Hello babes SO I have been thinking about making my fitness journey a central part of my blog since that’s a huge part of where I’m at in my life right now. When I did my fitness transformation & update, I got so many questions that I really couldn’t answer because I’m not certified in training or nutrition. So to avoid me bs-ing my way, I’ve teamed up with one of my friends from a longggg time to guest post on my blog once a week in my new #FitnessUnfckd series.
Okay YES, I did consider several other names for this series but honestly let’s be real, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, or know me through social media, then you’ll know this name screams ME. So there we go- a bit in your face but oh well.
Okay now time to get #unfckd
Hemant Pooran is a (sexy AF) ISSA certified fitness instructor with over 10 years experience in the world of fitness & nutrition. He’s been my friend for a few years and I know that he knows his way well around the fitness world. When I first thought about this idea, he immediately jumped into my mind. Hope he can clarify any questions you have & help you out in your own fitness journey.
1. Lifting weights makes you look manly
It is a shame for a woman to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which her body is capable – Socrates
Roxy: OKAY this might be the #1 MYTH when it comes to women and weights in the same sentence. Even I was guilty of thinking like this. Hemant will explain why this is totally not true.
Lifting weights has been a male dominated activity for many years and many women still associate lifting weights with the typical big, muscle ‘meathead’ at the gym throwing around heavy weights. The resulting myth – lifting weights will make you big and bulky – has been repeatedly debunked through research and practice.
The truth is, lifting weights will not make you manly and in fact women should lift heavy. Why? Well, men and women both have similar muscle fibers which largely respond to exercise in a similar way. However, there is one major difference between men & women: women produce far less testosterone than men. Testosterone is a muscle building hormone and because of lower levels in women, you don’t have to fear getting large, bulky muscles.
Also, keep in mind that muscles won’t grow overnight; it’s progressive and training can always be dialed back or scaled up depending on the results. So, enjoy the process. Lift weights. Strength training will transform your body in a remarkable way.
2. Do LOTS of cardio to lose weight
Roxy: In my “before” pics in my fitness transformation posts, I was obsessed with cardio. In my “after” pics, you can clearly see the remarkable difference that lifting has made on my body.
Cardio has its place in a fitness program but strength training should be at the core of your regime if you want to lose weight. Simply put, cardio (as in running on a treadmill) burns calories only while you are running. Strength training- such as lifting weights- causes calories to be burnt as much as 24 hours after.
It can also build lean muscle, which in turn elevates metabolism resulting in more fat burning. Too much cardio can result in muscle loss and for women, that means loss of curves and shapeliness.
Trainer Tip: if you don’t like cardio and running on a treadmill can become monotonous, try structuring exercises in a HIIT or tabata style (to name a few) so you can achieve a metabolic effect that is more effective and more fun than traditional forms of cardio.
3. Protein shakes are only for men
Roxy: to be honest, I’m also guilty of this one. I think its because protein packaging is super manly and gruff n tough and it looks like it’s only targeted towards men. It took me a while to get past the intimidating packaging.
Both men and women need protein. Of course the amount required depends on factors like gender, activity level, and muscle mass etc. You should note that a protein supplement is just that – a supplement. Ideally your daily protein requirement should be met with real food. However, with that being said, protein shakes offer a degree of convenience. They are certainly not only for men. Anyone can supplement with protein shakes depending on their requirements. In fact there are lots of protein supplements marketed towards women. I would advise that you determine your daily protein requirement (there are online calculators, or an experienced fitness coach can determine this) and get the majority of it from food and then protein shakes.
Roxy: let me know if you would like a post dedicated on protein & protein shakes!
4. If I workout longer, I will get better results
Roxy: this is definitely sh*t that both men and women say. I used to spend hours spinning and doing cardio and not getting the results I wanted.
The human body is comprised of many systems. During a workout, many of these systems are engaged e.g. energy pathways, central nervous system, musculo-skeletal system etc. While the right workout can stimulate these systems to adapt & become better, there is a point of diminishing return before the system becomes exhausted and not function optimally.
The duration of a workout depends on many factors such as the type of training being done (strength, power, cardio, muscle growth etc), your current state (energy levels, injuries etc), nutrition (are you in a fasted state etc). Keeping it simple though, research has shown that typically a workout for most people should last anywhere between 45mins to 1hr. If its shorter you probably aren’t doing enough and if its longer you probably are not utilizing your time properly (resting too long, redundant exercises etc)
5. Lots of crunches will get my tummy flatter
Roxy: Who doesn’t want abs and a flat tummy right? This is a huge struggle of mine.
As the old saying goes ‘abs are made in the kitchen’. A thousand crunches a day counts for little if you can’t see the abs. A poor diet (and poor workout program) will keep back your progress in losing body fat and showing off those underlying abs.
Abs should not be neglected in your workout because it is a key muscle group, taking part in almost every movement from walking to squatting. Its main function is stability and support. As such it should be trained largely functionally. Crunches and leg raises are great but don’t exclude movements like planking (many versions), kettlebell swings and renegade rows to name a few. These have the added benefit of working other muscle groups for more calorie burn.
Trainer Tip – you can work on the transversus abdominis muscle anywhere! It’s basically a belt of abdominal muscles and if you tighten the “belt” by repeatedly sucking it in and holding it for as long as you can, the tummy looks flatter. This is similar to what you do in a plank. Do it on the drive to the beach and have your tummy appear tighter by the time you hit the waves.
Hope you enjoyed (and learned something new!!!) in the first post in my #FitnessUnfckd series. If you have any more topics you would like to discuss leave it in the comments!
Questions? Ask here.