I’ve been working out in a gym for about 10 years now (but more intensely over the last 6 years). I’m a qualified personal trainer, I worked at a functional training gym that focused on strength, I did HIIT, I did CrossFit, I’ve done triathlons, I’ve done
But now my training is very different to what is was back then. I don’t focus on heavy lifting and my goals aren’t about trying to squat a certain weight or do a certain amount of pull ups. This is why I don’t lift heavy weights anymore.
To put it simply, I don’t like the way it makes my body look. This is very specific to me and my ideal body shape.
Every time I go down the heavy lifting path and start a new strength focused training program, my legs become really muscular and my back becomes really broad.
The difference is so much that I need to buy new clothes as my bras and shirts no longer fit around my bust, and my jeans don’t fit around my thighs.
I’m a mesomorph body type which means I gain muscle quite easily so if you are also a mesomorph, the same thing may happen to you.
Some of you might be thinking I’m crazy and that there’s nothing wrong with having muscular thighs or a broad back. But it’s just not for me and I’m not happy like that. And being happy is important. You should never do a workout program if:
I know there is a lot of pressure put on people now in the gym to lift heavy. I will admit that sometimes I feel embarrassed going to the gym and doing a “girly” class, doing ab exercises, doing a body weight circuit or using the really light dumbbells and doing things like donkey kicks.
I feel like people are looking at me like “oh she’s a newbie.” I’m definitely not. But I still feel that pressure.
I think social media has a lot do with it – all those hashtags #girlswholift #legdays #squats.
I’ve even had personal trainers approach me when I’m on the treadmill (thinking I’m a beginner) asking me if I want help with a program. Ummm no thank you. Cardio is part of my program and I like it :) I like doing it and I like what it does for my body.
I don’t judge women who lift heavy or do crossfit – they love it so I’m happy for them! So I don’t think other people should judge me and other women because we DON’T do these things.
Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing!
Don’t do something just because you think that’s what you should be doing or because everyone else is doing it. You shouldn’t dread working out either – it should be something you actually enjoy.
If you don’t like lifting heavy weights, don’t do it! If you think Pilates is a waste of time, don’t do it! Everyone’s different. There are SO many ways to exercise and get in shape these days, you don’t have to conform to what everyone else is doing to get results and be happy.
So what am I doing now? Mostly I follow my own 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program. The workouts in here are lower intensity resistance circuits that are all light weight (using body weight, light weights or a resistance band), and also includes a mix of cardio. I like doing cardio because I actually feel SO good afterwards and it helps me keep a leaner look.
I admit that I am not as strong as I once was. I can’t do a pull up and I can’t pump out 20 push ups on my toes like I once could. But I don’t aspire to do these things. You can still be fit, healthy and in good shape without lifting heavy weights.
I’m much happier now with the way I look and feel. And I actually love doing these type of workouts. So for me, it’s a win win! My workouts have changed a lot over the years. But I honestly don’t see myself going back to heavy lifting.
I would love to hear from any of you that are in the same situation! xx