Now it’s getting toward summer people are looking for ways to lose weight and get that ‘bikini body’. Obviously all you need to do is put on a bikini, but a lot of us want to shift a bit of the winter blubber before strutting our stuff on the beach anyway. Diet is a big part of getting into shape, huge, and I’ll cover that in another post.
I was sent an amazing gym top the other day which I’ve been wearing all the time – out running, lifting weights, playing derby – and it’s been a bit of a conversation starter (I will add a photo of me in it later on, I keep forgetting to take one!). More and more ladies are getting interested in weight lifting as they realise they aren’t going to end up looking like Arnie.
As a roller derby girl I’m more interested in strength and power than looks, so while cardio is important I’m also looking at resistance training too. It can be scary as a woman looking at weight training and bodybuilding websites, it all seems so geared toward men and building heaps of massive muscles. But as women it’s really important to do. Lifting weights strengthens your bones, you’ll appreciate that as you get older to ward off the dreaded osteoporosis. Also, muscle mass takes more energy to maintain, so the more you have, the more calories you burn.
There are lots of places online to get workout tips, Gym Talk is a great place if you’re already pretty fit and want to step it up a notch, but surf around and find a site which resonates for you and your goals. My husband is a big weights guy and lifts several times a week. His workouts are split throughout the week into legs, arms… I forget what else. But the point is he concentrates on a specific set of muscles each time. I like to get a whole body workout – strong legs are really great for derby but I need to keep my upper body strong too. I get bored easily so like to mix things up rather than sticking to a set programme, but I do have a core set of moves I always try to incorporate.
Squats – sometimes I do body-weight squats, lots of them and as slowly as I can. Sometimes I do squats to the ‘Bring Sally Up’ song (put it into You Tube, it’s fun!). A lot of the time I do weighted squats, usually with a barbell but occasionally with a couple of dumbbells. It all depends on my mood really, and what other exercise I’ve been doing recently! Squats are fantastic for derby where you’re skating around in the squat position for a lot of the time, but they are brilliant for anyone to do as they really build your leg muscles and work on your core.
Lunges – I hate lunges, they hurt my knees, but I have to do them! Again I sometimes just do body-weight lunges and sometimes weighted but this is a great move for leg strength and balance.
Deadlift – Form is ever so important for a deadlift, get it wrong and you are risking serious back injury (two people I know have burst discs and had surgery as a result!) so get some help from a PT or just friendly people at your local gym if you’re unsure. But don’t be scared of the deadlift. It’s a compound movement which works so many different muscle groups. You might also be surprised just how much you can lift too! (Fashion blogger Jess of Feeling Stylish did 70kg the other day – go Jess!!)
Push-ups/plank – this is one exercise I really struggle with. Since breaking my arm last year I find it very painful to bend my wrist back far enough to get good push-up form, but it is getting better. I like to do these in combination because it somehow makes both exercises more bearable. Another one you can try to the ‘Bring Sally Up’ song!
There are other exercises too, but these are the core moves I always do. So give it a go, lift some weights. You might just love it!