The Benefits of Exercise

This week I’ve been focusing on getting a good variety in my exercise routine. Monday I ran 3.4 miles, Tuesday I went for a half hour walk in the evening, Wednesday (yesterday) I lifted weights at my gym and then ran a quick mile to round out the hour. Today is a long, brisk walk after work and tomorrow either a run or a bike ride.

When I lift weights I lift heavy – no 5-pounders for me! I lift heavy and I lift to muscle failure. I’ve got a lot of skin on my arms and legs that needs to be filled out! I’m not worried about bulking up and getting too masculine though, it’s not possible for a female short of drastic steroid-based measures, and I’ve certainly never even approached a masculine shape despite lots of strength training. Lunges are my particular bane, my legs complain the whole time, but I figure the harder they seem the more I need them!

I keep a regular exercise routine, but I’m the first one to proclaim that exercise is for getting fit – dieting is for weight loss. I exercise to be fit and healthy, but I know workouts alone are not going to effect any large changes in my weight. For that I need to look to what I’m eating. That’s been the case no matter what my weight – I exercised regularly even at my highest weight 200 pounds ago, but at the time I didn’t realize that the biggest bang for my weight loss buck was to reduce intake. Once I got that side of the equation in line I enjoyed my exercise efforts much more and could focus more on fitness and building muscle strength. Working out also helps to keep my body feeling good and focuses my mind on my weight management efforts. Both aspects (dieting and exercise) work together, but I think it’s important to understand the proper role of each one.

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8 Responses to “The Benefits of Exercise”

  1. Bluezy Says:

    I was just scheduling my blog post and I actually recognized in it that I diet to lose and I was not so into the exercise portion. Yet I know better that to get the shape going right, I need to at least work on spots if I am not doing the hard cardio. I am all legal now so I need not worry about running. LOL.

    You look great, but your pic is a bit shadowed, it still shows a great physique for a former fatty. Good show, girl! Definite kudos!

    • Laina Says:

      I”ve got more pics on my “after” page – check it out! I also had some excess skin removed in 2005, so that helps the physique quite a bit! Might blog about that at some point… hmmm…

  2. Bluezy Says:

    Oh I checked the tabs…OMG Major transformation. If I knew you before, I would never know who you were after! And what skin? Thanks for sharing this all -( I did understand that the strength and weight training are for the skin to bind?) So the possibilities are not ending up lifting your arms and looking like Rocky The Squirrel about to take flight! Awesome!

    • Laina Says:

      The strength training is just to fill up the excess skin on my arms and legs with muscles instead of letting it flap loosely in the breeze. I had a belt lipectomy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belt_lipectomy) to remove about a foot-wide swath of excess skin from around my abdomen. DIdn’t opt to have anything taken from my arms though so I’ve got lots of skin there. 🙂 When I’m lifting I envision myself filling up the saggy balloons of my upper arm-skin with muscle. Weird, I’m sure, but I’m amused!

    • lizhamillscott Says:

      When I saw Laina for the first time after she lost all the weight, I literally did not recognize her. It was amazing.

  3. lizhamillscott Says:

    Long ago I enjoyed a state of intense muscular strength. I could bench press more than my body weight, do free-standing handstand pushups, and accomplish all sorts of ridiculously difficult physical thing.

    My shape remained *intensely* feminine. All that crap about how muscle makes a woman look masculine is just that–crap.

    Strong pecs make a woman’s boobs perkier. Those lunges you hate (and oh am I right there with you!!) make female legs and butts more shapely–you get better leg lines and a perkier, rounder rear if you do strength training.

    Y’know, I ought to think about doing some more of that sort of thing…

  4. Tracy Renae Cote Serros Says:

    I would add to the benefits of exercise: mental/emotional stability! I recognized this especially when I was pregnant. I became very agitated and was having a lot of anxiety at one or two points during the pregnancy, and my doctor pointed out to me that those were times I hadn’t been exercising regularly. Once I amped the exercise back up, I felt fine. I’ve noticed that even on days when I can’t relax and enjoy the process of working out, I ALWAYS feel more relaxed and less stressed afterwards.

    I’m really struggling with finding time to exercise now being back at work… I used to use my lunch break to work out (we have great exercise classes and a gym here), but now I’m forced to use my break time to pump breastmilk instead of iron, lol.

    I so, so need to get back into some butt-kicking exercise! I’m grateful for your blogs, getting the wheels in my head turning!

    • Laina Says:

      Awesome! And yes – very good point – I also find mental and emotional stability is hugely enhanced by exercise. Man I needed a walk today at lunchtime but instead I had to referee a 5-way shouting match in my office. All I wanted was a walk to burn off some of that anxiety!


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