I’m certainly not a fitness guru, but physical fitness has always been apart of my life since I was a young girl playing several different sports ranging from swimming to golf to horseback riding and many more. As far as working out, I didn’t really take interest until my Freshman year of college when all of a sudden the late night pizza and keg parties changed my size 4 frame (OH HELLO, Freshman 15, which I was certain was never going to get me). Since college I have always enjoyed working out as part of my daily routine. I’m a firm believer in rolling out of bed and getting the body moving. It gets the blood circulating, oxygen to the brain, and boosts those endorphins…what’s not to love about all that! I make it a point to put my workout clothes and sneakers out the night before so they are the first things I see as an immediate call to action. I have to admit I was ignorant to the benefits of strength training until about 6 years ago.
I was the cardio queen! Chris harped on me for years to lift weights and I continually blew him off, because really what does an Olympic athlete know about body conditioning! After having 3 babies I was the ultimate hamster on the treadmill still trying to always fit in those same sized pair of favorite jeans. It was terribly boring, no hip-hop playlist was going to change my mind. I officially began to loathe the near sight of that damn machine. Along with being the cardio queen I have also always been a Pilates junkie. I could list a million benefits and reasons why I love Pilates (stay tuned for that blog someday soon) at the time, it was my only form of muscle building exercise. As I neared the dreaded age of 40, I knew it was time to finally start listening to my husband and pick up those dumbbells. Chris was a fantastic strength training coach to safely get me started and then eventually I sourced my own trainer. Within a few months and trusting the process, I loved the effects it had on my body. I noticed improved energy, flooding of endorphins, toned and firm body (not that skinny fat treadmill queen). I was that girl just like so many of you reading this believing all the strength training myths for women….
WEIGHT LIFTING WILL MAKE YOU LOOK BULKY
Lifting weights will make me LOOK UNFEMININE
WEIGHT LIFTING DOES NOT BURN AS MANY CALORIES AS CARDIO
I can firmly say none of these myths I feared ever came true. In fact, it was the complete opposite. Here is a list of the benefits I noticed 3 months after I started implementing strength training into my life.
Maintains and increases muscle mass as I age.
Increases strength for everyday activities and athletic experiences.
Stretches my body in areas that I don’t normally stretch in this manner. It increases the strength of my muscles, as well as the connective tissue and tendons for deeper stretch engagement.
Increases bone density (unfortunately as you age you lose bone density) and significantly reduces the possibility of fractures and risk of osteoporosis.
Promotes lean body mass which usually decreases as you age. By adding strength training to my routine, it promotes lean body mass and reduces the risk of fat taking its place.
Significantly improves my mood. Strength training can reduce anxiety, increase self-esteem, and boost those “feel-good” endorphins.
Reduces my risk of injury. When I weight train it increases strength not just in my muscles, but also in my connective tissues and joints. This will help reduce future risk of an injury and can relieve pain from osteoarthritis.
Burns more calories. Research shows and MYZONE Band proves through detailed tracking of heart rate and level of effort that when people strength train, they burn calories for up to 24 hours after a workout.
Improves my posture. After lifting weights I noticed better posture as I strengthen my back, shoulders, and even core. All of these parts of my body work together and create better overall posture.
My personal rules for strength training
Proper warm-up stretch exercise prior to weights
1 minute rest in between each set
Proper cool down and stretch
My favorite ending to a killer strength training session is a delicious 1st Phorm protein shake
Lauren’s Post Strength Training 1st Phorm Protein Shake Recipe: (MUST DRINK WITHIN 20 minutes after training for maximum benefits)
12oz. filtered water
1 scoop PURE L-glutamine
2 Tablespoons of Garden of Life Prebiotic Fiber
2 Tablespoons of Nutiva organic chia seeds
1 Tablespoon of organic flax seeds
½ scoop of 1stphorm Ignition Glycogen or 1 banana
1 Handful of ice *Blend all ingredients your Vitamix until desired consistency.
3 Reasons I have my 1stPhorm Shake right after a workout.
During strength training workouts, your muscles develop micro-tears due to intense contractions in your muscle fibers. Amino acids in protein are used to repair damaged muscle cells. Protein in food takes a longer time to break down in your digestive system, sending the amino acids to the muscles. If you drink a protein shake immediately after your workout, your muscles will recover faster with the vital nutrients it requires for optimal results.
Protein shakes can help you gain muscle mass. Amino acids help build muscle tissues. The optimal time to consume your protein shake for growth and repair is immediately after your workout. Try not to wait past 20-30 minutes after weight training. Scientific research tells us to gain muscle mass one should consume 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That is a lot of lean protein like chicken so a quality protein shake like 1stPhorm is an excellent option to easily consume a large amount of protein in a liquid form that tastes great!
There are several reasons and benefits to consuming protein shakes like muscle growth and muscle recovery. In addition to those benefits, protein shakes can potentially help you lose weight. They can help you reduce your daily calorie intake. They are low in calories and high in protein, which can make you feel full. This will help you curb your cravings from those late afternoon unhealthy snacks after you just started your day off with a solid strength training workout to build those long lean muscles. I also like to add organic chia seeds, flax seeds, and prebiotic fiber which expand in your stomach after consuming, thereby creating that full tummy feeling throughout the day.
If you asked this reformed cardio queen, given a choice of a cardio or strength training workout, I would chose weight lifting any day. Grab your favorite protein shake and let’s “Cheers to building long lean muscles!” Okay OKAY I’ll say it- Chris you were right!!!