Wednesday, September 08, 2010
I am a huge proponent of weight lifting heavy weights for women, but one point I have not focused on at all is that if you are just starting with lifting (or any kind of exercise for that matter), or it has been a while since you've lifted, it's really important that you start slow.
Muscles need time to adapt, and lifting too heavy too soon will fail to give the muscles the time they need to adjust and grow to the load and could very possibly lead to injury.
Also, if you are very heavy, you are already weight lifting on a daily basis- Just your body weight alone is a lot for your skeleton to bear. You REALLY need to be cautious about how much weight you start lifting when your body fat is very high.
A few times in my life I got away from weight lifting for an extended period of time, and each time I came back to lifting gradually, starting with very small weights (10 pounds and below) and building up as my muscles strengthened. For many exercises I started off with no weights at all. For instance, for squats and lunges I just used my own body weight.
I am not meaning that you shouldn't progress, or that some muscle soreness after you've worked out is not a good thing: It is! This usually means that your muscles are repairing stronger, which is a marvelous thing. I'm saying that when you first start out, you really need to ease into it.
I said before and will say again that muscles adapt very quickly. When a weight no longer feels challenging, it's time to up the ante. Challenge yourself! But when you first start, even if it feels too easy, start with low weights. There is no shame in this and you might be surprised how sore you are the next day. And this will give your nervous system time to adapt, as well.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I don't mean to be a big downer with this blog, but I want to point something out to help keep people from slipping into the "When I lose this weight I can eat whatever I want" mode: It just ain't true!
The honest truth is that, while I am enjoying being (pretty much) at my goal weight, staying here is a LOT harder than getting here was. I liken it to a balancing beam: It's easier to keep walking than it is to stay in one spot.
The fact is that while I can eat a bit more than I did while losing, I still have to log my food or else I see a rise in the scale pretty quickly. I know this because I've done it in the past. (I'd lost a substantial amount of weight, then gained it all back, plus about 20 pounds. Took me years to be ready to lose it again.) So I know I'll always have to be accountable for what I put in my mouth. And I'll always have to be careful that what I am putting in my mouth is almost all clean foods with plenty of protein. I just feel better and gain muscle better when I eat this way.
Even with these precautions I still find myself creeping up the scale a bit, then having to reign it in and bring it back down again. I've finally come to understand and accept that I will probably be losing and gaining the same five pounds for the rest of my life.
And exercise? THAT will never end! Of course, if you know me at all, that statement didn't surprise you. I plan to be the grandma with muscles who can do pull-ups and strait-leg push-ups. No kidding! Watch me.
So here I am, in maintenance, still doing all of the same things I did while losing. And to stay slim I know I will have to keep it up forever.
But you want to know the truth? It's worth it. Every minute of it- Not only to look in the mirror and like what I see, but also to know that I am doing everything I can to keep diabetes and heart disease, both of which run heavily in my family, at bay.
I'd rather be where I am doing what I am doing than heavy and doing not doing it. It's more work being fit, but it's so very worthwhile.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
This is a diverse recipe I came up with that even my kids like. Everyone I've made it for asks me for it.
If you leave out the olive oil, this is an excellent post-workout shake. Fats slow digestion, so leaving it out lets the carbs and protein get to my muscles faster. Usually at this time I'll throw half a teaspoon of L-glutamine powder into it, to expedite muscle repair. I can't taste the glutamine.
The secret to making it a milkshake consistency is using frozen fruit. Any kind will work, but my favorite is the berries.
Into a blender put:
1/2 C plain non-fat yogurt
1/2 C skim milk or cold water
1 C frozen mixed berries
1 scoop protein powder, flavor of choice (I like chocolate the best)
1 tsp. olive oil
Sweetener to taste (I use Splenda)
If I'm post workout I'll toss my powdered L-glutamine in, too.
Blend on high. If it won't move through the blender easily enough, add some cold water until it blends.
This is approximately 345 calories when made with the milk and equal amount of carbs and protein with about 7g of healthy fat. If you are on Weight Watchers it is a serving of dairy, 2 fruit/veggie servings, a lean protein, and a serving of healthy fat.
Let me know what you think!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I am going to address something I have heard around here on Spark that I think is complete hogwash. And I am sure I will take some flack for this, but I'm going to say it anyhow:
I've been reading people advising others not to work their abs. The thought seems to be that if you do squats and deadlifts and other exercises that require core stabilization, that is enough ab work. I've also been hearing that you should not use weights when you work abs because it will make them look too thick, especially the oblique's. To which I respond........
ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?
Let me ask you a question: When was the last time you saw someone with ab muscles that were just too big? Go on.... Rack your brain...... Now think some more....... Try even harder to recall..... You can't, can you? Yeah... so let's just forget the notion that working abs with weights will make them too big and thick. It's silly.
I work my abs with weights frequently. Have for years. My waist currently measures 26 1/2 inches. And let's entertain the notion for a minute that you could make them too big by working them with weights... Let's just let our minds go there and envision it has happened to you..... Are you there mentally? If this is the case STOP WORKING THEM WITH WEIGHTS!
You can always deflate a muscle group by reducing the stress put on it. Reduce the amount of weight that a muscle group is bearing, reduce the size of the muscle group. It's that simple.
'Nuff said on that subject.....
Okay, now for this notion that you shouldn't work your abs at all:
This idea makes as much sense as saying that your triceps get hit working chest (they do) so they shouldn't be worked separately. We all want toned tri's, yes? Don't we even more-so want toned abs? Then why wouldn't we target them?
Abs are a muscle, like any other They need to be targeted. They need their own special spot in your weekly split. I often work mine twice a week. One day, the day I do them for sure, is unweighted at home with a DVD. The other day is usually heavy weighted in the gym. Ask my workout partner. I make that big muscle-bound boy cry on ab day! My abs are smaller than his, and my abs are STRONGER than his!
The only time I see an exception to this rule is if you are one of these rare individuals who has naturally defined abs. These are the people I'd imagine started the "don't specify your abs" theory. Lucky them. The rest of us have to work abs. Period.
I have naturally strong abs but I'm telling you that when I don't work them they stop showing muscle tone.
Look, there are some smaller muscle groups, like forearms and inner and outer thighs, that most people can bypass when working out because they get adequately hit when other body parts are worked. But abs? The midsection is the place people usually most want to see definition. If YOU want to see definition there, I'd advise you target them babies.
There is no place to see true fitness in the body like in the abdominals. IMHO, you can't see the results of strong abs without working them.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I've had a couple of different people who look at my workouts on Spark as me what "Calf 21's" are. I also call these "Calf 30's". I think calves are the most boring body part to work, so maybe this will give someone else a new spin on a way to work their calves.
You know how you can do a calf lift and put a variation on the move by turning your heels in or out? This has always stressed my knees. My first trainer, Ross, taught me to do this move to still work all areas of the calf but eliminate the potential knee pain. Here is how it's executed:
Start in the machine with a slightly light load selected. There are so many reps in this that you will burn out very quickly and be screaming in pain if you start out too heavy. First, put your feet about three inches apart and lift and lower your heels for 7 reps, leaning on the inside edges of the balls of your feet. Then separate them to about 12 inches apart and lift for 7 more reps with the weight evenly distributed across the ball of your foot. Then, maintaining the 12-inch spread between your feet, lean on the outside edges of the balls of your feet and lift for another 7 reps.
Next, jump off the machine and hop around the gym saying "Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!", like I do, until the pain in your calves goes away.
Repeat until you've had enough torture for one day. I usually do three sets.
I change the order I do the inside/flat/outside pressure on my feet, too. Muscles adapt very quickly and I like to keep 'em guessing.
For 30's, you do the same exercise, but 10 times for each position. This is usually done with lighter weight yet.
You can do this on any type calf press (standing, seated, on a leg press machine, or on a step holding a dumbbell).
Let me know what you think!
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