Lift Like a Girl: A Guide to Heavy Lifting

Hello and happy Sunday! I finally went back to the gym today after taking a casual 10 day break. I can honestly say that this was the first time I took an extended rest period and felt absolutely fine about it. Muscles really benefit from rest, in fact, it’s just as important as activity for muscle growth! Every time you lift weights, micro tears appear in muscle fiber. As the tears heal, muscles become larger and stronger…which is why it’s important to rest!

I wanted to talk a little bit about the importance of lifting heavy weights. Many women (my old self included!) are afraid of the weight room due to concerns around getting “bulky” or “big”. Women tend to report that they would like to “tone” their muscles and spend hours doing cardio and lifting pink weights. Let’s get the record straight: there is no such thing as “toning muscles”. There is such thing as “building lean muscle”, but that cannot happen unless heavy enough weights are involved and muscles are fueled properly. Lifting and building lean muscle have dozens of benefits for women. These benefits include: more defined muscles, stronger bones, injury prevention AND increased calorie burn and fat loss. Studies show that women that lift weights regularly burn more calories both during and after their workout. Plus, each pound of lean muscle burns 35-50 more calories per hour than pound of fat. Too much cardio and you’ll end up burning fat and some muscle…not exactly what we’re looking for! (source, source)


Women just simply do not produce enough testosterone to get big and bulky like men. So, when you see women bodybuilders that are really big, remember that those women lift full time, eat a TON and potentially use testosterone supplements (read: steroids). So, give it a try! Lifting really revolutionized my fitness ability, not to mention makes me feel powerful, strong and awesome after every workout.

So with that said, here’s the full body workout that Chris and I did today. This workout is based on the NASM model of “Muscular Endurance/Stabilization”. Stability is the basis of all exercise modalities. It is the “body’s ability to maintain postural equilibrium and support joints during movement” (source) This workout consists of supersets of stability exercises and strength exercises, challenging the same muscle group. While completing this workout, engage your abs and think about your stability throughout.

Total Body Stabilization Endurance Workout

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Beginners: choose a weight that allows you to complete 12-15 reps for 2-3 sets

Intermediate: choose a weight that allows you to complete 10-12 reps for 3-4 sets

Advanced: choose a weight that allows you to complete 8-10 reps for 3-4 sets

As always, warm up and cool down for 5 minutes on cardio machine of choice and rest 1 complete minute between sets.

Superset #1:

Single leg squat and row

In-in-out-out (30 seconds, I used cones instead of a ladder)

Superset #2:

Flat bench flies

Push-up on BOSU

Superset #3:

Lat Pull Down

Assisted Pull Up

Superset #4:

Arnold Press

Single Leg Scaption

Superset #5:

Bicep 21s

Tricep dip with elevated feet


Superset #6:

Leg Press

Pop Squat on step (30s, as fast as you can)

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Sometimes I look like a highlighter when I workout…get over it.

In other news, I am incredibly honored, humbled and amazed by the outpouring of love and support I received on my Hope and Inspiration post. Thank you so much to everyone that read it and felt a connection to it. I hope that some of you might feel inspired to share your story now!

I also have a bit of exciting news! I am now a Huffington Post blogger! Keep an eye out for updates on the Healthy Living page from me! Here‘s my most recent post.

That’s it for me today! Have a fantastic week!

xo R


5 thoughts on “Lift Like a Girl: A Guide to Heavy Lifting

  1. Rebecca-

    I hope this link works for you!


    To sit in solitude, to think in solitude with only the music of the stream and the cedar to break the flow of silence, here lies the value of wilderness. ~ John Muir

  2. Pingback: Fitness Pet Peeves: a rant | Flex and Shout Fitness

  3. Pingback: 10 Minutes Abs: no crunches, no excuses | Flex and Shout Fitness

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