As most of you know, I have loved running. I am, admittedly, one of those people who before I started running I called “crazy” for even having the desire to run, let alone run 13.1 miles at one time. Well, I became that person and recently completed my 5th half marathon (#6 is coming in 5 short days!). I have loved running: I love the calorie burn, I love the high of a good cardio workout, and I love the feeling of accomplishment knowing that I have pushed my body and my mind beyond a point I ever thought capable. BUT…you knew it was coming…at some point cardio just wasn’t cutting it anymore. It was not helping me reach my fitness goals (lowering body fat %, gaining muscle, etc) and I’d started having issues with my hips as a result of how much running I was doing. I was really forced to re-evaluate my fitness plan when I was sidelined from running (489 days into a run streak, I might add…the OCD part of me screamed at ending one day short of a round number) because of an injured hip.
I’d been reading a lot about fitness plans and the most effective ways for women to lose body fat, and was starting to buy into the idea that I needed to be doing less running and more lifting heavy weight at the gym. Perfect opportunity! I signed up at our local gym, hired a trainer to teach me proper technique, and got started! At first I felt really dumb…like, here’s this tired mom over in the section of the gym with all the buff, meat-head dudes who grunt loudly when they lift and are sucking back performance-enhancing supplement drinks while they work out. I swear- there are guys there whose biceps are the size of my thigh, but I digress. My point: I felt dumb but I kept going.
The perk of hiring a trainer was that I had some built in accountability in addition to the education about proper lifting techniques and weight increases. Going into it, I knew that he would know if I wasn’t eating right (think clean eating- limited grain, no sugar, etc) because he would be weighing and measuring me monthly. I wasn’t super concerned with my weight, simply because I know that weight is not a good indicator of health for someone who has a lot of muscle mass; I chose to focus my attention on losing body fat percentage. When I started working out, my weight was 183 lbs (I can’t believe I just typed that…) and my body fat percentage was 34%; my jeans were a tight 12.
Guys, weight loss has been slow here (I prefer that because I think that anything that is fast won’t stick), but I am SO happy with where I am now. Right now, I am 164 lbs (my original goal was 165), my body fat percentage is 26% and I just bought a size 8 jeans! Holy cow. I never thought I would be in a single digit pants size! I credit it all to lifting heavy in the gym and limiting my cardio outside of the gym (and very hard work in the kitchen preparing foods that fuel my body vs simply feeding it).
Keep your eyes peeled here, because soon I’m going to post about some of my favorite moves at the gym that can take your workout and fitness game to the next level! Doesn’t matter where you are on your fitness journey- the great thing about lifting is, if you’re just starting out you can start with less weight, and if you’re more seasoned and stronger you can jump in with more weight!