I’d like to touch on the myths of weight training for women. When I first started training, the very thought of using any type of weight would scare me! I was always under the impression that weight training was better suited for body builders or men who wanted to bulk-up, and by no means did I want to end up that way. I was pleasantly surprised when I started training and found out otherwise. I learned from numerous trainers, as well as my dear husband who weight trains, that it does not make one bulky. In fact, it makes you toned, so I decided to try it. I was skeptical, but within a few weeks, I could feel the pounds shed and my body transform.
Another myth is that weight training does not burn calories. This is completely untrue, as the best way to burn calories is through weight training. When I started out, I set a goal of how I wanted my body to transform. I didn’t want only to shed pounds but also become toned. This is where weight training has helped me in my fitness. I will share the method I used to see results, but you can adapt it to your fitness level and stamina as well.
To begin, I recommend some light weights between 3-5 kg, to begin training exercises in the comfort of your home. They are basic exercises but a good start to progress to slightly heavier weights in the future.
Upper Body Weight Workouts
For those who don’t know, the bicep is the inside of your upper arm or the front of your inner arm. When you turn your arm out and squeeze your hand to make a fist, you can see the slight bulge on your upper arm; this is your bicep.
- Stand with your feet together and your back straight up
- Hold your weights on either side with your elbows tucked in
- Slowly curl one arm up towards your chest
- As you bring that arm down, curl the other side and do the same
- Do 3 reps of 12 on either side
Triceps are the back part of your upper arm and, as you start to tone, you will start to see that muscle form.
- Take one weight and hold it between your two hands
- Lift the weight above your head and then behind your head
- Raise it back up above your head and then down toward where your shoulder blades meet
- Do 3 reps of twelve
Deltoids are your shoulders.
- Sit up straight with weights on either side of you (always make sure you’re sitting on a chair or bench that has back support)
- Raise the weights shoulder height and make sure your palms are facing forward
- Lift the weight above your head
- Contact your shoulder muscle for two seconds
- Then bring the weight back down to shoulder height
- Do 3 reps of 12
These are a few upper body exercises you can do, but there are plenty more if you do some research. Remember if you can’t feel it in the area it’s meant for, then you’re doing it incorrectly. Try changing your form or posture until you feel it in the particular area.
Lower Body Weight Workouts
After working on toning your upper body using weights, you are heading to the more dreaded exercises of all – your lower body. This will include everything from your calves to your quads (front thigh), to your hamstrings (back thigh), and including the bottom.
Remember that these exercises can be strenuous, so unless you want to end up looking like a worn-out mommy, please use light weights and make sure your form is correct at all times. Although it might be tempting, do not use the little people in your house as weights, seriously I’ve heard parents doing this :-0.
There are tons of exercises you could do, provided you have the right equipment, although not everybody has access to this or can go to a gym. Do not fear fit mama, these you can do in the comfort of your home. For the lower body, it is best to use a set of 5 kg weights. Say bismillah and begin!
This works your entire lower body and is excellent for strengthening your core which will give you that great tummy. Always include squats into your lower body exercises.
- Hold one 5 kg weight in each hand on either side
- Plant your feet flat on the ground, about shoulder-width apart
- Point your feet slightly outward, not straight ahead
- Never let your knees extend beyond your toes
- Look straight ahead. Bend at your knees as if you were going to sit back in a chair, keeping your heels on the floor
- Pull in your abs, and keep your lower back in a near neutral position (a slightly arched back might be unavoidable)
- Tighten your whole body when you perform the squat
- Lower yourself in a controlled manner slowly, lower yourself down and back so that your upper legs are nearly parallel with the floor
- Keep the upper body tight at all times
- Do 2-3 sets of twelve per exercise
Lunges are great for working the hamstrings which is the back muscle found on your upper thigh area. It’s also great for the muscles around the buttocks area and helps to tone and lift it.
- Hold 5 kg weights on either side in your hand
- Make sure your upper body is straight and your, shoulders are back
- Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle
- Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor
- Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position
- Do 2-3 sets of twelve per exercise
Calves are one of the toughest areas of the body to target when it comes to getting muscles. Calves are composed of two muscles: the gastrocnemius and the soleus. These muscles work together to carry us everywhere we go, so it takes time, effort and some pain to shock them into getting muscular. You’ll get satisfying results if you use the right workout strategy
- Sit on a firm, sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor
- Keep your knees aligned directly over your feet. Don’t let your knees turn in or out. Sit tall on the chair so your spine is upright
- Place a 5 kg weight on each of your thighs
- Press slowly down into the balls of your feet to raise your heels as high as you can. Next, slowly lower your heels. Repeat
- Do 2-3 sets of twelve per exercise
The thing to always keep in mind is that you should be enjoying yourself and not feel as though exercise is a chore. If you’re having fun, it becomes a great stress reliever. Some people try to work out every body part in one session, every day. This will not only extremely tire you out, but it will also stop you from making progress. My suggestion is that you concentrate on a single muscle group per day. For larger muscles (chest, back shoulders and legs) and for arms, you could do biceps and triceps in one session. This would be the front and back of your arms. Your tummy evidently can handle the strain of being worked out every single day.
No matter how much exercise you do, if your diet isn’t up to scratch, you will not see results. Let’s make an intention together to try to incorporate both diet and exercise into our daily lives, so we most certainly will see a change inshAllah. Everything we have is all thanks to Almighty Allah (SWT), and it is our duty as Muslims to look after ourselves the best way possible. Inshallah keep fit moms!
Author sister Fauzia E. (Mommy to an active 6-year-old and another on the way) – Alhumdulillah I have always been someone who tries to see the beauty in everything, and I try my best to live a healthy and active lifestyle. My love of helping others and bringing out the best in them is very rewarding to me. A mommy’s beauty and health is often neglected, though not intentionally, so we find it hard to take time for ourselves. When one feels good on the inside, it reflects outwardly. Islam teaches us to live healthy, to be active, and not to overindulge. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) taught us these lessons by his beautiful example. I hope my tips help bring out a better, beautiful and more fit mommy in you Insha Allah.