LITTLE BITS: Those jiggles you don’t like, that pooch you have left, that last 5lbs, that bra fat = all things you can only fix with strength/resistance training and a cleaner diet. All the cardio in the world won’t help if you’re stuck on those last little bits.
Each day I get dozens of questions related to people wanting to get a firmer belly, tighter tush and lower their body fat percentage and EVERY answer I give will include some sort of weight/resistance training. I worked for years to get my weight down, BUT didn’t see an improvement in the texture, composition or firmness of my body until I started seriously adding strength workouts to my routine and upping my weights (my mini-dumbbells are adorbs now). There’s a REASON why every fitness blog, trainer and youtube fitness video SCREAMS the praises of strength training for women to get the bodies they want.
- If you’ve been using the same dumbbells forever, it’s time to get new, heavier ones.
- If that DVD has gotten easier, it’s time to get a new DVD or use new equipment.
- If you’ve hit a plateau, it’s time to turn up the intensity. Don’t think about quantity: think about quality.
- If you’ve been doing the same exercises over and over, it’s time to find new, more challenging ones.
- If you’ve been scared to get into the gym or break out of your routine, NOW is the time!
Afterthought and side note….
In the spirit of body love, I feel I need to address ONE body image issue that often goes overlooked.
I’ve been careful to avoid body bullying, and tend to avoid comparison talk or commenting on other women’s bodies on this blog. After posting this, I realized that I may be reinforcing the message that muscled women aren’t sexy, aren’t desirable, and aren’t a body type women should want to have.
This aversion to muscle can get mean sometimes, and when you post images of gorgeous, muscle ladies (like the one above) to comment on why people wouldn’t want that body, it’s harsh and insulting.
There’s no right way to have a body, and no such thing as a more feminine body. Strong is beautiful too.
The intention here was to address the fear women have of bulking up, but I want to be clear: if muscles are your thing Mama, then you’re just as bad ass beautiful as the rest of us. You also deserve respect. Feminine is a state of mind, NOT a body type.
I’ll keep this posted, but if your aversion to muscle has ANYTHING to do with how you think a woman SHOULD be, do your best to try to expand that definition, ok? There’s no right way to be a lady. Strong is sexy, and some of these women are dedicated athletes who are living out their passions, working incredibly hard, and doing what they love.