I always hear “muscles burn more calories than fat”. Attractive thought, but not enough information for me to start lifting. But wait, is fat burn, calorie burn or muscle building the goal here? What really should I be working towards and how the heck do you even do all of those things? Here is my journey to weight training and why I created FitSphere – fit-yoga with Spheres (spherical weights)
Exercising to be Underweight
When I was younger and modelling around the world the exercise I looked for was to help me be skinny. As if there is even such a thing possible. I picked up yoga as a low intensity workout, particularly hot yoga, to stay slim. Being slim meant no muscular definition as muscles are shapely, definitive, and not good for my industry. My ideal weight was to be 43 kg on a 5 foot 7 frame. Ouch. I managed to keep my body weight at that all time low by consistently weighing myself before and after a class coupled with bulimia to make sure I was always calorie deficit. As I got older and my body continued to change, it became more and more difficult for me to keep up with my extreme dieting techniques. I became deeply unhappy year by year as I put my life in danger for a paycheck that was costing me my self worth.
Out of Flux
Hitting my weakest point was terrible for my health, but it was at my lowest of lows that my desire for life kicked in. Even when I was underweight I was told I was fat so, I stopped listening to the naysayers and started exercising for myself. I picked up all kinds of workouts to learn as much as I could about exercise; especially why I liked it and what it did for my health. I often journaled after lessons, spoke about classes with friends, bought home workout videos and exercise equipment. With hard work and consistency, my life started to turn around.
I’ll never forget the day I bought strap weights because it was the first day I felt real strength. I strapped them to my wrists in warrior 1, to my ankles in warrior 3 and suddenly yoga became a workout. The yoga that I had grown so familiar with was challenged by the addition of weights and my body started strengthen and not just stretch. The key driver of muscle growth is activating as many of your muscle fibres as possible. In a yoga posture we explore the range of motion possible for our bodies. Adding weights to that posture recruit more muscle fibres which work the body for greater strength and muscle building. Day by day, as we age, our muscles deteriorate so it’s important to keep exploring our physiological capabilities by recruiting these muscles, building our muscle fibres, and exploring our range of motion.
Higher repetitions of light weights will build stronger muscles just as efficiently as lower reps of really heavy weights. I created the Spheres to be 2lbs, light enough to fire up the muscle fibers, but not too heavy to cause strain in the body. I want the mind, body, and breath to be in a “state of flow” when you practice FitSphere. This way we are moving and breathing in a capacity that is beneficial to our well-being. They are an extension of my practice that is not just practical equipment, but complements my workout, is good for me, and the environment.
All You Need is You
Today, I am proud to say I am at my strongest ever. I don’t workout for vanity and I don’t weigh myself. I practice FitSphere 2-3 times a week which challenges my body to stay resilient and capable. When someone comments that they want my body, that they want my abs, and that they want to be strong; I want them to know that they absolutely can have it too – if they do the work! Pick up the Spheres, try something new, and tell your friends that they can too. All you need is you.