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!
I started doing the LiveFit Trainer program about 3 weeks ago (inspired by my biggest fitness role model, MC Barao, who did it herself). This includes lifting everyday and eating clean (cardio is added later on in the program). For me, this means basically eating food as whole and natural as possible and trying to choose lean protein over carb-y foods.
I made the mistake of believing that running and cutting back on my intake alone would help me lose body fat and keep it off. This CAN work, but imo building muscle by lifting is so much more effective (6 years of on-off cutting back on intake, plus running, never really stuck or worked–which is why I am here now). Building muscle speeds up your metabolism and will help you get rid of unhealthy fat (more on this in upcoming posts!)
So far I’ve been loving this program. It feels great to be making my body healthier and stronger everyday! The change may seem huge (and daunting) at first, but you’ll gradually get used to working out and eating more and more clean/healthy. In fact, your overall well-being will improve and you’ll learn to truly love and appreciate this lifestyle.
What I have in store for future posts!:
I’ve been hearing Tumblr-ers say that eating healthy is hard because whole foods and produce are expensive. This can be true, but it really really doesn’t have to be. I’m preparing a post on how and why eating healthier is not expensive at all and can be cheaper too!
Clean and DELICIOUS recipes (black bean & sweet potato patties, smoothies, and more!)
More GIFs on awesome, healthy foods
Why lifting/building muscle is superrr effective for losing weight BODY FAT and why girls really should not be deterred from it :)
Have more ideas? Feel free to leave suggestions in my Ask box :)
PS. Hello & thank you, new followers (and visiters!) Thanks for all your encouragement. I really love the health & fitness community on Tumblr. It’s so positive and motivational :)
Thank you <3: Short update! Thank you sooooo much everyone for the notes on my “Eat more…” gif collection T_T <3 I didn’t expect to get so many notes, but it really made my day and was so encouraging.
New “Protein” GIF post!: I noticed a lot of people asking why protein was wasn’t included among those GIFs. That post was just a collection of previous GIFs I has made. It wasn’t a suggested diet or anything. I just had not gotten around to making a protein one yet :) I totally agree that protein is important! Especially for me since I’ve been strength training so much lately (more about my current training/diet here). You guys really inspired me, so I made a “Eat more Protein” post here! :) I hope you find it helpful!
PS. new post on strength training (especially for girls) and what I think is the secret to very effective weight loss coming soon :)