Women Have It All Wrong

Today I am letting someone else do the talking.  This is an article written by Rachel Cosgrove.  Rachel is the co-owner (along with her husband, Alwyn Cosgrove) of Results Fitness in California.  She is a contributor to Women’s Health Magazine and is the author of “The Female Body Breakthrough.”   Rachel’s focus is on helping women lose weight, look better & feel better ~ while she offers paid services, you can learn a lot by also reading her blog.  Since you probably know by now I am on a chin-up quest, here is a video clip of Rachel talking about chin-ups and then doing 10 nice reps:

This is really one of the best articles for women I have read.  In it Rachel addresses what women tend to do in the gym when they want to lose weight and what they should be doing instead.  While Rachel is discussing weight loss, anyone who wants to get a “toned, defined” look should heed her advice (I hate the word “toned” but it seems to be a word that women are comfortable with…recognize that a bodyweight chin-up requires a lot of strength…Rachel has a lot of muscle, but she doesn’t look “big and bulky.”).   Enjoy the article.

Women Have it all Wrong!

By Rachel Cosgrove

Women have it all wrong when it comes to weight loss. The average woman when she joins a gym looks at how many treadmills there are and the aerobics schedule to see if there are classes that fit in her schedule. When women want to lose weight they torture themselves with repetitive movement for hours on end spinning their wheels or running to nowhere like a hamster in a habitrail! If you take a look at all of the women walking on the treadmills you’ll notice none of them have the body most women want.

The problem is that most personal trainers haven’t figured it out yet either. They get a female client who hires them to change their body and they think, “Oh man…another one of those stupid toning programs in the ladies only section with the pink dumbbells doing lots of reps…” Most trainers don’t realize that they need to challenge women to get their bodies to change and to stop being afraid of pushing her to gain muscle to boost her metabolism to change the way her body looks, permanently.

Weight Loss Program the average woman does:

Endless hours of cardio or aerobics classes
Avoids strength training because she doesn’t want to get “big and bulky” or maybe she uses some rinky dink pink dumbbells to “tone” for lots of reps
Cuts back her diet to practically starve herself
Focuses on the scale weight and a number she wants it to say

What works about this plan: NOTHING!

What is wrong with this plan: EVERYTHING!

She will lose weight but it will be a mixture of muscle, water and maybe some fat so she’ll end up looking like a smaller version of her same self but in the process she will have dropped her metabolism so there will be no way she can keep the weight off and will gain it back guaranteed. This is the cycle most women have been through many times throughout their lifetime. Yet, when they want to lose weight they do the same thing again. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.

Weight Loss Program the average Women SHOULD do:

Metabolically demanding full body strength training program lifting challenging weights. This should be their priority workouts 2-4 days a week.
Boost their intensity and drop the duration on their cardio sessions performing interval style workouts for no more than 30 minutes at a time.
Fuel their body with healthy food every couple hours getting their metabolism revving.
Focus on how her clothes fit and how she looks and feels and not on a number on the scale. Focus in Fat Loss, not Weight Loss.

What works about this plan: It will boost her metabolism, it will change her body, it will make her feel confident about herself, she can eat and she will be able to maintain her new body!

What is wrong with this plan: NOTHING!

To really change their bodies permanently women need to start checking out the strength training floor. They need to get out of their comfort zone and push their bodies beyond what it is used to. No more walking to nowhere on the treadmill! I am not talking about bodybuilding routines where you split up each body part and bomb and blitz the pecs or pump up the biceps. It is not necessary for a woman to isolate any muscle group to get the defined look she wants.

Instead a woman should do a full body, metabolically demanding program in which she alternates between an upper body compound movement such as a push up or chin up with a lower body compound movement such as a squat or lunge. Keep the rest periods short and use a weight that is challenging. Use 3-4 pairs of exercises working out for no more than an hour at a time.

The woman with toned arms and defined legs looks that way because she has the very thing most women are terrified of, muscle. They are so afraid to lift weights in fear of bulking up that they never get their bodies to look the way they want them to. They have it deeply seeded in their subconscious that as soon as they touch anything over 10 pounds, they will sprout humungous muscles! Even if they do use weights, they probably still aren’t lifting heavy enough and pushing themselves hard enough to get the look they want. Most women don’t know what their bodies are capable of and tend to not push themselves hard enough. There was actually a research study done on this where they showed that women when left to train on their own, lifted loads below what they were capable of.
Maybe it is because women have been conditioned our whole lives to exercise from the point of view of what we “can’t” do, rather than what we can do. Women grew up doing “girl” push ups, because we were told we “can’t” do actual push ups or hanging from the bar instead of a chin up because girls “can’t” do chin ups. The first woman to run the marathon had to sneak in dressed as a man because women “can’t” run a marathon, and that was only in the 70’s, not that long ago. Women “can’t” lift too heavy, they will hurt themselves. We still subconsciously hold ourselves back when it comes to training whether we realize it or not.

We need to start training from the standpoint of- What CAN you do? How much CAN you lift? How strong CAN you get? And stop letting “can’t” enter our vocabulary. As women start to push themselves in the gym, lifting weights and building lean muscle tissue, their metabolisms will be revving and they will be the toned, defined body they have always wanted.

So how do you get your body to change? You have to lift enough weight to build muscle to increase your metabolism, fuel your body with healthy food and turn your body into a fat burning machine. Stop pounding your body with hours of cardio and stop starving yourself!

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About Lisa Van Dore

I have lived in Sherborn, Dover and most recently North Walpole, for a total of 15 years (and counting). Having recently been through the process of selling a home and buying (and renovating) a new one, I understand the conflicting emotions of excitement and anxiety inherent in the process, whether you are a seller or buyer, whether this is your first home purchase or your tenth. I have a BA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Indiana University. My early career found me working as a CPA, and later as the controller of Crate & Barrel. More recently I spent seven years running my own personal training business. I understand the hard work and dedication necessary to build a business and a reputation...most of my personal training clients came to me by referral and my first client was still with me when I decided to leave personal training. This speaks to the level of effort I put forth for my clients, week after week. On a more personal note, I raced triathlon for seven years and more recently completed my first half marathon. In my free time I enjoy cooking, reading, Maine, hiking and, in the fall, following college football...my teams are the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and Texas Christian University (Go Frogs!).
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