One of my most frequently asked fitness questions, both online and in real life, is “what kind of workouts do you do?”. Well, I lift.
I do admit to doing a variety of other workouts: pole dance, boxing, walking, sprinting, HIIT circuits (High Intensity Interval Training), among other fitness classes that I like to try out, but when I go to the gym I usually do weightlifting. And yes, I would highly recommend it.
I love to lift weights for many reasons. Firstly, I’m training to be strong and feel powerful, to do amazing things with my body, and be proud of what I can achieve. And lifting weights gets me to those goals. And kind of on the same note, I want to get stronger to improve my abilities when I pole dance, and again weightlifting helps me do that best. And finally, I enjoy doing it. It’s my favourite kind of gym workout; I love the feeling while lifting, when I hit a new personal record, and I finally manage to up my weights or perform more reps than I ever have before! Also, I gotta say, I love growing my bum.
I really want to share this love affair I have with lifting weights with everyone! But sadly, weightlifting comes with a reputation, and not necessarily a good (or true) one.
So here I am going to answer some common questions, bust some myths, and tell you a little bit about why Weights are Wonderful – yep that is my new catchphrase! 😉
So won’t weights make me bulky?
Many women are so worried that, by picking up anything more than a 4kg weight, they are going to suddenly, almost accidentally, look like a man. Ummm…I hate to break it to you, but no WAY is that ever going to happen. First off, I don’t believe that any woman, no matter how muscular, ever looks many – but that’s another discussion all together. Regardless, if big muscles aren’t what you personally are going for, have no fear. Those bodybuilders with the huge muscles work DAMN hard, and eat a lot of food. Trust me, you have to actively be aiming and working towards building that kind of muscle. Normal weightlifting will not make you bulky, it will however make you look ‘toned’. Because being toned requires having muscles!
Well, the male-dominated weight rooms scare me…
I am the only woman in the weights room at my gym roughly 90% of the time. At first, I really noticed this fact, and was slightly intimidated by all the men in there. Now, I hardly notice them. I’m in my zone, I get on with my workout, and don’t pay attention to if the room is full of men, women, or aliens for all I care! Although they look big, hairy, and yes admittedly some of them smell (sorry guys…), most of them are actually pretty nice. They don’t judge you, in fact they probably are either completely unaware that you’re there, or checking out that booty you’ve built from all the lovely weights 😉 And I have actually found that if I am having trouble with a machine, or re-stacking weights, or that one time I rather embarrassingly dropped a rep on a bench press and couldn’t lift the barbell off my chest…they are more than willing to help you out. So don’t be scared of the weights room. You will feel like such a superwoman once you step in there.
You have to be super strong to weightlift, don’t you?
Yeahhhhh NO. You GET to be strong by weightlifting. When you start you’ll definitely not go in immediately deadlifting 100kgs and shoulder pressing 50kgs. I’ve been lifting for almost a year and I’m not even near that! You start with whatever weights you can manage for the amount of reps and sets you’ve planned to do. Whether that’s 5kg, 15kg, or more, you do you. You’ll soon get stronger!
Don’t I need to do a lot of cardio additionally to get my heart rate up and burn fat?
I keep a track of my heart rate throughout all my workouts using a fitness watch and a chest strap. During lifting, my average heart rate is 150bpm, and I often get up to 180bpm on compound lifts (aka. lifts that use a lot of muscles at once). When I do my steady state cardio, my HR rarely goes about 140bpm. So weightlifting DOES raise your heart rate. In terms of how much extra cardio you should do? It depends on your exact goals, but I personally don’t do a huge amount of cardio-specific training. If you are just worried about your heart getting a workout too, trust me lifting will take care of that. And also you CAN burn fat and get lean from lifting. Exercise is exercise, just because you have a weight in your hand (or on your shoulders) doesn’t suddenly stop your body’s metabolism working like it does otherwise.
Okay, so you’ve convinced me, weightlifting looks cool…but where do I even start?!
There are so many amazing programs on the internet you can follow to start off. When I first started weights I had no clue what I was doing, so I followed a program religiously for 6 weeks. Then I started to add in some random moves I’d spied on Instagram. And now I make up my own workouts, but I’m always looking for more inspiration! You’ll very quickly get a feel for some oldies-but-goodies when it comes to moves *cough* deadlifts and squats *cough*, and then more variety of exercises will follow.
I really hope this has helped with any doubts, questions or fears you guys may have had about weights, so that you too can Love Lifting! And if you have any more questions, feel free to comment, email, or get in touch via my other social media channels.
Happy lifting! Nina x