Tip of the day via Men’s Health
And we carry it around all day.
There’s a reason why you hear fitness-y types shouting from the rooftops that smaller weights aren’t as effective: to sculpt & condition a muscle, the weight should pose a challenge for it. If you’re body’s used to carrying a certain amount of weight all day, it’s not going to work for you in the gym.
If you’re using small weights (or that’s all you have) think about investing in a heavier pair this holiday season. You can also try using 2 weights in each hand, or loop a resistance band around them to make them more effective. Typically, it takes 2-3 weeks for a muscle to adapt to a heavier challenge: that’s when giving it a new one (adding a pound or more resistance) is ideal. Some women use the same 5lb weights for years (not judging, I did it too) without seeing how adding more weight can truly benefit their bods.
A lot of women claim to get bulky after a few training sessions with heavier weight. Not only is that physically impossible (if gaining muscle was that easy, bdybuilders everywhere would rejoice), but the causes aren’t what you think. Swelling after training is common, and sometimes women mistake that for bulk (the swelling goes away after a day or two). Also, if they’re not simultaneously watching their diet and promoting fat loss, muscle simply pumps the fat to the surface (there’s fat UNDER the muscle as well). This can create an illusion of bulk, which can be minimized through overall training and lowering your body fat percentage.
How much weight to use differs from exercise to exercise and person to person. A good way to measure is to find out what your 6-8 rep MAX is (finding a weight that makes it HARD to do 6 reps, but impossible to do 8 reps). Use 70-80% of this weight for your exercise and you’re sure to be challenging your muscles the right way. For a woman who can do 6 bicep curls with a 20lb weight, this means she should be using 14-16lbs for her bicep routine. If she can do 6 reps with a 10lb weight, she should be using 7-8lbs. This is based on a routine with 12-15 reps: the more reps you do, the lower the weight should be, but you’d be training for endurance and not muscle strength. It’s okay to mix the two up during your routines, but try to hit your muscles in the strength zone at least twice a week. As you get stronger, this number will go up, so test yourself every 2-3 weeks.
So, if you’re ‘pursing’ it at the gym, remind yourself that your results, overall fat loss and toning, can get a good kick in the butt with a harder challenge! Believe me, you’ll SEE and FEEL the difference, and those smaller weights will simply fade into your closets. And you’ll look at them and think they’re cute…
Are you blasting your hearing away?
Research in the International Journal of Audiology showed that 25% of college age people may ALREADY have mild hearing loss.
Blasting music via our earphones is to blame (though if you work in a noisy environment, you might want to invest in ear plugs too). While it might be tempting to drown out the world, you can reverse some damage by dialing down the volume about 25%. If someone else, a few feet away, can hear your music? It’s too LOUD.
Start by reducing the volume bit by bit and SAVE your ears! Believe me, your older self will thank you!
- Women’s Health Magazine, September 2011
Did You Know? Storing your fruits and vegetables separately in the fridge (in different compartments) is important for taste and longevity.
Fruits have porous layers & skin, which can pick up the flavors of foods stored nearby. They (fruits) also produce ethylene gas; which drastically speeds up ripening of your veggies, especially leafy greens. If you’re throwing out too much too often, this could be the reason!
Try this: Hard, unripe avocados? Stick them in a paper bag with an apple. The gas will ripen the avocado in half the time.