Lifting weights will not make you bulky.
It drives me NUTS when I hear women say they don’t want to lift because they are scared they’ll get bulky or look “manly.” Women don’t have the hormone levels men do, so it’s just not possible to gain like a dude. It takes a TON of work to significantly grow muscle. I should know.
It is especially important for women to have a strength training program.
A few of the benefits include:
- Body Fat Reduction – As you increase lean muscle, so does resting metabolism. This means that you burn more calories all day long. Studies have shown that for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35-50 more calories each day. That’s as much as 18,250 calories in a year!
- Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis and Heart Disease – Women are at an especially high risk of suffering from this disease. Weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density, and – combined with adequate calcium – can be one of the best defenses against osteoporosis. Cardio is important in heart health; however, lifting can help to lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, increase “good” (HDL) cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.
- Improved Athletic Performance – Research continually proves that strength training improves athletic ability. It enables you to increase endurance, improve technique, and decrease the risk of injury.
- Improved Mood and Fights Depression – A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did! Strength training often helps women feel more confident and capable, both important factors in fighting depression.
- Physical Strength – This may sound obvious, but strength training is important for daily activities – chores, chasing after kids, carrying groceries… basic, daily tasks will be much easier. And how nice is it to be able to open ajar unassisted?
Strength training isn’t the only factor though. I’m trying my best to gain as much as possible before my November competition. Just as important as lifting is diet. Healthy fats, complex carbs, and a lot of protein are key to gaining mass. As much as I’m taking in, I’m still not She-ra…. but I am making gains!
A few people have asked for progress pics. I wish I’d done a better job to tracking and taking pics from the same angles, but here’s the best bicep progress pic I have:
Still a long way to go, but I think there are some changes!
Speaking of strength training (nice transition, right?), this fall’s What I Ate Wednesday theme: “Fall Into Good Habits.”
I probably bore you all with my morning cocktail, but this day started out like every other day with a mix of Apple Cider Vinegar, Glutamine and Fitmixer Aminos… with some kombucha and water. This week I had a lavender-rosemary homebrew to mix in. Good for the digestion, skin, and overall energy!
30 mins later I noshed on a random concoction:
A Morningstar veggie sausage scrambled with egg whites and topped with cilantro, 1/2 a grapefruit, and a slice of Ezekial bread with sugar-free strawberry jam. Not super creative, but it was the jam on this rainy morning.
If it’s going to rain, at least my food can be bright!
There’s no shame in microwave baking! Especially when it is an iced Sunbutter cookie.
This cookie is incredibly easy. I was going to bake it, but that seemed too time-consuming. 35 secs in the microwave for this baby! I blended together cottage cheese, stevia, and apple pie spice as the icing and arranged golden kiwi slices on top.
Recipe at the bottom.
Monday night’s dinner was a healthy version of Crab Eggs Benedict. I remade it for WIAW because it was so delicious. I’d probably be eating it again right now if I wasn’t out of my local farm fresh eggs.
However, I’m a tease. The recipe will be shared tomorrow… sorry, but I felt it deserved its own post.
Tilapia again… but I did prepare it differently! I’m working on a project making my own (salt-free) spice blends. This was cooked in a grill pan with my Mexican blend and fresh lime juice. On the side was roasted broccoli slaw and brussels, topped with more of my blend, rice vinegar, and nutritional yeast.
I’m trying not to Instagram everything before I post it on WIAW… but I couldn’t help myself last night.
This pizza combo knocked my socks off. I toasted a low-carb tortilla as the crust, then slathered it with a sweet potato mashed with lemon juice, cumin, and chili powder. Meanwhile, I sautéed asparagus and chopped fennel in a splash of garlic-infused olive oil. That saute, arugula, and pre-cooked salmon topped my pizza.
I put the whole thing in the oven on broil for a few mins, finish with freshly ground pepper, thick balsamic, and cilantro… and viola!
Total foodgasm. ♫ The neighbors complain about the noises above… ♫
An old favorite… with a new twist. Remember my Carrot Cake Protein Batter? I made it chocolate.
This Chocolate Carrot Cake Protein Batter was basically the same recipe, but I added 1 T cocoa powder and use almond extract instead of vanilla.
Side note: Did you know that 1 T of cocoa powder has 1g of protein?
In the interest of honesty… this happened:
I get an extra cheat each day in effort to gain weight…
although this may not be what my trainer had in mind…
It was delicious though! Terrapin is a Georgia brewery, and their Pumpkinfest beer is fantastic. It combines two styles – pumpkin beer and Oktoberfest – to create a spiced pumpkin beer that isn’t overly sweet.
Never fear! I got my protein in too:
A maple-casein version of my 150 Calorie Microwave Protein Cake topped with fresh figs.
Nutty Microwave Protein Cookie
- 2 T peanut flour
- 1 T water
- 1 T Sunbutter
- 2 T egg whites
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 5-6 drops liquid stevia
Mix ingredients in a small bowl.
Coat small, microwave-safe plate with cooking spray. Spread dough on plate and microwave 30-40 secs.
Protein count for the day: 191.3g from fall clean eats!
Do you do any strength training? Why or why not?
What foods have you been loving the most this fall?