Momma, lift heavy!

The biggest myth about ladies lifting heavy weights is that you’ll get bulky. This just isn’t true! Actually, lifting heavy revs up your metabolism for an extended period of time (much longer than cardio) making it much more effective for losing weight and burning fat fast. Sounds awesome, right? It is! The breakdown is simple: Lift heavy, eat lean and clean, and mix in your cardio (HIIT, interval training, whatever you’re into!) Here are 5 reasons why you should ditch that 5 lb. dumbbell for bigger weight and revamp that cardio routine.

You’ll burn fat faster

Did you know that when you weight train you actually continue to burn calories long after your workout is over? Did you know that your weight lifting workout can boost your metabolism for up to 36 hours after you’re finished lifting? For example, instead of burning 60 calories in an hour while sitting at your desk at work, you could be burning 70 if you lifted weights that morning. On a small scale it doesn’t seem like much, but add that up over the course of a week and you’re down A LOT of calories.

You’ll give your body definite shape

Cardio melts away fat but it does nothing to shape and tone your body. If you stick to cardio only, your flaws will all stay the same, you will just be a smaller version of your current self. Weight training helps target your problem areas and gives real tone and definition to the frame that cardio workouts help reveal!

You’ll actually be able to eat MORE

Okay, now before you run to the freezer and bust out the tub of ice cream lets be clear: When you lift weights your body will naturally require more calories to survive because lifting weights burns so much more energy. This is important because there’s a very fine line between eating too much and eating too little. To burn fat and sculpt muscle, you want to stay at a caloric deficit, but WHAT you eat plays a big role too. You’ve heard the saying “Abs are sculpted in the gym and revealed in the kitchen”? All of your calories need to come from the right places. There are some key elements to consider when choosing your diet. First up: your protein intake. To build muscle you MUST feed your body protein. The quality of protein makes a difference here too. Example: Chobani greek yogurt is super high in protein, but it also contains sugars and carbs! Chicken breast or a hard boiled egg on the other hand offer a low glycemic index and are packed full of natural protein. Next, you’ll also want to keep your calorie threshold just low enough so that your body does not “starve” and begin to burn muscle. A starved tired body cannot function properly and will only cause extreme fatigue and even the possibility for injury. Don’t over eat, don’t under eat.

Add on cardio after your lifting routine to burn more fat

All cardio is not created equal. Cardio is important, but HOW you do your cardio matters too. For optimal fat burn, the best time to do your cardio is AFTER a heavy lifting session, when your body has already burned through all of it’s glycogen stores (remember that from Physiology class?) and has entered “fat burning” mode. By adding your cardio into your workout after you’ve finished lifting, you’re actually jumping into the middle of your body’s fat burning session thus maximizing your time spent doing cardio, and even saving time by doing LESS cardio. Here is an amazing article by one of my favorite fitness bloggers that covers energy depletion and maximizing your fat burn:

You WILL NOT get bulky (if you eat right)

Lifting heavy will not make you look like Chyna. Females just do not have the genetic makeup and natural levels of testosterone to support a bulky physique. When you lift heavy, your muscles get stronger (not necessarily bigger), but if you pump yourself full of testosterone and eat way more calories than you are burning every day, you will get bigger. Professional female body builders train, eat lean, and take supplements specifically to make their bodies look the way they do. They’ve likely been working towards their specific fitness goals for years. If you do all of these things mentioned above: lift heavy, eat a caloric deficit (IMPORTANT  eat the right kinds of food – actual healthy foods), and do your cardio, your muscles will get stronger and denser and you’ll be able to burn that fat on top of your muscle, without turning into a she-hulk.