One day I was at the gym on the StairMaster® and I saw this woman walk in front of me with the most beautiful, strong shoulders. I got off the StairMaster® and went up to her and said “You have beautiful shoulders”. She told me “Thank you, I do bikini body building competitions.” I was so interested that I got her number and we lifted the following week. I had lifted before then, but nothing like this. The next day I could hardly move my legs, sitting on the toilet hurt, and sleeping was uncomfortable. She inspired me to be a better version of myself. To be strong and confident, like she was. From that point forward, my life changed forever.
Have you ever completed a task (a rather large one at that) and after doing so said to yourself: “holy crap, I did that!?” Well that’s exactly how we feel about this first year of Smart Fit Girls (SFG), and we couldn’t have done it without the support and love from our friends and family! We know many of you are interested to hear how the first ever SFG program went, so we’ve included a brief synopses/timeline for you here.
Like most people, we tend to think that our day-to-day routines are pretty normal. What else is there to do other than eat, sleep, and lift, right? We have recently been asked to reveal our day-to-day routines. So, here’s what it’s like to be a Smart Fit Chick.
A typical day in the life of KW
Fitness goal at the moment: Maintain muscle mass and strength as I continue to build mileage for my marathon training.
For those of you who know me well, you’re probably laughing right now, thinking “there goes Kellie again…ranting away”. And you’re right. However, this time I think my ranting may have a positive impact. You see, I could have easily titled this blog “rack your damn weights, you idiot”, but I didn’t. I’m being nice. You know why? As a director of a fitness facility, I’ve come to realize that there is a rather large segment of gym “goers” out there who don’t actually KNOW what is and is not normal behavior in the gym.
Being a west coast girl, I find this snowy weather (IN APRIL) depressing, frustrating, and just….ugly. BUT-it won’t stop me from working out and it shouldn’t stop you either! 🙂
So if you are sitting at home thinking…I really should workout today, try our At Home Circuit Workout! It’ll take ~20-30 minutes and the only equipment you’ll need is a theraband (or you can use anything that is heavy to lift….children? j/k) and a set of stairs or a chair. If you don’t know what some of the exercises are, don’t worry-we’ve included a link to a YouTube video where Chrissy demonstrates all of these exercises.
Remember, if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. So go challenge yourself! 🙂
Hello SFC followers-
Today I’d like to give you a little update. For those of you who don’t know, I (Chrissy speaking) am competing in my first raw powerlifting meet in two weeks. What does this involve, you ask? Well, it involves doing a maximal lift on squat, bench press and deadlift. I’ve been training for this officially for about 6 weeks. I’ve been amazed to see the strength gains in this short time, thanks to programming by my good friend, Brian.
Bret Contreras, a fitness professional best known for his glute workouts, recently posted a blog titled: 120 Tips on Strength Training for Women. We read through them. Some of of them were spot on, others….not so much. But, now we’re curious.
What are your thoughts on his 120 tips?
How many of you have found yourself spending countless repetitions on the ab/adductor machines (aka inner and outer thigh machines) in hopes of losing fat around your hips and upper thighs? Or maybe this sounds familiar: you want to get rid of your “jiggly back arm fat” (this has literally been said to me) so you do tons and tons of triceps work? This form of “training” is known as “spot reduction” training, and unfortunately, it doesn’t work.
As a result of our misguided media and lack of credible health and fitness resources, many people don’t understand how important and necessary weight training is for weight loss. Now, this isn’t to say that cardiovascular training doesn’t play a pivotal role in weight loss, because it absolutely does. I like to think of cardiovascular training and resistance training as best buddies; on their own they do just fine, but together, they can rule the world….or in this case, help you lose weight. 🙂
You’ve all probably heard this before: to lose weight you need to have a negative energy balance (your energy expenditure should be greater than your energy consumption). Given this statement, it is no wonder most people turn to long, draining hours on the elliptical, treadmill, bike, etc. to lose weight. But let’s take a look at what determines energy expenditure:
- Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) *The energy necessary to break down the food we eat
- Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) *The energy we burn at rest, excluding mechanical work (movement)
- Physical Activity *The energy necessary to move our bodies
Yes, cardiovascular exercise will result in substantially greater caloric expenditure acutely compared to resistance training. This means that one 30 minute bout of moderate intensity aerobic training will burn more calories than 30 minutes of moderate intensity resistance training. However, that only addresses one of the categories that determine energy expenditure (physical activity). Resistance training, on the other hand, addresses both the physical activity and the RMR category. Not only will resistance training acutely burn calories (during the activity itself), but it will also have a chronic effect as well (by increasing fat free mass). Intuitively, resistance training increases one’s muscle mass (hypertrophy), which in turn, increases the amount of metabolically active tissue . Metabolically active is a fancy way of saying the muscle tissue will need more energy and thus burn more calories at rest. This means by adding in resistance training to your routine, you can increase the amount of calories you burn while driving to work, sitting at work, driving home from work, sitting on your couch….you get my point.
My suggestion: aim to incorporate 3-4 days of resistance training per week into your fitness routine. Don’t jump the gun though! If you haven’t lifted weights ever, begin with 1-2 days a week and progress from there. Also, take advantage of the free personal training sessions that are so commonly offered at local gyms. Remember, the point of this article was to stress the importance of weight training in losing weight, not to suggest replacing cardiovascular training with resistance training. Resistance and cardiovascular exercises are friends….let them hang out together. 🙂
Disclaimer: The advice mentioned above is for the moderately obese and/or overweight person looking to lose weight. Those individuals who are morbidly obese and/or have other special considerations (hypertension, dyslipidemia, etc.) may need to follow a slightly different exercise prescription and are advised to seek approval by their physician prior to starting an exercise routine.
1. Geliebter, A., et al., Effects of strength or aerobic training on body composition, resting metabolic rate, and peak oxygen consumption in obese dieting subjects. Am J Clin Nutr, 1997. 66(3): p. 557-63.
Last week, Chrissy wrote a great blog about the importance of goal setting, how to most efficiently set goals, and she even provided you with some examples of goal setting. Do you want to guess what the most common outcome goal is? If you guessed weight loss, you’re right! So, this week’s blog posts will discuss some ideas for setting behavioral goals in order to lose weight in a healthy, realistic fashion.
Although I’m most likely telling you something you’ve already heard, the key to successful weight loss is long term behavior change, particularly in regards to your physical activity and nutrition. Easy to say, hard to do, especially when there are so many false claims in the media, promising the next quick fix to weight loss.
I have another question for you. Do you know what the number 1 predictor of weight maintenance is (losing weight and keep the weight off)? The answer: exercise and physical activity. What this means is that adults who alter their diet (slight caloric restriction) AND are physically active will be significantly more successful in maintaining their weight loss than those who try to lose weight by cutting their calories without adding any physical activity. So what’s the moral of the story? In order to successfully lose weight and more importantly, to keep it off, physical activity MUST be a part of your lifestyle. Here’s the good news though: physical activity and exercise can (and absolutely should) be fun! Below are three helpful tips on how to actually enjoy the time you spend being physically active and exercising:
- Find an accountability buddy. Research shows that people who have a friend or loved one to exercise with are more likely to continue exercising. I have been active my entire life, and I can honestly say that the last year of my life has been the most fun I’ve ever had while exercising. Why? Because I found my exercise “soulmate”: Chrissy Schaefer (fellow blogger and Smart Fit Chicks co-founder). If you don’t have a workout buddy, don’t let this discourage you, as there are plenty more ways to enjoy being active. Plus, if accountability is your worry, try journaling your workouts. You’d be surprised how rewarding journaling your workouts can be, as it allows you to visually see your progress week to week and also gives you something you look forward to doing (e.g. if I workout today, I’ll get to write that in my journal).
- Try something new. I was just listening to someone complain that the reason they no longer exercise is because step aerobics is not popular anymore. I have two comments for this: 1) Step aerobics still does exist! In fact, at every club I’ve ever worked at, this class format is extremely popular (for good reason, it’s fun and you should try it 🙂 and 2) Why not try something new? There are so many fun group fitness classes available now and days (Zumba, Cycle, Bootcamp, Strength, Pilates, Yoga, etc.). If you are taking a new class, make sure to show up about 10 minutes early. That way, the group fitness instructor can help you get the proper equipment and answer any questions you have prior to class starting. Other great ways to ease any nerves you may have regarding taking a new class: look up the class format on the internet prior to taking the class (so that you can see what the class looks like) and/or ask around about the quality of the instructor/class. My advice, be open and try multiple different group fitness classes. You may just surprise yourself!
- Resistance Train. Ladies I’m speaking to you in particular-you have to lift weights to lose weight! Yep- I just said that. Resistance training is so imperative to losing weight that I’m going to post an entirely separate blog later this week describing the how and the why. Simply put, lifting weights won’t make you bulky, but rather, will increase your metabolism. This will help you burn more calories while you sit at work all day and will also make your body more, as I’d like to call it, “aesthetically pleasing” (aka: swim suit ready). Although I don’t want to bore you with all of the health benefits of being active, below is a short list:
- Decreased risk of disease (Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc.)
- Improved sex life (enough said :))
- Longer and better sleep
- More energy
- Improved cognitive and mental state (so helpful when you’re juggling your busy schedule)
- Improved sex life-oops, did I already include this?
- Etc. This list could go on an on because physical activity is the “miracle drug” we’ve all been looking. It just helps with everything!
So you may be thinking, wait Kellie, what about nutrition? You’re right-nutrition plays a large (very large, in fact) role in weight loss. The purpose of today’s blog is to address the physical activity portion of weight loss, but you better believe we’ll be writing about the nutrition component soon, (and on many occasions, given the complexity of nutrition). In the meantime, what questions do you have regarding nutrition?
Remember, the Smart Fit Chicks foundation is built by our followers (aka, we want to write about things that interest you), so interact with us. Post questions, comments, and share with friends. What is your favorite way to get your exercise? Have you ever tried having an accountability buddy? If so, what worked well? What didn’t work well? What do you still struggle with? We want to build a culture of trust, education, and passion and we’d love for you to be a part of that! Make sure to subscribe to our blog so that you can be included on the most up to date fitness and wellness information, including my post later this week.