How many of you have had the thought, if I could just get to “X” lbs on the scale I would be happy?! I know that I have. Especially as a mother. As someone who has gained and then worked on losing the baby weight, three times, it is a struggle!! We can become so focus on our goal number that we forget what we really want from it. You may associate that magical number with being trim and thin, being back to a body you had in the past, a feeling of strength, or being content and confident in your appearance. But I have to tell you, you are focusing on the wrong thing! Weight isn’t everything; nor is it what is going to get you that magical result that you want by hitting a specific number. Take the number out of the association you have with confidence, happiness and (I can’t believe I’m going to say this) with your health; and your weight is only a piece of the puzzle.
When it comes to your health, and in regards to your confidence and happiness, most people simply need to have an appreciation and respect for their body to feel those things. But most of us tend to believe that allusive number on the scale is our end all be all goal. I’ve hit my goal = I have succeeded, OR I haven’t hit my goal = I have failed. Putting your main focus on hitting a specific number can lead to negative feelings of motivation. Negative motivation and feelings towards your body are counterproductive in achieving what most of us ultimately want. A healthy, toned body we can be proud of and feel good about!
I was recently doing a workout when the trainer, Chalene Johnson, talked about the benefits of weight training. She said, “Many people feel their metabolism slows as they age simply because they are getting older. But really it is a lack of muscles that fuels your metabolism that has changed.” So many people, many women, think that lifting weights is going to bulk you up and make you look masculine.
It’s so sad, and frustrating, because many of the women who think are the women who want to have toned arms, a trimmed sleek stomach and lean legs; and that will NEVER be achieved spending hours on an elliptical or cardio alone. It is achieved by working those muscles and converting the fat, and lack of muscle in those areas, to toned lean muscle!
I can tell you from experience that I have been a cardio queen in the past. I trained and ran my first half marathon after I had my second child. I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I still felt my core and arms were lacking strength, definition and firmness! Cardio, during the actual exercise, does typically burn more calories, but it doesn’t challenge your body in a way that requires a large amount of muscle rebuilding and growth. That is what will boost your metabolism and that is what will give you a toned body.
Check out these images showing the difference in size between 5 pounds of fat vs. 5 pounds of muscle.
You’ve probably heard that muscles weights more than fat. Well, weight is weight, BUT the difference is the space they take up. Someone once explained it to me saying, imagine a bag of popcorn. Popped the popcorn takes up a lot of space. That is like fat. Before its popped, in the small hard kernel state, that is similar to muscle. The weight may be the same but they are very different in size.
Check out this before and after images. The lady on the left has lost no weight at all, but has clearly decreased in size and gained a lot of definition. And the woman on the right gained 14 pounds. 14 POUNDS GAINED to achieve a stronger, slimmer build. This should help you see that the number on the scale doesn’t always reflect what image we imagine. Had these ladies only used the scale as a reference for success they may have quit and become discouraged because they weren’t “seeing results!!” It takes a healthy diet and a cardio/strength exercise program to achieve the body most of us would really like!!
What should our goal or focus be then?!? Our goals should be to focus on what actions we need to take in order to achieve a healthy, well fueled and worked body. Start by making one small change at a time. If you don’t workout at all, make a goal to be active 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes. If you’re a moderately active person now, try adding in 1-2 extra workouts a week, increasing the intensity and making sure you include strength training exercises.
In order to determine your success FIRST consider how you are feeling? You will likely find you have more energy and feel better about how you look because you are working your body. Track and use your body composition as your analysis for success. Take your measurements, and before photos, and use those as a benchmark for progress. This will give you a well rounded analysis of your changes.
If you don’t currently have a workout plan (that includes strength training of some sort) and a healthy meal plan, here are some resources and exercises you can try out.
A few exercises that you can add into your weekly routine, or use to start a weekly strength training routine are, Push-ups, Bicycle Crunches, Squats, Burpees and planks (if you’re not sure how to do any of these exercises you can search YouTube for a quick demonstration video or refer to the image below).
All of these exercises work multiple muscles and will help to strengthen the arms, shoulders, back, core, glutes, legs and offer some heart pumping cardio benefits. Try doing 3 sets of 10, three times a week, and build up from there.
In order to track your diet I recommend using a Free app or website; https://www.loseit.com/ and https://www.myfitnesspal.com/ are both great options. They will take into account your height and weight to determine your calories needed daily and you can add in any exercise to determine your calorie burn.
It’s not easy to make changes or make the time, but it is possible for everyone to live a healthier and more active lifestyle! Focus on your actions and everything else will fall into place!
Until next time……Thea 🙂
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If you are interested in fitness program options feel free to visit my Beachbody page at; www.teambeachbody.com/theasinclair.