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where's the muscle?

by Heather

So glad I got to share our super fun 80s themed body pump launch 80 with you yesterday. It’s like a big lifting party full of smiles and sweat. Totally a party you want to go to huh? I thought so πŸ™‚

When I first started getting into fitness, it was mostly all running with some workout videos thrown in there. I’d feel wonderful after my workouts, but, other than being able to run longer, I didn’t see much change in my body.

It wasn’t until I started weight training that I really fell in love with all aspects of fitness. Muscles I never saw before started showing up. I felt strong, lean and confident. It’s a good feeling.

If you just started or have been strength training for a while, but aren’t seeing results that you hoped for, here are a couple areas to consider changing up.

5 reasons you might not be building muscle

Too much cardio

I am a fan of cardio, so I’m not here to tell you it’s bad. It’s good and part of a complete workout plan! But… too much cardio can work against your muscle building.

Running long distances, for example, require fuel. After a while if you aren’t properly fueled, or not fueling during the run, your body will tap into energy stores in your body –> your muscles. Instead of building those muscles, it breaks then down to give you the energy you need to carry through the long distance.

Lifting too light

I used to be afraid to lift heavy weights. I thought I’d get bulky or man-ish, but boy was I wrong! Just lifting light weight for tons and tons of repetitions isn’t going to definite and shape you the way lifting heavy weights done. Muscle grow by being pushed and broken down. When you lift weights tiny little tears show up in the muscles. It’s during the recovery of those tears when you see growth, change and an increase in strength.

Ladies don’t have as much testosterone in their bodies as men do naturally. Testosterone is the muscle builder, so we actually have to work harder to gain muscle than most men. See, there’s no reason to be scared to lift more than 5lb!

Skipping needed food

Muscles need food to grow. If you deprive your body of food muscle can’t grow. The more muscle you have the more calories your body burns at rest! It’s as easy as that, never skip a meal.

One of my favorite pre-workout snacks are these almond, date and coconut energy balls. They provide you with quick burning carbs + sustaining fats and a little protein.


Missing out on protein

Along with not skipping a meal, don’t skimp on the protein, especially after strength training. Your muscles need a combo of protein and carbs to help with repair and rebuilding (when they grow and get stronger!) Eating within 1 hour of exercise is best.

Some of my favorite post workout meals/snacks (in on my recipes page!):

Double custard banana oats

Protein oats

Cinnamon roll custard oats

Apple spice protein bars

Deconstructed breakfast skillet

Salmon feta grain salad

Salmon over caesar pasta salad

Protein packed salad

Of course, smoothies are a quick and easy post-workout snack too.

Keeping it the same

Variety is key here. If we want to see change, we have to give our body change. If you’ve been following the same routine for a while now, switch it up. Try to change it up at least every month.

Ways to switch it up include:

Different exercises
Change the tempo of the moves
Change the # of reps you do
Change the # of sets you do
Take a whole new class or workout with someone new and follow their strength training routine for a day

What are some of your favorite tips for getting those muscles?


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0 comment

Kaitlyn @ Pain Can Be Fun February 8, 2012 - 10:16 am

This is such an interesting, helpful post! Strength training is one thing that I know the least about, and I definitely have trouble “changing it up” every so often because I’m not familiar with a ton of moves. I will definitely begin to put more effort into that!
Also, since I stumbled across your Custard Oats recipes in December, I think I’ve eaten a bowl almost every day after my morning workout…they are delicious! πŸ™‚

Kris | iheartwellness.com February 8, 2012 - 12:59 pm

Eeeeee I love this post!!!! Hhaha, I am not a fan of cardio, and I life heavy for myself so maybe I’ll get good muscles quickly πŸ˜‰ LOL!!!


Charissa February 8, 2012 - 1:11 pm

So true! If I don’t eat before I lift, I feel way too weak…not good!

Get Healthy with Heather February 10, 2012 - 5:18 am

Not good at all! Happens to me too though so I make sure to always eat something before hand.

Alaina February 8, 2012 - 2:03 pm

This post is very helpful! I’ve never been all that into strength training, but I’m going to be starting the NROLFW program. I can’t wait to see the results!

Get Healthy with Heather February 10, 2012 - 5:17 am

I need to read more about that program, I’ve heard good things.

Annette@EnjoyYourHealthyLife February 8, 2012 - 2:18 pm

LOVE it! I am SUCH a fan of lifting weights -not only for the physical benefits, but because of the awesome mental and psychological ones as well. SO great!

Get Healthy with Heather February 10, 2012 - 5:17 am

Yes mental and psychological benefits too!

Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner February 8, 2012 - 2:49 pm


Get Healthy with Heather February 10, 2012 - 5:17 am

You’re welcome Kathleen!!

Erica February 8, 2012 - 2:54 pm

Amen! Rest and refuel!!

Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries February 8, 2012 - 2:55 pm

GREAT post heather! i’m loving everything you have to say here… all so true!

Get Healthy with Heather February 10, 2012 - 5:17 am

Thanks Ashley!

Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers February 8, 2012 - 3:05 pm

Love this post today! I’m one of those people that either does to much cardio or to much strength. I’m trying to mix it up. Your right about the weights. I love being sore the next day, then you know you did it right!

Get Healthy with Heather February 10, 2012 - 5:17 am

LOVE being sore the next day too πŸ™‚

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) February 8, 2012 - 3:39 pm

Could not agree more. I used to ride century bike rides and go to a zillion cardio classes but it wasn’t til I started lifting heavy that my body changed. I just started a different lifting program and my husband was all “Now I don’t want you to be one of those BODYBUILDERS!” LOL.

Get Healthy with Heather February 10, 2012 - 5:16 am

Haha those husbands! Mine went through worry like that too… but I’m still a lady πŸ™‚

Lauren @ What Lauren Likes February 8, 2012 - 6:20 pm

So true! Loved this post! And all the recipe links…yum πŸ™‚

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking February 8, 2012 - 8:12 pm

Oh this is such a great post!! Thanks for the recipe links!

Get Healthy with Heather February 10, 2012 - 5:13 am

You’re so welcome πŸ™‚

Jentry Nielsen February 9, 2012 - 11:59 am

Great post! I too have always been a little afraid to lift too heavy of weights, being afraid of becoming too manly. I haven’t been seeing much results though, so I think that will help! Thanks for the tips! πŸ™‚

Get Healthy with Heather February 10, 2012 - 5:14 am

It will def help you get results!

BIG circuit full body strength workout | Get Healthy with Heather February 14, 2012 - 7:13 am

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