Category: Beautifully Built


Photo Credit (15 January 2008)

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t be either.

There is a recurring pattern that I find in my life, and it’s that I expect a lot out of myself in a little amount of time.  I know this is the current theme in our culture where we want something, and we want it now.  I take this concept and apply it to myself.  When I’m learning how to draw, if I don’t get it on the first picture, then I figure I’ll never get it.  If I make a mistake at my job (I’m a physical therapy assistant), then I feel like I know nothing about what I do (even though I was the top of my class).  I expect to do everything perfectly the first time and give myself no room for error.  The main thing I forget is that things take time. Continue reading

Unplug

Often, when looking around me, I find I am surrounded by a world that is consumed with technology.  I am by no means against technology and just like everything else, I think it has its place.  What I miss are the days when I don’t have to let everyone know exactly where I am every second of the day and I don’t have to have my cell phone glued to my side in case I might miss a call… oh my.  Even when we’re in conversations or at work, the cell phone goes off and we have to give an immediate response to the text or answer the phone call otherwise the world might end, right?  If you think back, there was a time when the cell phone didn’t exist and everything was ok.  You could only get ahold of someone if they were home, which was more often than now a days.  I don’t exactly want to be back in that time because I do like my cell phone, but I wish it was more common to just unplug. Continue reading

Photo Credit
She can squat 240 and deadlift 330. Does she look bulky?

A while ago, I wrote Can You Be Skinny AND Fat?.  The article shows why weight loss without exercise only makes you fatter in the long-term.  It’s a difficult reality to come to grips with, but it is absolutely true.

Since it’s rather idiotic to point at something that’s wrong but never propose a solution, this is the beginning of the solution.  This article shows the better way.  It shows what can happen with intelligent fat loss.  Because, if you think about it, that’s what everyone wants.

We typically admire physiques that have at least some level of muscle.  We just don’t like the fat.  A figure model’s glutes don’t come from only calorie restriction.  They come from building up her glute muscles and then eating to lose the fat on top of the muscle.  That’s what the curve is.  Without the strong muscle underneath, there is no shapely curve.  There would only be a flat line between her lower back and legs. Continue reading

At Fitness Institute, we were taught in our first class that women should exercise just like men.  There’s not much of a gender difference.  A muscle is a muscle.  Since men and women both have to do the same things in real life (walk, push stuff, pull stuff, etc.), they should exercise the same way.

The only reason there’s any question about this is because ignorant marketing companies have pushed stupid products where women are advised to be terrified of lifting any weight over 3lbs.  Apparently, if you pick up that 5lb dumbbell, you will morph into the Hulk.  No woman wants to become a ripped monster with a green skin tone.  There aren’t any matching L’Oreal shades. Continue reading

🙂

This has become our go-to dinner when we have time to hang out and cook together.  It’s awesome, and you should try it. Continue reading

Well, if you haven’t heard about this yet you can read about it here.  Essentially, it’s about brides-to-be who choose to lose weight by having 800 calories a day dripped into their stomach through a feeding tube that has been pushed down their nose.  I still can’t believe that the sentence I just wrote is fact. Continue reading


Every person needs to learn to appreciate themselves.  I think this is something women need to learn more than most.  We are more likely to focus on the mistakes we make throughout the day instead of all of the great things we accomplish.  We tend to focus on the things we would like to change about ourselves rather than our great qualities and characteristics.  It’s like we have grown up with this skewed view in life, like we put on the perfection glasses and all we can see is what’s wrong or what we need to change.  It’s time to take off those glasses and see life through a new lens. Continue reading

Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become more porous.  They lose their original density and strength.  Its usual victims are women postmenopause.  Here are a few common risk factors for developing osteoporosis.

1.  Being Underweight – Your body always adapts for what it needs to do.  If you don’t weigh very much, then your body only needs to have strong enough bones to carry around a light body.  This means bones will deteriorate.  Also, if you’re chronically underweight, then you may not be getting enough calories to provide the nutrients needed to create bone mass. Continue reading

I chose the title because I’ve heard people called “skinny fat” before.  When someone is called “skinny fat”, it means they don’t have any muscle tone even though they weigh less than most people on the scale.  Frankly, I’ve thought that the concept was pretty abrasive, and I haven’t used it to describe anyone.  But at the same time, it fairly accurately describes a lot of people who don’t weigh very much but still don’t look very healthy.

The cause of being “skinny fat” is focusing on total weight loss.  Because of this, people will restrict their food as much as they can to lose total weight.  The problem is that when they do this, they lose both muscle and fat.  This doesn’t sound horrible until you think more about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three main factors:

1.  A pound of muscle burns 35 to 50 calories per day (even at rest).

2.  Weight loss from restricting calories without exercising can result in up to half of that weight loss being muscle loss.

3.  Once you stop restricting your calories, your body is extremely likely to go back to its original weight.

What does that look like in real life?  Let’s take an example of a statistically average American woman who decides to lose weight by cutting a lot of calories without exercising. Continue reading

In the fitness realm, a lot of people ask about exercises and programs, but the question most people are curious about is diet.  I’m sorry to say that a lot of the fad diets out there don’t really work and most are just out to get your money.  When giving nutrition advice, I like to focus on eating more fruits and vegetables.  Think of the colors of the food.  The colors of the food are the paints in which you are painting your life. Continue reading

Because of Lisa’s past, one of her greatest passions is the mission of “Beautifully Built”.  While she enjoys helping all kinds of people, this project is probably the nearest to her heart.

It’s significant enough to us that it will have its own tab at the top of our website from now on.  The following is the beginning of “Beautifully Built”:
(or you can see the actual page here: Beautifully Built Page)

 

What being Beautifully Built is all about…

Beautifully Built is just for women.  It’s about redefining what beautiful means, what beauty looks like, and how beauty acts. Beautifully Built is not just about being beautiful on the outside, which is a skewed idea in this world anyway, but it is about being beautiful on the inside. It is about having confidence in yourself, being comfortable with who you are, what you believe, and what your abilities are.  It is about building strength in your mind and soul. It is also about building a strong body, where you can feel comfortable in your skin.

I believe that building strength on the outside helps you build strength on the inside.  In the past I personally dealt with an eating disorder and even as I was gaining weight and getting better, I still felt weak and had no confidence in myself.  As I began to lift weights and build a stronger body, which also helped me get healthier, I began to carry myself a little differently.  I was walking taller and felt like I could voice my opinion. I felt as though my thoughts actually mattered and that I actually mattered. My confidence began to grow.

Even though I have accomplished a lot of hard things academically, I never felt like they added up to anything, but weight lifting has given me something I can’t seem to explain.  That is what I want to pass on to other women.  I want to redefine what being beautiful is and what it means to feel beautiful. I want this to be a place where women can come together to share struggles and build each other up.  I want it to be a place of truth and unity. I want to give women confidence, I want them to feel powerful and strong, inside and out.

March

12 – Lisa’s Article for “What’s Tha Word?”
8 – A Husband’s View on Feminine Strength
4 – A Final Farewell to Pink Dumbbells: A Guide for Strength and Functional Training for Women

February

24 – Cheerleader
21 – How To Get a Fast Metabolism – Part 2
16 – Losing Weight: The Scale Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story
13 – And I Was Running
2 – Benefits of Strength Training for Women

 

What’s Tha Word (What’s Tha Word?) asked Lisa to submit some potential content for their website.  Thankfully, they liked the article Lisa sent and posted it.  They put it up in two parts:

Part 1:  Women and Strength Training by Fitness Professional Lisa Brown

Part 2:  Exercises for Beginners: Correct Form and Weight

Nice work, Lisa!  🙂  Hopefully this is the first of many as Lisa pushes the “Beautifully Built” message.  We’ll be adding a page for Beautifully Built on our website as well.  It will be devoted to teaching the art of finding femininity through strength.

A couple days ago a man came up to me and told me that I should have Lisa stop lifting weights because she is getting too strong.  I thought he was messing around because I have recently been beaming with pride as I’ve watched Lisa do heavier power and strength lifts.

Well, he wasn’t kidding.  He said it wasn’t attractive.  I have no idea why he let me know that.  I can’t remember ever asking for his opinion on whether Lisa is attractive or not, and I don’t think any other guy will hear me ask them such a preposterous question.  Of course she’s attractive.  She’s drop-dead gorgeous.

Although this guy made these remarks, he’s still a nice guy.  I like having him around, and I like seeing him.  I just think that his thoughts allude to a deeper issue in society.  This issue is what it means to be feminine. Continue reading

I know women have goals of getting fit and toned and then turn to the women’s fitness magazines with this month’s “Get In Shape” plan.  And not that these plans are totally worthless, the moves may be great, but most plans tend to start like this:  What you need is a mat, a pair of 3-5 pound dumbbells…. How in the world do they expect you to get toned and strong if you are lifting with a total of 6-10 pounds.  Most babies are born 6 pounds and then if you factor in carrying a car seat, that is way more than 10 pounds.  Do they expect muscles to magically appear?

I do agree that everyone has to start somewhere and progression is key, but I also think that most women are a lot stronger than they think and have the potential of being a lot stronger than they expect. If starting out with all body weight exercises is hard for you, then start there and that does cause muscle to grow, but only so much.  So, what happens when that gets easy? You add more repetitions. Then what happens when that gets too easy? You add more weight.  My professor always used to tell us, “behind every shapely curve in a woman’s body, there is muscle.”  These “shapely curves” he was talking about are the “toned look” most girls are wanting.  So to get toned, women must build muscle.

How do we build muscle mass?  There is a concept in weight training called the SAID principle.  SAID stands for “specific adaptation to imposed demands”.  Translation: Your muscle adapts only to what you put it through.  If you only train your arms to lift 2 pound dumbbells, then your arms are only going to be able to lift 2 lbs or maybe a tiny bit more.  If training with 2 pound dumbbells is honestly hard for you, there is no shame in that.  Everyone has to start somewhere.

The point is, if you do a ton of reps then you are training for endurance.  If you are an endurance athlete, then this training might be for you.  The same principle is why sprinters train the way they do.  They do short bursts of power because that’s what they have to do in a race.  If you are a mom who carries a baby around, then you want to train your muscles for that activity.  If the goal is to build muscle mass and to get toned, then you must challenge the muscles in that way.  The other goal that every woman should have is to move smoother and more functionally.  This takes our focus off of machine only training to doing more day to day movements to make our bodies move more efficiently and will make everyday activities easier.  Eventually picking up groceries out of the trunk and up the stairs will become easier.  Running and walking will be less tiring because you will be training your muscles to work together as they do in everyday life.  Then, adding the extra weight will help you gain the muscle mass to look and feel great.

To build muscle mass, choose a weight or body weight exercise that you can do the exercise for 8-12 repetitions.  This means to choose a weight where you can barely eek out the 12th repetition.  I would suggest doing a weight lifting program that lifts 3 times a week, with a day in between and doing one exercise for each body part.  Start with doing one set for each exercise and as you get into better shape, then add sets for each exercise.  If a woman is still in the bone building years, then doing a few sets of 4-6 repetitions is highly beneficial for building bone mass.  This means she’ll be lifting heavier weights than she did when she was doing 8-12 repetitions.  

Example:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Anterior reaches
  • Bent over rows
  • Cable (or band) standing rows
  • Recline pulls
  • Cable (or band) chest presses
  • Push ups (these can be on the floor or on the wall)
  • Shoulder presses


Just do one set each of 8-12 repetitions in the beginning and add weight when you can do 13 or more in a set.