If you haven’t already noticed, I’m sure you will soon, that my workouts are really heavy on lifting (no pun intended), and light on cardio.
While I do love cardio, there’s a lot more to fitness than just cardio.
Unfortunately, there’s a myth among women that lifting heavy stuff will cause us to bulk like crazy and we’ll all end up looking like Arnold schwarzenegger. None of us want to look like that, so we pound it out on the cardio machines and do endless reps with light weights hoping to “tone” the muscles without adding bulk.
It doesn’t happen y’all. As someone who’s been lifting as heavily as I possibly can for over six months, I can attest to the fact that it doesn’t happen, at least not overnight.
In order to add significant muscle mass, it is necessary it just to lift, but to lift the right way, and eat the right way. Eating the right way by the way includes cycles of cutting and bulking. Even then, you’re not gonna see grotesquely muscular, body builder type muscle.
Looking feminine doensn’t mean you have to stick to the pink dumbbells
For me, after six months of lifting, I sometimes get frustrated by my lack of visual progress. I don’t see any changes in the mirror.
I have gotten stronger though, and for me, that’s the whole reason for lifting despite my occasional frustration with the mirror.
With most types of cardio, you’re not really building muscle, just burning calories. So when you stop, the calorie burn stops.
When you lift, you get stronger, you build muscle, muscle burns lots of calories whether you’re in the act of exercising at the moment or not, burning calories helps keep you from getting fat. It’s a double whammy. Wait, that’s a triple. Anyhoo…
Yeah, I know, I just said us gals didn’t build lots of muscle. The things is, we may not build muscle upon muscle easily, but our muscles can and do get denser, and maybe they will get a little larger. That’s where the coveted “toned” look comes in.
Now that I’ve rambled on and on about that, heres why I like strength training as exercise over cardio.
- Low reps. The weights are heavy yes, but I can bust ‘em out and be done. I’ve got better things to do than exercise.
- Set and rest periods. One of the big reasons people give up on cardio is because it’s a sustained 30+ minute activity. It’s hard to devote that many minutes in a row when you have a crying baby begging for your attention.
With weights, a set last about a minute, rest period lasts 3-5. Garrett has learned very quickly that he can wait until the end of a set. Another bonus is that I can do house work between sets.
- 50 kettlebell swings
- Hang up a load of laundry.
- 50 kettlebell swings.
- Sweep kitchen floor.
- Goblet squats (holding kettlebell)
- Dust furniture
See how much more efficient that is? And you’re getting pretty good high intensity cardio along with your strength training.
So, with all that cleared up like muddy water, here’s my workouts last week:
Barbell bench press
Dumbbell bench press
Wide grip lag pull-downs
Barbell front squat (which was awkward, so I switched to…)
Sick, skipped workout
Barbell back squats
Standing calf raises (Gabriel’s suggestion)
I’m happy to say that Saturday’s deadlifts were the heavies I’d ever done, not so proud of the fact that my heaviest is still only 6-7 pounds over body weight, but hey, it’s progress right?
In other news, today will (hopefully) be the day of my first midwife visit this pregnancy… Unless another mom goes into labor again.
I plan to ask her all about her opinions on abdominal work during pregnancy.
Until next Tuesday then!
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