Home Debunking The Myths Why I Lift Weights

Why I Lift Weights

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Me.. at the gym in a relatively silly mood, today. LOL

I love having conversations about exercise with my friends.. only because once upon a time, these conversations were really uncomfortable for us. We didn’t sit down and talk about lunges or squats, or how many miles we got in the other night. It’s like breaking new ground.

But now, it’s kind of strange.. because I always dive head first into talking about lifting weights, and I get the “deer-in-headlights” look.

“Keep that up, and you’re gonna look like a man!”

Say what?

I usually just shrug it off. They have no idea just how much I owe to weight lifting. That is… until I have the same conversations with other women who refuse to touch a single weight. “I’m not tryin’ to look all brolic! You can keep that!”

Sigh.

For someone like me, lifting weights is a godsend.. and it has nothing to do with looking like a man. When I was 330lbs, I complained – often and loudly – about not having any muscles. I could push things by laying my body weight against them, but I couldn’t lift anything. I had to use both arms, grabbing the roof of the car and the top of the car door, to lift myself out of a car. I couldn’t carry anything for very long. Squatting down to pick something up? You could forget it.

For me, lifting weights allowed me to regain my ability to carry out everyday tasks without assistance. It has also given me the opportunity to reshape my figure. I can strength train my legs, develop thigh muscles, and have the “thick thighs” illusion without all the excess unnecessary fat (and saddlebags…my goodness.) After losing all that weight, my booty was definitely trying to deflate. Lifting weights has allowed me to rebuild and reshape my booty. No more square booty!

After losing 145lbs, the theory is that one’s skin would deflate… something like letting the air out of  a balloon. The balloon, now without air, just lies on the floor… same shape it was with the air in it, but deflated and flabby looking. I was encountering that, myself. I’d snap into the down facing dog position for yoga, and the skin on my thighs would just droop forward, pointing to the floor. My tummy would, unfortunately, do the same.

Weight lifting, for me, has given me the opportunity to give my skin something new to cling to.. a new shape to embrace. Now, when my body burns the fat, the skin can conform to muscle as opposed to… nothingness.

Through working on my obliques and thighs, I’ve been able to work on developing my own “coke-bottle” shape. With arm exercises, I’ve been able to limit – and eliminate – that wobbly skin that I used to have under my arms from burning so much of the fat from there. Through things like yoga and shoulder exercises, I’ve been able to tighten up the skin that would’ve been sagging breasts (as I’ve mentioned before, I went from a 42DD to a 34C… I would’ve had two empty laundry bags hanging from my chest.)

Your body goes through a developmental process when you lift weights regularly. You don’t go hard in one session, go to sleep and wake up looking like the ol’ school Terminator. That’s not how it goes.

Women have to put in 300% of themselves in weight lifting on a regular and consistent basis in order to develop the kind of “manly muscle” we associate with weight lifting. Why? Because we don’t carry the levels of testosterone that make muscle development easy. So the excuse of “I don’t wanna look like a man” really… holds very little weight. (Oooh, bad pun, right?)

Secondly, the fact that it takes so long to build that kind of muscle, means that at any time… you can slow down and simply lighten up your workout to focus on maintaining it. Besides, if you’re putting in that much time and effort into your body that you’re weight lifting regularly, chances are that you’ll notice every little bit of growth your muscles experience. (I still remember the day that I recognized that I no longer had the “lunch lady wiggle” under my arms. I almost cried.)

Lastly, you control your weight lifting routine. You control how much weight you lift. You control how many times you lift it. There is no set standard for how you should start. As long as you’re doing your best to use proper form, you will be OK. You can go as slowly as you need, toning up as you go, without worrying about looking too masculine. You should look at as many health and fitness resources as possible though since the more information you have, the better prepared you’ll be to continue your journey. Besides, who knows – you may reach your goal, and decide you want to take it a step further!

So… let’s spend the week on exercising and figuring out what works best for us, shall we?

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83 comments

tdixon June 7, 2010 - 11:15 AM

Hey! I liked this post (as if i don’t like any others!)

Funny, the first thing that came to mind upon seeing the title of this post is that SILLY ARSE Shake Weight. Please tell me you’ve seen this and that you have opinions on it.

Women shouldn’t be afraid or unwilling to weight train. I remember having to take it senior year in HS, all the girls HATED it, the guys ate it up.

and not for nothing, a lot of men i know LOVE a woman with toned arms/legs. not brolic of course, but defined parts are sexy on anyone.

Erika June 7, 2010 - 11:25 AM

Grrr…. I hate the shake weight. It does nothing that a half-full jug of water doesn’t do.

And I’m convinced that it was created by perverts. LOL

Thanks for commenting! 🙂

Sherida December 27, 2012 - 5:41 PM

You look great Soror!

Eunice @ Food4Fit June 7, 2010 - 11:30 AM

Thank you for addressing this! I hear this excuse all the time, and it makes me want to scream just a little bit. 🙂 All I can do is explain why this isn’t true, muscle boosts your metabolism, gives you definition, etc..etc.. but here you are a walking example. Sometimes people just need to see it, you know? You look great!

I really love what weight training has done for my body. I feel so strong and fit. Love it.

Erika June 7, 2010 - 11:36 AM

EXACTLY! I mean, considering all of the benefits that carrying extra muscle has, what do I look like passing ALL of that up just because someone else told me if I lift weights and go to sleep, I’m gonna wake up looking like a pro-wrestler? Yeah, right! I’m cool on ALL that. LOL

Thank you for the compliments! And I’m with you – there is nothing better than that feeling of being ABLE. Not “able to lift” or “able to climb,” but just ABLE – that feeling that comes with developing strength? Girl, yes! Love it, too!

Cjbrownsc June 7, 2010 - 11:54 AM

Another great post!
I learned the hard way after months of doing nothing but cardio, that I needed to add strength training into my routine.
I kept wondering why I was losing weight slowly when hubby decided to tell me that if I added weights that it would boost my metabolism and I would continue to burn fat even while resting. I don’t know if what he said is scientifically correct, but it was enough for me!
I haven’t been doing it long enough to see changes in definition, but my weight is doing at a faster rate now. I can’t wait to see the results I’ll have by the end of the summer!

Erika June 7, 2010 - 2:47 PM

Yes! Switching it up a bit is always the answer, especially if your routine is lopsided in favor of one instead of the other. When I slow down on my cardio and rap up my weight lifting, I gain weight (obviously.) When I ramp up my cardio and do very little weight training, I still lose, but at a snail’s pace. That balance is REQUIRED!

Hubby is…sort of right – we’ll talk about that tomorrow. 🙂

JoAnna June 7, 2010 - 12:01 PM

You look really great!

I’m swimming 3-4 times per week and sloooowly adding walking. I re-injured the same knee I injured last summer. A slimmer friend recommended a “no-pain, no-gain” trainer who kept telling me I was lazy and unmotivated when I told him I could not do multiple jumping jacks, rope jumping and sprints without pain. I wanted to keep up so 3 weeks later, I’d lost 10lbs and gained 2 knee braces and pain meds, and dr’s orders to lighten up for 8-12 weeks or face possible surgery.

2 months ago, I was in NYC huffin’ and puffin’ to keep up with my 60+ year old aunt to catch a subway train. She (and the most of the people I saw) walk like there are snipers on the rooftops, just waiting to shoot anyone who doesn’t maintain the pace. When I was limping at the airport and offered a wheelchair, I swore to up my exercise routine. I got the nutrition part, and my Type II diabetes numbers are greatso this is the next step. The really nice thing about regular exercise is that you’re sore to start, but after 10-mins, it goes away for the rest of the day. And you feel SO much better for having worked those muscles, and inhaled that much more oxygen into your body.

I don’t look like you yet, but give me a year or two…

Erika June 7, 2010 - 2:59 PM

I’m jealous of ya – a bad childhood experience left me WAY cool on swimming pools, LOL!

If you’re sore after a good workout, try stretching – it ALWAYS helps. Never fails (that is, if you didn’t seriously injure yourself.)

I love a good trainer – that is, a GOOD trainer – but bad ones deserve to catch a beat down. Seriously.

Stay on the path, and you’ll get to where you’re going in much less than a year. I promise. 🙂

Rita June 7, 2010 - 4:07 PM

I’ve been neglecting weight training in favor of more cardio but with this series you’re doing I guess I’m going to have to put on the big girl panties and just hit it. I will try and lift weights tonight since I didn’t do much cardio.

Thanks Ericka!

Erika June 7, 2010 - 7:12 PM

You’ve got to make sure that you have a balance! That’s the best way to benefit from your hard work. And remember, you can only expect results when you KNOW you’re putting in your best!

Thank YOU! 🙂

Naturally Single Mom June 7, 2010 - 7:08 PM

I learned over the past year that lifting weights not only makes me shrink a little bit faster, but it’s nice to be able to lift STUFF that needs to be lifted, without being a little weakling.

On days that I can’t/don’t feel like going to the gym, and don’t want to lift dumbbells during a TV show (which is a great way to sneak it in…you don’t even realize you’re doing it after awhile), I do bicep curls with my 2 year old. (As in, he is the weight.) Fun AND good for you, what more could you ask for? 😉

Erika June 7, 2010 - 7:11 PM

Ha! You’re a half-step ahead of me! Please believe I alternated between my gallon jugs of water and my then-two-year-old, too! LMAO!

Three cheers for Moms who make their kids twice as useful! LOL!

Tiffany June 7, 2010 - 10:13 PM

I want to life weights to help get that coke bottle shape too but I have not a clue what I should be doing. When I go to the gym the personnel all give me diff routines. I don’t know what the hell I am doing.

Peace, Love and Chocolate
Tiffany

Erika June 8, 2010 - 12:14 AM

Peace, Love and CHOCOLATE? I LOVE IT! LOL!

We’re going to spend the week this week talking about exercise routines and what I think makes mine so effective, so don’t worry – hopefully, I’ll be able to shed a little more light on it for you. There are a million different routines that you can use to do this, you just have to keep at them ALL (yes, ALL of them) to see your results. We’ll dig into it, though. I promise. 🙂

sundaze June 8, 2010 - 9:51 AM

Love this post! I think cardio helps you look good with your clothes on, but weight training helps you look good with them off, lol. I typically gain a few pounds when I focus on weight training, but I lose inches as everything tightens up and gets sculpted. The high from seeing the numbers move down on the scale pales in comparison to the one I get when my skinny jeans are loose (and I haven’t had to starve yourself to get there).

Chrystal June 8, 2010 - 10:41 AM

Good points! Weight lifting goes hand in hand with cardio, maybe even just a little higher up on the scale. You can make huge changes with a little weight lifting!

Tasha June 10, 2010 - 2:11 PM

I’ve recently started exercising. I would like to add weight lifting to my workout. Right now I’m walking and doing crunches. What do you recommend that I start doing first?

Erika June 10, 2010 - 2:17 PM

Hmm… check out this post – I think it’s a good way to get started. 🙂

Ty Toro June 22, 2010 - 8:17 PM

Always great content, here. I’ve been lifting free weights for six years now and I am finally starting to figure out just what I need to do to see gains. For me it comes down to immaculate diet, high intensity training and tons of rest. At the end of the day I am stronger, leaner, and feel healthier than ever! I’m fifty-five and feel like I’m thirty!

TeeJay June 30, 2010 - 9:16 PM

I just ran across this discussion randomly, and if I may add a guy’s perspective? I really don’t get the hesitation or fear some women have of getting stronger and developing some muscles. Not only is it difficult to “go overboard” for women anyway (not having as much testosterone), but plenty of guys I know find gals with at least a little bit of visible muscle a big turn-on.

My ex-g/f used to love using me as her home workout. She started out offering me the occasional piggyback ride around the house, and within weeks, she went from it being kind of a struggle for her to making it look really easy. We started experimenting with her trying to piggyback me up the stairs from the basement, which to her surprise, she was able to do too!

For an arm workout, she used to walk up behind me, cup her hands together under my butt / between my legs, and push upwards, trying to lift me. I weigh around 185lbs. so this was more of a “resistance training” type of exercise for her – but as time went on, she got noticeably stronger. One day, she pushed as hard as she could and my feet left the ground for a few seconds! She was so excited (and so was I!). I was literally sitting in her hands! We wound up working on that for a while, and it made a killer party trick if she wanted to show off her strength.

Mede June 15, 2011 - 11:24 AM

Thank you for saying this, because I have faced resistance from MEN in weight lifting, they tell me that “guys don’t want a buff girl” and “why do you lift weights?” Um, wtf? You don’t think Cameron Diaz, Jessica Biel, Gabrielle Union and all those other female celebs you drool over lift weights??

Carmel August 29, 2010 - 1:19 PM

I originally lost over 50 lbs. almost 4years ago by eating better and working out. But because my workout mainly consisted of cardio training and very light resistance/strength training, I still felt jiggly. Earlier this year, my cousin spoke to me about the benefits of weight training and debunking the myths that I’ve heard over the years; so with her help, I started lifting weights (Chalene Extreme, Slim Sculpt and Burn & Firm). It’s not so much out of conceit that I cannot pass by a mirror without stopping to look at myself, but more out of amazement on how commitment and dedication can make you look and feel better!

curious December 7, 2010 - 8:09 PM

how do you know when to go to a heavier set of weights?

Erika December 7, 2010 - 8:12 PM

When the set that you’re working with at the time no longer gives you that same burn, you either add more repetitions to your sets, or you go up in weight. Make sense?

asada December 14, 2010 - 6:46 PM

I was slim and trim in High School because I found a book “Toning for Teens” by joyce vedral that focused on weigth training for young girls. It changed everything, so much so that I regret stopping. 5 years later I have changed shape completely and have a HARD time getting back on board. Vedral spent ALOT of time debunking myths about weight training, but when I told these to my friends I also got the “dear in highlights” look.

Thanks so much for this!!!

Reggie Carr January 4, 2011 - 6:53 PM

THANK YOU!!! Now whenever my female friends or relatives give me the same nonsense about not lifting weights, I can point to one of their fellow sisters and show them proof!

Oh, and please tell your followers that they have to lift more weight than the 2 and 3lb weights, unless that is all they can lift. The idea is to lift enough where it’s challenging, not where it’s easy. A million reps with a 2lb weight may eventually tone your arms, but to actually see gains in strength and stamina, you must challenge your body.

Great website by the way! My wife and I are both working hard on getting into shape and she pointed this website out to me as it’s something she found some inspiration in.

Erika January 4, 2011 - 7:48 PM

My “followers?” LOL

Angela January 28, 2011 - 8:13 PM

Congratulations on your successes! And thank you for sharing your experience with weightlifting, and dispelling the oft-voiced belief that women will look like men if we lift weights. I lifted weights quite regularly for 3 years (maybe 3-4X weekly) and was in the best shape of my life. It’s one of the best ways to get and stay right-sized that I know (I mean, on the physical plane). I’ve just started back with lifting, and didn’t realize how much I missed it.
Angela

David A. Miller March 1, 2011 - 1:40 PM

Good post Erika. It’s sad that so many women don’t understand the benefits of weight lifting. From a weight loss standpoint I personally think it’s the most important thing you can do in the gym because it is the only thing that will increase your metabolism. Keep up the great work.

Marion@affectionforfitness June 7, 2011 - 10:13 PM

Most women cannot build their body to like a man unless they use steroids. I use 40 pound dumbbells for bicep curls and do bench press with the 45 pound plates on the bar and I still look very much like a girl. Women are wrongly scared of turning into Arnold S. (that big cheater) when most men, with all their testosterone, can’t build that much muscle–and they sure try to! So, girls, quit being scared of the weights for that reason.

Bench press will make you feel an exhilarating power that you’ve never felt before. It should be on all of your to-do lists. I teach about 10 women each year how to bench press. They LOVE it!!!

If you actually do get more muscular than you want (I’ve never seen that happen to women in my gym) then you can always let your muscles atrophy until they are how you want them. So, seriously, this Incredible Girl Hulk myth is not valid.

🙂 Marion

Autumn June 8, 2011 - 8:09 AM

My biggest problem is that I’m not a big person (5’8 151lbs) but If I’m not careful I can see myself being fat. I don’t wanna loose weight but I wanna maintain where I am. If I loose weight it shouldn’t be no more than 10lbs. Should I not do cardio and just focus on weight training? Or do a lil bit of both? So confused!!!! ( I do have some belly fat tho) *pouting*

Marie June 8, 2011 - 9:37 AM

Erika!! I have a question, I’ve lost about 15-20 pounds and I’m noticing the flab under my arms and I want to get rid of it. I have NO access to a gym (financial reasons) what can I do at home to substitute weight training?

NICKE June 24, 2011 - 6:29 AM

I have 50 more lbs to go i lost over 100. I read this article a month ago and i added strength training. I havent lost anything but i see myself looking better. But the scale is not moving i even gained 3 lbs. How do i balance? I do 4 days of cardio and 4 days of weights. Nothin heavy just legs and arms. Or should i just finish losing the weight strictly how i had been before. Any advice.
This guide has been the best thing for me on my journey so.thank you!

Cyndi Owens July 31, 2011 - 11:14 AM

I read your posts often and this is the first time I’ve posted. You are very inspiring and help to keep my head on track. So many people with unrealistic outlooks on exercise and how one should look, but never having real answers.

Love this post, and can’t wait to see your routines so I can follow. I’ve had a hard time incorporating strength training, but I do love it. I have to be more consistent with exercise, but my weight loss is causing that “extra skin” which makes me sort of shy away and not want to really “go at it”. I’ve been told not to lose too much, it won’t look good, and things like that so that doesn’t help my either. But I know I need to do this for me, and it can be done. Thanks for encouraging and informing me, and I can’t wait to see your next posts. Let’s see where I am a year from now 🙂 ~Cyndi~

Star Waters August 22, 2011 - 3:49 PM

I know that weight training is what I need to be doing. I have had a personal trainer in the past and saw awesome results. I can’t afford one now, and am not really sure what ‘good form’ is on each position. I had at one time taken a notebook of pictures with proper positions and forms, but I felt really stupid; with all those Jocks around doing what they do. Oh yes, I also injured myself very badly on a machine and suffered with Frozen Shoulder for a year and a half. So I guess you could say, I’m kind of scared to give it a go again. Is there a Weight Lifting for Dummies book or something. I am so inspired by Geraldine Shepherd, the oldest weight lifter of 75 years.

ShantanaR May 24, 2012 - 4:06 PM

I dont know if you ever found your answer, but dont feel embarassed about going in the gym with a notebook, papers what everything, I carry a notebook every day!. The gym has people at various fitness levels. Writing it down helps with 3 things 1)going to the gym with a clear goal on what you want to accomplish, 2)helps you create a routine so that eventually you dont need to carry the notebook 3)progress…you can always look back and reflect on what you did, how you improved, and do you need to make any changess.
Use sites like this one, youtube, bodybuilding.com type in the exercises, find a plan(practice what you learn at home without weights,then go to the gym and go for it, this will help build your confidence also). Make sure your not lifting more than you should and focus on form once your form is down you can lift heavier and if your on a machine and it doesnt feel right dont do it, complete the rest of your workout, go home and find a modified verision of the workouts you can’t do. For example everytime I do a certain tricep exerice it hurts my back so I had to find other exercises that didn’t put the strain on my body. Hopefully this helps…take care.

Stefanie October 29, 2011 - 12:32 PM

Yes, I shall! (smile)

Loretta December 4, 2011 - 5:32 PM

I was bitten by the weight bug some years ago. At 35 and three children I looked and was healthy. Warp speed to 58 and back lifting the weights because I love it and it works for my body like nobody’s business!!!

I encounter(ed) the ‘ don’t want to look like a man’ too too often. I no longer reply, I just let my body talk for me.

This site is brilliant! Thank you for your time and energies spent. I am now adding yoga as a result.

Mimi December 4, 2011 - 5:53 PM

I really liked this post. I am trying to lose at least 60lbs so that I can be at my goal weight. I want to start weight lifting but I am not sure how to start. I am not familiar with the proper form and I am very nervous about hurting myself. What would you recommend? Also, I’m quite sure you were dieting or eating more healthy while trying to lose weight, was there anything in particular you found that helped yo?

Charlene January 12, 2012 - 2:25 PM

Great article. I have been putting off lifting weights and focusing on cardio. I think I am going to give weight lifting a try and see if it helps with my weight loss goals.

kiki March 24, 2012 - 11:31 AM

This is such a timely article for me. Over the last two years I’ve lost 65 lbs. It’s taken so long b/c I’ve never really committed to doing the right thing and quit sooo many times. Anyway, I’ve more serious with my workout routine, working out everyday most weeks. Just recently I decided that I need to incorporate weight training into my routine somehow. I’m just not sure where to start. The weight training area is a bit intimidating at my gym as it’s pretty much populated with these big buff dudes. I’m not afraid to go over there, but I am hesitant going over there without a plan of some form. I think I’ll research this weekend and get to it on Monday. Congrats on your success, Erika. Congrats to anyone else who has reached their goals. Good luck and positive vibes to everyone still fighting the good fight!! (Not that it ever ends.)

Tomika April 9, 2012 - 1:45 PM

I will say this I Love working with the weight it’s the cardio I can’t stand doing. When I get on the treadmill 15 maybe 20 minutes I’m done that is all I can do. Run for 1 walk for 1 minute. I wish I could run longer but I just can’t. I get tired and my knees hurt I absolutely hate doing it. I even tried the elliptical same thing…… and my butt is to to big for that little bike seat so that is way out of the question lol . I don’t know what to do.

Jackie September 4, 2012 - 1:38 PM

Tomika,
You can do it, if you like to dance try a Zumba class. You can also walk for short periods of time throughout the day and throw in some squats.

Erika Nicole Kendall September 4, 2012 - 6:50 PM

Dude. I totally LOVE seeing people encourage one another in the comments. It gets me all verklempt. <3

Shey April 9, 2012 - 4:44 PM

Hey Erica, I wanted to know the post pregnancy pouch! How can I get rid of it?? Im pulling my hair out tryna figure it out!! Lol

Erika Nicole Kendall April 9, 2012 - 5:57 PM

Start here. Then go here.

val April 21, 2012 - 10:35 PM

I am a fan of body pump by les mills ……I have lost 119 pounds and my body is looking Damm good weight lifting is the way to go …..

ShantanaR May 24, 2012 - 4:10 PM

Thanks for this post. This is a conversation I have too often. People have been coming to me lately like oh my you look so skinny, are you losing weight, what are you doing. I say the same thing everytime: I eat right and lift weights.(I do carido maybe 2xs a week). But when they hear I lift weights *side eye* look everytime. Oh I can’t do that or I’ll get bulky…I’m thinking to myself you just told me about my progress and I’m telling you to lift it’s key but you dont want to hear it. Sigh. I’m like fine…but I lost 2 dress sizes and 11inches(5in in the tummy) of my body in 12wks! and I haven’t gotten “big” … I say fine. I’m sure they will figure it out soon. Kudos to the ladies that lift weights. Our progress is one way to debunk the myths!

Jennifer June 11, 2012 - 1:50 PM

thanks for this! I’ve lost roughly 40 pounds doing 80% cardio and 20% abs. I’m at the point where I’m happy with what the numbers on the scale says, but I’d like to be a little firmer! So I’ve been starting with the dumbbells and have noticed, my arms — slowly but surely — are starting to tone up!

Now I need help with what to do with my legs. I still do my cardio — usually a combination of the stairmaster, elliptical, and spinning machine for a total of 50 minutes or so. Isn’t that working my legs enough already?! Or do I need to add some additional strength training focused on my legs?? If so, what kinds of exercises should do you suggest?

Erika Nicole Kendall June 12, 2012 - 9:15 AM

Additional strength training is always ideal. ALWAYS. There’s a section of the blog with exercises devoted specifically to legs. Go check there!

Jessica July 5, 2012 - 3:08 PM

I avoided weights for the longest too. I just didn’t like it but then I discovered water aerobics! The water is such a great resistance and as I started to develop some definition in my arms, it made me want to continue and do more. So I love using weights…I even do it while watching TV!

Tonya Green July 6, 2012 - 6:13 PM

I love weight lifting. Only been at it for 2 months but already notice the difference. Thanks for letting me know that I won’t always have these “wings” (what my boys call them) hanging from my arms. My goal is to lose 150lbs. I have 90lbs to go and with weight lifting I’m on my way.

Terri July 30, 2012 - 8:27 PM

Thanks for sharing this. I once weighed 330 lbs also, and was in a power wheelchair. I’m 125 lbs lighter now (gained back a few after a foot sprain from competing in a walking marathon) & working to lose at least 50 more. I’d given up on my saggy upper arms. Girl, I need a bra with 4 cups – 2 for my boobs & 2 for my arms!! I’ve done strength training but infrequently. This gives me motivation & hope for the loose skin I’m always trying to hide. Thanks again =)

Shari July 31, 2012 - 12:16 PM

I’m really happy you posted this because i’ve undergone my own weight loss (305 lbs down to 215 lbs) and I have the laundry bag boobies effect. I’m really young and don’t have children yet so i’m nervous about how they look after that ordeal. But now that I know shoulder exercises and yoga can help I will start on those ASAP.

LaShawn August 4, 2012 - 2:06 PM

I joined a gym a few months ago and I was just talking to my grandmother, who is 86, about the cardio I’ve been doing. She told me that I need to be weight lifting too! Lesson learned, always listen to Grandma! Lmao!

Tracy August 4, 2012 - 7:50 PM

Is there a good book you could recommend forthe beginner?

Erika Nicole Kendall August 6, 2012 - 10:09 AM

For lifting? Technical or strategic? Though, I must say, nothing beats investing in a couple of sessions with a great trainer.

Martin August 11, 2012 - 8:52 PM

Finally somebody gets it! And this is why you’ve had success. Weights are the answer to hot body! Let the opposition lift their pink weights and wonder why they are not making any progress. As if building muscle happens by accident. I have been trying to get big(ger) for years now and it takes a monumental effort and A LOT OF FOOD. And yes, all the man juices. Moreover, one needs to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat, while a pound of muscle yields only 600. It is incredibly easy to lose muscle without even trying.

Sophia November 29, 2012 - 10:36 AM

I just finished reading you addressing a question to a reader about lifting weight in another one of your entries. I really, really love this one more than the other I read!

I am going to confess…my fiance has always told me that I need to incorporate more weight lifting in my workout routines because it would help me burned fat. And I believed him, but I just didn’t want to do it…because at the time, I didn’t enjoy doing it. However, I came around and realize that you are right…it is all about BALANCE. When I was getting fitter earlier this year, I was doing many types of exercises, routines and workouts: Yoga, Strength Training, Circuit Training, Interval training, Polymeric training, etc. Not only it made me feel awesome, but I started to look awesome and tune!

I think that I am going to dedicate a day or two just to having weight lifting about thirty to forty minutes. You have re-inspired me! Thanks! You are such a bad ass, Erika 😀

Createdtolove December 2, 2012 - 10:31 AM

I’m SO glad you wrote this article! I have this argument with my mother all the time and she SWEARS I’m doing something wrong because I “look like a man”. I have been working out for years before I stopped, got married, and had children. I KNOW the benefits of weight training and conditioning! Too many people avoid weight training like the plague when it’s so beneficial to your workout! Thank you for this article!

Kim January 19, 2013 - 6:35 AM

This is awesome because I was just trying to figure out what to do and what would be too much or too little. I’ve been doing cardio everyday and alternating upper body weight lifting and lower. How often is good enough?

Crystal January 19, 2013 - 10:20 AM

It doesn’t take 145lbs to get the saggy effect. After just 40lbs, I’m experiencing the deflated water balloon sag. The combination of weight loss and having nursed 4 babies (I don’t regret either) has had a definite saggin effevt. I absolutely hate it. Just started lifting weights for the 2nd or 3rd go round. Praying I can stick with it and that out actually works

Sharon February 26, 2013 - 11:20 PM

Erika, I read your blog every week to inspire me. I was 335 a month ago and have since incorporated cardio and weight training into my schedule 6 sometimes 7 days a week. The first 3 weeks were disappointing because I actually gained 2 pounds, this week, I ramped up my cardio and have lost 10 pounds in a week! I was concerned about building muscle in my legs because my calves and ankles are huge, I thought I had lymphoma but my physician says it is just fat cells that have settled, so I guess I just have cankles. He said the only thing that can help me is lyposuction in my legs but spending up to an hour on the elliptical and doing weights, I see my legs shaping up a little, I was just wandering if you have experienced this or know anyone who has and is there hope for my poor legs even if I lose the weight?

Erika Nicole Kendall February 27, 2013 - 8:21 AM

Of course there is hope. Unless there’s some major hormonal imbalance, the fat in your legs will respond to fat-burning activities. It may not be the first to go, and it might require you to get pretty lean to get there, but you can absolutely get there. It’d be silly to promote otherwise, and I’m lowkey shocked (but not shocked) by your physician.

Fat cells don’t “settle.” They might camp out for a while, but that’s because you not only have to keep your workout challenging, but you have to keep your eating game tight.

What kind of strength training are you doing where you’re experiencing NO fat loss? Strength training, especially for someone in the 300s should inherently have your heart rate ramped up. It sounds more like you might need to have your workout plan tuned up by someone proficient in giving better assessments of your current ability, and can give you something that also plans for the future (muscle) AND can accommodate you NOW (fat loss.)

Sharon February 27, 2013 - 9:08 AM

I have contacted a personal trainer that has mapped out a plan for me, I don’t like the diet part of the plan because I just don’t believe in “diets” anymore, but my family has cut out sugar, sodas, and cut way back on carbs in our household, which was a necessity! We have incorporated more lean meats such as turkey, chicken breasts, and fish and tons of veggies we had stored from the garden. When we snack, we have yogurt, almonds, or air popped popcorn. I was spot on with my cardio and weight training, the only thing I was doing wrong is I was doing my weights everyday. Instead I should be doing like abs, chest and arms one day and then legs and back the next to give the other section of my body time to rest. My girlfriends are trying to talk me into doing a zumba class which I am leary of because I am not coordinated at all, but I’m trying to muster up the courage to attend a class. I am determined to get this weight off and show that doctor that hard work can have the same results! God bless Erika, your an inspiration to us all…oh and I have set my fitness goal to do a 3 mile hike in the mountains in July, something I’ve always wanted to do, so wish me luck!

Erika Nicole Kendall February 28, 2013 - 9:04 AM

Hmmm… you can also do full body three days a week, every other day, too.

Did your trainer give you a temporary-kind-of-diet, or a new way to eat from now on?

Patricia March 21, 2013 - 5:35 PM

Great advice!, someone told me that also but since I’ve been working out I haven’t had that issue.

Ck May 2, 2013 - 2:38 AM

Do you lift heavy weights? How many reps and sets would you recommend doing for weight loss ? Trying to lose 30pounds

Erika Nicole Kendall May 3, 2013 - 1:39 PM

I lift heavy weights, but I started out with 8lbs – I filled up gallon jugs with water and lifted those, and then started shifting around my income so I could afford a gym.

No one should be starting out with 30lbers… just take your time. And, if you struggle with building your own fitness program, don’t be afraid to find yourself a specialist or trainer to provide you with what you need.

Ck May 3, 2013 - 4:33 PM

How much reps and sets should i be doing?

Erika Nicole Kendall May 3, 2013 - 10:29 PM

I think that’s all in relation to the weight you’re lifting and how it makes you feel. I’d say look for a weight that, after 8 reps of your first set, gives you a good burn. Give it, maybe, 3 sets. Good luck. 🙂

Ck May 3, 2013 - 10:47 PM

Okay thanks alot for your input
Im currently only able to lift 15lb .
But thanks for all your advice .

Jess August 2, 2013 - 7:04 PM

I think a lot of people neglect to incorporate weight training into their routines.

I am one of those people-but your post has inspired me to start..okay, now to find the milk jugs 🙂

Yvonne Bristow August 4, 2013 - 3:06 PM

Hello my name is Yvonne and I found your website looking for fitness equip. I am 39 and looked up and realized Im 330 lbs! I am in desperate need of help..where should I start?

Erika Nicole Kendall August 4, 2013 - 4:00 PM
Yvonne Bristow August 4, 2013 - 4:14 PM

THANKS so much..now Im going to figure out my new menu each week and reread the posts to gain more knowledge. I hope one day you think about coming out with your own fitness dvd’s!

Mrs. Pancakes August 4, 2013 - 11:05 PM

I hate when people merely think using weights will make you look like a man…it’s not that easy duh!! In love the benefits of lifting and building lean muscles. Thanks for an awesome read!

Cloudy December 3, 2013 - 9:12 PM

YAY! My boobs are going to stop taking a siesta on my belly and stop looking like deflated balloons?!!?!! This is so exciting to know! I just came down from 315 to 220 and just began to start lifting thinking once I got to my goal my gift to myself would have to be a breast lift cause these former 44F’s (now 40DDD) do not look like they belong to a childless 27 yr old! But now I have hope!

Reagan February 1, 2014 - 12:00 AM

I’m SO glad I read this! I’m a super young powerlifter, just beginning, but I’ve always just been naturally strong. It used to make me think that I was ‘chubby’, because all the girls around me seemed to have no muscle or fat on their body- whereas I grew more muscle than the boys, plus my added curves (thanks puberty -.-). I used to run for hours on end to try to get lean like everyone else, which my parents encouraged until it hurt my hips pretty darn bad. After a while I picked up weights and VUALA,

Reagan February 1, 2014 - 12:07 AM

I’m SO glad I read this!! I’m a super young powerlifter, and I’m glad to hear someone finally debunking this. I’ve always been pretty muscular, plus the added curves made me think I was ‘chubby’. Compared to the girls around me, who seemingly had on muscle or fat, I was just a weird freak of testosterone with more umph than the boys! I used to run for hours on end trying to burn off the boobs and the arms and the butt, but to no avail. Since I picked up weight lifting, miracles have happened — I found guys that are stronger than me (but not by much), and I also found that my body is incredible – in ability as well as the way it looks. Even with all this positive energy from lifting, the backlash I’ve gotten from friends and even family has been tough. Everyone seems to think that running myself to death and juicing my guts out is acceptable because it will make me more feminine, but lifting weights to build up my body is body-blasphemy. I am most definitely sharing this with others. I know that many girls wish that they could try something other than torture to help themselves become healthy.

Angelia February 15, 2016 - 11:46 PM

Man. I’ve really been wanting to start lifting weights(female body builders have been my motivation at the moment) but I’m a bit apprehensive about getting into the gym. There are so many exercise equipment(tapes, dumbbells, kettlebells, yoga mats, resistance bands, the internet) laying around the house that I just dont see the need for it at this point.But I dont know how to start exactly.You worte a great article and it cements the feeling that ive been going about my fitness all wrong.

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