As I have mentioned in my original post, I’ve been doing bootcamp/HIIT classes, and was running. I got great results with all of that for a period of time. Over the last couple of years, however, nothing I was doing seemed to be working. I didn’t feel like I was even maintaining. I noticed I wasn’t as toned as I used to be, I put on extra pounds, and simply didn’t feel like I was reaping any benefit from working out, for the time spent. It was when I went to my NP that she said, “You are going to have to completely change what you’ve been doing”. When I found myself with more time this year, I decided to put her words into practice. I also made a decision that as part of my HIIT routine, I would incorporate more old school weight lifting exercises.
If you aren’t aware, muscle mass makes the body burn fuel more efficiently. So, the more muscle mass you have, the more fuel efficient your body is and your RMR (resting metabolic rate) will be higher, ultimately burning more calories at rest. I know some women believe they will get too bulky. For the majority of women this is simply not true. While you will build muscle, you will not bulk up like a man. Not to say that some women who are built quite solid to begin with, won’t get bulky. Again, the majority of women will not. If you are a slight frame/build, you will simply have very toned extremities. I appreciated this article from MindBodyGreen, about experiences noted by different women with what weight lifting has done for them.
I would strongly recommend weight bearing activity to any woman over 40. It helps maintain muscle strength, and also ensure bone loss is at a minimum. Check out this article on 5 Reasons To Exercise That Have Nothing To Do With Fitting Into Your Skinny Jeans. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-26099/5-reasons-to-exercise-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-fitting-into-your-skinny-jeans.html.
Find a trainer, watch YouTube videos, read articles or books on how to incorporate weight training. Whatever method works for you, simply start. Start with light weights to get the feel of good form. Increase your weight over time, when you are ready and the resistance isn’t difficult.
I took a long look back at the times when I felt I was in great shape and what I was doing to get there. Always… weight lifting was involved. Over the years, when I actively included weight training in my workouts, I loved how toned I was. I carried myself differently. I had more confidence, I felt better about myself. I didn’t feel ‘fat’, even on my ‘fat’ days. My workouts over the last couple of years (bootcamp and HIIT) didn’t incorporate as many free weight exercises as I would like.
So, as I found myself on my own without a corporate gym and professional classes, I realized I could take my favorite exercises from HIIT classes, incorporate more free weight exercises and make my own routine. I started with 3 days a week doing the same routine. I am now doing HIIT 2 days a week, and have incorporated yoga 2 days a week (Les Mills Yogaflow https://www.lesmills.com/us/ ). I have seen amazing results from incorporating weights. Basic bicep curls, squat press, shoulders, biceps, chest press, lunges, calf raises, etc. All of these exercises have given me the definition I wanted. Mixed with exercises to increase my heart rate, I was able to knock out the traditional 3 sets along with several other exercises (20 in total) within about 40 minutes. The only break I take is in between sets (1 minute break before I begin again). I feel great after this workout.
I am so pleased with the results. While I still need to determine why I’m not dropping the few pounds I want to lose, (more on that after my next visit with my hormone NP - I think it’s an estrogen issue), I have seen the scale drop 2 pounds this week! I am toned, not embarrassed to be in shorts or a bathing suit around people, and feel like, I look like I workout. I have definition in my arms, my triceps are tight and don’t jiggle, and my legs look great. While there is always room to improve, I’ve completely reshaped my body since April. It’s taken a while, but the results are so worth it. Specifically, and most importantly for my state of mind. I am in a career ‘break’ and while I’m pursuing my next role, I am taking full advantage of my time off. That said, it’s quite a change from being around people every day. The ONLY thing I can control is how I feel about myself. If I don’t feel good about myself, that will come through at interviews. Also, as we all know and experience, some days we are just not in as high spirits as we are on other days. My regular and consistent efforts to workout and move daily have been extremely beneficial to my mental state. I really can’t live without moving each day now. (The days I don’t workout or do yoga, I walk 18 holes golfing. On those days, I burn 3000 calories or more).
I would encourage you to carve out 60 minutes a day to simply move. Walk. Fast Walk. Run. Strength Train. Yoga. Whatever works for you. Just simply move. As you begin you will start sleeping better, feel better physically, and you will probably be surprised at how great you feel emotionally/mentally. It’s amazing the physical impact exercise has on the release of endorphins that put us in a good place. If you don’t make time to exercise, you will have to find time to be sick and heal.