I remember years ago, I was talking to my friend Christa and she told me she had just lifted weights for an HOUR to super bumpin' music. I thought she was crazy, but allowed her to drag me along one night after work. I went and loved it--I couldn't believe that people were lifting weights for an hour and doing so many reps and having such an amazing time to boot!! I used a very introductory weight, as I never lifted weights before in my life. I was warned that even though I had light weight I would be sore in the morning. That was an understatement.
I was hooked.
Strength training was never really something I thought about but soon realized that my body and fitness routine were sorely lacking! I started reading up on strength training and specifically on women and strength. Only recently had I started to take my health seriously & I knew that my bones were not as strong as they should be.
Once women hit the age of 30 we actually start to lose bone density, so if we haven't been building it up in our 20's...then we need to start supplementing! If any of you out there were like me in your 20's you were having a merry ole time and not really thinking about the soda & cigarettes leaching calcium from your bones. I wasn't making sure to get my calcium from milk, broccoli or greens, or even vitamins so I had a lot of ground to make up-- I was almost 30!
Enter body pump.
I started to go three times a week and I started to really see a change in my body. I was getting stronger, but I was getting leaner too. Of all my years as a runner I never thought about toning. But body pump was not only strengthening my bones, it was making my muscles tighter and smaller.
Body Pump at my Y!
A pound is a pound is a pound anyway you slice it. But a pound of fat and a pound of muscle look different. My arms and thighs and butt were shrinking. In addition, studies have shown that women on a weight loss journey who don't lift weights or strength train will actually LOSE lean muscle along with fat. You don't want this!
Not only is muscle smaller than fat, but the more muscle you have the more calories you burn. The more muscle you have the more efficient your body will operate. The second group of women who strength trained as they lost weight actually lost more for that very reason.
These are my weights for Body Pump!
You won't bulk up by strength training, especially if you use light to moderate weight and do a high number of reps. But the MOST important thing to do is to be sure your form is correct when you do lift. If it is not, they you will either hurt yourself or it will be counter productive to your goal. Don't be embarrassed about asking for help or to go over exactly how to do something. See your trainer, instructor or consult your Dr. before you start any new exercise routine!
Body pump helps me fit in these, my favorite pair of "skinny" jeans. I should really call them my STRONG Jeans!! I have 2 pair because I was so happy to be in them and because they were cheap. I packed them for my trip to Germany!
For more information on the weight loss and strength training studies I referenced in this post, check out this book: