WHY I LIFT WEIGHTS AND WHY YOU SHOULD TOO

Monday, 30 May 2016

It's unbelievably hot in New York which means while you're reading this I'm probably seeing mirages in my sleep- it's that torturous! Quite strangely though, the heat has been working in my favour thus far because I get really uncomfortable and can't sleep past 6am(when the sun is coming up) which then translates itself into being up super early and working out before the sun makes it virtually impossible!

So, in honour of sticking to my workouts and making progress with my fitness goals lately (even if it's because I'm waking up in a puddle of sweat), I thought I would try and inspire someone to take up good old weight lifting as a way to achieve their health/fitness goal. I know women are generally scared to lift weights because they don't want to turn into beef cakes so they do cardio instead but (sorry to be the bearer of bad news) it ain't going to happen- you can thank Oestrogen for that! I honestly L.O.V.E weight training and would pick it over cardio any day of the week  because of all the amazing health benefits it has an how completely badass and unstoppable it makes me feel! Here are another 5 reasons why lifting weights is Bae...

#1 Confidence (Look good naked)

Confidence is such an attractive characteristic in anyone. I'm not sure if it's knowing that I can leg press more than what the average male weighs or I just love being toned but weight training has given an added confidence boost.  I'm generally a confident person but when I'm in peak condition and I look good, I feel good, I walk with an added pep in my step and it even shows in the why I interact with other people and the choices I make in what I wear. I've been using lifting as my main form of exercise for about 4 years now and honestly the body I have today is by far the best I've had and it continues to get better - functionally and aesthetically. In my opinion, confidence is a MAJOR key to success in your career/relationships/well being and I can vouch weight training can be a useful tool to achieving this.

#2 To lose fat(weight)

When I started getting healthier and working out more regularly I used to just do lots of cardio because I wanted to lose weight and I did. All the hours of cardio paid off but I wasn't getting particularly toned or seeing a 6 pack which was also on my fitness goal list so my husband (then bf) suggested I start weight training. I did my research and sure enough all the girls that lifted weights had the kind of body I aspired to have so I started weight training! Spoiler alert: lifting weights is way more fun than running/spinning and feeling your heart pounding out of your chest for an hour. The more muscle you add to your body the more fat you'll lose(this post explains it more)- the more toned you'll look! The basic premise is that it takes the body more calories to maintain muscle mass so your metabolism will be working harder everyday leading to more fat loss! YAAAY!!

#3  Improves my running

This might seem likes really strange reason because how could adding muscle mass possibly improve my running- but it does! I used to hate running because it was hard, I couldn't get my breathing right and I'd feel like I was hit by a bus the next day. I still don't fully love running but I've seen massive improvements in my pace and endurance as I've progressed in my weight training and I don't feel like I've been hit by a truck the next day either. Having strong leg and glutes (read: ass) muscles means I can power through my runs more effectively. Also, let's be honest, running is a lot easier when you're lighter so through losing weight(see point 1) I'm carrying(literally) less weight on my body which makes running log distances that much easier!

#4 Injury prevention

Everyone has a weaker and stronger side which means that our bodies have imbalances and as a result we're prone to injuries. Lifting can allow you to correct some of these imbalances because as your train your tendons, ligaments, bones and obviously muscles get stronger which helps the body become more balanced strength wise. A great way to eliminate muscle imbalance is by targeting the side/muscle you know is weak directly through performing single side exercises. In more everyday application, I know I can carry heavy things around (read: shopping) without feeling I might hurt myself (doesn't hurt that I don't need the help of anyone) shows me the what I do inside the gym impacts what I do in my day to day life.

#5 Discipline

Lifting gives me mental and physical discipline(the lessons are applicable inside and outside the gym). Firstly, I acknowledge that it's not particularly fun(at first) to stick to any kind of fitness plan and managing to endure that in itself is a form of mental discipline and sometimes a true test of character! I have a set schedule for the gym that I have to stick to if I want to see results and if I skip a day I'll only be cheating myself. If I go to the gym and perform 10 half-assed squats I won't see the results so I have to stay honest and work hard otherwise, I'm cheating myself. Sometimes, when I'm on my 4th set of deadlifts and my legs are screaming for me to stop because another rep is not an option- I have to push past all the self doubt that I can't complete the set and often times I complete the set just fine. When I get home, if I stuff myself with M&Ms after dinner, again, I won't see the results and all the work I put in at the gym is pointless. It's a knock on effect, so ultimately weight lifting gives me all round discipline.

The ultimate reason you should really lift weights is that you'll be happy that you're stepping outside your comfort zone and doing something for yourself that will pay dividends not just for your health and how you look but also how you feel! I can't encourage you enough to ditch the never ending cardio sessions and take up some sort of resistance work instead.

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