Anyone who follows me on Instagram (@FiercelyRealGram) or on my Facebook, knows that I enjoy lifting and very rarely will you catch me posting videos hitting some cardio! You see, I used to be a cardio bunny and I did get very skinny, but truth is I hate running. I hate running, I hate jumping, I hate sweating and I certainly hate being out of breath! 95% of the time, if you meet me in the gym, I’ll probably be on the Smith Machine or by the dumbbells. I used to love being skinny, I was practically starving myself and working out hard in a fasted state. I’ve come to find that with lifting, i’ve maintained my curves and l e a n e d out and the best part is I’ve been eating more, much much more.
This post is for every lady that has thought lifting weights will make them look like a man, for every lady that goes to the gym and spends 30 minutes on the treadmill followed by 30 minutes on the cross-trainer and 20 minutes on the rowing machine
for good measure!
Before you read any further, it’s time to acknowledge a few things…
- You’ve probably been running/jogging/rowing (and everything else) for a long time yet you’re not getting the body you want. Right? It’s time to accept that your workout routine is not working for you…
- Recognise that a change in your routine is not going to be easy but it is all mental I promise, just embrace it! You’ve probably grown used to doing the same thing week in-week out but it’s time for you to break that habit.
- Please accept that lifting weights will not make you bulky or look any less of a woman than you do today! Let that silly assumption go!
- No more getting on the weighing scales (or sad-step) every week!!!!!!!
- Cut down on the cardio and start increasing the weight lifting days. It is better to ease out than go cold turkey!
- Accept that all things fitness and weight take time! Change your mindset, you have to focus on progression as opposed to quick results and perfection.
So I found this 12-week workout program (courtesy of simply shredded) and I was itching to try it. I’ve never committed to strength training but as of the beginning of April, I decided I wanted to start. The aim of the program is to decrease the number of reps you complete and increase the load you lift as you progress; ideally every 4 weeks. So the number of sets stay the same but the rep range changes.
Up until today, I still use this program but I’ve added things like HIIT, a few supersets I found on Instagram and resistance machines to mix up my workout. So to start, I wasn’t as strict with the days, I just made sure I did 4 days within a 7 day period; with 2 consecutive days off. One thing I was strict with was form! Form over everything! I refused to increase the weight unless my form was near enough perfect. One mistake I made in the past when lifting, was attempting to lift heavier and heavier loads but never truly focusing on correcting and perfecting my form.
My aim in the gym has always been strength and agility, the shift towards of weight loss and toning will always follow naturally. For the first 4 weeks I was lifting in the 8-12 rep range; which meant I should be able to complete at least 8 reps but no more than 12. If I couldn’t complete 8 reps then the load was too heavy and I decreased the weight, and if I could complete more than 12 then it was too light and I increased the weight.
So how is it going 8 weeks since I began? Pretty well actually. I’ve put on 3kg (6.6lbs) but my body fat percentage as of May 23rd 2016 is 18.5%. [This article touches on body fat better than I can.] I’ve started feeling muscle definition on my arms, legs, abs and back. There is still fat to pinch but generally, I feel stronger and much less wobbly… even though i’m still pretty heavy! Lifting weights requires you to eat, your body craves food after a hard session but I have to admit, I have not been eating the cleanest.
My current fitness goal is to focus on my diet and commit to 1-2 days of cardio after lifting sessions.
Will check in soon! (and will definitely be taking pictures)!