Build Bone, Strengthen Muscle, and Create a Beautiful Body in the Bargain
Yes, you read it right. You can build bone and strengthen, shape, and define muscle -- and build an exquisite body at the same time. And you will also increase your metabolism so you can eat more without getting fat, increase your energy level, reduce your stress, and look and feel younger. You can do this by working out with light, handheld weights and following a specific routine.
Aha! Specific routine. Therein lies the secret. In order to get the promised result, you have to follow a specific plan that will exercise each and every body part to create a balanced, strong, efficient, sculpted body. This book shows you exactly how -- and you can do it in just sixteen minutes a day (the standard routine) or cut your time in half, that's only eight minutes, by splitting the routine into more sessions.
How This Book Differs from My Other Exercise Books
Many of you already know me. You've seen me on the talk shows. You've used one of my previous exercise books. Maybe you've even written to me, and I've answered your questions regarding a workout in one of my books. So why buy another book? This book is different! It's the only one I've written that focuses on building bone and muscle in specific areas for strength, health, and energy. It shows you how to do this in every body part in order of importance for daily life activities, sports, and adventures -- no matter what age you are. In addition, this book will give you a beautiful, shapely, toned, defined body that has no excess body fat. Your body will not only look great, but it will also feel great to the touch, and you'll have energy that you never had before.
For those of you who, like me, are already over forty or perhaps are well into your fifties, the routines in this book will not merely preserve the bone and muscle you have but, more important, will increase your bone density and replace lost muscle -- and replace it with better shaped, defined, and tighter muscle than you have ever had, whether or not you are on estrogen replacement therapy. (See page 5-6 for my bone density test results without the aid of estrogen.) For those of you who are in your twenties or thirties, the routines will seem to "hold back the hand of time" and guarantee that you stay looking and feeling young and healthy well into your fifties, sixties, seventies, and older. They will serve as a hedge against osteoporosis and a host of other problems. (See chapter 2, Bone in the Bank.)
How can I promise this? I can offer medical proof. But don't take my word for it. Everything you are going to read here is being reconfirmed every day by studies done by doctors and researchers, and related in medical journals, newspapers, and books. The word is out: Working out with light weights the right way is the fountain of youth, health, strength, and beauty. I've been saying this for a long time, but now I have medical proof and a specific plan on how to target your most vulnerable areas -- for the young, before the problem starts; for the middle-aged, exactly when the problem has started; and for the senior, after the problem has started and has taken a toll. It is never too late.
How Can Working Out with Weights Build Bone?
Bone is continually breaking down and being rebuilt by an automatic system in the body. But as we get older, this system slows down, and bone is not rebuilt as quickly, so we lose bone density. We now know that we can stimulate bone growth (bone density) by working out with weights, no matter what our age. If we are young, we put a rock-solid bone structure "in the bank." If we are middle-aged and don't have a solid base or even if we are elderly and have lost bone, we can build bone. Here's how it works:
Bone is made of calcium phosphate and collagen. There are hundreds of concentric rings called haversian canals within each bone. When you lift a weight, your muscles react and do work. Because muscles are attached to bones, pressure and tension are put on the bone as well. Blood flows through both the muscle and the bone, carrying nutrients to the bone-building cells. At the same time, an electrical charge shoots through the haversian canals, stimulating bone growth. This process is triggered by weight lifting.
There is a very important connection between muscle and bone strength: The more muscle you have, the denser your bones will be! Studies prove this. If you increase muscle mass, you build bone. If you reduce muscle mass, you reduce bone density. This link is so strong that archaeologists are able to calculate the muscle strength of prehistoric people by using bone strength and form as a guide. Studies show that lean body mass is the best predictor of skeletal strength. So as you build bone, you are also building firm, shapely, feminine muscle.
You Can Build Bone at Any Age
In chapter 2, Bone in the Bank, I talk about building bone in your most formative "bone-peaking" years (your twenties and thirties), but here, let's talk about proof that bone call be built at any age.
Many studies are now being published which show that women in their forties, fifties, sixties, and all the way through their nineties can and do build bone if they work out even with light weights. The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research has reported a study done by Dr. L. A. Pruit and associates in which a group of seventeen women in early menopause were put on a weight-training program for nine months. Another similar group did not work out. Neither group took estrogen (hormone replacement therapy). The results were that those who worked out with weights significantly increased their lumbar bone density. Lumbar bone is the most porous bone as well as the most quickly lost; it was also the bone previously thought "impossible" to build and replace.
But what if a woman is taking estrogen replacement therapy? Can she build bone that way and not work out? No. Estrogen will help preserve the bone women have, but it cannot "build" new bone. A study cited in the same journal, by Dr. M. Notelovitz and colleagues, discusses two groups of menopausal women who were given estrogen, but only one group was allowed to work out with weights. At the end of one year, the women just taking estrogen did not increase bone density, while the women taking estrogen and doing weight training significantly increased the bone density of their spine as well as their forearms.
You Can Prevent and Even Reverse Osteoporosis
Weight training not only halts osteoporosis, it reverses it!
In her book 150 Most-Asked Questions About Osteoporosis, Ruth Jacobowitz says, "Today, exercise physiologists believe weight lifting (resistance training) to be one of the most effective exercise regimens for osteoporosis prevention. That is because lifting weight stresses your muscles which build mass, which in turn puts stress on your bones, which can help to maintain, or even enhance, your bone density."
At Fifty-four I Have the Bone Density of a Woman with Peak Bone Density -- a Twenty-five to Thirty-five-year-old!
parMedical experts agree that women reach their peak bone density at twenty-five to thirty-five years of age, and they lose one percent a year every year after that. But in menopause (and I was three years into it when I had the QCT-Bone Mineral Analysis test) most women lose about 5 percent a year. If this is true, when I had the bone density test, I should have already lost about 15 to 20 percent of my bone mass. But when my bone density was measured, the result was 219.5 -- nearly double the bone density of an average woman my age. The doctor called me at home because he was astounded. "You went off the curve," he said. "You have the bones of a woman in her twenties." He quickly began my workout himself and recommended it to all the people in his office, especially the women.
Apparently, not only had I not lost bone mass, I had gained some -- and at the time of the test, I had not taken estrogen (or hormone replacement therapy).
How Does Working Out with Weights Build Muscle?
Let's talk about muscle. You already know about the muscle-bone connection, but exactly how do muscles grow and change when you work out with weights?
When you lift more weight than usual, your muscle contracts against the resistance and calls into play muscle fibers that were formerly resting. In order to cope with the work being required of them, the muscle fibers begin to synthesize protein, and new cells are added. At the same time the muscles endure microscopic tears. The "soreness" you feel after a workout is the result of this normal microscopic tear process. When you stop working out, perhaps while you are sleeping, your muscles repair themselves. The entire process, including the "repair" during rest, causes the muscle cells to enlarge and grow stronger over time. In addition, your connecting tissues (tendons and ligaments) get stronger because they, too, are stimulated by the work being done.
Small Shapely Muscles -- Not the"Bodybuilder" Kind!
I almost skipped this section! Why? Today, most women know that you don't just pick up a weight and wake up looking like Arnold. But just in case you're worried, I want to assure you that by working out with light weights for such a short amount of time, there is no way you could possibly build huge, hulking muscles. In fact, female bodybuilders wish it were that easy. They use hundred-pound weights and more, and work out for hours a day. You, on the other hand, will work out only eight to sixteen minutes a day (thirty-two at the most if you go the extra mile) and lift only one, two, and three pounds to start (fifteen to twenty pounds much later if you choose).
Where do we get the idea that we will bulk up if we use weights? We see female bodybuilders on TV who quite often look like men with women's heads attached. Well, chances are that the ones who really look like men, in addition to working out with heavy weights for hours a day, ingest steroids -- male hormones called testosterone, a substance that women also produce naturally in a very small quantity. When women take this hormone in great quantities, their muscle-making ability multiplies, but in addition to getting huge muscles, many of them develop other male traits, such as facial hair, deepened voices, and rougher skin.
So don't worry about looking like a man. You'll be using very light weights. And you certainly won't be taking steroids.
You Can Reverse the Aging Process at Any Age
I've always said that women who work out with weights look and feel and indeed are physically ten years younger than their chronological age. Why? They replace lost muscle and bone, improve their posture, increase their energy levels, and walk with the same spring in their step that they had ten years before. But recently, to my joy, I've been proven wrong: Their bodies are, in fact, fifteen to twenty years younger. Yes. Miriam E. Nelson, Ph.D., who is the associate chief of the Human Physiology Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and professor at the School of Nutrition Science and Policy, studied forty postmenopausal women, none of whom was on hormone replacement therapy. She divided the group in two. Twenty of the women lifted weights twice a week, and the other group did not. The group that did nothing lost bone and muscle mass. The group that worked out with weights were "fifteen to twenty years more youthful."
But what about older people? In 1991, The New York Times Magazine presented a study done at Tufts University. William Evans, the director of the physiology laboratory at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, took women and men ranging in age from eighty-seven to ninety-six and put them on an eight-week weight-training program. The average strength increase in the front thigh muscles for the group of nine was almost 200 percent!
Raise Your Metabolism by 15 Percent in Twelve Weeks and Eat More Without Getting Fat
It has been medically established that our metabolism drops by 2 percent every ten years, and doctors are saying today that this drop starts at the age of twenty! By the age of thirty we lose approximately half a pound of muscle a year. And for every ounce of' muscle we lose, our body not only becomes "flabbier" but our metabolism goes down because muscle is the only body material that is active twenty-four hours a day.
What does this mean? By the time you are fifty, your metabolism has dropped by at least 10 to 15 percent. But it gets worse. Once a woman hits menopause and stops menstruating, she no longer burns the 20,000 calories a year that is burned by the "period" itself (the loss of blood). Since it takes 5,000 excess calories to produce a pound of body fat, most women gain 6.5 to 7 pounds in the year or two after menopause even if their diet and activity have not changed at all.
Don't get depressed! I have an immediate and foolproof remedy to tune up your metabolism to compensate for the slowing metabolism, and you can tune it up higher than it ever was, as I did, so you can eat plenty before you start gaining weight. After doing this workout for only twelve weeks, you can raise your metabolism by 15 percent so that you can eat 15 percent more than you used to eat without getting fat! And when you tune up your metabolism even higher, you put more muscle on your body over time -- as I did.
How does muscle tune up your metabolism? Every pound of muscle you add to your body burns about 40 to 50 extra calories a day. You'll lose pounds of fat while gaining the muscle. So if you're overweight, you will lose weight on the scale, but the more dramatic change will be in your size. Muscle weighs more than fat, but it takes up less space. Think of muscle as a silver dollar, and fat as a kitchen sponge. The silver dollar weighs more, but the kitchen sponge takes up more space. The analogy holds true even to how it feels. Put your hand on a soft, fatty thigh and then on a muscular thigh. Which feels spongy and which feels hard?
One more point. I weigh 115 pounds, and I'm five feet tall. I wear a size 4 dress, but before I worked out, I wore a size 10 at the same weight and looked chunky. If I stand next to another woman my height and weight who never worked out, she will look heavy and wear about three sizes larger than I do. This is because I'm made of dense muscle that takes up less space and burns fat twenty-four hours a day. She is made of spongy fat that is lighter in weight and takes up more space. So once you do the workout, you'll see a major change in the mirror and in clothing size, but not necessarily on the scale.
Improve Your Strength, Balance, and Sports Ability
When you work out with weights (also called "strength training"), you improve your strength and become more capable when playing any sport. By following the workout in this book, your shoulders, back, arms, and legs will be stronger so you can better swing that tennis or racquetball racket, or that golf club. Your back, knees, and arms will be more powerful so you can ski with more stamina. Your legs and total body musculature will be stronger so that you can increase your endurance for running and walking. And, yes, if you do the optional weight-bearing aerobic additions, you will also improve your cardiovascular ability! Chapter 4 gives specific workouts for your sport.
We've talked about strength, but what about balance? We need it for everything from getting out of bed in the morning to walking -- not to mention sports activities. Believe it or not, balance starts to decline as early as our forties. Small wonder that many elderly people fall so often. But this doesn't have to happen.
Studies show that working out with weights improves balance. One researcher reported that after breaking her hip, a seventy-year-old woman began working out with weights as part of her recovery program. This woman now cross-country skis with her grandchildren, and hikes with them as well. In fact, she has been seen shoveling snow off the roof of her house, having climbed there with no problem at all!
Reduce Your Stress Level
We've always known that doing aerobic workouts helps reduce stress by providing a natural high as a result of "endorphins," but now we know that working out with weights does the same -- and more. A study done at Tufts University revealed that weight training was able to take the place of mild antidepressants for a group of women. My own twenty-five-year-old daughter, Marthe, is testimony to this. Whenever she is under stress, she does a weight workout. She says, "No matter how stressed out I am, after working out with weights, I feel as if a bur(ten has been lifted. I feel so relaxed. It's really amazing -- like medicine."
Do the Weight-Bearing Aerobics and Get a Triple Whammy
In addition to the weight workout (strength training), you will have the option of doing weight-bearing aerobics, an option I strongly advise. Weight-bearing aerobics deliver a triple-whammy bonus when it comes to fitness. You get your heart and lungs in shape and at the same time burn off excess body fat. And in the bargain, you increase bone density.
If this is so, why not simply do weight-bearing aerobic exercises and forget training with weights? Because working out with weights increases bone density over every single body part. You are in full control of each bone you thicken and the muscle you build and shape. Aerobics is a more general workout for the back, legs, or spine. In addition, working out with weights gives you a greater increase in bone density than weight-bearing aerobics. Finally -- and to me this is a key point -- there is no other way to sculpt, define, tighten, and tone each and every muscle to give the proper shape to every body part: arms, buttocks, hips, thighs, stomach. You must use weights -- and in a very specific way.
What are weight-bearing exercises? Well, for starters, swimming is not a weight-bearing exercise. When you swim, the water, not your body, "bears" the weight. Weight-bearing aerobic exercises are jogging, running, walking on the ground or on a treadmill, climbing stairs (stair-stepping and stair-climbing machines are not quite as weight-bearing as climbing real stairs), skiing (downhill or cross-country), jumping rope, and dancing, both social and low-impact aerobic.
In addition to swimming, the other aerobic exercises that are not weight-bearing are workouts on exercise and functional bicycles, and water aerobics. Yes, there is a slight element of "weight-bearing" in these, but not a whole lot. (See chapter 9, Bone-Building Aerobics, for more details, and chapter 4, Creative Workouts, for ways to incorporate these into your weight-training routine.)
What About Diet and Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Calcium, vitamin D, and a host of other nutrients are essential for bone and muscle health. But how do you obtain all these food elements and still lose excess body fat (if you are overweight)? A whole chapter is devoted to this (see chapter 10), but in the meantime, rest assured that you will be able to eat delicious, nutritious food without feeling starved and without using diet pills of any kind.
Every woman must decide for herself whether or not to go on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is a combination of estrogen and progesterone. There is no doubt that estrogen replacement once menopause begins prevents rapid bone deterioration (and helps with a host of other problems, too), but it does not "build" bone. Whether or not you go on HRT, you need this workout.
Health and Beauty, Too
Okay, so you're just doing this workout for your health. Well, whether you like it or not, you're going to have a sexier, more beautifully shaped, tight, toned body, so you'd better cover it up or expect trouble.
I used to work out for the "beauty" aspect alone. Once I turned fifty, though, I began to see all the health problems that couch potatoes had and thanked God that I had inadvertently been doing the best health-strength-longevity routine. I decided to perfect it and make it ideal for bone and muscle health while keeping the beauty aspects because as you get older, if you don't have your health, very soon you won't have your life -- at least not a life worth living. Hence this book.
Do the Workout at Home with Inexpensive Handheld Weights
The good news is that you can do the workout at home with handheld weights called "dumbbells," and you can purchase these weights at fifty cents a pound by looking under "exercise equipment" in the yellow pages. (In chapter 4 you'll learn exactly what to buy.) You don't need to spend more than about $10.00, tax included, to get started. Of course, if you want to get the fancy colored weights, you may spend a lot more. And indeed, as you get stronger, you will be buying heavier weights -- but even at your strongest, you won't be investing hundreds of dollars.
But what if you want to use exercise machines, either at home or at a fitness center? You will find that, except when there is no possible substitute, there is a "machines" section for every exercise. I like the dumbbells better, but once in a while, for variety, I'll go to a gym and use the machines, too.
You Can Do This Workout at Any Age and at Any Weight
Whether you're sixteen or sixty, seventeen or seventy, eighteen or eighty, and whether you're overweight or exactly the right weight, you can do this workout. (If you are the right weight, you may need muscle tone, and for sure you can use the bone-building aspect. If you're overweight, you'll lose your excess body fat and get to that toned body you've always wanted.) In short, with your doctor's approval, you can get started right away and enjoy the wonderful benefits of weight training, the fountain of youth. What about men? Yes, men can do it, too!
Choose a Workout: Eight, Sixteen, or Thirty-two Minutes
This part will thrill you. You can work out only eight minutes a day and still get the promised results. If you choose the eight-minute workout, you will be doing something different each day -- working one-fourth of your body each day. You will then repeat the cycle. You can have a day off or, better, just keep going and not take any days off. You can do this because you're never working the same body parts two days in a row. (More about this in chapters 3 and 4.)
If you are more ambitious and want to do the regular workout, you will work out sixteen minutes a day. You'll do half of your body on your first workout day and the other half on your second workout day. You will then repeat the cycle. You can keep repeating the cycle or take a day off after having repeated the cycle two or three times. (More about this in chapter 4.)
For those of you who want to have more days off and are ambitious, you can do your entire body in one workout day. Then you must take a day off. (You can even take two days off.) Then you repeat the entire body exercises during the same week. If you do your entire body twice in a week, you will be getting the same workout as if you did the sixteen-minute workout four days a week. (More about this in chapter 4.)
Doing the Max
There is no reason to do more than the above. But I know you! You'll probably say, "Hey, I love this. Can't I do more?" Well, you can do the ultra max. You can work your entire body three days a week for thirty-two minutes just as long as you take a day off after each weight workout. This is the maximum. When I say "a day off," I mean a day off the weights. You can still opt to do your "weight-bearing aerobics" on any day -- whether you are weight training or taking a day off. (More on this in chapter 4.)
What You Will Get from This Workout
Increased strength -- stronger muscles
Increased bone density -- stronger bones
Toned, defined, firm, shapely body
Reduced dress or pant size in approximately three weeks
Increased metabolism so you burn more fat twenty-four hours a day
Loss of excess body fat, replaced with tight, toned muscles in twelve weeks
Improved stamina: sports, life tasks, and you know what else (begins with s)
Improved balance and agility
Improved outlook on life, self-image, and self-confidence
Reduced stress level
Reduced pain from arthritis
Copyright © 1998 by Joyce Vedral