I know it’s tempting. I know the sweat makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. I know there is something to be said for the hanging-on-for-another-minute feeling. I know the mindless movement allows your brain to relax, to be creative, or to just do nothing, for a brief moment in your day.
But it’s all a lie.
Hours and hours of mindless walking or running, spinning in circles on the elliptical, climbing the stepmill, or rowing till you can’t push or pull any further…NONE of these repetitious activities will result in miraculous fat-melting, cellulite-reducing, or more importantly, body-changing results.
Think about the image you would like to see when you look in the mirror. Skinny and bony with loose, ripple-y skin? Or shapely, firm, smooth and sexy? I know the answer. And so do you.
Before you read any further, I want you to understand that you can have EITHER body I just described above.
IF you want the skinny and bony look that looks kinda freakish in summer clothes, or God forbid – a swimsuit…then I encourage you to get back on that treadmill, strap into the elliptical for the long-haul, climb ‘til you drop and row across the Pacific. Keep that up for a significant amount of time, and YES – YOU TOO can look like an emaciated runway model with absolutely no tone, no strength, no endurance, and no energy. And believe me, you will have that loose and ripple-y skin, too.
OR…you can step away from the cardio machines. Separate your mind from the myth that training will make you look bulky, masculine, or thick. Move to the OTHER part of the gym where the weights are racked and the bars are heavy. Scary. I know. But it’s worth it to get out of your comfort zone.
Here’s the thing: The body is an amazing, adaptable machine. It’s how we’re made. That said, all those hours you’ve logged doing ‘cardio’ will result in your body becoming very accustomed to the demands you are placing on it. All in the name of efficiency – because as soon as you do something just ONCE, your body is already figuring out how to do it more efficiently and with less effort than the time before. Once. That’s it!
Think about when you learned to ride a bike. You were successful because your body made the necessary adaptations to balance, to pedal, to steer…all at the same time, in a straight line. And then, what happened the first time you hit a rock, or pedaled into a little pile of gravel? You ended up toppled over with a scraped-up leg. Why did that happen? Because your body had never encountered that scenario before, and it didn’t know how to respond. But once that occurred, your body and your brain learned. It adapted. It figured out how to deal with that situation better the next time. Boom.
Sooooo… knowing this to be true…. WHY would you think that hours upon hours of the same activity is going to result in a different or shapelier physique? WHY would your body respond in a new way to the same activity over and over again? Newsflash! It won’t.
Enter: Weight training. Yes. I said it.
The beauty of weight training is that you can push yourself (and your body) to new challenges.
EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And when your body is constantly challenged to do new things, the result is change, growth, and shape.
Now before you interrupt me with your excuses – you don’t want to “get bulky” or have “huge muscles” or “be a bodybuilder” – just stop. First and foremost, it is very difficult to get big or bulky when lifting weights. It takes YEARS to build the big muscles you are envisioning right now! And women in particular - you will never be able to achieve the “bulky, monster look” without the help of steroids. So…as long as you steer clear of steroids, you will NOT get “bulky” just because you are hitting the weights.
The MUSCLE is critical to give your body SHAPE. When you have MUSCLE, and you are
conscientious about your nutrition, you will lower the percentage of body fat you carry, and the result will be smooth, curvy, sexy SHAPE….NOT skin-and-bones.
Here is another reality check: MANY people with outstanding physiques do LITTLE or NO cardio most of the year. Yes, you read that right. Why not? Because they know that the time they spend lifting heavy weight and challenging their bodies is going to result in creating the shape they desire – NOT endless cardio sessions. If anything, hours of cardio will actually REDUCE their hard-earned muscle! Yikes! No one wants that!
And if you needed another reason to lift heavy things up and then put them down, there is this:
We are ALL fighting aging. Every. Day.
And what happens as we age? Loss of muscle tone, coordination, strength, skin elasticity, and energy levels. Ugh.
So what happens when we consistently and regularly challenge our body to respond to
progressively increasing demands? It ADAPTS. It FIGHTS. It SURVIVES… making us stronger that day, and into the next day. And you IMPROVE your muscle tone, coordination, strength, skin elasticity and energy levels!! Wahoo!
There is a woman I see at the gym every morning, 4-5 days a week. She splits her time between the recumbent bike, the rower, and the elliptical…for an hour and a half! I have been watching her do this over and over for the last YEAR.
Now – please ask me – how much has her physique improved?
Her skin is still flabby. Her butt is still flat. Her arms are still toothpicks. Her love handles are still hanging on.
This is the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
PLEASE don’t be that person. Step away from the cardio machines. Buy yourself a session or two with an experienced personal trainer (I happen to know a great one!) if you are unsure about what to do in the weight room. Get your muscles working by lifting weights. DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE CHALLENGE!
Remember learning to ride a bike. It was a little scary… took a bit of time… gave you a few bruises. But YOU DID IT.
Make the commitment to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself and you will NOT be disappointed! Your body will respond in amazing ways. You will be stronger than you think. You will shape your body in ways you never imagined.
Walk with purpose into your gym, right past the treadmill and beyond those ellipticals…turn your cap around, set your jaw and hit the dumbbells.
I promise - you won’t be sorry.