Strength training: I’ve been really wanting to make a post to encourage girls do lift or do more strength training versus cardio all the time. Cardio is great because it helps burn fat and calories. But it’s important to build up your muscles first so your body isn’t also burning the muscle for energy during cardio workouts. Having muscle alone requires more calories to maintain, so you’ll burn more energy just by being alive. If you build up muscle first, you’ll burn more unhealthy fat faster. Running alone can’t do this for you. You’ll build muscle if you run everyday, but you can build the same amount of muscle lifting heavy weights as you would running or lifting small weights (and doing many reps) over long periods of time.
Lifting weights (like heavy lifting) will NOT make you bulk up. I know I used to hear this all the time, but I never really believed it or wanted to do it. But girls do not have the hormones to bulk up and become “manly” as men do. The intensely “bulky” women you see are probably that way because they take extra supplements to become bigger…otherwise it’s just genetically impossible. It took real girls, real inspiration for me to realize that strength training is the most effective way to reach that toned, lean body many of us are after.
Real girls, Real Inspiration: The girls in the picture above are inspirations to me because they’re not just “skinny,” they’re fit and lean too. From left to right they are: MC Barao (check out her tumblr, Now Watch Me Work! She’s very sweet and answers questions), Savannah Rose Neveux (Check out her tumblr, Muffin Top-less), and Marisa Miller (great example of a model who’s not unreasonably thin, but fit and toned).
My experience: After six years of running (I used to do cross country for 4 years), I still gained a lot of weight (ie. body fat). I tried COUNTLESS times to to run and restrict my diet, but all that did was gain even more body fat, after I couldn’t keep up (it’s too hard to force your body into that kind of unhealthy lifestyle. It just naturally rebels), and let my muscle get used up for energy. My body fat proportion grew significantly while my muscles became weaker. It took me a while to say, “After all these years of trying restriction and cardio, nothing has changed. Obviously I’m not doing something right."
The biggest realizations I made were that 1. building and maintaining muscle and 2. eating CLEAN (I swear it’s not how much you eat, but rather what you eat) make the hugest differences. Not only will you lose body fat, but you’ll feel healthier–which is why it’s so much easier to stick to for a long time. This is the longest I’ve ever stuck to any kind of "diet” or weight loss strategy. Mainly because I feel great when I’m doing it. I’m also already seeing results after just a few weeks. I’m getting stronger, building visible muscle, and am less “squishy."
TL;DR - 1. EAT CLEAN 2. Lift weights/build muscle 2. Cardio AFTER you’ve built muscle = HEALTHY, LONG-LASTING LIFESTYLE :)
This isn’t supposed to be a scientific article or anything. This is just me rambling from my own experiences. But if you want support or have questions about my experiences, feel free to message me. I’m no expert, but I’d love to do whatever I can to encourage others to make healthier choices :)
I’m starting a series of easy recipes–fast, inexpensive (“cheap” even), easy to put together, and CLEAN! These are recipes I use myself. I’m a poor college student who has no options really except to pull together my resources and find cheap, creative ways of eating healthy. Soo, here goes! (all photos unless stated otherwise are mine)
This is a simple yogurt recipe (if you can even really call it a “recipe”)
Fruit (I used strawberries and blueberries) - Fiber and nutrients; plus it makes your bowl look pretty! ;)
Non-fat Greek yogurt (I like Fage) - great source of protein
Almonds (crushed with mortar and pestle; unnecessary though. You can eat them whole, or leave them out entirely) - healthy fats and protein
I’ve become a fan of mixing chopped/mashed bananas into my yogurt. Delicious!