5 Reasons Women Should Lift Weights

Today’s post was inspired by some of the myths I’ve seen around the internet surrounding why women shouldn’t lift weights. There’s so much misinformation that isn’t based on science. It’s maddening sometimes. I thought I’d write a post about 5 reasons women should lift weights. Obviously there’s more than 5 reasons, and those reasons vary for each individual, but I thought I’d share the big ones for me.

 5 Reasons Women Should Lift Weights

Being stronger makes a difference in activities of daily lifting // Having that strength when you need it really come in handy. Activities of daily living are non-fitness related things that you do everyday. Whether it’s rearranging furniture, carrying groceries into the house, or picking up a toddler,  having that strength there when you need it makes a huge difference. You’ll notice that things will become easier to do.

It gives you confidence // Lifting heavy things gives you confidence. It makes you realize you’re able to do things that might seem big and scary. Going for my deadlift PR was definitely intimidating, but when I did it, I felt so good about myself. Especially when it comes to getting new PR’s, it gives you a tangible way of seeing all your workouts pay off. I was surprised at how much confidence I got from lifting. It was totally unexpected.

It WILL NOT make you bulky // There’s a persisting myth that if women lift heavy they’ll get bulky. That is absolutely not the case. Women just don’t have high enough levels of testosterone for their muscles to get that big. It’s just not physiologically possible. Of course there are people who will use unhealthy means (steroids) to get a particular look, but for the most part it’s not something that you should worry about. A fear of becoming too bulky shouldn’t stop you from getting into the squat rack.

Stress relief // A big part of lifting for me is blowing off steam. When I step into the squat rack all I’m focused on is the lift I’m doing. I’m not stressing about the big paper I have to finish or the event I have to do public speaking at. I’m one of those people who carries tension in my chest, shoulders, and neck. It’s nearly impossible for those areas to be tight and have good lifting form. By the time I’m done, those areas are usually feeling pretty good. The post-workout endorphin rush feels pretty good too.

The squat rack isn’t as intimidating as it looks // The squat rack can be a pretty intimidating thing if you’ve never been in one before. I know it was for me. Luckily once you’ve used it a few times it loses it’s intimidation factor. Ask a staff member at your gym to show you how to set up the squat rack. Have a friend who lifts? Workout together and get them to show you the basics. Or sign up for a few sessions with a personal trainer and get some ideas for workouts. Once you know how to adjust it and use it properly it won’t be nearly as scary.

For more fitness posts check out my fitness page.

Do you lift weights? What’s your favorite reason to lift?

Friday Favorites March 24 2017

Did anyone else’s week fly by like mine did? It feels like it should still be Tuesday. Time always seems to go by quicker close to the end of the semester. It’s hard to believe that I only have a week of classes left. As usual, today I’ll be sharing some of my Friday favorites.

 Thai Chicken Cashew Bowl

Thai chicken cashew bowl // I went out for dinner on Wednesday with my Dad. We ended up at a pub we’ve been to a few times before, and I ordered this amazing Thai chicken cashew noodle bowl. It was seriously delicious.

Business feedback // Monday night I was invited to share my business idea (online personal training) with a group of business students at my university. Since fitness is my thing (and not business) I was excited to hear what they had to think and any feedback they’d give me. Needless to say, they were amazing and had some really good ideas. I was definitely nervous going into it, but in the end I’m so glad I got out of my comfort zone and did it.

Finishing my internship // This week I officially finished my internship! While it was a lot of work to try to schedule with three other classes and work, it was totally worth it. I learned so much from three amazing trainers. My goal was to get all my hours done before finals. I managed to do that with a week to spare.

New Balance Cross Training Shoes

New shoes // Last week I happened to glace down at my shoes and I noticed something white on the side of them. I bent down to brush it off, only to realize that there was a hole in my shoe and the white thing was my sock. Needless to say I figured it was time to buy a new pair of shoes. I decided on another pair of New Balance ones since I liked my current pair so much. I ended up getting these (affiliate link), just in a different color combination.

Adapted Physical Activity Symposium // Yesterday I was able to volunteer at the Adapted Physical Activity Symposium. As a result I was able to sit in a few sessions. There are some amazing things happening in Calgary in terms of making fitness and physical activity accessible. I learned a lot, but I think the big thing that I’ll be taking away from it is that there’s still a lot of work to be done. The speakers and attendees were so passionate about the work that they do.

This post contains an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it! 

Why You Should Keep a Training Log

Happy Wednesday! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day so far. Mine has been busy. With work this morning and then internship this afternoon I’ve been on the go. The good news is that I only have one more hour of internship left. I have that scheduled for Friday morning. It’s going to feel so good to log that last hour and send it off to my prof. While I’ve learned a lot at internship, it’s been tough to try to schedule hours in on top of work and school.

Today I thought I’d share a bit about why you should keep a training log. As with any goals, it’s so important to be clear about what they are and how you’re going to achieve them (check out my post on SMART goals for more info on setting goals). For example, if you’re training for a 10 K, you’re not going to be spending five days a week lifting and only one day running. Below I’ve listed a few reasons to make sure you track workouts in a training log.

Why You Should Keep a Training Log

Motivation // I think we all hit fitness ruts once in awhile. One way to be consistent with your workouts, even when motivation is low is to have a look through previous workouts. Where have you made gains? Has your chest press increased by 15 pounds over the last year? Has your 5K time decreased by 2 minutes? This information (and motivation) will only be found in a training log. Knowing that your hard work is paying off can be hugely motivating, and get you to the gym even when you’re not really feeling it when you’re alarm goes off.

Schedule your workouts // Having a plan for gym always makes it easier to get there. If I’m not sure what I’m doing it’s easier for me to make excuses and not go. In addition, scheduling workouts means that I have a good balance of different kinds of workouts.

Goals // It’s tough to accomplish goals if they’re not written down and tracked. Knowing where you’re starting and where you want to go make it so much easier to actually get there. Seeing small improvements over time keep you motivated to continue working towards your goal. In addition, seeing your goals written down in your training log will keep them fresh in your mind. I think all of us have made a goal at some point, but because we didn’t remind ourselves of it on a daily basis we ended up forgetting about it.

Celebrate your successes // Achieving goals makes all the hard work it takes to achieve them worth it. Sharing a PR with your workout partner means so much more when they’ve seen the weeks and early morning workouts that you’ve put in to make it a reality.

It keeps you on track // Having your workouts planned out means that there’s a plan in place for your workouts. For example, if you’re training for a half marathon you want to make sure that you get in a good balance of tempo, hill, and long runs in. Writing it down ensures your workouts are balanced. I’m one of those people who can hardly remember what I had for dinner last night, so having a written record of the workouts that I did 3 weeks ago is so helpful to me.

Lastly, make your training log work for you. Maybe a notebook and a pen is just what you need to stay organized. Maybe an app that you can use on your phone is more your style. Whatever you decide on, make sure it’s convenient and easy to use.

Do you use a training log? Has it helped you achieve your goals? 

Lower Body HIIT Workout

I hope everyone had a good weekend, mine was pretty awesome.

Sweet Relief Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Cake

Friday night I headed over to my boyfriend’s place. It was our three year anniversary so I stopped by Sweet Relief, a little bakery we discovered together for a little something. They didn’t have a lot of selection left (St Patty’s Day + I got there 20 minutes before they closed), but when I saw this mini cake I knew it would be perfect. It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate cake and peanut butter icing. We spent the night in watching a movie on the couch.

Calgary Flames Health Training Camp

Saturday I spent the day volunteering at the Calgary Flames Health Training Camp. It was great to see so many people come out to learn more about healthy living and fitness. It was a lot of fun to connect with people and put my personal training skills to work.

Sunday was a pretty laid back day. I got some behind the scenes blogging stuff done in addition to writing this post. Order of the Phoenix, my favorite Harry Potter movie was on TV, so I watched that on and off throughout the day. The fight scene in in the Ministry of Magic is my absolute favorite.

And now onto today’s workout! I decided to put together a lower body HIIT workout. It’s on the shorter side of, but I can almost guarantee you’ll walk away from it a sweaty mess. Basically you perform each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest. At the end of the circuit rest as needed before going through the circuit another 2 or 3 more times.

 Lower Body HIIT Workout

Jump squats // Similar to a body weight squat, the downward squatting motion is the same. As you come up move quickly and then jump up, landing as gently as possible and going straight into another squat.

Alternating lunges // Similar to a backward lunge, if you’re stepping back with your left leg, instead of keeping it to the left of your right leg, you bring it to the right side, so that it crosses the right leg behind you.

Burpees // From a standing position crouch down with your hands in front of your feet on the floor. Jump your feet back behind you so you’re in a plank position. Jump your feet back in towards your hands and then jump up while clapping your hands above your head.

Body weight squats // With feet hip width apart and hands in front of you to help with balance, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees. Once you’ve reached the lowest position you can without leaning forward too much or letting the knees collapse in, return to a standing position, using your glutes to propel yourself. With feet hip width apart and hands in front of you to help with balance, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees. Once you’ve reached the lowest position you can without leaning forward too much or letting the knees collapse in, return to a standing position, using your glutes to propel yourself.

Mountain climbers // Start in a plank position. Jump one foot up as close to the hips as possible while bending at the knee and hip. Then jump that foot back while bringing the other foot up.  An easier modification is to use a chair to put your hands on.

Skaters // With your knees slightly bent, jump to the right and land on your right leg with your left leg bent behind you with your foot just off the ground. Keep your left foot off the ground. Pushing off with your right foot, jump to the left and land on your left foot, keeping your right leg bent and right foot off the ground behind you.

For more workouts check out my workouts page.

Check with a doctor before beginning to exercise. As always, remember to honor your body and modify as needed. 

What was the highlight of your weekend? Favorite lower body exercise?

45 Minute Workout Playlist

Happy Monday! I’m looking forward to this week because it’s supposed to warm up after all the snow and cold we had last week. I’m so ready for some spring weather around here. Speaking of spring, I’m so glad we now get an extra hour of sun in the evenings. It makes such a big difference, at least here in Calgary where the lack of sunlight can be a pretty big downer in the middle of the winter. The hour time difference always throws me off for a few days, but by the end of the week I’ll be back on schedule.

Today I’m sharing a 45 minute workout playlist. There’s definitely some older songs on this one (California Love, Shook, and Just Dance), but this playlist still gets me motivated during workouts. There’s just something about some songs that gets me going.

45 Minute Workout Playlist

A couple weeks ago I came across Shawn Desman on Spotify. He’s a Canadian artist who was big in the early 2000’s here in Canada. I’m not sure if he was ever popular in the US, but whenever i hear one of his songs I instantly think of going out with my university friends for a night of dancing. Isn’t it crazy how some songs can brings up memories? Outkast was also big around the same time, and whenever I hear Hey Ya it reminds me of one particular girls night out.

As far as Give It To Me goes, I like just about every Timbaland song I’ve heard, so it’s hard to go wrong with this one. For while every song Timbaland was involved it – even if he wasn’t performing it – was crazy popular. I guess he has the magic touch. I’m pretty sure I could create an entire playlist with just Timbaland songs on it and I’d be happy.

As usual, you can find all of my workout playlists here if you’re looking for some more music.

What’s your current favorite song?