I didn’t start working out until I went off to college, with the exception of doing sit-ups in my bedroom when my jeans were too tight. With several gyms around campus I had no excuses. I soon became a cardio obsessed college girl trying to combat the Freshman 15. I don’t think I could have been more of the typical college Freshman if I had tried. My 40 minutes on the elliptical were almost as boring as my 8am biology course. Nonetheless I did it. I worked out somewhat regularly throughout my first year in college and soon enough it was
summer bikini time and I was weighing in at the heaviest I had ever been, greatttttt. Needless to say I started Sophomore year eating next to nothing and continuing my cardio obsession 6-7 days a week. I may have dropped nearly 20 pounds but I was also the hungriest kid on campus. The next two years I spent trying to balance my workouts, beer binges and late night D.P. Dough (if you don’t know what D.P .Dough is then you’re missing out on extreme yumminess…and a 5 pound weight gain) yet I managed to graduate with a little ‘more to love.’ Fast forward to a few years post college and trying to figure out how to get rid of the unwanted chub. I still continued my cardio routines and swapped the frequent beer drinking with boxed wine (don’t ask). Thankfully my weight held steady but I was still holding onto a few extra pounds. I was clearly not feeling the same 22 as TSwift because I certainly would not have written a song about my life at the time. Twenty two was not my worst year but far from my best.
It took some courage but I’ve slowly come to realize that cardio is not the solution for weight loss, at least for me. I started to incorporate weights and resistance training into my workouts about two years ago, joining the Tone it Up Bikini Challenge (why does that sound so cheesy?). In 8 weeks I was sold on switching up my routine. Don’t get me wrong, I still did some cardio which was in line with the challenge but it was not the main focus. I bought my first pair of weights (5 lbs dumbbells…watch out!) and inherited a kettle bell from a coworker. My 8 week transformation was enough to have me sold on incorporating weights and focus on toning area’s of my body rather than just losing extra fat. After 8 weeks of Tone it Up I moved on to Kayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide. My week consists of only 2-3 straight cardio sessions a week and it is AMAZING. I do one to two 10-15 minute HIIT sessions consisting of sprinting 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off. I also do one to two LISS (low intensity steady state) sessions each week consisting of walking 35-45 minutes at a speed of 3.8-4.1 MPH. I actually ENJOY the little bit of cardio I do now. Wait, what?! The 15 minutes of HIIT turns me into a sweat Betty but its brief and effective. Then there’s my LISS sessions which are oh SO peaceful and therapeutic. Cardio aside, what I believe has made the biggest difference is weights, those heavy things at the gym that I didn’t dare touch a few years ago. It’s glorious to be able to workout without gasping for breath while I try not to stumble off the treadmill (which has happened, and I have the stitches to prove it). I’ve been incorporating resistance workouts into my routine for a year and I’m never looking back. There’s no fupa in my future, my posture is 10x better, I traded my butt for a booty and I actually look forward to my workouts! I’ve slowly upped by weights in order to see continued progress and my string bean arms are beginning to thank me. Push-ups no longer include my entire body collapsing to the floor leaving me laid out like a helpless seal.
So, why should you join the “macho” men in the weight section of the gym?
- Weights help build muscle (duh). Being a skinny string bean is so last year.
- Increasing your muscle mass means you can burn more calories (so you can have that extra spoonful of PB! Just kidding, kinda)
- Weights can help you build strength…no more push-ups on your knees!
Give the treadmill/elliptical/stationary bike a rest and pick up those dumbbells, ladies!