In Canada the winter months may seem ENDLESS, the layers of clothes are many and most people tend to go into some type of ‘hibernation mode’ (too much food, too little exercise). More often than not you might have experienced some weight gain. Or you could be in a building phase, which is typical during the winter months, and your intake has purposely been higher & workouts scaled back to allow for some gains/ growth. In either case you will have found yourself to be carrying a bit more cushion than you might like.
At the first sign of spring, the gyms seem to come alive with those looking to perfect their ‘summer body’. The average person will spend hours on end on their cardio machine of choice in hopes of shedding unwanted weight gain and/or reduce their food intake way too much. This will only work against your body by killing your metabolism resulting in little to no change at all.
Here are some tips to help rev up your metabolism so that you can shed those last stubborn pounds and reveal your summer physique.
Better Food Quality. Your meals should consist of nutrient dense, whole foods. Cut out sugar & high processed foods as these do nothing to promote optimal body composition and only put you at risk for metabolic diseases. Be sure to consume a lot of dark leafy vegetables (aim for 1-2 cups per meal), anti-oxidant rich fruits and beneficial fats.
Protein With Every Meal. High-quality, high-protein intake keep you feeling full longer. It also sustains lean mass which in turn increases your metabolic rate (more muscle mass= more calories burned at rest). This is very important if you are trying to lose body fat. Also, don’t make the mistake of cutting calories without increasing protein as this will cause you to lose muscle mass along with fat mass, lowering your metabolism. Include lean red meat, fish, eggs in your meals. A clean, low-carb protein powder can help supplement your diet.
Include 4-5 Days of Weight Training. In order to look lean & tight you need to increase your muscle mass and reduce body fat. To do this you need to make sure you are really stressing out your muscles. Repeated tension or load on the muscles will cause the muscle to adapt and grow over time. Most people don’t lift heavy enough, or they continuously lift for the same amount of high reps and only 3 sets per exercise. Proper stress will only occur if you vary your training; ex: High-volume training (high reps, mod weight), high-load training (4+ sets, 4-6 reps, 85-90% of 1RM), varied tempo. Also be sure to include big compound movements (squats, deadlifts, pulls, presses, chin-ups) as these are multi-joint exercises and recruit major muscles.
Sprints vs. Steady State Cardio. While distance running (steady state cardio) has its benefits (heart friendly), if you are looking to seriously burn off body fat, incorporate sprint training into your workout regime. The high intensity of sprint training causes the same metabolic stress on the body as weight training. Just take a look at a sprinter’s body vs a marathoner. Have you ever seen a sprinter who carries extra cushion on them? Nope, neither have I.
Reduce Stress. High levels of stress from work/ every day life will result in high levels of cortisol being released into the body. This will actually lead to an increase in fat mass especially around your mid-section. Take time to unwind & reduce your stress levels. Meditation, breathing exercises, yoga are just a few ways you can reduce stress levels.
Recovery. Give your body rest. All the hard work you put in the gym, although beneficial, is still a stress placed on your body. Too much of a good thing can ultimately lead to overuse injuries, fatigue and even weaken your immune system. Allow your body time to repair & rebuild, and always listen to your body.
Happy Training 🙂
If you walk into a gym on any given day, make your way to the free weight section. I bet that you can count on one hand the women that you see in that area.
Because women still believe that working out with anything heaver than 10 pounds will make them ‘manly’. Because society has led women to believe this.
Just watch a fitness DVD, open up a woman’s fitness magazine,
or look at your gym’s ads. You will most likely see thin women on a treadmill or elliptical, or doing boot camp style classes. And if there are any pictures of a more defined female physique that happens to be holding any weights, it’s almost always 5 or 10 pound dumbbells.
Or how about those silly instagram accounts of women claiming to have built their booty with squatting day in and day out?
The normal range of testosterone levels in healthy adult males is between 280 to 1,100 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), Testosterone levels in women vary, but normal measurements range from 15 to 70 ng/dL.
Because of these differences in testosterone, it is physiologically impossible for a woman to ‘bulk up’ without the use of anabolic aids.
Ladies.. we are capable of so much more than this. Why should women train any differently than men? Why should women limit themselves when both men & women have the same skeletal foundation. Both genders push & pull, squat & lunge, and hinge.
Benefits Of Weight Training
• increases metabolism
• helps reduce risk of coronary heart disease
• strengthens bones/ joints
• decreases risk of arthritis
• decreases risk of osteoporosis (women are at higher risk)
• decreases risk of diabetes
• improves mental wellbeing (due to feel-good hormone serotonin)
• more muscle = more calories burned at rest
• improves posture
• improves balance & coordination
• strengthens core musculature
The health benefits are many, but aside from that, the physical strength gained in the gym will impact other areas of your life: there’s the major confidence boost you will get when pushing yourself to beyond what you thought yourself capable of, the greater sense of self (and self-love), the strengthing of character and mind, the respect and awareness of our bodies.
Where Should You Start?
If you are serious about changing your body then you need to start haulin’ iron. There’s no other way around it. And I mean getting down and dirty the old school way. Deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, bench presses..and variations on these exercises are the best way to start as they are compound movements. Compound exercises recruit major muscle fibres and tend to require signiﬁcant stabilization of the entire body by involving numerous muscles that otherwise might not be stimulated with isolation exercises.
Make sure you follow a proper training program that will gradually progress you as this is the most effective way to see results (coupled with good nutrition of course!).
So unleash that brute strength that lies within and you will discover the extraordinary feats your body is capable of. Be the architect of your body and build and sculpt a lean and feminine physique. And with that you will find an unbreakable mental perseverance that will reflect on other areas of your life 🙂
Last time I wrote on here I was just starting to feel better. I was getting over my nausea and extreme fatigue; was starting to eat & was feeling great exercising.
Boy oh boy was that short lived… A few weeks after that I started experiencing a nasty little twinge in my pelvis. I would feel it at first when I did any lower body exercise, especially with any lunge variation. Then it got worse, and along with other pregnancy issues, I had to stop my weight training 😞
Turned out to be Symphysis Pubis Disfunction. What is this fancy condition?!
First, a bit if anatomy: the symphysis pubis is a stiff joint that connects the two halves of your pelvis. This joint is strengthened by a dense network of tough, flexible tissues (ligaments).
During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called relaxin, softens your ligaments in order to help your baby pass through your pelvis.
Your pelvic joints move more during and just after pregnancy. This can cause inflammation and pain, and may lead to the condition symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).
What this meant for me: any time I so much as did ANY movement that required moving one leg apart from the other ( lunges, step ups, getting out of bed.. You get the point) I felt a nasty grinding sensation in my pelvis 😫
Then I started to get really bad carpel tunnel ,to the point where I had numbing/ tingling all the way up to my elbows. This really affected my grip and I could not put any weight on my hands 😞
That was the end of my workouts. My focus turned to prenatal yoga & hypnobirthing meditation. Little bean came barreling into this world one day late. Despite having back to back contractions I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in less than 3 hours and drug free!!
Now at 10 weeks postpartum and after having been cleared by my midwife, I started to workout again at home. My workouts started off with mainly body weight exercises and a lot of stretching.
My next posts will feature some info on diastasis recti (also known as abdominal separation) and pelvic floor prolapse, and of course easing into workouts
Till next time 😊