Here's A Week Of Workouts To Prove That Women Can Lift Too

Here's A Week Of Workouts To Prove That Women Can Lift Too

Lifting heavy isn't just for guys. A healthy balance of weightlifting, cardio, and cross-training is the ideal workout routine for me.
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For as long as I can remember, there has been a very distinct division between the weights section and cardio machines at the gym. Guys live near the dumbbells and squat racks, and girls are confined to the treadmills and ellipticals. The guys are often more than welcome to come run on a treadmill if they please but, girls going to the weights section? I’ve gotten a few weird looks when I head to the Smith Machine for my strength training session.

I’ve never understood why this stigma exists that girls shouldn’t be using anything above 10 lbs for their upper body because they’ll get too “bulky” or they shouldn’t train the lower body in case their thighs get too big.

Over my three-year journey with health and fitness, I have found that a happy combination of weights and cardio is the best way to workout. However, learning how to safely exercise using weights is important. Women should not exercise exactly like men because our bodies are different. We build muscle and retain fat in different parts of our body, which means we need to vary our fitness regimes.

We also typically have different reasons for why we are working out.

Men are usually lifting to build muscle whereas women are commonly trying to lose fat and tone the muscle they have. I have found that for me personally setting performance goals is more productive and healthy. While everyone's fitness journey is unique, I thought I would share my weekly workout routine that works well for me in hopes that maybe some of these workouts may work for you too.

Day 1 - 6-mile run, stretch and ab circuit

I try and run outside whenever it is over 4 miles. It keeps it interesting and (if it’s a nice day) it gets me outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. I’ve been getting out of the habit of stretching because I’m impatient and don’t feel like I am really doing anything while stretching even though I know that’s not the case.

Day 2 - Lower-body weights session, typically hypertrophy and strength-based

I usually combine compound lifts with free weights. I love training with weights because I can really see my performance progress. When I am able to lift more weight, I instantly feel gratification for all my hard work.

Day 3 - Upper-body strength coupled with a treadmill HIIT workout

Most women neglect their upper body. While biologically women are more petite in their arms and shoulders, we too can build muscle and definition in those areas of our bodies. High-intensity interval training or HIIT is one of my favorite ways to get cardio over and done with quickly. I usually do sprints on the treadmill or an incline interval run. It only takes 15 minutes and you’re done!

Day 4 - 4-mile run and ab circuit

These are usually my low-intensity aerobic cardio days and I try to place them on a day when I know I’ll be busy and need something that will only take 30-40 mins total. 4 miles on the treadmill is usually just enough time for a couple "Friends" episodes, which takes the boredom out of indoor running.

Day 5 - Cross-training, a 60 min low intensity swim

I only recently regained my love for swimming. During my half marathon training, I found that my joints were really feeling the effects of so much repetitive running and I needed a way to still work my aerobic system while being easy on the joints in my knees and ankles. Swimming has been the perfect solution.

Day 6 - High-intensity circuit training and a 3 mile run

Circuit training serves the same purpose as HIIT workouts. It is quick and varied and doesn’t allow my body to adapt to movements. I usually use the 3 mile run as my warm up and add weights/resistance to my circuits. These training sessions usually involve a whole lot of burpees...A LOT of burpees.

Day 7 - Active rest day, I try and stretch on these days to speed up my recovery

I’m not very good at this day. Because I love working out so much, asking me to sit still for a whole day does not usually go very well. I have on multiple occasions skipped a rest day because I don’t enjoy feeling like I haven’t moved my body. However, I have learned how important they are and find that walking or stretching does wonders for my recovery –– preparing it to start the week all over again.

Cover Image Credit: Josephine Bellman

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We Need To Stop Telling Women What To Do With Their Bodies

Not your body, not your concern.
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Any social media user is probably aware of the recent controversy involving Kim Kardashian and the revealing photos of herself she posted on her Twitter. Of course, the Twitter community lashed out at it and made it into quite a large deal. Why? Why is the world so concerned over what celebrities do with their bodies? Why is the world so bothered by what ANY woman does with her body? Kim of course, being a huge personality on a social media platform made sure everyone knew that she doesn't care what the world thinks. Kim has a large fan base and is a very successful businesswoman, she should be able to express her body and sexuality without the negative feedback she receives.

I don't understand the issue with women needing to have certain limits when it comes to expressing their bodies or sexuality. Whereas men could be shirtless almost everywhere and it is rarely, almost never frowned upon. What is the difference between men and women and their ability to express and love their bodies? Who cares if Kim Kardashian wants to flaunt her fantastic body? I'll never appreciate the fact that women get ridiculed for how they choose to express their bodies way more than any man ever will. Why do people choose to be offended by the female body? Why do those think it's appropriate to tell a woman what is or what isn't acceptable for her to do with her body?

Let's stop telling women what to do with their bodies. Let's stop being bothered or offended by how a woman chooses her express or love herself, as a matter of fact, let's celebrate it. Let's celebrate the beauty of the human body and let's celebrate self-love and appreciation. If a woman chooses to show her body and express it, love and appreciate that. If a woman chooses to cover up her body, love and appreciate that. It isn't a difficult task

Stop belittling women and their bodies, stop sexualizing and dehumanizing the female body as if it is nothing but an object. Love and respect every woman individually, whether she chooses to post a nude picture or post nothing at all. Self-respect means to love yourself, to have pride and confidence in yourself. Self respect does NOT correlate with how someone chooses to express and love their body. Let's stop telling women what to do with their bodies, let's stop telling everyone what to do with their bodies. Let's learn to appreciate and respect the way people choose to love themselves!

F*ck the haters — let us love our bodies with no boundaries.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram: Kim Kardashian

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It's Time To Take More 'Me Time'

Did you ever stop and think about how important "me time" is?

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I know it's not everyone's first priority to think about just hanging out by themselves for a day, but why isn't it? Self-care is so important and some people don't do enough of it. Here are some way you can get some me time in, while still having a productive day.

Me time doesn't just mean relaxing

Yes, sometimes we all need a break, maybe it's just taking a long shower, laying in bed for an extra hour, or treating yourself to a yummy dessert. But, having me time doesn't necessarily mean you can't be productive. Have yourself a day and learn to enjoy your own company. Being around family and friends is certainly nice, but sometimes taking some time to yourself and collecting your own thoughts is good for your health.

It's okay to say no

No thanks. It's something that some people don't realize that it's okay to say no, just let them know beforehand. Such a cleshay, but it's not going to change anything if you say no to hanging out with your friends for one night. Take a night off and put on a movie or your favorite tv show and chill in bed with some of your favorite snacks.

Schedule it

We schedule classes and dentist appointments in our daily lives, but why don't we schedule me time? Sometimes just telling yourself that you're going to give yourself 20 minutes before your next task gives you a time dedicated to relax and collect your thoughts. It may seem funny to think about, but this is how you will be able to fully remind yourself, and hold yourself accountable, to giving yourself some alone time.

Treat yourself

Do it. Buy it. Now. Second guessing is first nature, but who needs a second opinion when your gut is telling you one thing? Once in awhile it's good to get yourself a sweet dessert or the new pair or shoes you've been eyeing.

Reflecting

Journaling is something that I spent a lot of time doing in High School, but once I entered College I never really had the time or motivation to do any reflecting. Reflecting on your life doesn't even mean writing it down in documentation, but even just taking 5 minutes before you fall asleep, let your thoughts sink in and evaluate certain things in your life you want to change, and cherish the moments that you will think about for the rest of your life.

Never feel guilty for taking time to yourself. Others will understand, but in the end, they're not you! Remember that taking me time is important for your overall health and encourage everyone around you to do it. Keep in mind that carving out some time for yourself is vital for the long run. Laugh and smile more.

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