The 12 Things You Should Expect When You Start Strength Training: Part Two

Hello again, lovelies! Today’s blog post is a continuation of The 12 Things You Should Expect When You Start Strength Training: Part One.

I’ve really enjoyed writing these posts and have reaffirmed the things that I really love about the sport as well as burned through some of the frustration over the things that drive me mad.

I hope that one or two of these points is helpful!

7) You won’t lose weight. Not straight away.

For most people beginning a strength training routine, they’ll notice an immediate (and temporary!) increase on the scale.

Okay, a little anatomy. Muscle growth happens when your body repairs or replaces damaged muscle fibres. This happens through a cellular process that creates new muscle protein strands (myofibrils) that increase in thickness and number to cause muscle hypertrophy (growth).

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This is all great, but building strong and sexy muscles essentially requires the breaking down of your muscles, which need to repair to grow. During your recovery phase, the muscle becomes inflamed and slightly swollen due to fluid retention (a muscle protection mechanism).

This process is perhaps the reason why many people quickly quit the gym. It is temporary, as your body will adjust as you continue to train.

8) . . . But it’s okay, because your weight isn’t as important to you anymore.

So, at my fittest, I weighed 10lbs more than my lowest weight, but I looked slimmer. People say that muscle “weighs more” than fat, but that isn’t true. 1lb of fat and 1lb of muscle weight the same: 1lb.

However, muscle is more dense, which means it takes up less space . . . about 22% less space, in fact. What is on the scales is absolutely not a reflection of your progress. Throw the scales away and stop obsessing; judge a narrowing tum by a pair of jeans instead.

So as you burn fat and build muscle, you may not see much weight loss, and you may even gain a little. As you see your sexy curves developing, you won’t care!

9) (For the ladies) You’re gonna question your sexuality!

Girls building their bodies is so inspiring and encouraging. It can be very difficult not to feel intimidated or deterred from doing your thang, but they’re probably just as concerned about improving their health and fitness as you are.

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Girls with strong and capable bodies are sexy as hell. So, I’m just over five feet tall, exceptionally well-mannered and scared of my own shadow, and yet more than once I’ve feel like a total creep, thinking: “Oh God. Do I . . . do I LOVE her?”

10) You’re going to talk about the gym. All. The. Time.

Do it. Share your progress, celebrate your achievements and talk to people who are also strength training. If you surround yourself with fellow lifters, you’ll learn loads, increase your accountability and therefore increase the likelihood of consistent successes.

11) Not everyone will support you.

You are making a wholly positive change in your life, but when people aren’t supportive, this isn’t a poor reflection on you.

When people are noticing you looking great, they’ll want to know your secret. You’ll see lots of eyes glazing over when they realise that there isn’t a special tea you can drink for twenty-eight days or a cool pill. There’s no substitute for hard work, and a lot of people won’t be interested in what you have to say.

Seeing you doing well will make the people who love you confront how they feel about their own health and body image. When your family and friends don’t act sensitively about the changes you’re making (the perfect example is someone buying in a takeaway for you when you’re trying to eat well), don’t be discouraged by it, and be sure to continue to make a big effort in those relationships.

12) Prepare for a metric fuck-ton of unsolicited advice.

Right, there’s no need to have an attitude with people who want to help you, but opinions are like assholes, and there are plenty of both within the lifting community. Before you start to lift, learn how to lift safely and effectively. Beyond that, everyone has their own programme because they want to achieve different things.

Gym-goers visualise their ideal body consistently, and this means that they often project their goals onto other people. Remain clear in your own goals. Exchange ideas with people you speak to, but unless it’s your personal trainer, take every bit of unsolicited advice you get with a huge pinch of salt.


Love and strength,

Steph
xo

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