Oftentimes I hear women say things like "I don't want to lift weights because I don't want to get bulky" and it makes me feel sad. Even though it's improving, there's still a stigma surrounding women and strength training. Ladies - if you take anything away from this post, please let it be this: strength training will NOT make you bulky but it WILL help you to reach your goals and feel incredible.
I've spent the past four weeks getting serious about increasing my strength and am so proud of how far I've come, as well as how good I feel as a result. Now, it's your turn! Keep reading to hear how you too can gain strength, enjoy your workouts, feel empowered and reach all of your goals! 💚
Here are 3 major tips on how to build strength and where to start.
1. DITCH THE CARDIO
I know, this one's scary but trust me!
Are you looking to maximize your time in the gym? Believe it or not, you won't do that by spending an hour on the treadmill, elliptical, or even the step mill. These are all great tools to incorporate into your fitness routine if you enjoy them, but if you find yourself slaving over cardio equipment just to lose weight please make today the day that you stop doing that.
Focus on lifting weights and do so at a high intensity. This way you'll not only gain strength, but also get your heart rate up enough to negate the need for those long, boring cardio sessions. Looking for ways to up the intensity even while you're just going light and learning new movements? My recommendation would be to break your workouts into compound sets. "A compound set is accomplished by doing two different exercises back to back, with no rest in-between, for the same muscle group" (Mens Journal).
2. FOCUS ON PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD
What's progressive overload? I'm so glad that you asked! According to bodybuilding.com the progressive overload means "continually increasing the demands on the musculoskeletal system to continually make gains in muscle size, strength, and endurance. Simply put, in order to get bigger and stronger, you must continually make your muscles work harder than they're used to." Accomplishing this is easier than it sounds, don't be intimidated!
For the past four weeks this is what I've really been focusing on, and something that you can easily apply to your workouts too. Do you find yourself doing different workouts every day and every week? Instead, plan your workouts for one whole week (or even better, have a personal trainer do it for you).
Your first week you'll complete three sets of 10-15 reps of a weight that you're comfortable with that starts to become challenging your last two or three reps of every set. Make sure to keep track of your sets, reps, and weight for each exercise because you'll be building off of this foundation for the next three weeks. Each week after I want you to challenge yourself to progress. Can you complete the same amount of sets and reps with slightly more weight? What about adding an extra rep to each set, or even adding a whole extra set? Increase that volume one way or another and keep increasing each week!
3. DON'T BE AFRAID TO FAIL
If you're not failing, you're not really pushing yourself or growing. Look at failure as an opportunity to improve rather than a negative thing. Once you've shifted your midset, challenge yourself a little bit more each week and you'll be surprised at how far you come over time.
I feel stronger, happier and healthier than I ever have before and you can too! Try applying these three tips to your next four weeks of workouts and I promise, you'll feel awesome and see all kinds of progress!