Look at what I can do after a year of dedicated strength training – squats with 135 pound weights. Crazy, right? Check out the legs on my 43-year-old friend and health coach, Adele Bonnie. Incredible! Look at 80-year-old Ernestine Shepherd pictured above. Wow!!
My and Adele’s goals have shifted over time. I used to be more concerned with being “thin” but now I’m more interested in muscle tone and strength. Adele used to run for hours but now she loves seeing how many pull-ups she can knock out in 5 minutes. Our goals and schedules change over time and your goals may be totally different from ours. But we find that what most women we know have in common is that we all want to feel good and look good without sacrificing the rest of our lives in the process.
What to do about the fact that as we age it’s harder to get the results we want? Our bodies don’t respond to working out as they used to in our 20’s. We know we “should” work out but it can be so hard to fit it into a really busy schedule.
In order to look and feel fit, must we devote our lives to working out? Or should we just accept flab as part of our middle-aged lives? We say NO to both questions. Do you want to “lift your butt”? Do you want Michelle Obama arms? A flatter belly? How about feeling stronger and more energetic and better in every way? Forget hours on the treadmill. Forget counting every calorie. Forget wondering which class you should take. Plain and simple strength training combined with plain and simple good nutrition is the way to go.
WHY WE STRENGTH TRAIN
1. Building muscle = higher metabolism = less fat
2. Building muscle = toned look
3. Compliments like this one: “You don’t look your age!!”
4. Compliments like this one: “You have the legs of a college cheerleader”
5. That feeling of bad-assery achieved from increased ability to haul something or someone heavy
6. Less time investment with greater results
7. Body weight exercises like push-ups or squats may be done ANYWHERE at ANY TIME with minimal equipment
8. Big stress reducer; it basically has kept Adele from killing her offspring
9. More bang for the buck for body shaping than cardio alone – no one is advocating no cardio, it’s necessary for good health
10. We can lift all our grocery bags or the whole family’s skiis up a hill all at once
11. Unique opportunity to check out men in the weight room with little competition
12. Boost in sex drive which can be a good thing or a not-so-good thing depending on the availability/similarity in drive of a desirable partner
13. Boost in energy
14. Natural shift in mindset over time from what size you wear to what your body can DO
Like anything in life, achieving the results you want from strength training requires consistency and persistence. There are simply no shortcuts to creating a body that not only looks good but serves us well throughout our lives. Dieting may result in quicker changes in your body but the results will almost surely be short-lived. Simple good nutrition achieved through slow and steady dietary changes is, however, key to getting best results. If you use correct form, progressively increase the difficulty of your exercises and, most importantly, are consistent, you WILL see results.
Consistency really means making a new habit, and forming a new habit takes time and patience with yourself.
If you are new to strength training, we’d recommend that first you see a good trainer at least a few times to learn good form and learn how to progress. After that, Adele recommends that you start slowly. Being sore is ok but not being able to walk up the stairs is not. Add a little at a time and keep track of your progress on an exercise log or app; it’s very motivating to see how you’re improving. Schedule time into your week to work out, and once it’s on your schedule, work out no matter what. But don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good! If you don’t have time available, do something, even if it’s only for 5 or 10 minutes. Don’t quit if you feel bored or even intense dislike. Consistency and improvement usually results in increased enjoyment, but if you still hate it several months down the road, try something new. The time of the workout is never the right time to question yourself. Just do it anyway and evaluate later. Habit formation is an entire topic unto itself, and Adele has a lot more information about it on her website click Here.
Do not be afraid about becoming the hulk from lifting weights. Adele and I can’t emphasize this enough. This is absolutely crazy nonsense. Those women who compete are on a whole different level than what we are talking about. They adhere to an intensely strict diet and exercise routine and, yes, some even take steroids. Those of you who have seen me in the weight room lifting 20 pounds in each hand for shoulders and 135 pounds for my squats may think that I will look huge if I keep it up. But guess what? I’ve been doing this for a year now and I don’t look like the hulk. In fact, someone just told me that I look skinny which drives me nuts because that look isn’t my goal. I want to be fit! The point though is, if I can reshape my body and transform body fat into muscle…then anybody can.
Collaborative post with mom, Registered Nurse, Certified Personal Trainer, and most recently, Duke-trained Integrative Health Coach Adele Bonnie. Check out her website for more guidance because she, like Moodsey, is all about sharing not selling – at SanelyFit.