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Heels to Barbells

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The New Year has begun, and if you are already growing impatient waiting to see results from all that cardio, you may be leaving out an important piece of the puzzle – weight training!  Yes, weights!  And not those pretty, pink hand weights or those fancy machines, real barbells.  More and more women everywhere are seeing and feeling the positive results of weight training, yet many women still worry about bulking up and are afraid to give it a chance

It is a great feeling to be STRONG!  You will be able to lift those boxes all by yourself and not have to wait for some guy to do it.  As a single mom, my boys are getting bigger, but they still rely on me to lift or open anything difficult.  I want them to see how powerful women can be.  There is never a time in life when being weak comes in handy!

Some important facts to keep in mind:

  • You will not bulk up.  Our bodies are not made to get bulky – we do not have the testosterone to look like body builders. When you lift weights that are challenging, you actually create micro-tears in the muscle fibers. (This is the soreness you feel.)  As these tears are repaired by your body, the muscle becomes stronger.  Because muscle tissue is more dense than fat, adding more muscle to your body actually makes you look leaner—not bigger. To truly bulk up, you would have to train with that goal in mind. Bodybuilders spend hours and hours in the gym lifting extremely heavy weights, and eat a very strict diet to promote muscle gain. The average person’s workout and diet—especially a calorie-controlled diet—will not lead to the same effects.
  • Increased metabolism.  Another amazing benefit of weight training is what it does for your metabolism.  It allows you to take advantage of your body’s natural ability to maintain an “after-burn,” known as Excess Post-Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). The after-burn is the extra calories your body burns after you complete a weight lifting workout. Your metabolism will stay elevated for anywhere from 15 minutes to 48 hours, depending on the intensity and duration of your workout.  This means is that your metabolism operates at a faster level even while you’re sitting on the couch after a workout.  It takes extra calories just to keep muscle.
  • Heavy weights are key. Many women rely on lighter weights with higher reps in an attempt to get a more toned body.  However, to get truly toned, you need larger muscles and less fat. One recent study found that lifting 85% of your maximum ability for 8 reps burns about twice as many calories in the two hours post workout as compared with 15 reps at 45% of your maximum ability.  Don’t give up lighter weights entirely, as they do a great job of building endurance, but they do not build tight, dense, strong muscles.
  • Weight loss.  Some women worry that once they begin weight training, their weight will go up or they won’t lose the weight that had hoped.  Try not to focus on the scale and don’t get frustrated before you see results.  At first, your muscles may retain water as they react to the shock of the workouts and the recovery afterward.  But as you continue weight training, you will be building muscle and shedding fat.  This may still not translate to high weight loss, but a pound of muscle is much denser than a pound of fat, so your body may shrink even if your weight doesn’t change significantly.  Keep in mind that muscle is a metabolism booster – the more you have, the more calories and fat you will burn all day long!
  • Getting older.  As we age, maintaining muscle mass becomes more and more important.  Muscle may make the 40 something woman slightly heavier than in her college years, but the improved body composition and faster metabolism is the big payoff.  Many women find they’re able to attain a lower body fat percentage, fit into smaller sizes, and generally feel more vigorous by adding weight training.

The bottom line is weight training can lead to fat loss, stronger leaner muscles, better fitting clothes and a general better feeling of wellness and strength.  What are your waiting for – let’s get lifting!!

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The Health Revolution

The Health Revolution

On a daily basis, the question I am most commonly asked is: “that is so cool…what is that on your wrist?” And it’s not the rainbow bracelet my daughter made me. It is more like those bracelets you wear when you are under house arrest.

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My device du jour is the Nike+ FuelBand. And I have not taken it off my wrist, except for when I literally broke it for over-use, since I first received it as a gift from my husband (which he soon regretted). If I was a workout fanatic before, this definitely took me to a whole ‘notha level.

Wrists everywhere have been flashing these devices as the must-have accessory that tracks everything from the number of steps taken in a day to the hours slept.

Welcome to the latest “health revolution.” The large influence of technology in our daily lives will continue to progress, with a key component involving health and fitness.

According to a recent Forbes article:

  • By 2017, at least 30% of American consumers will regularly wear a device to track sleep, food, exercise, heart rate, blood pressure and even glucose;  the global market for wearables in health and fitness alone could reach 170 million devices.

The exciting part is these devices are your motivational conscience.  In a study by researchers at Indiana University, people who wore a pedometer daily walked 16% more than before wearing one.

Seeing actual data on your daily activity helps you set goals and compete against yourself. There is truth in this. On a daily basis, I commit to reaching my goal of 5,000 fuel points, and then, try to beat my history above and beyond that number. It is motivational, inspiring and has become my personal trainer. My app lights up like a bling rainbow when I succeed and rewards me with “trophies” when I excel. It’s amazing.  I recently tweeted Nike when I hit that much sought-after 1.5MM goal, and they actually replied to my tweet challenging me to hit 2MM. Silly, silly Nike. Clearly they do not know me. Highlight of my year (and my Klout score ;-)).

Quick review on the most popular devices out there:

Nike+ FuelBand: for score keepers – it’s motivational to keep you on track of hitting a daily goal (gives fuel points earned, tells time, reports calories burned and steps taken): https://secure-nikeplus.nike.com/plus/

Jawbone: for fitness fashion gurus (more subtle and streamlined, tracks how you sleep, eat and move): https://jawbone.com/up

FitBit: Original, non-bracelet, clip-on device connects to your clothing, jacket or shoe (tracks your steps, distance and calories burned) – most recent release is a bracelet option that also tracks your sleep: www.Fitbit.com

These are just a select few of the many available on the market. The above devices connect to apps on your smartphone to track your successes.

In additional to the individual motivational benefits, the thought is that before long, these devices will be able to send real-time data to doctors, nutritionists and trainers – backed by real personal health statistics.

The New Year is the perfect time to start tracking your daily performance and being accountable for your activity level. These apps and devices can also help build a social community by connecting to others using the same programs, creating a sense of competition, goal setting and accountability.

So if you are looking for something to replace all those Christmas returns, for a mere $100-150 you too can be in house arrest and start your new year on track.

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And so we begin.

A blog is a blog is a blog.

Well, not all blogs are created equal. This blog is meant to make you think, to create conversation and to educate on the latest health and nutrition news. And to have fun with the knowledge you will gain. It’s empowering to know you can control your body… And your mind.
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Let that sink in for a minute.

You. Are. In. Control. And that’s awesome. Gives all us control freaks an outlet and a pathway to success.

As this blog progresses we will share the latest health news, new foods, nutritional information, effects of the things you put into your body, motivational suggestions, an occasional recipe, reviews of fitness methodologies and just plain advice based on going through the learning experience for you. We would love to be a part of your daily routine and welcome conversation and contributions. We hope to inspire you, make you laugh and create a bond of health and wellness.

And, added bonus, as a subscriber of our blog, you become a VIP member and receive discounts to favorite local stores. Once you subscribe, we send you a savings pass that can be used over and over at participating businesses for that month.

Work hard, play hard. Repeat.

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