Why Women Should Strength Train

There is an old adage that women should not lift weights because they will get big and bulky and manly.  So, let’s just scrap that idea now.

BW Lifter

A woman’s strength and muscular development are predetermined by hormones, physiology, and genetic make-up.  Generally speaking, women have about 1/10th of the amount of testosterone compared to men.  Because of the smaller amount of testosterone, the average woman does not have the ability to “bulk up” like her male counterparts.  In addition, women do not possess the same size muscle fibers or amount of lean tissue as men.  So, unless you are a professional bodybuilder – or have an overwhelming amount of testosterone (whether natuarally or by supplementing) – you are unlikely to turn into the Incredible Hulk

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s focus on the reasons why you should be lifting weights.

Boost Your Metabolism Naturally

Although cardio burns more calories than strength training (during the first 30-minutes of your session), lifting weights burns more calories overall.  When you build muscle by adding strength training into your life, your resting metabolic rate (your ability to burn calories and fat) also increases.

           = Muscle Growth And Fat Loss

Strength exercises increase lean body mass while decreasing fat stores. The greater your proportion of lean mass to fat mass, the more metabolically active your body becomes, providing an increased metabolic rate, fat oxidation, and energy consumption (which means you burn more calories and fat simply by carrying more muscle!).

oxygen

Via Oxygen

Structural Tolerance

Structural Tolerance (strengthening of tendons, ligaments, other connective tissue) will aide in the ability to sustain greater stresses in training, and greater resistance to injury. Ligaments, tendons, and cartilage hold your bones together. These joints are at risk of injury when they become unstable. Resistance training strengthens the connective tissue, resulting in improved joint integrity, stability, and injury prevention.

Bone Modeling (and “fighting” Osteoporosis)

Bone modeling (and remodeling*) is the process by which bone adapts to load by changing size and shape and removing weak or damaged bone tissue. (*Remodeling affects material properties such as microdamage, mineralization, and collagen cross-linking.) When muscles contract against bone, it creates stress that causes bones to strengthen against the contractions. The stronger your muscles get, the stronger your bones must become to handle muscle contractions. Bone modeling helps prevent fractures and reduces your chances of getting osteoporosis.

As women age, their levels of estrogen decrease.  We lose both bone and muscle mass.  In addition, as women age, we are prone to osteoporosis due to loss of estrogen.  However, resistance training can increase bone density. When bone feels the “pull” from the muscle contractions, bone growth is stimulated. Not only can strength training offset bone loss, it can actually cause an increase in bone density in women who regularly lift weights.
In addition to all of the benefits above, strength training can also provide improved mental health (as with any exercise, you’ll be happier and reduce your stress levels), better sleep, stronger (and more defined) body, a healthier heart, improved posture and balance, reduce diabetes risk, and longevity (that’s right!  Lifting weights can help you live longer!).
With all of this in mind, if you are not already implementing strength training into your regular exercise routine, you should consider doing so.  The benefits outweigh any negative aspects (whether there is truth to them or not).  So, just get out there and start.  You don’t need a lot of equipment or even a gym membership; improvise with what’s around you (laundry jugs, water bottles, cans, etc.) and go from there.
~FB
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Day 31 – Reflect

Day 31 – Reflect

Today is the final day of this 31-Day Health and Wellness Challenge and your goal today is to Reflect. Reflect on the last 31 days, the last year, the last decade. Think about what is working for you and what isn’t. Deep reflections can really empower us to gain self-awareness and to improve and become better humans. And who doesn’t want to be a better human? If there is something in your life that isn’t working for you – change it. If things are going great, keep it up. Reflect on your relationships and your accomplishments. At the end of the day, be proud of who you are. And smile.

Be the good.

~FB

Day 29 – Laugh and Inspire

Day 29 – Laugh and Inspire

laugh

This is one of my favorite photos because it’s so honest….we were caught up in the moment and having a great laugh.  I look like a dork but it is also utterly lovely.

Did you know that Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Inspiration starts with you. Lead by example. Cultivate and express the inspiration within yourself first, and it becomes infectious. Just like laughter.

Today, don’t be afraid to laugh. Out loud! In addition, do something good and inspire others to follow suit. Whether it’s signing up for a course or paying someone a compliment – both are big gestures and neither is more important than the other. Smile when you’re working down the street, laugh at yourself when you trip, throw some change in the charity bucket.

~LOL

Day 27 – Combine My Workouts

Day 27 – Combine My Workouts

Today you’re challenge is to combine all the little exercises I’ve given you over the last 27 days:

1. Plank (30 – 60 seconds) x 3
2. Get some steps. It’s a gorgeous day so get out for a walk/run/hike
3. Do the Body Weight Workout from Day 14 (do it twice)
4. Do 50 Push-ups (x1 or x2)
5. Squat. Find the perfect song and squat til you drop. (Well, not really drop.)

You can always find a workout somewhere. #everydayistrainingday

~FB

Day 25 – Listen to a Podcast

Day 25 – Listen to a Podcast (or betterment program).

podcast

Podcasts seem to be all the rage these days.  They’re easy listening, easy to find, and the topics are seemingly endless.  So for the days when you don’t feel like reading, toss the book aside and search out a podcast that will be good for your mental health and your soul.

Check out “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations” or “Happier With Gretchen Rubin” for a little inspo and enlightenment.

oprah

Via OWN

If you’re still not quite convinced, here are 5 reasons to listen to a podcast today:

(Via HuffPost)

  1. Get inspired! What inspires you? Are you intrigued and interested in new ideas and expanding your horizons? What are you passionate about?  Chances are you will find a podcast that will truly inspire you. Check out TED radio hour http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510298/ted-radio-hour Hosted by Guy Raz, each show is centered on a common theme – such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, the meaning of work, or inexplicable connections. Guy takes TED talks on the subject of the episode and shares conversations, interviews and explanations that bring the ideas to life. Other recommendations: TED Talks http://blog.ted.com/audio_podcasts/ NPR Fresh Air http://www.npr.org/podcasts/381444908/fresh-air
  2. Stay educated and informed Learn new things in your areas of interest or hobbies.  Check out a business or marketing podcast.  Learn a new language.  The possibilities are almost endless. The Daily – from New York Times https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-daily/id1200361736?mt=2 Social Media Marketing Podcast & Social Media Marketing Talk Show:  http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/podcasts/ Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield: http://www.amyporterfield.com/category/podcast/
  3. Personal and Professional Growth Do you want to work on your own personal development? How about learning more about your career or profession or listening to experts in your field? Check out: Super Agents Livehttp://www.superagentslive.com/   Interviews with real estate agents and industry experts 20 Best Real Estate Podcasts https://placester.com/real-estate-marketing-academy/20-best-real-estate-podcasts-2015/ 20 Excellent Podcasts for Any Marketer http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/20-excellent-podcasts-for-any-marketer/ Self-Improvement Podcasts https://player.fm/featured/self-improvementAchieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod: Success | Productivity | Personal Development | Lifestyle | Business https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/achieve-your-goals-hal-elrod/id820889267?mt=2 The Productivity Show | Getting Things Done (GTD) | Time Management | Evernote https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/productivity-show-getting/id955075042?mt=2
  4. To Escape! Discover great podcasts for the pure entertainment value and as a way to focus on something different than what you deal with daily. Many news and politics TV, radio shows, comedians, and celebrities have podcasts. 15 Podcasts That Will Leave You Pondering Life’s Big Questionshttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/08/top-mindful-podcasts_n_6423426.html Are you into great story-telling? Check out these popular series: This American Life – gives listeners touching, humorous and often unexpected vignettes of life in America. Serial – for true crime fans Need more comedy or celebrities in your life, try: The Nerdist – hosts talk about all things nerdy, including comics, video games and TV shows http://nerdist.com/podcasts/nerdist-podcast-channel/ WTF with Marc Maron – features interviews with comedians, as well as others in the entertainment and radio communities. http://www.wtfpod.com/
  5. Optimize Your Time Listen to podcasts while walking, driving, commuting, or working out. I find that I really enjoy my commute from Las Vegas to Southern California when I listen to my favorite podcasts. I get inspired, educated or entertained which makes a 4 to 5-hour drive literally fly by!
Happy Listening.
~FB

Day 24 – Drop It Like a Squat

Day 24 – Drop it like a Squat

Pick a song and squat to the whole thing. (I like Take on Me by Aha, or Footloose – both great squatting songs.) Have fun.

squat

Remember to keep the weight in your heels, butt sicks back, keep knees in line with your toes, keep your shoulders lifted (you may tilt slightly). Just think of it as sitting down – without the chair.

squat-infographic.png

~FB

Day 23 – Spread Some Cheer

Day 23 – Spread Some Cheer
Smile. Say hello to those you pass. Giggle and keep it going. Leave a positive note somewhere.
 
My co-worker left me this little guy on my desk years ago…she said he reminded her of me because of the big blue eyes. It still sits on my desk and every time I look at it it makes me laugh. Little things DO count.
blue eyes
Aside from helping others have a better day, spreading cheer around is also great for your soul.  Psychologists call it “Helper’s High”.  Our brains actually release feel-good chemicals when we help someone, leading us to do more of the same.
Cheer.  Spread it.
~FB

Day 22 – Do My Abs Workout

Day 22 – Do My Abs Workout

We all have abdominal muscles.  Sometimes, we just need a little help “finding” them.  To help you get started with defining your abs, do my workout below:

30 Seconds High Knees / 30 Seconds Scissor Runs / 30 Seconds Crunches / 30 Seconds Bicycles / 30 Seconds High Plank / 30 Plank Jacks / 30 Seconds Leg Lifts (on your back) / 30 Seconds Leg Flutters / 30 Seconds Dead Bug >> Do this short workout (at least) twice. :0)

ab-workout-meme

Tip:

Don’t forget to train the rest of your body. The more muscle mass you have the higher your metabolic rate, even while you’re at rest. Do two to three full-body strength training sessions each week, making sure to take a rest day in between.

You don’t need to rest your abs, however. Because they don’t fatigue as easily, it’s OK to train your abs every day; so aiming for three to five ab-training sessions weekly is just fine.

Cheers.

Day 21- Get Social

Day 21 – Get Social

Lunch with friends, hit up a local pub or cafe for a Games Night, go to a class. The winter can be the most depressing time of year, so stay a step ahead and socialize with friends or family or strangers (make new friends!). Laugh and cohort.

Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. Research has shown that one sure way of improving your mood is to work on building social connections. You may even lower your risk of dementia

In addition, communicating with people face-to-face can help to make us more resilient to stress factors in the long run.

So don’t hesitate…make a plan, grab some friends, and get out (or stay in – together) and have some fun.

SOCIABLE!

~FB

Day 18 – Stay Positive

Day 18 – Stay Positive

Hand lettered text. 3d Stay Positive. Inspirational poster. Design element for print, clothing design.

Positive Thinking (and speaking and acting) can improve your mental, physical, and emotional health and wellness. Positive emotions have been linked with better health, longer life, and greater well-being in numerous scientific studies. On the other hand, chronic anger, worry, and hostility increase the risk of developing heart disease, as people react to these feelings with raised blood pressure and stiffening of blood vessels.

Here are a few tips on staying positive:

Write in a gratitude journal every day.  Make sure to be specific!  A number of studies have found gratitude to be linked with positive emotions, and overall well-being, and life satisfaction.

Listen to happy-sounding music.  Research has shown that music activates the region of the brain that releases the feel good chemical dopamine and also relaxes the body.  So “happy” music can in fact make you feel happier!  Seriously….who can listen to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams or “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift and not just feel like you want to dance and smile.

Share positivity by sending one thank-you email or doing one kind act every day. There are several studies that show that acts of kindness can boost happiness, reduce depression, and even help you live longer.

Challenge your negative thinking.  Ask yourself, “Is there another more positive way I could view this?”  Studies have shown that being able to think optimistically is good for your health and well-being.

Optimists are also better problem solvers and better at accepting bad situations.

Smile.  It might sound simplistic, but research has shown that it actually helps you feel happier.  Feedback sent to the brain from facial muscles can actually impact the development of emotions and the effect is even stronger if you combine the smile with a positive thought.  So smile!

Follow your passion.  Do something you feel excited about.  Volunteer for a cause you believe in or sign up for a class to learn something new.  Several studies have shown that people who feel a sense of meaning in their life are healthier, live longer, and have greater life satisfaction.

You don’t have to let bad news and negativity ruin your day.  You have a choice about where you focus your attention and how you choose to respond to any situation.  Try incorporating these tips into your life and I’m confident you’ll see how the positives outweigh the negatives.

~FB