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weight lifting

Afraid of lifting weights? Lindsay will inspire you to get over that fear

Afraid of lifting weights? Lindsay will inspire you to get over that fear

Social anxiety used to get in the way of Lindsay's fitness progress. "I have always felt overwhelmed in a crowd, preventing me from attending certain events and social gatherings," she elaborated. "When I first began going to the student gym at my university, I found it very difficult to be in the weight room because I felt like everyone was judging me." 

4 reasons why you should get off the elliptical and into the weight room

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This is a post by Rachel Carpenter (@bothgirl). Check out her blog for her daily workouts!

When people ask for my fitness advice, I preach three guidelines:

  1. Stick to a clean diet. Eat real food, and more protein/veggies, fewer sugars/carbs.
  2. HIIT (High intensity interval training) cardio.
  3. Lift heavy weights and strength train.

But every time a woman asks me for advice, she shies away from #3. Or, God forbid, she says that she wants to exercise with “less weight, more reps” because she “just wants to tone up” (don’t get me started on “toning” – I’ll save that for another blog).

The next thing I’ll say to her, in the interest of time, is to look at me.

I lift heavy. No, I’m talking heavy. On a weekly basis I max out (hundreds of pounds) on squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench press, pull-ups, dips, etc. If I’m not failing on the second or third rep, I’m not going heavy enough. Of course I switch up the weight and intensity, but super-heavy sets of 3-5 repetitions are an integral part of my training.

And I am not big. I am slender and strong with a body-fat percentage hovering around 14-17%. I am not bulky. Every person’s body is different, but the principles are the same. I don’t have a body fat percentage of 16% because I do cardio, and it’s not by accident. 

Don’t believe me? Here are four reasons you need to go pick up a heavy barbell – right now. 

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1)  Let’s talk about efficiency

Cardio burns fat and calories during exercise (1 hour). Weight training causes Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). This means that your metabolism is revving for up to 38 hours after your workout. And listen up ladies: the heavier the weight – the more EPOC. (Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education, Oslo, Norway)

2)  Muscle burns fat

Muscles are the primary energy consumers in the body. More muscles = more fat burned. (Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology)

3)  You will NOT get big and bulky

Women have far less testosterone than men – making it extremely difficult to get large without the use of drugs. You can work your booty off and still only build a fraction of the muscle that men do. (Muscle and Health)

Plus, do you think it’s easy for guys to get huge? Trust me, you’re not going to “accidentally” get big.

4)  Outside of fat loss, you need to do strength training for your overall health

Don’t believe me? Strength training will:

  • Boost energy
  • Protect joints from injury
  • Reduce depression
  • Fight osteoporosis
  • Lower diabetes risk
  • Better heart health
  • Blood sugar control
  • Back pain prevention
  • Improved balance
  • Better sex
  • Reduce stress
  • Sharpen memory 

If we’re being honest – there are other factors that play into the female stigma against lifting weights.  All too often I see women let their misinformed fears about bulking up keep them out of the weight room. This makes the weight room a scary place for the women who understand the importance of lifting heavy. But we can change this, and do the men a favor, by getting in there.

Ladies: please lift heavy. You’ll look better, you’ll feel better, and you’ll be better. Get after it.

Lifting myth: Once you stop training your muscles turn into fat

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This is part of a series of posts by Jennifer (@liftingfairy on PumpUp), a bikini competitor. Check out her blog here. 

You may or may not have been told that once you stop exercising, your muscles turn into fat. But is this actually true? Sure, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronnie Coleman no longer have their former physiques, but are they really ‘fat’ 

I’ll admit that they don’t look that fit. Maybe a bit flabby. But it is scientifically impossible that their muscles turned into fat. Muscles and fat are two completely different substances. That’s like saying ’ I will turn my fat into muscles’ it just doesn’t work like that!

I will explain to you what actually happens.

Let’s take the example of a man who eats a lot of calories to his body the nutrients that it needs to build a certain amount of muscles. While he is still training, his muscles also allow him to burn more calories each day. This helps him to stay fairly lean. However, if he stops training— for whatever the reason might be—and maintains his former eating habits, his body will not only lose the extra calorie-burn from his workouts, but also the extra burn from his muscle mass.

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Now you can say that he is going to turn into a little fluffy ball because if he keeps eating the same way, he will lose muscles and gain fat. But he won’t be turning his muscles into fat. That’s what people keep misunderstanding.

Muscles are breaking down because they are no longer needed. Your body will, however, gain fat, if you have the same caloric intake as before. But you won’t turn into a flabby ball if you take a little break from your sports. If you stop training you will certainly lose muscle tissue, but if you also reduce your caloric intake you won’t gain fat. 

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According to a study, strength and muscle mass are generally maintained for up to 4 hours of no training. In my experience, I’ve seen drop-offs in my strength within seven days without training. However, I never experienced major muscle loss within two or even three weeks out of the gym.

If you are afraid of losing too much strength or muscle when you are on vacation, just do a full-body-core workout like push-ups, planks, pull-ups, squats, lunges or go for a run at the beach.

This is part of a series of posts by Jennifer, a bikini competitor from Luxembourg. Check out her blog and follow her on PumpUp @liftingfairy and on Instagram @lifting_fairy.

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My first bikini competition experience

This is part of a series of posts by Jennifer (@liftingfairy on PumpUp), a bikini competitor. Check out her blog here. 

Last weekend, on the 2nd of November, I had my very first NAC Bikini-Competition in Rheinbach, Germany. But I will start from the beginning: The weeks prior to my competition were very stressful, both physically and mentally. When I decided to compete, some months ago, I never thought that this type of preparation would stretch me to the limits as it did. I can call myself lucky that I am surrounded by people that motivate and support me day by day by saying how much they admire my dedication, discipline and focus. They encourage me by constantly telling me that I will look fantastic on stage and that I’m a winner no matter what, if I qualify or don’t. 

Three days before the competition I wasn’t feeling well and I had to stop training a day earlier than initially planned, but fortunately this day off didn’t ruin anything. I had some bad stomach-aches and couldn’t eat very much, plus I was suffering from shivering. I was very worried because I didn’t know if I could compete or not. But when Sunday arrived I was a 110% ready for the competition and for my maquillage appointment.

I knew right from the beginning that I would be too nervous to apply the make-up all by myself. So my lovely friend Marga came to our apartment to pretty me up. She did a wonderful job and made me look simply fantastic. The maquillage was exactly how I wanted it to be and it matched the color of my bikini perfectly. Hats off to Marga and her artistic make-up skills. 

While I’m at my bikini, I don’t want to keep it secret where it’s from. I ordered it at the beginning of October at AngelCompetitionBikini (www.acbikinis.com). The fabric is named ‘Hologram Jade/Mint’ and for the crystal design I chose the ‘Crystal Explosion’. I give a big and sincere thank-you to the TurboTwins, Karah and Lauren, who helped me out with the right size, color, connectors and design of my bikini. Believe me, these decisions were not easy, so I was more than happy about the great service from AngelCompetitionBikini.

Now back to the competition-day itself, which was very exciting. Backstage, you could feel a very vibrant atmosphere. It was a bit hectic because everyone had to get the last tanning-layer and get ready to step on stage, but every single athlete had his/her own little space to relax and switch off the uproar of the whole crowd. Waiting for my category’s turn wasn’t a big deal, but the moment we got called up for the backstage-lineup, I became super excited and nervous and I couldn’t wait to finally hit the stage. I always hated those moments right before stepping on stage, even back in the years when I was a gymnast. But once on in the spot-lights, the whole tension was gone and I enjoyed it to the fullest. I didn’t trip over my dress, my bikini fit perfectly, my heels stayed on my feet and I did all of the requested poses correctly, what else can you wish for? 

Afterwards I was told by my family and friends who came to see, that my posing was absolutely fantastic and that I was shining out from the other girls. I really appreciated their words as it was my first competition and I was slightly unsure about my posing-skills.

In the end, I didn’t qualify for the Mr. & Ms. Universe competition in Hamburg, but it was a great experience and I did the best possible. I am very proud of myself and I will work even harder in the future, because now I know what the judges want and I am determined that I will reach my goals. 

Never lose your motivation, because once you step on stage with your best form possible you are already a winner, no matter what your placement will be afterwards.

This is part of a series of posts by Jennifer, a bikini competitor from Luxembourg. Check out her blog and follow her on PumpUp @liftingfairy and on Instagram @lifting_fairy.

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Question of the Day: What is your greatest fear? Spiders? Heights? Have you been able to overcome it? Let us know! Don’t let your fear of what could happen make nothing happen! Thanks to absolutely amazing PumpUp member @xfitfirecracker for this photo!