First, props on doing cardio, because many people don’t even get that far! But, strength training will not make you big and bulky. Women’s hormonal systems are designed differently than men, so a two or three times a week strength training regimen will help you look toned – not jacked. Of course there are female body builders out there (I know quite a few actually!) – but their training regimens are much more intense. And strength training does many beneficial things for your body! It maintains/increases your muscle mass, helps control your weight, develops stronger bones, and reduces the risk or symptoms of chronic health conditions.
As a side note, if you hate strength training, here are a few suggestions:
- If you’re overwhelmed by the gym machines and free weights, see if there is a circuit you can do. This typically involves a simple set of machine exercises that have fairly easy to follow directions. Many gyms will demonstrate the circuit routine for free if you need help.
- If you need more motivation, you can invest in a personal trainer or check out Koko Fit Club. I think Koko is awesome, because you receive a little usb card that plugs into the computers on the machine and walks you through your workout! It tells you the weight to use, the number of reps, and even paces you.
- Hate the gym? There are plenty of strength training activities that you can do at home with just your body weight. Pushups, chair dips, crunches, squats, lunges, planks, and bridges are just a few.
There are plenty of healthy options out there that your family will love. I’ve worked with hundreds of children and it’s amazing what they’ll taste when healthy food is presented in a fun and encouraging environment. And remember, it can take a child up to 13 times of seeing something new before they’re willing to try it – so keep trying (but don’t force).
A great way to get your children more excited about healthy eating is to involve them in any part of the shopping, preparation, cooking, or serving process. For example:
- Take children to the farmers market and let them choose one new fruit or vegetable to try this week.
- Consider age-friendly tasks that children can be involved in. Children as young as 2 or 3 can help tear lettuce for salads, while older children can help with tasks like measuring or even chopping.
- Need to make a quick dinner and just don’t have the patience for having your kids in the kitchen? Don’t worry, I know it can be tough! How about serving a healthy meal that still gives them some choice in the presentation and serving? Try a DIY baked potato bar with toppings like cheese, broccoli, salsa, beans, corn, okra, and more.
“I need to lose weight, so I should go on this new diet.”
We don’t need fad diets ladies. What we need are healthy, sustainable choices that can last a lifetime. Paleo, fruititarian, the cabbage soup diet – why focus on restriction? While you may lose a few pounds on any of these, you risk not getting essential nutrients, not to mention feeling miserable and deprived. These are not choices that most people can make for life, which leads to a pattern of diet/off diet and lose weight/gain weight. Life is about balance and moderation for good health. If you want chocolate, eat a square of dark chocolate or make a cup of homemade hot chocolate – but don’t eat half a chocolate cake.
“I read online that this supplement helps you lose weight/sleep better/gain muscle/live to be 100!”
With the internet comes the need to be a great detective. Anyone out there can post information about supplements and their “magical” health benefits. I’ll be honest with you – I’m not a fan of supplements, with the exception of a handful. There’s just not much research out there in my opinion. To each their own, but if you are looking at supplement information online, be sure to use reputable sources and always talk to your doctor before you begin taking anything. Mayo Clinic, Center for Disease Control, National Institute of Health, American Heart Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and American Diabetes Association are good websites to start with. And if you’re a science nerd like me, you can take it to pub med to see what the peer-reviewed research says!