Tag Archives: #weights

Do What Works For You

Too often lately I have seen posts bashing IIFYM (If it fits your macros)  vs Clean Eating and strict dieting.

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If following a strict diet works for you… do it.

If tracking macros and making pop tarts fit them works for you… do it.

Too often lately I have seen posts bashing Cross fit or military training vs Traditional weight lifting or bodybuilding

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If doing HIIT accompanied by monkey bars and rope climbing works for you… do it

If doing traditional sets, drop sets and weights focused on contraction works for you… do it.

 

Too often lately I have seen things bashing the girl that wears lipstick to the gym… “because she is obviously just looking to pick up”

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If you want to wear lipstick because being surrounded by meat heads and mirrors it makes you feel good… do it.

If you want to roll out of bed and go to the gym… do it.

 

Its supposed to be about what works for you.  Because lets face it.  You go to the gym for you!  Weather it is because of health, beauty, strength… you are there to better yourself.  Do what works for you!  And please stop bashing others who are trying to better themselves.  Everybody starts somewhere.

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Science Behind Eat, Train, Rest, Repeat!

If you go to the gym chances are that you are not only trying to lose weight but gain muscle.  Or perhaps you are one of those people who are “looking to get toned” but are worried about getting too bulky.

If you are a long time reader you will already know my pet peave of having women stop to ask me what I do at the gym to look like I do, my response alwas being  “I lift weights”.  There next response is 9 out of 10 times, “Oh but I don’t want to get bulky”.  Seeing as I am anything but I find this hilarious.  My quick response is generall the quick quip “its not easy to get big, and muscles burn more calories while at rest”  then I walk away.

While the easy answer is the easy answer I thought I would explore the science behind why muscles grow from hypertrophy, cell activation, and hormones used.  Although that would definitely be too long of an explanation

Muscle growth takes place after your workout when your body repairs and replaces damaged muscle fibers through a cellular process which fuses muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein strands or myofibrils. The repaired muscles increase in thickness and number to create muscle hypertrophy (GROWTH).  All of this happens however after your workouts and while you rest.    To gain or grow muscles you need to activate satellite cells.  Activating satellite cells may be the difference between what allows some to grow massive muscles and what makes others “hard gainers”.

Lift Heavier

Underlying all progression of natural muscle growth is the ability to continually put more stress on the muscles. This stress is a major component involved in the growth of a muscle and disrupts homeostasis within your body. The stress and subsequent disruption in homeostasis causes three main mechanisms that spur on muscle growth.

In order to produce muscle growth, you have to apply a load of stress greater than what your body or muscles had previously adapted too. How do you do this? The main way is to lift progressively heavier weights. The additional tension on the muscle helps to cause changes in the chemistry of the muscle, allowing for growth factors that include satellite cell activation.  Muscular tension also most dramatically effects the connection of the motor units with the muscle cells. Two other factors help to explain why some people can be stronger, but not as big as other people.

 

If you’ve ever felt sore after a workout, you have experienced the localized muscle damage from working out. This local muscle damage causes a release of inflammatory molecules and immune system cells that activate satellite cells to jump into action. This doesn’t mean that you have to feel sore in order for this to happen, but instead that the damage from the workout has to be present in your muscle cells. Typically soreness is attenuated over time by other mechanisms.  This is also the reason why those who go to the gym for long lengths of time but never increase their weights often see great results during the first few weeks and then plateau.

Metabolic stress causes cell swelling around the muscle, which helps to contribute to muscle growth without necessarily increasing the size of the muscle cells. This is from the addition of muscle glycogen, which helps to swell the muscle along with connective tissue growth. This type of growth is known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and is one of the ways that people can get the appearance of larger muscles without increases in strength.

So, what about hormones and Testosterone?

Hormones are another component largely responsible for muscle growth and repair because of their role in regulating satellite cell activity. Insulin Growth Factor (IGF), in particular Mecho-Growth Factor (MGF) and testosterone are the two most vital mechanisms that promote muscle growth.

Testosterone is the main hormone that most people think about when working out with weights, and there seems to be some validity to the thought that testosterone increases protein synthesis, inhibits protein breakdown, activates satellite cells, and stimulates other anabolic hormones. Although most testosterone is bound in the body and therefore not available to use, strength training seems to help not only release more testosterone, but also make the receptors of your muscle cells more sensitive to your free testosterone. Testosterone can also stimulate growth hormone responses by increasing the presence of neurotransmitters at the damaged fiber site, which can help to activate tissue growth.  The IGF regulates the amount of muscle mass growth by enhancing protein synthesis, facilitating glucose uptake, repartitioning the uptake of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) into skeletal muscles and once again, activates satellite cells to increase muscle growth. There is the big reason why women especially have a harder time gaining muscle.  In order for Figure and Physique competitors in a natural competition to gain size their training and diet is highly specialized in order to allow the largest amount of protein synthesis as well as trainer accordingly to gain muscle.  This is not the type of thing a first timer or even experienced lifter is liable to stumble upon while working out.   It is a science.

 

Where is my “Rest” muscle and how do I train it?

I personally dislike rest days, for me it’s harder to stick to my diet when I do not go to the gym, that doesn’t mean they are not important though.  If you do not provide your body with adequate rest or nutrition, you can actually reverse the anabolic process and put your body into a catabolic or destructive state. The response of muscle protein metabolism to a resistance exercise bout lasts for 24-48 hours; thus, the interaction between protein metabolism and any meals consumed in this period will determine the impact of the diet on muscle hypertrophy.

 

So as you can see “EAT, TRAIN, REST, REPEAT!”  Really is a valid mantra.  If you eat the right foods, train hard and rest enough to allow for repair you will grow your muscles.  And yes, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn while doing nothing.

 

 

Lose the scale

Lose the Scale….
ways to tell you’re moving in the right direction

When I decided in November of 2011 to get fit, I vowed to lose 30lbs by January 1.  I made it.  I was also weighing myself every other day.  I was obsessed with what the scale said.  Weather it was the wrong time of the month didn’t matter to me… I was focused on that evil little white box that sat in my bathroom.  I actually weighed myself more than once a day at times.  And, what I found is that sooo many things went into how much I weighed.

Day 1 November 18, 2011
Day 1 November 18, 2011

 

January 1, 2012.  30 lbs later
January 1, 2012. 30 lbs later

Sometime in the spring of 2012 the scale started going up, rather steadily.  I knew that my clothes fit better, and I knew that I felt good.  However it was a brain melt to see that scale go up.  So, I threw it out.  I only weigh myself now about every 6 months and I can’t say as I care what it even says.

Clothing
Clothes used to be my nemesis.  I had no idea how to dress my curvy frame.  When all of a sudden size 14 was snug and I was faced with needing to shop at the “big girl” store.  I refused.  If you’re clothes fit well, or are getting lose.  That’s a great thing.
Case in point.  This morning at the gym my size xs gym pants (purchased for$4 at goodwill)  when I went to put my iPhone in the waist band, it kept falling…. like sliding down my leg.  This is amazing!

Bras

That's me... Boo and allot of boo
That’s me… Boo and allot of boo

When you grew up with an optimistic B cup, I thought I always wanted boobs.  I used to actually research breast augmentation.  After Boo was born and I gained weight, my bra cup went to a DD.  It was probably more than that, but again, standard stores that’s the biggest they carry… they were insane.  Walking down stairs in the morning required a bra.  I was thrilled when they started to shrink and loved when they got small again.  I also am a huge advocate of chest day because it really is a natural boob job.  I nursed two babies and beat breast cancer.  I am 34 and my boobs if I do say so myself are fabulous!  I now own bra’s that are actually too big.  I only own and wear about two bras.  Time to go shopping.

Friends
When you lose weight, you may not see it, as its little bit by little bit every day.  You see yourself every day and its tough to see the changes.  However, you’re friends will!  Learn to take a compliment.

Progress Pictures

November 18 2011-2012-2013
November 18
2011-2012-2013

This is something that really kept me motivated and accountable.  Taking weekly or bi-weekly pictures will give you an instant bump to stay on track.

Measurements.
You’re weight may stay the same but you’re measurements will change.  Keep a log monthly of where you are.  I’ve also heard of allot of people that use a piece of string or ribbon for each body part, and then cut off the piece that’s too long every week.  Keep them in a jar and you have a visual reminder of how much you lose.

 

Most importantly, as long as you feel good, you look good.  A smile is the best accessory.