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Pursuing Conditioning: Top 5 Cardio Moves that Require no Equipment | In Pursuit of Balance

In one of my recent posts “Balancing Time: Better than Nothing”, I spoke briefly about how to set up a full body workout that you can perform at home with little to no equipment. In my post today, I want to expand on how to structure home workouts in order that to help teach you how to effectively pursue your fitness goals even if you’re not in a position to get to a gym. Machines are certainly convenient to use, but they are not necessary to get a thorough workout. When it comes to increasing strength and power, some equipment will be necessary, but for conditioning, all you need is your body and a plan!

Part of balancing your life, responsibilities and goals is being realistic about the 24 hours you have available every day and finding a way to pursue each of these practically. If you are pursuing fitness goals within the 24 hours that are available to you, that can sometime mean that you won’t be able to make it to a gym environment in which you have access to equipment. This can make it difficult sometimes to get a proper workout, but it’s not impossible! Although I am a big proponent of mental health and taking the necessary steps to rest and mentally recover from life and it’s demands, but I also firmly believe that each of us is responsible for ourselves and taking an honest account of how we are pursuing our goals for our lives. If fitness is one of your goals for your life, then you must take the initiative for yourself to take steps towards that everyday. You must be honest with yourself about the food you eat, the sleep you get, and the movement your body gets to do. If your goal is better mental health, you need to be honest about the steps you are taking towards that as well. Are you taking your meds, talking to the important people in your life, taking care of your body (seratonin and dopamine manufacture are linked to exercise and good nutrition), and sleeping enough? It applies to any goal you have for yourself. It’s important to be honest with yourself with the effort you are putting in to the steps you are taking towards your goals.

So how do you take steps towards fitness if you don’t have access to a gym? Below, I will outline my top 5 favorite conditioning movements along with their benefits and tips on proper form. At the bottom of the page, you will see a link to my Instagram page, where I have posted videos of proper form for each of these exercises. If you have questions or concerns about these exercises or need modifications for them, feel free to fill out the contact form and ask away! It may take me a day or two to get back with you, but I’m here to help!

Squat Jumps or Box Jumps

Box jumps would be a more advanced option and require something sturdy to jump onto. Something as simple as a step would suffice, though, especially if it’s your first time attempting to jump onto something that is raised. Squat jumps will be the easier of the two, although they are no less demanding. Anytime you are doing a lower body exercise, it’s important to focus on shifting your weight into your heels when you squat (or lunge) down. Doing this heel shift will help engage the proper muscles in your hips and glutes to give you the best strength and power for the movement. Very often, people tend to shift their weight into their toes, which puts extra strain on their knees and can disengage glutes completely. So, to protect your knees, back, and use the correct muscles for lower body movement, teach yourself to heel shift when doing squats and lunges.

Touchdown Squats

These can be a good beginner to intermediate exercise. They increase your heart rate, but can still be done in high volume without wearing you out quite as much as more advanced moves like burpees. You start with feet together, hop your feet out into a sumo squat, touch the ground, then hop your feet back together in the center! It sounds more complicated than it is, once you’ve got the hang of it. Touchdown squats are a great way to make regular squats more interesting!

Skaters

Skaters can be tough for people who have issues with knee pain or past knee injuries. However, if you do not suffer with knee pain, skaters done correctly can not only get your heart rate up for effective conditioning, they can also help to strengthen your knee stability and prevent future knee injuries. This can especially be helpful if you (or your kids) like to play sports that require quick directional changes, like soccer, basketball, and baseball. One thing to always be conscious with this exercise is to always focus on balance and stability every time you land. Every time you land, you should feel your foot, ankle, knee, and hip come to full stability before hopping back sideways. I recommend using targets to hop to side to side, like towels, cones, or the width of a yoga mat. Having targets helps with form as well as challenging yourself to hop the same distance every time!

Lunges or Jumping Lunges

Although lunges are considered to be a basic strengthening exercise, if they are performed in high volume sets, they can be very effective in spiking your heart rate up high. Add in some dumbbells, and you’ll be working on strength and conditioning simultaneously! Anytime you perform exercises that target one leg at a time, you will be engaging your adductors (or inner thigh muscles) whether you feel them or not, Their main function is to stabilize the hips and knee during single leg movements. So if muscle tone is on your list of goals, lunges can be a good option to incorporate regularly to achieve well rounded muscle development.

Burpees

The first thing you need to know about burpees is that they suck. They’re tough physically and they’re tough mentally to get through them when you’re fatigued. But anything worthwhile is never easy. When you break down the movement, it’s basically a push-up that turns into a jump squat. Burpees are great full body conditioning because they incorporate so many big muscle groups in the movement. They incorporate your chest, shoulders, and triceps every time you push up from the ground. They engage your core as you push up into a plank. And, of course, they work the tar out of your legs with that ending jump squat. Put it all together, and you have an exercise that will effectively get your heart rate up high and work on muscular strength and endurance.

Structuring Your Workout

Ok, you have a few different exercises to pick from, now it’s time to set up your workout for the day! I tend to get bored with doing the same things the same way over and over, so I try to be creative with my set-ups. Sometimes I’ll stick to consistent sets and reps. Sometimes I’ll add a few reps every round to make things interesting. Regardless of what I choose, I try to pick something that will keep me mentally engaged in what I’m doing, so that I avoid becoming robotic or automated with the work. For me, personally, becoming automated is a quick way for me to get bored, and therefore make it that much more difficult to stay motivated and challenged. Trying different sets and rep schemes can be helpful in keeping things interesting for you mentally as well as physically. Think about it terms of spices in cooking. If you use the same salt and pepper for every chicken recipe, things can get bland very quickly. Trying out or researching different combinations of spices can make even the most common dishes taste different and new! The same theory applies to working out. Try new approaches when one structure becomes stale or boring. Because there is never a reason to get bored with movement and exercise! Pick one or two conditioning exercises that I listed above. Next, pick a core exercise like a plank or crunches. Then set a timer for at least 20 minutes. Now you’re ready! Do each exercise for 20-30 repetitions each and see how many rounds you can do! Or start with 5 reps of each and then add 5 reps every round you get through.

That’s it! If you incorporate these into a daily workout routine, you’ll be able to get in a great workout anytime you’re stuck inside. If you have questions regarding these exercises I’ve listed, feel free to contact me using the form below!


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In Pursuit of Yourself || In Pursuit of Balance

“I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.” -Steven Jay Gould

In Pursuit of Nutrition Balance: Why am I eating AGAIN? || In the Pursuit of Balance

I’m sitting on the couch and constantly finding myself wondering what I can eat next…. Sound familiar to anyone else? Please tell me I’m not alone on this! I’m usually on the go and busy with work so now that I am at home looking for things to occupy my time with, I feel hungry all the time. Is it because my body needs more food? Hell no!


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Pursuing Mental Health: Meditation for People Who Get Distracted Easily

There’s a cliche image in my head whenever I hear the word “meditation” : it’s a perfect looking, perfectly zen looking woman sitting with perfect posture and meditating…perfectly. You know the one I’m talking about. She has a perfect body, a really nice yoga outfit, and lush hair that’s blowing ever so slightly in the theoretical breeze. This is the vision of what I feel like it should be. It has made me feel defeated before even attempting it. There’s no way I can reach my own expectation of what meditation should be.

I have a bad habit of being too all or nothing with most things, and meditation was no exception for me for a long time. What I didn’t realize was that half-assing some things is worth it. Mindful meditation is on of the things that is worth it for me to pursue, even if it’s imperfect. With all the things I try to preach about how consistently trying is more important than being perfect at things, you would think I would be better at taking my own advice when it comes to learning new things. But I’m a work in progress just like everyone else. And now, I’m here to tell you, you can be bad at meditation and still get the benefits from it. You can be bad at many things and still benefit from them, but we’ll just discuss meditation today.

I’m bad at meditation, I get distracted easily and frustrated when my dog decides he wants snuggles right at that moment. I always find myself thinking in tangents of things I could be doing instead or things I need to do later. I know I’m not alone in those things, but pursuing mindfulness meditation even though I’m not that great at it has become part of the journey for me. There are different types of meditation and techniques that go along with each type. Some methods might work better for different people or the situations they’re dealing with in life. I was always under the impression that there was only one correct way to meditate and that it required people to empty their minds completely and keep that completely empty mind to get any benefit from the practice. That doesn’t work for my ADD brain very well. The type of meditation I gravitate towards is not the absolute empty mind that I always thought that was required. Trying to empty my mind completely is very frustrating and I found that it didn’t really help me feel better or more centered. I can empty my mind for a few moments at a time, but I prefer using intent and visualization in meditation. I feel more centered with visualizing energy flow, focusing on each chakra, and setting my intent for each one as I go. I understand that there more advanced techniques involving mantras for each chakra, but that will have to come in a later post, because I’m just not on that level yet.

I recently read through the book, Advice Not Given, by Mark Epstein. He is a therapist who practices and promotes the practice of mindful meditation to his patients. He addresses the fundamentals of Buddhism, applies it to mental health, and explains how certain elements improved the internal and external lives some of his patients. It was a great resource for me to learn about the fundamentals of Buddhism and how they can apply to everyday life. It also shed light on how the practices of Buddhism could help me progress through healing certain aspects of my life from mental or emotional damage of the past. Similar to working out, sometimes acceptance of discomfort is the only way forward. Fighting the discomfort or trying to eliminate the discomfort won’t get you anywhere. In my meditation journey, fighting my rambling mind only served to frustrate me and make me feel like I was wasting my time. So I found a way to pursue meditation that I could actually manage.

Physical Health

There is a technique for meditation that can very helpful if I’m feeling tense or anxious. Progressive relaxation is a technique of meditation that can help ease bodily tension and reduce pain. All meditation starts with focusing on breath. With progressive relaxation, you start at one end of your body (typically with your toes) and contract the muscles in the area and then focus on relaxing them. You continue this process travelling up your body, ending with your face, and then lastly, your mind. Focusing on relaxing the thoughts in your mind, visualizing them melting away. The handful of times I’ve done yoga, the instructor has always ended the class with this practice and let me tell you, it’s divine. I’ll admit that I’ve totally fallen asleep at the end of a yoga session during this meditation style. It can be very relaxing.

Mental Health

I live with chronic depression and practicing this 20 minutes a day can be very helpful in managing my life. I have good days where I don’t feel like I need to meditate to manage, but I try to do it anyway, even if it’s just a few minutes. Like I said before, consistent half-assed attempts will be more valuable than no attempt at all. And so far, that has proven to be true. I find that with my consistent, half-assed attempts at mindful meditation, I can be more present and relaxed at work and at home. My job as a personal trainer involves a lot of interpersonal interaction, and sometimes it can be very intense and very draining. Almost every day, I try to steal a few minutes to go hide somewhere and meditate to help prevent me from being completely drained. Sometimes finding that time can be tough on full days. I haven’t gotten to the point where I can wake up 20 min early every day to meditate, but in the back of my mind, I know that it would help if I did that. So if you’re a morning person, beginning your day with pursuing your mental health with mindfulness meditation will absolutely improve the direction and feel of the rest of your day. If you’re more of a night owl like me, perhaps taking time before you go to bed to release any tension or stress from the day so that your sleep will be peaceful and restorative can be helpful. I’ll keep you posted on my attempts at waking up earlier than absolutely necessary….if they go at all.

Tools

Sometimes we can find things that can help us out on our pursuit of mental health. Music and soundproof headphones can be very helpful if small noises derail your brain. For me, meditation with crystals helps me focus, visualize, and flow with energy during my mediation. Having something actually tangible helps my mind channel the intangible. When I’m visualizing energy sometimes I’ll get flashes of inspiration for writing, projects, or people that I’m not even thinking about. But the tangible crystals help center my focus and give my energy a channel to flow through. It’s possible that I gravitate towards this because I’m a novice. I may find that with enough practice, I will be able to achieve the same level of focus without the tangible aids. But it’s also possible that I will continue using the crystals because their healing properties work well for me. Only time and continued attempts will tell.

If you can take one thing away from this post, it would be this: attempting meditating, even if they are imperfect attempts, will help you in your pursuit of balancing the chaos in life and finding a center of peace in your life. Consistently trying is better than putting it off until you can do it perfectly. But most of all, explore the different possibilities! It’s a big world and I promise that there is a technique and tool that can help you in your pursuit of your mindful balance.


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Top 5 Leg Exercises: Pursuing Leg Strength

Training legs can be a daunting workout, but because legs are the biggest muscle group in the body, a lower body workout can very effective in developing muscle, increasing performance, or weight loss. With as many machines that exist for working out, I find that some of the best lower body exercises just require your body and a barbell or dumbbells! A good warm-up is always necessary to keep your lower back and knees healthy. This can entail glute activation exercises, core work, and/or stretching. Once you’re warmed up, I always recommend working through the big compound movements first and then progressing onto the accessory work once your legs are already fatigued.  This approach will maximize your efforts for the big, dense muscle groups and reduce the stress on your joints during isolation exercises.

Sets and Reps

After warming up, there are a few different sets and rep schemes that you can incorporate to get stronger and gain muscle. A good foundation will always be 3 to 4 sets of 12. But as you get comfortable with that, you’ll need to progress to heavier weights. Start with one set of 15 at a manageable weight, then add weight and decrease your reps every set. Your last set may be so heavy that you can only manage 3-5 reps, and that’s good! The idea is to address muscle fiber endurance (with the first two sets at 12-15 reps) and then address pure strength of the muscle fibers in the second two sets (reps ranging between 3-8). Addressing muscle endurance and muscle fiber strength in your leg workouts will be tough, but the results are worth it. Whether you’re trying to achieve your next level of performance or a certain look, introducing these strategies into your workouts will help.

Squats

With squats, you should try to get as strong as you can! Whenever you squat, you want to shift your weight into your heels and keep your chest from falling forward. The stronger you get with squats, the stronger your back and core will get as well.  There are many different ways to squat: back squats, sumo squats, front squats, single leg, sissy, or hack squats, to name a few. Your goals might determine which squats are best for you, or your injuries/limitations may determine which one is best for you. I like doing CrossFit; so for me,  back squats, front squats, and single leg squats are best for me to focus on in my workouts. So whichever type you choose, it’s good to rotate through them with your workouts to avoid over training one movement. 

Deadlifts

280 lb for 2 touch and go reps!

Again, get as strong as you can with this! Keep your back straight, chest up, and drive your heels into the ground to pull. I could write whole articles about squats and deadlifts and cues for doing them correctly, but those are the basics of deadlifting. The deadlift is considered the most taxing exercise on your nervous and muscular system because of all the muscle groups involved. That’s what makes it so important to incorporate and get strong with it! Because you should approach the deadlift with getting strong and doing heavy sets, I wouldn’t recommend doing heavy deadlifts on the same day as heavy squats at first.

Lunges

I have a bittersweet relationship with lunges. They suck. Big time. But they work! They’ll get your heart rate up and they burn a lot of calories.  Aim for 90 degree angles for your front and back leg while keeping your weight on your back leg. Keeping your weight in your back leg reduces the stress on the knee of your forward leg. Lunges are best in high volume training, so endurance is the goal. You can do lunges weighted, but I would recommend a weight that allows you to get at least 20 lunges at a time. Some people’s knees don’t tolerate lunges very well, so they may need to be modified in order to do them pain free. I’ve trained people with knee replacements and hip replacements and every injury in between. If you’re cleared to workout, there are modifications to everything, and I promise you that your body is capable of more than you probably think. 

Romanian Deadlifts

This is considered an accessory exercise. That means you should do this after your big compound movements like squats and lunges.This exercise is great for isolating the hamstrings while still incorporating the glutes and core. I like to recommend that people do this exercise one leg at a time to reduce how much weight they need to get in good work. It’s important to keep good posture and to listen to your body as to whether this is a good exercise for you.

Leg Extensions

This is also considered an accessory exercise and should be done at the end of your workout. Leg extensions require a machine that can be found in almost every traditional gym setting. It’s not necessary for sports performance per se, but it’s very helpful in developing a well rounded muscle structure for legs.

Training legs doesn’t have to complicated to be effective. It won’t be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. If you’re interested in a more in depth training for legs, core, or upper body, check out my online training packages! My online training clients get access to in depth instructional videos and detailed workout routines.


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Meal Prep for the Lazy Cook: Balancing a Busy Life and Nutrition

OK, so the truth is, is that I’m not lazy. I’m just tired from a busy life. Trying to balance a full time job where I’m on my feet the majority of my day followed by kids, homework, working out, etc… My body has just had it by the end of the day and I don’t want to expend more energy on cooking. I want to sit down. I want to recharge because I know that before I blink, I’m going to wake up and do it all again. Sound familiar?

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard, if you’re interested in more information about healthy, clean eating, check out my post, Stop Dieting, where I talk about the all the basics. 

So how do I find the balance between recharging and making the time to cook healthy meals? To be honest, sometimes I don’t! I do my best, but sometimes life has a way of kicking my ass and I find myself serving mac n cheese for dinner…again. But I still have to try, right?  The best way I have found is to try to set myself up for success. When things go according to plan, I meal prep only on select days, and on those days I try to cook enough to last until the next day I know I’ll have the energy to cook again. I pick easy things that I can set to cook, then go sit on my keister until it’s done. Crock-Pot recipes are golden! Big batches of soups (bone broth soups are soo good for you)  are great too, especially in colder weather. My personal go-to’s are typically chicken (baked or sauteed with a little coconut oil) cooked with a few bell peppers and rice. I have red meat once or twice during the week to give my body a little extra fats and a different source of protein, but I usually stick with eggs, chicken/turkey, and an occasional protein shake for most of my day to day protein. If you subscribe to my blog, you’ll receive a free guide to clean eating!

I know that with my personal schedule, I’ll have the time and energy to meal prep on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, so that’s when I cook my meals for the week. Any other day of the week, I’m too rushed to get to work or busy with family stuff to cook healthy meals for when I’m at work. I know many people who choose to cook everything for the week on Sunday. Taking on the whole week in one go ended up being to overwhelming for me, so I adapted and did something different. It may take a while to work out what days and times work best for you, so I would advise trying to find the most realistic days you will be able to stick to. 

Meal prepping doesn’t just set you up for success with pursuing health, it helps out financially as well. Instead of paying $5-10 once or twice a day eating out, I can eat 4 times a day for about $10 total. So if finances are something you are pursuing as well, meal prepping just makes sense. It takes a little more effort and energy and trial and error, but in the long run, it pays off big time. 

Meal prepping is key on those busy days when fast food would otherwise be tempting. If you have a full meal waiting for you at home or in the fridge at work, it makes it significantly easier to stick to pursuing your nutritional goals. So if you can, take the time to cook while you have energy so you can recharge later, and not have to worry about sticking to your plan!



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Pursuit of Motivation

Tis the season to get in shape! Usually at the beginning of every year, countless people resolve to lose weight/get healthy/ improve their body. And, unfortunately, most of those people don’t follow through with pursuing their goals. Life can get in the way or, more often than not, they just get discouraged by their slow progress, or lack thereof. 

Curiosity can be a big motivator… Aren’t you curious what your body is really capable of?

I’ve been a personal trainer for almost 15 years, and though I am by no means am expert on motivation and sports psychology, through my experience, I have seen tendencies and trends with a lot of people in the arena of health and weight loss. What I’ve seen is that most people begin their health journey out of a negative relationship to their body–they don’t like their body, they don’t like how they look, and it makes them feel negatively about themselves. So they try to lose weight to feel better. Well, this is a very negative view on fitness–it seeks to subtract from your life (deprive yourself of food, reduce your weight, shrink your body, etc…) as opposed to adding to it. People use this negative mental state as motivation to change their body. But this motivation only lasts as long as they are in that unhealthy/negative headspace. As soon as they get in a healthier mental state, that motivation to improve their physical disappears. 

Then so begins a toxic cycle of self loathing, wanting to get healthy, getting healthy, and then losing the motivation to be healthy. It can be followed by physical regression, which results in self loathing, yet again. I’ve seen the cycle repeat itself over and over again in people and it gets them nowhere. If you are interested in a video where I speak about this very topic, motivation and fitness, you can check out this YouTube channel run by my good friend Misti. If you’re looking for videos on manifestation and positivity, definitely check out her videos!!  She is an incredibly inspiring individual who helps people every day bring positive thinking into their lives. 



I often hear people referring to working out as a punishment for the unhealthy food they ate over the weekend, or for being too busy to work out the week before. That can be a very negative frame of mind with which to approach exercise. Moving and weight training should be a positive journey, whether you’re trying to make yourself stronger, faster, or for more endurance. It should be a discovery of what your body is capable of accomplishing day in, and day out. I’m not a competitive powerlifter, but I can deadlift 315 (conventional, not sumo, for those keeping track), and I’m very intentional in never training, lifting, or eating healthy as a punishment to my body. I’ve gotten very strong out of celebration of my body and out of curiosity. I celebrate when my body can do a certain amount of work, and then I get curious…let’s see what else it can do? I’ve trained many women over the years and within a month I have them pushing and pulling weights that they never thought they would do. They became more capable than they imagined they would and it made all the hard work fun! With that, losing weight and losing inches came as a bonus!

It’s very easy to get caught up in the aesthetic aspects of working out, even for veterans in the gym. I think that social media is responsible for a lot of the pressure we face in recent days to look a certain way or maintain a certain lifestyle. There’s more pressure than ever to look perfect and look like you have your life together. But that’s not reality, is it? Perfection can never be attained. Using that for motivation is futile and only leads to an unhealthy view of yourself and others. The pressure that you put on yourself to look a certain way can be very toxic. There are a myriad of different body types, which makes it impossible for some people to achieve a certain look or shape in a physically healthy way. So before you start comparing your body to those Instagram models we all see every day, think about your genetics and see their unique potential. My body type will never allow me to look like any of the Kardashians, so it’s pointless for me to waste my energy trying. My natural genetics make me tend to gain body fat on my stomach, not my butt or my legs. Think Spongebob… So to achieve the narrow, six-pack-abs waistline with a huge bubble butt, would only lead me to failure. Big failure. But…My genetics allow me to get strong, and that’s what feels best for me to pursue. My body feels it’s best when I’m challenging my strength and performance because that’s what my body type lends itself to. So take a moment to see the potential in your own genetics. I guarantee that your potential is much greater than just how you look in a pair of leggings!

Instead of relying on a negative state of mind to find and maintain your motivation, look to add positive things to your life! Add strength and endurance. Add years to your life. Make a goal to walk/run races with your kids or your friends. Join a martial arts class. Check out a dance class for adults. Try crossfit or yoga. There are countless communities to get involved in and they have the potential to be an incredibly positive force in your life and your future health! So instead of hating your body, begin doing things to add to your life, because your body isn’t actually you, right? Your body is just the physical representation of you. Who you are has always been and always be fluid. Everyone grows and changes over time, and that’s a good thing. It only makes sense that your body will be a fluid representation of you as well. So adding positive things to your life will have a healthier impact on you and your body than a negative punishment. Positivity will take you further than negativity every time.


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Pursue Strength First and Cardio Later

We’ve all heard it….you have to do cardio to lose weight. You have to run to get in shape. Hit that elliptical and burn calories to shed inches. Right? What if I told you that that’s only partly true? 

Yes, cardio burns more calories for the duration of the activity than weight training, but when you’re done with cardio, the calorie burn stops. Weight training burns fewer calories for the duration, but the burn continues in the form of tissue replenishment, repair, muscle building, and muscle maintenance. 

Think about it in terms of a short term versus a long term investment. Yes, cardio will help you lose more weight in the immediate future. But, weight training consistently and building muscle tone is an investment in your weight loss for your long-term future. Lifting is an investment in your metabolism for the years to come. 

Muscle mass takes up less space than fat tissue (significantly less) and it takes more calories for your body to maintain it than fat tissue. So, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will use up just doing daily life. Don’t get me wrong–cardio is still hugely important and absolutely necessary for cardiac health as well as body fat loss. But weight training should be equally important in the process of becoming healthier and leaner. 

There is also a correlation to lifting heavy weights in building muscle and leaning out than keeping the weight light for high volume of reps. The heavier weight you use, the more muscle fibers, your body will recruit to do the work. Our bodies are built for survival and will use the path of least resistance to accomplish a task. That means, if it can get the job done while only using half of the muscle fibers in your muscle group, it will! Unless, that is, you give it a big enough challenge that requires more fibers helping out. That’s why those 3lb dumbbells need to go and you need to challenge the strength of your muscles, not just the endurance.

Typically, I like to recommend people 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions. This is actually considered low weight and high rep. What that means is, the weight should be light enough to be able to complete all 12 or 15 repetitions, but heavy enough to where more than 15 is impossible. So if you’re smoking those sets quickly without needing to rest, or if you’re able to do 17 or 20 reps, it’s too light to do you any good. Go grab those heavier weights!! I guarantee that it will be uncomfortable at first. And sometimes it can be intimidating to venture to heavier weights in the gym. But I also guarantee that magic happens when you’re outside your comfort zone!

Now, a lot of women are concerned with “bulking up” from lifting weights. And in the future I’ll probably address this issue in it’s own post. But, in short, because of our hormone profile, it’s actually extremely difficult for women to get that bulky look naturally. And by naturally, I mean without the help of legal and/or illegal supplements. Men are able to achieve a bulky muscular physique because of their testosterone. Now, women have trace amounts of testosterone naturally, but only a tiny fraction to what men produce daily. That’s why men are typically able to lose weight more easily than women. Testosterone boosts their metabolism, causing them to burn generally 1,000 more calories per day just existing. Because we only produce trace amounts of testosterone, lifting heavy will help our bodies utilize what is there more effectively and improve our bodies response to weight training as well as recovery. Besides, can you ever be too strong?

Increasing your strength will never reduce your femininity. You are a woman, you are feminine. Society likes to tell us what femininity is because they like to make money off of selling us their ideas. The ways in which corporations try to profit from selling women the belief that their bodies need to look a certain way is extensive. That being said, increasing your strength won’t necessarily increase your size if that’s a concern. There are female power-lifters that can dead lift over 500 pounds, and by looking at them, they just look like athletic women. Wearing normal clothes, you would never guess that they were 5 foot tall Amazon warriors that hold world records for weightlifting.

So lift that weight. Get as strong as you can. Get curious to see what your body is capable of! It will help you out with your everyday life, your health, and your journey to weight loss. If you’re wondering how to start an effective weight training program check out my post where I talk about the basics of a lower body program. If you have more questions, reach out!! There’s so much to do and so many solutions to roadblocks that you should never be bored with your training!


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