Strong NOT Skinny!

I’m 37 and  this is the first time in my life that I have been “fit”. I was athletic until college but that’s about it.  Growing up in a family where obesity has been a chronic and at some times progressive condition, I always  focused on being “skinny” and thought that if I was skinny I would be healthy. I had been wrong on so many levels.    The fear of gaining weight caused me to hop on every fad diet bandwagon.  With my heaviest weight being 242 lbs after having my 1st son, trust me when I say I tried every diet there was, from LA diet, to Atkins, to BeachBody, to Isagenix  etc.   They worked in helping me to lose weight after the kids, but it was never sustainable.  I juggled between 150-185 for 12 years. For 12 years I focused on being skinny, that If I could be a size 4 I’d be perfectly healthy! I know there are many of you out there are in the exact same boat I was in. The desire to be skinny, to be “pre-baby” weight is sometimes the only thing we can think about. I really wish I knew then what I know now, because I would have saved myself  a lot of bad choices, a lot of restrictions and a lot of misery to be honest with you,  but this is why I decided this should be  my next blog. I’ve received so many questions about my workouts and diet. I love that you all have taken the time to reach out to me and I hope this gives you some food for thought!  

Mamas/ladies, listen up! Your only goal should be to become “strong” that needs to be your only focus not skinny, the weight loss will come with it naturally. Change your focus because you, yes YOU need to pick up some weights and I’m going to tell you why!

“ Aren’t you afraid to look like a man” – guess how many times women have asked me this question? My answer is always “Do men look like women if they don’t lift weights?”   like really people- don’t’ ask stupid questions!  You are a women, you will always look like one. Don’t mistaken your strength- ever!

I do  get it though, why so many of us women have the same questions or concerns.  When someone thinks about a strong body or muscles, they instinctively think about men not women. Unfortunately there are so many stereotypes and so much bullshit that keep women from experiencing the profound benefits of  resistance/strength training.  

Here are the reasons why you should start lifting weights!

Weight loss  

When compared to just cardiovascular exercise, resistance training always comes out on top. You burn more fat during and after your exercise with every training.  Although Cardio has it’s place and is essential in daily routine ( I firmly believe it keeps your internal organs healthy) resistance/strength training increases your metabolic rate and oxygen consumption. You will burn more fat in 30 minutes lifting weights than you would 1hr on the treadmill.

Lean Muscle- As you build your strength and lean muscle, your body uses more calories. As you build your muscles, the more inches you will lose. The stronger you get, the more fat you burn, the more muscle you gain, the more inches you lose…make sense now?  Okay good!  

Increased Energy-Resistance/strength  training increases your energy long after your workouts. It actually sustains your energy throughout the day. Increased energy helps you stay focused and well, you don’t have that 2pm slump or need for coffee or that craving of something sweet.

Joint Health-The more muscle you build around your joints, the more protected they are. Take this form someone who has RA. Build Muscle, protect your joints. Resistance/strength training also helps to maintain bone mass. The older women get, the less estrogen our body secrets. The more resistance and strength training you do, the less loss of body mass.  Building muscle is probably the healthiest thing you can do for your body.  

Strength-First, it is a great way to relieve stress, or it helps you manage it better anyway.  It will also does very one important thing- makes you feel powerful. When women feel powerful, they are determined, confident and strong. When we feel all those things we are happier and  healthier, both physically and mentally and we all know that happy and healthy women are unstoppable! Right?  ( hope you are nodding your head with me on this one)

When I first started, I was intimidated and  insecure, but there was something that happened when I picked up my first barbell.  Every day, every week I have gotten stronger. The changes have been incredible, but most of all I actually surprise myself ( on a daily basis actually)  The things our bodies can do is amazing, from how fast we build endurance to how quick we build strength. What you weren’t able to do one day you are completely able to do it the next week, it just takes patience and commitment.  The strength you build, builds your confidence and feeds your determination, is there really anything better than feeling 100% confident in your own body or  feeling powerful? I’m not sure there is!  (Did I mention how great it is to get a kick out of being able to lift or squat heavier than some men at the gym?  just sayin…I can kick some ass now and it feels great!)

Finding the right program that is right for you is challenging, but we all start somewhere, the point is just start! Pick a program, get a trainer, join a gym or  workout at home- whichever you decide, but just start.  Not tomorrow, not next week, not in a year, start now!  Change your eating habits and start exercising, start moving.  Eat healthy, make better choices and move your body.

Ladies, go put your hair in a bun and lift those bellz!

Happy Lifting

Xo Denise

*if you are interested in learning more about the programs I do, please visit the  Fitness section of this page**

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