By Danielle MacGregor
Weightlifting is one of those things that is looked down upon by women across the U.S.
It’s associated with muscles, sweat and, in general, men. So — why lift?
I lift weights to shape my body and to build strength.
My goal is likely different than the general population because I am planning to compete in the National Physique Competition next fall.
In general, however, the goals are basically to lose body fat and to gain lean muscle.
I know that a lot of people want to do something along the same lines but aren’t really sure how, so I wanted to share what a typical day in the gym looks like for me.
I train two muscle groups five days per week in the gym, in addition to morning cardio.
I don’t spend 60 minutes on the elliptical at a steady pace because that is an ineffective method to burn body fat.
Sprinting, also known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), is scientifically proven to be the most efficient and least time-consuming method of cardio for losing body fat.
I do some form of HIIT five days per week, in addition to weight training.
My weight training split is usually organized into one large muscle group with one small muscle group each day.
For example, I will train chest and triceps one day, back and biceps the next day and then quadriceps and hamstrings on another.
For me, this method of training works best because I really enjoy spending time in the gym, and I have the available time in my schedule to do so.
While I thoroughly enjoy lifting, I’m aware that it isn’t easy.
In fact, it’s more of a mental game than a physical one.
I’ve been lifting for a little over a year now, and the changes in my body have been remarkable.
However, it has taken me over a year to reach this point. The process takes time.
Most of my body-shaping attention is focused on what I eat. In my opinion, your body is sculpted 90 percent by the food you eat and 10 percent by time spent in the gym.
I try to eat balanced meals of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats throughout the day, and I don’t worry about eating more than 2,000 calories or fewer than 1,000 calories.
Food is fuel, which is something I truly think people don’t understand.
Fad diets will not give you the body you want. Only hard work and dedication can do that.
Girls shouldn’t be afraid to try to build muscle.
I know it’s intimidating to be downstairs in the weight room with a bunch of athletic-looking guys, but the benefits are worth every second of intimidation.
We shouldn’t be afraid to exercise in ways that don’t fit stereotypical gendered habits, where women only do cardio and guys are the only ones who can lift some weights.
Being strong is fun! And it’s empowering.
As for getting started, there are a ton of online resources to start a weight-training regimen.
I can say from my own experience that you will be starting the best journey of your life!