When I was younger, I used to get up early and take a run up a hill before school PURELY to keep my weight down. That is so so sad. A) because I was skinny anyway and B) because I flipping hated running and it felt like a punishment! For a lot of women I know, that pretty much sums up their relationship to exercise. They use it as a way to keep their weight in check, or feel guilt and shame when they don't exercise. Luckily - over the years, I've developed a love of certain exercise (NOT cardio) that is more about how I feel than how I look. That exercise is strength training (aka weight or resistance training).
As a trainer and healthy living mentor for mums, it'd be easy for me to tune in to women's insecurities about their weight and extort the value of strength training because of the way it boosts your metabolism and helps you burn calories. But I don't want to buy into the bullshit story that we women are at our most valuable when we are slimmer, and that we should exercise in order to change how we look.
Sure, I love it when my back and shoulders are stronger and more sculpted - there's no escaping that feeling - but that's not the driver of my exercise any more. When you can release the 'exercise to lose weight/look good' mantra - you also release the GUILT when you don't exercise and you start to develop a much healthier relationship with movement that's a lot less likely to fluctuate with your monthly moods.
So anyway, here are my
Top 5 reasons to weight train that have NOTHING TO DO WITH WEIGHT LOSS!
It increases your bone density. As we women age our bone density decreases for various reasons. Right now, that might not seem important but when you get older still and have a fall that lands you in hospital for weeks one end with a fractured hip …. THAT’s when you’ll wish you’d done whatever you could to improve your bone density. So start some weight training today and prevent the fractures of tomorrow!
If you don’t use it, you lose it. Do you get any lingering aches or pains when you’re on your feet all day or after you do do a little exercise? Well, if you’re not using your muscles fully on a regular basis then guess what, one day you simply won’t be able to use them. You’ll be that person who can’t get up off the floor without help or who ‘puts their back out’ when you sneeze. Don't be that person.
You can go about your daily business more easily. From literally picking up the kids to making beds to climbing stairs, it all gets easier when you’re stronger. If you find yourself lacking in energy or unable to go about your day with ease, then strength training could well be the key
You’ll sleep better! A good strength training session will often leave you feeling energised and may also help you get to sleep sooner. And more sleep means better blood sugar control meaning fewer carb cravings, more energy, better concentration etc etc.
You’ll feel so kickass you’ll feel like you could save the world from a Terminator takeover. I still feel inspired by Sarah Connor doing pull ups in the prison in Terminator 2 and then running down the corridor, baton in hand, to break out and save the world. Just me? Maybe but basically, getting stronger feels GOOOOOD! No doubt about it.
So there you have it. Yes weight training will absolutely help you in your weight loss goals if that’s what’s important to you and if you’re wanting to lose weight for your health then all the better. But there are many more reasons to add some strength training into your life right now. Not next week or after your holiday or when the kids start school and you ‘have more time’ but now!
And the best bit? You don’t need ANY equipment or a fancy studio. You don’t need to pay for a gym membership or buy special workout gear. You can start with simple body weight exercises at home (or in your prison cell as per Sarah Connor). I personally do most of my workouts in my PJs while the kids are around so they can see that A) mummy takes time to look after herself and B) exercise is a normal part of our lives. Now my toddler regularly says, with a little grunting and huffing, 'Agh mummy, I'm just doing some exercises, I'm so strong now."
So, if you fancy giving weight training a go, and need some inspiration to get you started then why not join me for the next Time For You free 5 day fitness challenge for busy mums?! We start June 17th. Head here to find out more ...
Till next time, Asta La Vista, Baby.
Or if you prefer, Health & Happiness,