Going to the gym can be daunting, what with all the complex-looking equipment and the people who somehow seem to understand how to use it all. So it's quite normal to focus on something that's straight forward to use, like the treadmill.
But sticking to cardio—or any one type of exercise—can actually hinder your progress, as you don't end up pushing yourself anymore. And nobody's proved that better than fitness Instagrammer Rebecca Catherine Smith in a recent post.
Smith regularly shares an insight into her diet and exercise regime with her 45,000 following, as she continues to prove that "Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was that booty." Recently, she uploaded a comparison photograph displaying her consistently trim figure. The difference between the pictures, however, is that in one she is noticeably more toned and sculpted than the other.
"Changing my training from cardio to weights changed me completely inside [and] out," Smith wrote, describing how she switched up her workout regime.
Making the point that doing weights doesn't make you "manly," the fitness blogger wrote. "Each to their own but I personally don't think I've made my body look at all manly in my past year and a bit of weight training!"
She went on to explain exactly why she believes weight training is a great option for women who enjoy exercise.
1. Building strength and muscles:
"Lifting builds on a woman's natural curves and helps your body be the strongest it can," wrote Smith. "Ripped abs, sexy strong back, shoulder boulders & a curvy behind all come from lifting."
2. Losing extra body fat:
"My body fat % saw a MASSIVE fall when I began lifting because as your muscle mass INCREASES your metabolism INCREASES," she explained. "Before I would spend hours on cardio machines thinking that will get rid of fat but never saw any results and just made me HATE going to the gym, and if you feel like [you're] in that boat now then change it up now!"
3. Developing a healthy relationship with food and body image:
"When [you're] doing cardio in order to burn 'calories' it's so easy to look at food as numbers and end up feeling guilty for eating too much and feeling like you HAVE to restrict yourself to see results. Well that's just not the case at all," said Smith. "Starting weight training made me realize food is fuel and I need LOTS of it to get the best out of my training. The amount I eat has honestly doubled since I picked up lifting and I absolutely love it. There's no restricting and there's no guilt in indulging in treats once in a while because what better way to fuel a sesh."
While it's clear to see in Smith's pictures just how much weight lifting has defined her body in comparison to its shape before, Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute at the Good Housekeeping Institute, says it's still important to get your body moving in other ways. "Strength training builds lean muscle tissue, which is the only real way to change your metabolism for the long-term. Increasing the amount of lean body mass you've got will help you burn more while at rest," she said. "That said, it shouldn't take the place of you moving as much as possible throughout the day. Eat consistently, walk often and strength train for better, long-term results that you can stick with."