Human tendency is to lean in and repeat things that we are comfortable with. It is easy for us to repeat the same exercise habits after a few weeks because we have built up our muscle patterns in that motion. While it is great to have something which you excel at, it is vital to build a well-rounded body and that requires cross-training. The funny thing is, when you focus on cross-training, your performance all around will increase greatly. There are three main components to any training plan: endurance (cardio), strength (power), mobility (stretching). Especially with training to be a SoulCycle Instructor (stay tuned for my audition re-cap!), it is imperative that I invest into a well-rounded performance program.
The common myth, especially for women, is that you will start to get bulky if you lift weights. “Bulky” is the wrong adjective. Replace it with “badass”, “strong”, “defined” or “toned” and you’re golden. You have the choice, based on the volume/weight/repetitions of your weights, to determine the type of muscles you will be developing. The bottom line is that you will be building muscle and that is not only a GREAT thing, but super important. A good thing to remember when you are starting to strength train is that you will most likely put on weight or just stay the same weight. This is not a bad thing. You WANT to be putting on muscle. The more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be. So stop focusing on a number on the scale because for the most part, it is quite irrelevant. Instead, your body composition and blood pressure/heart rate are much better indicators of health.
We also want to build muscle because it protects our bodies. Our skeletal system can’t be protected if you don’t have any muscle or strength to help you literally “bounce” back after falling. Think about a china tea cup: placing a fine china tea cup directly in a box and shaking it would cause it to break. Now, wrap the same tea cup in bubble wrap, then place it in the box, and shake it: 95% chance it would not break. Your body is the same. Our muscles not only help us react so that we don’t fall, but in the case that we do, muscles protect your bones.
In addition to incorporating strength training, you also need to add in days of “active recovery” where you focus on stretching and mobility. When you train, you create little tears in your muscles. When you muscles recover, they build back stronger. You need to give your muscles time to actually grow. Mobility and stretch work help your muscles stay loose and aligned.
So to sum it up, to be a badass at life you want muscle, so when you are shaken up, you don’t break. Instead, you will bounce back like the beautiful badass that you are.