Get Those Gains

Hey y’all, this post is for those of you readers who want to work on some gains. Well, some of these tips come straight from a coworker and friend of mine who is absolutely crushing it in the health and fitness department, and I figured I’d share some of the tips that she gave to me.

Now, I’m not really focused on becoming a bodybuilder, but I do want to build up some muscle and get my arms especially a lot more toned than they are. I was chatting with my friend about this one day, and since she’s built up her body so much in the past few years and is super dedicated and focused on healthy eating and personal training, I figured I’d ask her for some tips and tricks, anything to really help me in this fitness goal, since I don’t have a lot of information on it.

Well guys, here are her suggestions on how to get those gains, at least a few pounds of muscle, and to really tone up and build.

  1. Do cardio for 30 minutes a day. You really don’t need much more than that, she’s not the only one saying this, there are many studies showing that if you do more than that, you’re not really doing much more for your body. So aim for 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes of moderate cardio each week. This is also good for cardiac health, which is key to survival 😉
  2. Do various exercises every other day, taking a rest day in-between. So for example, if you do arms one day, do a whole bunch of different exercises to work all of the muscles, not just the main ones. Same thing for legs, but if you do this, you’ll want to do around 3 sets, and 10-15 reps of each, so you’ll definitely need to take that rest day in between your workouts.
  3. Build it up slowly. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your muscles be. So take it slowly, and build up the weights slowly. If you’re like me and are working with dumbbells, rather than building up the weights, you’ll want to build up the sets. Just take your time, don’t move too fast because an injury will put you further behind.
  4. Use protein powder to help. Make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet, and an easy way to do this is with protein powder. Every morning I make a protein smoothie for after my workout, for several reasons. One, it helps keep me full throughout the day, and two, it helps my muscles repair themselves after each workout, which is very important.
  5. Listen to your body. This may be the most important one, if your body hurts or something doesn’t feel right, listen to your body. Take an extra day off, make sure that you’re not pushing yourself too much to where you’ll suffer an injury. I know from experience that pushing yourself too hard, only results in you falling further behind on your goals, so take it from me, if your body is saying no, listen to it.
  6. Eat well. This is also key to building up those muscles, eat healthy fruits, veggies, and lean meats, and don’t be afraid to have several meals in a day. As long as you’re eating healthy things, don’t feel guilty about snacking. Snacks are important when you’re trying to build up your gains, so make sure you have good snacks like an apple in peanut butter or hummus and pita chips. Even trail mix is a great option with the nuts and dried fruit.

I hope these tips help, and if you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!


I Can Be Skinny and Strong

Hey y’all, so yesterday when I was getting a massage, something I splurge on about every 4-5 weeks to help with my stress management, I mentioned to the massage therapist that my left shoulder was hurting due to upping the weights I was lifting and probably slightly overdoing it. Wellll, she looked at me and said, and I kid you not, “your body isn’t meant for lifting weights, you’re not an athlete.” First, I was in shock, because this woman sees me for an hour each month and literally has no idea about my life, and second, only athletes can lift weights and work on their health?? I was so stunned, but I did finally respond that I not only do I play tennis, but I have also practiced karate, ballet, gymnastics, ice skating, and other athletic endeavors, and was pretty good at a majority of them. She apologized and tried to backpedal, but despite that, it really stuck with me. So once again, I’m back here, trying to make a point that maybe we should stop judging people based on what their bodies look like, because I can be skinny and strong.

There’s a hashtag going around Instagram and Facebook, and I’m not going to lie, for people who are so against body-shaming, I sure do see a lot of it, especially towards skinny people. You might have heard of the hashtag, it’s #strongnotskinny. Yup, implying that because you are more of a thinner build, you must be some weak person who can barely carry her own groceries to the door. Really great for making everyone feel good about their bodies, huh? Sadly, not everyone reading this will understand why this is upsetting, because yeah, there are some people who are skinny and can’t lift heavy things or aren’t considered strong. But there are also those who do crossfit or weightlifting and just don’t happen to appear as strong as they are. And I can tell you as someone who is deceptively stronger than people give me credit for, it’s really annoying to constantly be told to eat a cheeseburger or try lifting weights. I do both, and the way my body is, you just can’t tell.

You may now be thinking, well who cares, what do you have to feel self-conscious about, you’re thin, you should be happy. I am very happy with my body, but at the same time, it’s hard not to feel like there’s something wrong with my body when people are sharing that hashtag or telling me I should eat more or asking if I’ve ever had or have an eating disorder, implying to me that there’s something unnatural and wrong about my body. My body is 100% natural, I workout 30 minutes a day for my cardiac health, lift some weights, and I also eat pasta and desserts, and have never had an eating disorder. But thanks to comments like that, even though I’m good with how I look, I can’t help wonder if that’s how everyone sees me, and if that’s something that needs to change. I know I shouldn’t care what others think, and that’s great to say, but much harder to believe when everyone is telling you there’s something wrong with you.

So let me just say this again, I can be strong and skinny. I don’t have to eat a burger nor do I have to rattle off all the different sports I did to be considered athletic. I know people who run more than me every single day who weigh more and I know people who don’t workout much who weigh less. How about we stop shaming everyone’s body and just let people live? Look at the guy who plays The Flash, Grant Gustin, apparently he’s had people attack him for his size, because he’s not muscular enough in their minds for the character. I mean, really? He’s a great actor, it’s a great show, and he’s stated that his weight fluctuates when he gets more anxious about things. You know what’s great for anxiety? Having thousands of people comment on your weight and say you don’t deserve a role that you’ve been playing well for over 5 years. No one deserves that, I don’t care what gender you are, because yes, this happens to guys too, and he’s a great example of it..

Everyone’s body is different, and we all have different metabolisms, different lifestyles, and we are all different sizes. Being skinny doesn’t make me weak, being strong doesn’t mean you can’t be skinny, and being larger than what your BMI says you should be doesn’t make you overweight either. Everyone’s body is different, and we need to accept that and focus on loving our bodies without having to tear others down.

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