First of all, men and women can do the same workouts perfectly fine (if you are worried about getting bulky, read the next question). If you want results from lifting, you should be lifting heavy (=challenging).
Using the machines at the gym can be good enough, especially for beginners, but in the long run you should strive towards learning free-weight, mainly compound movements (deadlifts, squats etc). Remember to learn the correct form before you start adding too much weight. If you need inspiration or instructions for exercises, see above.
Other helpful sites with good exercise-databases: Jefit, Bodybuilding.com and Exrx - Most have the option to sort exercises by bodypart, difficulty and equipment, and on bodybuilding.com you can also find training plans.
For my FAQ: Will lifting give me gross, bulky muscles?
When I say lifting, I mean frequent, progressive, heavy weight lifting.
Let’s get one thing clear: lifting has the potential to make you big, bulky and muscular - saying anything else is wrong. However, saying lifting will always make you huge is also wrong - it takes so much more work than you can imagine.
You can be a big, muscular woman and lift weights. You can be a skinny woman and lift weights. You can be a big, muscular man and lift weights - and you can be a skinny man and lift weights. There’s also no such thing as ‘bulky muscles’ vs 'lean muscles’ - it’s all muscle mass.
I also want to say that being bulky is not a bad thing. Do not shame people for having goals that’s different from yours. Do not shame people for not wanting to look the same way you do. Body shaming of any kind is not ok.
Here are some things you should know:
Muscles are more metabolically active than fat, so more muscle mass means you will burn more calories even at rest - so muscles will actually help you lose fat.
Doing the same exercise for the same number of reps with heavier weight uses more energy=more calories burned.
Lifting helps increase insulin sensitivity by upregulating the mechanism for glucose utilization allowing for higher carb tolerance after workouts
Men burn fat and build muscle faster due to their high testosterone level (women have the same amount of testosterone as a 10 year old boy) - so it will take a lot of hard work and dedication for a long time to actually get as big as the female bodybuilders you might have seen.
Female bodybuilders doesn’t accidentally build that much muscle. They train, eat, take supplements geared and work their asses of 24/7 specifically towards it for years (and some take steroids as well)
How you eat while lifting is what really determines whether you’ll get bigger.
No changes happens overnight! If you’re unhappy with how your body is changing, stop! Change up your diet, change your routine - stop lifting completely if that would make you feel better.
If you love lifting, do it! Contrary to popular belief, everything you do doesn’t have to be about looking a specific way. You can do things simply because you enjoy them! Isn’t that amazing?
For my faq: I want to lose weight, how do I get started?
Starting a weight loss journey: To some this will involve a complete lifestyle change, and that’s hard - focus on making the changes slowly, so you don’t get overwhelmed. Remember you are working on making a healthy lifestyle that you are able to follow for the rest of your life. This not about some quick fix that doesn’t really change anything.
There is so many things to say, I can’t possibly write them all here when it comes to weight loss, and it’s also important to know that everybody is different - so what works for somebody else might not work for you. By the end of this text I’ve put some links to various tags on my blog, because it’s impossible to mention everything there is to say about weight loss in one post.
Be honest to yourself about what you eat. I don’t support any kind of restrictive diets, I’m all about moderation. Moderation means no food is off limits - because it’s impossible (or wrong) to mark food as either healthy/clean or unhealthy. No food is inherently bad for you, and no single meal can ruin your progress. You should, however, base your intake around a variety nutrient rich food, so you get all the calories, carbs, protein, fat, fiber and micronutrients you need. To some people it can be helpful to write down what they eat, so they can see how well they’re actually eating. Counting calories and macros is not a good tool for everybody, but if you want to try it out, you can use the calculator in iifym.com to get and estimate of what you should be eating. If you have a tendency to obsess over numbers, ’intuitive eating’ is a better alternative.
Do proper weigh ins - and don’t use the scale as the only way to track your progress; mirror,measurements, pictures (but remember that lightning, posture, bloating, pumped muscle can change how you look drastically in a short time), how you feel, increased strength, endurance, flexibility and so on.
Weight loss:Losing muscle, fat and water. Causes decreased level of fitness, strength, poor performance, early ageing and reduced immunity.
Fat loss:Losing stored bodyfat. Causes improved fitness, greater strength, peak performance, delayed ageing and reduced risk of diseases.
Don’t focus to much on the number on the scale. Know that when you start training, you likely will end up gaining some muscle mass (Read: Does muscle weigh more than fat?).
Don’t use exercise as a punishment or see it as a chore. Find out what kind of workouts you enjoy - there is so many options, and there isn’t just one correct way to exercise. And it so much easier to keep working out in the long run if it’s something you enjoy. Sticking to a program is not only about discipline, it’s also about creating an optimal environment where you can reach your goals.
Cardio or lifting? Both. Cardio can help you create a calorie deficit, which is necessary to lose weight, while lifting helps you build or at least not lose muscle mass (and if you do supersets, lifting can also be considered cardio). Muscle is more metabolically active than fat; meaning you will burn more calories, even at rest. The single best workout for burning calories is a HIIT workout; but this kind of exercise is very demanding, and not for everyone.
Base your goals around behaviour, not outcome. Look at ‘I want to get down to a weight of 110lbs’ to 'I want to exercise 4 times a week’. You can control how often you exercise; you can’t control how much weight you lose (at least not in a healthy way). It’s mostly problematic to have a specific goal weight if you already are close to a healthy weight, because your weight does not reflect your bodycompositon), or simply because your GW is unrealistically low. The outcome of exercising more (along with eating healthy) is likely to lead to weight loss anyway, and having a fixed number in mind can be destructive if you tend to obsess over numbers.
Practice self love. Not only because you are wonderful and should feel good about yourself, but a study at the Technical University of Lisbon showed that women who were counseled to improve their body image lost a higher percentage of weight than those who weren’t. Weight loss won’t make your problems go away. You’ll still be the same person, just trapped inside a slightly different body.Tags: ’body image’, ’self love’
Find a support group. For most people, support is important for long term progress - losing weight can be hard (life can be hard), and sometimes you need a little encouragement. Tumblr can be an excellent place to find support, everybody doesn’t have a supportive family or friends.
The scale is used by many people who wants to lose or gain weight. The problem is, your weight can fluctuate quite a lot on a day-to-day basis - but it doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not you’re making progress.
Check out the blog post to see how much my weight fluctuated in a single and the 9 factors that can cause your weight to fluctuate.
April has come, and along with it comes the sun, blooming flowers and new opportunities. Although the start of a new month is just as good a time as any other to set goals and get back on track, there will always be something special about the first day of the month. It’s a clean slate, and you can put the defeats of the past behind you, and focus on your victories as you set out for more.
Read more about taking care of yourself when you’re down, refinding motivation and picking yourself up to kick April’s ass in this new blog post on fit-anne.com :)
Looking for a healthy dessert recipe? This is not the place to look. It might be a bad idea to kick off the ‘Cooking section’ of my blog with a dessert recipe like this one. But this one is so good, I simply must share it with you.