Muscles Are For Girls

weight

I’m a wee bit competitive.  Ok, well depending on who you ask, perhaps I’m a lot competitive.

That’s not a bad thing, right? I’m a fierce competitor against myself and when my sons were younger and we had those side yard football brawls my middle son and I could either make a fierce team, or we were angling to take each other out as opponents 😉

That being said, when I’m around guys and they start talking about muscles and flexing their arms, I need to stop flexing mine 😛

I mean, why can’t I do show and tell along with them ?  ** note to self: don’t flex when you have more muscles… and you’re a girl….**

Seriously though… muscles are for girls.

In the beginning of my fitness journey, that never really crossed my mind. In the beginning it was all about losing that fat.

I guess I never pondered much the idea that there were muscles hiding out under the fat. Or that once it started to go away, I’d see those muscles that had been growing and changing.

But then one day I realized I could see definition in my arms, legs and other parts of my body. It’s taken time.

I often have women ask me what do I do or how can they get arms like mine? It’s usually said in a teasing way but they are serious.

I simply tell them I practice lifting heavy things.

I am kinda surprised how many women still worry that if they lift some weights they will be transformed into some kind of bulging hulk.

Listen, you won’t spend enough time lifting, and lifting heavy, or consuming the large amounts of food needed to get to that point.

You can get shaped, lean looking, and that illusive “toned” word that gets thrown around.

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Funny, but kinda true….

I was telling someone the other day when the whole arm convo was going on… go get weights that you can curl about 6-8 times before you can’t curl them again. Those are heavy enough for you to start with.

Forget those dinky little 2 lb pink weights… I’m not even sure why they were made. And even 5 lbs…forget it. Your grocery bags you carry in weigh more than that. The idea is to work and tax your muscles forcing them to grow and change.

Find your starting point and work from there. In the picture below is how I’ve progressed along the way…. and looking back… if I knew what I know now… those 5 lbs wouldn’t be there. Missing in the lineup are my 8 lb weights as a part of the group.

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Slow, steady progress over time….

 

 

These are my free weights I work with…35 being the one I primarily use. It’s hard for me, don’t get me wrong. It’s work. And that’s ok. The 15lb ones I use when I’m doing high reps. ( for the record I’m just showing one of each… they all have mates 😉

Now when I work with the bar I lift a lot heavier for things like squats, deadlifts, overhead presses and moves like that. I also have a bench that I do chest and leg work on.

I do strength training a couple times a week.. nothing crazy. Of course my other athletic activities have definitely contributed to muscle building. Running and cycling have really built my legs.

Alright, but other than muscles shaping our bodies, what about practical ways we use them ?

That strength you build is essential to the tasks you take on every day. Lifting, carrying, moving, pushing, whatever it is, you need to be strong for those tasks.  The practice of lifting heavy things prepares you for your daily life.

During Christmas, I had to carry my nearly 40 lb grandson blocks to the Christmas parade we were going to because we had to park a distance away from parade. I was easily able to carry him. Why? that weight was something I was accustomed to handling… I had practiced it enough that it was easy for me.

Ok besides the daily practical part… having strong “toned” ( and muscle is what gives you that look)  arms is high on the list for many women.

How to go about it? First, understand it takes time. You can see in photos below how my arms have progressed… but it’s within a span of several years…

 

 

April '10 arms
Aww…. baby arms.

 

 

Aug '10 (2)
Losing fat, finally getting some definition.

 

 

Sept '11
Finally… can I compete with these things ? 😉

 

 

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Second photo taken from Runners World photo shoot 2012
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Yeah that’s my arm they used in the cover story for the 2012 Body Issue
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2014
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Dec 2014
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Sweat time… Oct 2015

 

 

 

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And working out a few days ago…no flex in this pic ;)… Feb 2016

 

OK…so you know it takes time. Go get yourself some weights, start slow, but make sure they are heavy enough to make you work hard.

Oxygen magazine online has some great exercises with helpful tips and proper form photos for doing various arm exercises.

** oh and on a side note. You can use all kinds of things at home as weights if you can’t/don’t want to buy any. Milk jugs filled with sand work great…fill to the limit of what you can “lift”.

Spend a few days a week consistently working your arms and you’ll never consider buying clothes to cover them up again 😉

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