Facebook is a double-edged sword.
Some days it sucks the life out of you and takes every opportunity to waste a LOT of your time — other days it inspires your latest blog post!
A few months ago I got an “On This Day” notification — a look back throughout the years of what you have posted on that exact day. Usually it’s fun to see where you were, what you were doing over the years, and sometimes repost it reminding friends of the great times you’ve had together. Some past posts bring up moments you were so passionate about that you had to post it on your wall for the world to see.
I don’t repost often because these memories are usually silly stuff that seems like a big deal at the moment, but looking back years later, are trivial at best. February 3, 2015 was different.
My Facebook “On this day” said:
“For the love of God, do not stay on a treadmill, elliptical, bike, arc trainer, etc for 45 minutes, if you are looking to lose weight, change the shape of your body, gain muscle or get in shape!”
I was fed up. Once again, I was at the gym working out and for the 100th plus time I was the only girl in the weight room.
It was a common occurrence — I, the lone female in a sea of weight room testosterone, EVERY other woman using cardio equipment.
As a trainer I have always felt comfortable in the weight room and fully understood the benefits of strength training. That got me thinking — Why were these women only doing cardio? Did they think it was their ticket to weight loss? Did they enjoy it? Did they not know what else to do? Did they not understand how vital strength training was to their weight loss goals?
My guess is yes to all of the above.
The biggest myth in the world of fitness is that if you want to lose weight you need to eat less and do more cardio.
NOPE. It’s just not true. Well, it’s partially true. You probably should eat less — not less than 1200 calories generally — and you should do some cardio, but the the missing link all of those women on the cardio equipment hadn’t discovered yet was strength training.
You see, most of those women found that low calories, high cardio and NO strength training resulted in them becoming skinny fat.
“Urban Dictionary” defines skinny fat as the following: “When someone is thin and looks great in clothes, but is all flabby underneath.”
That’s pretty descriptive, right?
We have all been there at some point, maybe that point is now or long ago. You loved the way you looked in clothes but without? Not so much. That’s a major reason people start working out — to lose those flabby love handles, that uncomfortable “bra fat,” those arm swinging bat wings.
The issue that most women don’t seem to understand is that you can “cardio” your way to a smaller size BUT that’s all you will get — SMALLER love handles, slightly less uncomfortable “bra fat,” and bat wings that don’t wave for quite so long.
You will become skinny fat.
Your body DOES NOT CHANGE SHAPE by doing cardio alone.
Strength training causes your muscles to grow and, no, I’m not talking huge bodybuilder muscles. By developing your muscles, you will get that desired “toned” look all women seem to want. You can only change the shape of muscle, NOT fat. If you’re looking to become lean and “toned” — that might be the most hated word in the English language for most personal trainers — you really need to lift weights that challenge your muscles.
Here’s the “secret”:
Challenged muscles result in growing muscles. When combined with a diet high in protein and low in junk, all that flab under your clothes will start to melt away.
Not only does strength training cause your muscles to grow, but there is another reason it helps to get great results — and not skinny fat results. Strength training, lifting weights, weight lifting — all the same thing — usually results in people having better nutrition.
Why you ask?
In my opinion, people who weight train have developed a higher level of understanding regarding their own bodies. They start noticing that when they eat certain foods they have a more successful day lifting weights. When they eat other foods, often less healthy choices, their workouts suffer.
Is this true for everyone?
Of course not, BUT it’s another reason to give lifting weights a try.
At this point, I can almost hear a lot of you yelling that you like cardio and it’s helped you lose weight in the past. Okay, fair enough. Although, I’m not on the cardio-alone bandwagon, I understand some people love it and it IS a tool in helping people lose weight.
That leads to my last reason to add in strength training — It will help your cardio game.
How is that?
How many of you are slaving away on the elliptical only to stop or slow down because your legs are burning? Perhaps your legs cause you to stop before your heart-rate reaches optimal fat burning range and you aren’t seeing benefits in your workouts. Sound familiar?
Stronger legs — the kind that come from basic strength training — will allow you to push harder for longer, which will result in a higher energy expenditure (calories burned). Win-win if you ask me.
Honestly, losing fat is a difficult thing to do. Give strength training a try and see what your results are. I’m pretty sure you will be pleased to look in the mirror and see a new you — and not a skinny fat you!
Look for my first Facebook Live on a few basic strength training exercises you can do in your own home with no equipment!