and Truth I know now…
This week, I’m going to be sharing a 3-part series on what I’m calling the “Worst Health Advice I Ever Got” and how I have learned the REAL TRUTH that I will share with you.
Before I start, let's be clear there are no VICTIMS of bad advice. Ultimately we all make our own choices and have to take personal responsibility and that's exactly what I was able to do here. So, if you take nothing else away, I want you to know you are your best "expert" of your body. Own that right and responsibility!
Nevertheless we know that the health and wellness industry is quite NOISY. There are many self proclaimed “experts”of things they have no real experience with outside of their own experience or a limited number of clients. So, the moral of this story is to look beyond the scope of who is giving you advice and make sure they really are qualified to advise YOU.
So my first story kicks off when I was 26-years old and I was living in San Diego, CA. As a hardcore football fan, I had scored what I thought was the job of my lifetime as a intern in the Community Relations department of the San Diego Chargers team.
This wound up being a really *interesting* 2-years of my life, and very challenging for reasons I won’t get into with this story, though it was an exciting opportunity overall.
The unfortunate part of this time in my life is that it was also my HEAVIEST WEIGHT I have ever been. The combination of being emotionally stressed, working 2 jobs full-time plus a third part-time job to make ends meet in San Diego meant that I was exercising little and “eating my feelings” and thus put on a good 25-30 lbs.
Now, due to my hormone structure, my body shape is certainly pear and I carry the majority of my weight in my thighs and my butt. So, I was up to about a size 12 pants and was not happy about it.
Finally, having enough of feeling so unhealthy, I decided to push myself back into regular exercise. I was able to use the Chargers facility to workout after all the of NFL players were done for the day. So, I began going down to their training room, doing a little bit of running on the treadmill and then some weights and exercises afterward.
I was in the middle of doing a crazy set of body weight lunges up and down the football field outside when I noticed some shadows in the building and heard some snickering.
Lo and behold there were 3-4 of the NFL players there watching me and laughing. One of the players I knew a little more personally because I had started to work with he and his wife helping them with their nonprofit charity. So, it was this player who shared with me what they were laughing about.
He told me, and I quote, “You really shouldn’t be doing so many lunges when you already have such thick thighs.” End quote.
So, first of all, yes I really wanted to smack him and I was MORT-I-FIED to know that this was the reason they were laughing. I CAN’T EVEN get into the rant about the sexist jerks because the more important factor was all about his “ADVICE.” This just goes to show you that even people who are trained to be professional athletes don’t necessarily know WOMEN'S BODIES!
It is WHOLLY INACCURATE to believe the lie that if you already struggle with carrying extra body fat in a certain body part of yours that you shouldn’t do strength training on that body part.
ESPECIALLY given the fact that I was doing BODY WEIGHT lunges, which means it’s nearly impossible to grow that much muscle that would warrant concern about the size of my thighs.
It’s literally the OPPOSITE of what you should be doing. If you want to lose body fat in any given area, you need to strength train that area!
——> MUSCLE BURNS FAT <——
Even HEAVY WEIGHT TRAINING will ultimately help you (eventually) LEAN your problem areas, and I have proof.
~2ish years after this incident many of you know I trained for 5 months to do a bikini competition. I started my training process having been training regularly, but still carried my weight in my thighs (as you can see from my ‘before’ picture).
To get my legs to get as lean as they look in the 'after picture', I lifted weights….HEAVY WEIGHTS. I was squatting nearing 200lbs, leg pressing 450lbs plus hundreds and hundreds of weighted lunges every week! Because this was my “problem area” I lifted this area MORE than any other area. Seriously!
If you don’t build the muscle of that specific area, you are going to have a much harder time in burning that fat in that area.
Now, TO BE CLEAR, my fat loss was MORE about my DIET and even the cardio that ultimately helped me lean out so quickly for the competition (though, I admit this was a very unhealthy part of doing these shows that I now work with my clients in a much WISER and slower pace to ensure they don’t have the unhealthy rebound weight gain and potential metabolic damage.)
So, this is a very common misconception I deal with all the time with my clients.
My client who carries weight in the back of her arms is afraid to lift upper body and triceps. My client who carries it in her butt and thighs, is afraid of lifting weights in her lower body.
Women are STILL AFRAID OF “BULKING" in these areas, so let me lay to rest what really does happen when you lift weight and why it’s an investment WORTH doing and ignoring any BAD ADVICE that tells you otherwise.
TRAINING TRUTHS TO LEAN OUT:
—Building muscle boosts your metabolism which helps you burn fat. In fact, muscle has MORE of an effect on your metabolism than even your eating does!
— Building muscle the right (i.e. at higher intensity) way can help you burn more fat than cardio alone. It’s such a misconception to women to only do “light weights and cardio” to try to lose fat or "tone up." Though there’s no denying that cardio can help you lose weight, these efforts can actually help you lose muscle which will ultimately do you a disservice as you age by slowing down your metabolism! Building muscle, called hypertrophy, is a necessary component of getting lean and staying lean. You will love your CURVES MORE when you have more muscle.
— For women, truly getting “BULKY” is nearly impossible without a very intentional process that includes diet modifications. Some women do have slightly more testosterone, so they might be able to get certain body parts larger, but they’ll also have to eat a substantial amount of calories to do that too. Most women don’t have the hormone structure (testosterone and growth hormone) that will help you truly “bulk out.”
—The truth is that when you lift heavy weights, women do have more short-term inflammation which makes you “think” your muscles grew overnight, but the inflammation will subside and they’ll go right back down and may even have some less body fat around them!
—Leaning out IS a process of BUILDING and BURNING that takes AWHILE and you’ll have to pay more attention to your diet. I coach on a practice I learned from Metabolic Effect that’s called a “toggle” of Exercising More and Eating More to help you BUILD some muscle for 2-weeks in a row and then Exercising Less and Eating Less to help you BURN more fat for 1-week. I toggle these 3-weeks throughout my STRONGher Fitness and Mobility Programming and app!
—You CAN strengthen a muscle without building the size! This is what I coach in my PERIODIZED STRONGher Fitness program The key differences is knowing how heavy of weight to lift (a % of your 1 Rep Max), the number of reps to lift, and the amount of time you spend resting in between each set. These are my areas of expertise as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
So, if you too have realized you were believing some BAD ADVICE in regards to the value of strength training and fat burning, I encourage you to join us in the her Health Lounge where I will coach you through 26-weeks of this extended weight training programming to ensure the loveliest, leanest and strongest body you’ve ever had! The h2L is available April 3!
her Health Lounge opens April 3!
The 26-week journey to a LIFETIME of health success starts on April 10! The her Health Lounge will be open for limited members starting April 3! To be the first to know, put your name on the list HERE. You'll get a nice little discount too!