Countdown to Maui –Day 23: Why I Lift Weights and Why You Should, Too

ACSM Materials

ACSM study materials!

Happy Friday! This has been a great week for me because: 1) I’m starting to see some serious changes happening with my body (woohoo!), 2) my ACSM study materials arrived and I’ve already started diving in, and 3) my primary consulting gig is going to be extended. So, yeah, I’m in a pretty good mood on this sunny Friday (another reason to be happy).

But since this is a fitness blog, let’s talk a bit more about #1.

I had a meeting yesterday, so I actually had to put on a ‘real’ pair of pants (i.e., not leggings). But it was casual, so I wore jeans. Now, I have loads of jeans from prior to my weight gain, but I still can’t squeeze into most of those (size 2…ha! Not yet). In need of some jeans for the occasional meeting with my client, I bought a new pair a few months ago. At the time, I was ecstatic to fit (albeit snugly) into a size 6! I couldn’t believe it. I wore them a couple weeks ago and they were no longer snug, but fit just about right.

Progress!

Progress!

Well, yesterday when I put on those size 6 jeans, I noticed something…I can pull the waistband a couple of inches away from my body. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I was pretty sure my stomach was looking flatter and I’ve noticed significantly less cellulite on the backs of my thighs—but this was proof!

Here’s the thing, though. My weight HAS NOT CHANGED. So what gives?

Well, I’m building muscle while losing fat. My weight isn’t changing, but since muscle is denser than fat, I am getting smaller. This is why you cannot always rely on the scale to measure progress.

Now, I know what some of you might be thinking: “if you’re eating at a deficit, how are you gaining muscle?” Here’s the thing—I still have quite a bit of excess fat. You can lose fat while gaining muscle, especially if you are not drastically cutting calories. I’m taking the slow and steady route, so I’m still consuming a decent amount of food (more specifically, nutrient-dense food). For your reference, there are several studies indicating that people can simultaneously lose fat and build muscle.

Herb chicken & creamy wild rice.

Herb chicken & creamy wild rice = muscle gains and fat loss.

But I don’t need those studies because I can see the proof for myself, right here on my own body! I have, without a doubt, gained muscle on this journey. I can SEE and feel the increased size and hardness of my muscles…delts, quads, biceps, calves…you get the idea. And damn am I proud of those muscles. Of course, fat loss helps as well in that it allows me to better see muscle definition.

Yes, I’m excited about my fat loss and about fitting into smaller pants. But mostly, I’m excited about the way I FEEL. I am stronger and healthier. I can lift more weight, my cardio performance has dramatically improved, I’m less tired in general, my overall mood is much more positive, and my confidence has increased tenfold. This is why I’m on this journey.

This is why I lift.


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