Anna Danes was a lifelong runner, jogger and walker, but after giving birth to her daughter 12 years ago, she got busy and wasnt able to keep up her regular exercise routine. She quickly noticed changes in her body, especially her weight beginning to creep up, and eventually went back to a cardio-heavy routine.
She wasnt seeing results, though, and after successfully battling breast cancer, getting divorced and shaking off her old life as a lawyer to become a jazz singer (her sophomore album, Find Your Wings, topped iTunes jazz chart in 2016), she knew it was time for a change.
Im not ready to look midlife, even though I am midlife, says the 47-year-old musician. I’ve got a new life post-divorce: dating and a new career that’s taking off.
So just three weeks ago she began lifting weights four times a week, and has already noticed major changes.
Aside from losing 8 pounds no small feat! Danes says, My energy is way up too; old running speeds are now a breeze.
While every body requires a different workout routine, and the exercise regimen that works best for you may involve all cardio or very little, fitness experts say that a mix of cardio and weight training can be important not only for aesthetic reasons but also to help prevent injuries and decrease the risk of osteoporosis, particularly in women.
I think the most important thing about any athletic pursuit for women … is the general sense of competence you get from knowing that your body can do whatever you need it to, says Karen Ko, a Toronto-based strength coach and personal trainer. This is huge for women. We’re socialized to defer to men in areas of physical activity they are the experts, they are inherently stronger than us. Strength training challenges this narrative and is extremely empowering.
While some women, especially those facing illnesses or injuries that impede their ability to perform load-bearing exercise, do best with cardio only, most would benefit from adding some kind of weight training to their workout routine. Ko says it’s never too late to start, and adds that the bro culture of the weight room is changing and becoming more welcoming to people of all genders.
Need a little inspiration? Let the journeys of Danes and the other women below motivate you to try something new.
I feel in control more, that I can do this, I can get fit on my own just by doing the work and feel strong!
Name: Anna Danes
Location: Solana Beach, California
Cardio history: Ive been a runner/jogger/walker the majority of my life. In my early 30s, I did a lot of running races but stopped after I became a mom at 35. Then, my cardio routine depended on what I could get done while tending to a little kid. As my daughter got older, I returned to the gym sporadically and sometimes had trainers help me (but that could never last because of the expense factor). My very recent routine, before I began lifting, was jogging on the treadmill at the recommended fat burn rate about two times a week, and walking briskly outdoors about five times a week for about 4 miles each time.
Why she switched: Three weeks ago, after Mothers Day, I stepped on the scale and was mortified by what I saw. Suddenly, over the past year, I had put on 15 pounds of pudge and was starting to look midlife and out of shape, despite my best efforts to do cardio almost every day.
What she does now: I lift weights about four times a week for roughly an hour, with the help of an app on my smart phone called FitBod. The app keeps track of all your goals and stats, keeps track of your workouts and varies them daily according to muscle groups that need to be worked. I try to hit upper and lower body at least twice a week.
In addition to lifting, Ive decided to take my cardio to the next level with the help of another free app, Running. Instead of jogging with no results, the app helps you use interval training, get motivational build-up from the apps coach and streams upbeat music.
How her body has reacted: Besides losing 8 pounds(which I couldnt do before for the life of me with just jogging) in just three weeks, Ive noticed I am starting to look cut again. There is definition in my abs and arms, which Ive not seen in a long time. I feel tight, and my skin feels better all over, has better texture. Ive also increased my normal running speed on the treadmill from 4.2 to 5.5 miles per hour in just three weeks. I feel stronger all over, and can run up and down the stairs in my house just doing chores!
I feel 100 percent better about my outlook on life, too. I feel in control more, that I can do this, I can get fit on my own just by doing the work and feel strong! The new positive outlook is probably the most important thing for me.
People always ask me if Im a runner and I respond, No Im a squatter.
Here’s a related video for more information:
Weight Training VS Low Intensity Cardio – Best Way to Burn Fat?
For more inspiration, you can read about a model’s transformation when she did weights from cardio: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/models-transformation-shows-different-effects-of-cardio-and-weights-a7955201.html