I used to be the girl that thought if I picked up weights in the gym, I would gain weight and become bulky. For the longest time I stuck to the treadmill and elliptical machines to lose weight and get my daily cardio in. Once I got engaged in 2013, it was time to start “sweating for the wedding” and, with the help of my fiancé, I began to familiarize myself with all of the other machines in our gym. I started to google techniques and read workout blogs. Then I started to follow fitness themed Instagram accounts and searched for new things on Pinterest like “how to do kettlebell exercises”.
For a few weeks after that I strictly did weight lifting activities in the gym; really throwing myself into toning, strengthening and discovering all the different muscle groups to isolate. After about 6-8 weeks, I was feeling really good. I never increased my weights too much, concentrating mostly on finishing high reps with lower weights to make sure I had the proper form and technique down so as not to injure myself.
I went out on my first run after 2 months and I was amazed. Everything felt tighter! There was less jiggle in my legs and my glutes, my steps felt stronger and I was even running faster! I felt more fluid and lighter on my feet. After that run, I was completely hooked. Now, my routine consists of running 3-4 days per week with 2-3 lift days (sometimes doing both in one day) and 1 rest day. Below are 3 reasons why I feel it is such a great idea to incorporate some weight training into your routine:
Number 1 – It helps you prevent injuries! Think about it; your muscles will be stronger; therefore they can handle more strenuous exercises because are used to being worked. Strength training is not the same motion over and over; it allows your body to wake up other areas and increases the stability of your joints.
Number 2 – It allows you to mix up your routine. Have you ever felt like you have plateaued in running or weight loss? That’s because your body learns your routines and eventually, your efforts will be minimalized. Each time you run 6 miles, it will get a bit easier until eventually it requires very little effort. Lifting weights and strength training allows you to toss something new into the routine, wake up your muscles and keep you on your toes.
Number 3 – Muscle burns more calories than fat. It’s true, people! Replacing your fat with muscles, even little baby muscles, will increase your daily caloric burn to help you achieve whatever goals you may have.
I hope sharing some of my story and my experiences have helped and encouraged you to try out weight training as well. Please feel free to comment with questions, feedback or suggestions for new topics!