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Strength training challenge Week 7

thelmah headshotThelma is five weeks from the end of her strength training challenge and people are noticing the changes in her body. Her coach Clara Mosha also shares some top tips for weight training

Five weeks out from completing this transformation and I’ve learned so many things from Clara and about myself, when it comes to this program.  There are myths and misunderstanding about women who lift and frankly most women don’t understand the process needed to sculpt and tone your body.  The one phrase that drives me insane is, ‘I don’t want to get too bulky’ or ‘I don’t want big muscles’, like it’s that easy to build muscle.  Women need to understand that we simply aren’t built like that because we don’t have as much testosterone as men and judging by some of the feedback I’ve had, there needs to be  more education about the difference between weight loss and fat loss.

If you want to shift the chub then, the standard three- times a week regime isn’t going to cut it and that chia, cacoa, spirulina shake you lovingly make every morning is not, alone, going to keep that fat at bay – you need to lift something heavy for it (the fat) to make a move.

I am now not bothered by scales or body fat percentage, I just want to know if I look good in my clothes, nothing is wobbling in places that it shouldn’t, and I am eating the right foods to fortify my body from the inside and out.


A couple of people have asked me to share Clara’s (my coach) top weight lifting tips too so here they are:

1. If you are planning to compete or embark on a body transformation/fat loss program then you need to get a professional coach whose background is in training women for fat loss or has experience in competition prep.  This person can help with that all important hand-holding that most women need when going into that male-dominated-free-weights area that can be intimidating and a big barrier to women lifting. They can also advise on nutrition too.

2. You need to start to increase the protein and decrease the bad carbs, but also remember that carbs are not the enemy. Good wholegrain carbs are best (sweet potatoes, brown rice) with the right portion too and at the right time.  I have around a 40g brown rice, which is around a small fist and only on my ‘carbing up’ days on the weekend

3. Stop being afraid of eating fats, we are taking about good fats here, so avocados, red meat, eggs yolks.  Women need to recognise that sugar (as recent research has shown) is the problem that makes them put on weight not fat.  Think about why you are reaching for that custard cream mid- afternoon or that sweet treat, probably because of that sugar-laden cereal breakfast that you had in the morning.

4. Be open minded to lifting weights, learn about the process and get out of the ‘I will be beefy mindset’-  most female bodybuilders that you see who are extremely muscular are competitors and train for that physique for months on end, and more over they don’t look like that every day.thelmaweights

5. Set yourself goals within you weight training regime so that you are always challenging yourself.  When it becomes too easy add on small increments and don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone so that you are always working at a high intensity and burning that all-important fat.

This week I’ve noticed some major changes in my upper body, especially my shoulders and arms which are more toned and sculpted.  In fact, I did the wave test (waved my hand vigorously for ten seconds) and nothing moved or flapped about – result.  Also, when I went to see my friend who is an instructor at Boom Cycle she commented on how good my deltoids (shoulders) looked too.  She lifts so could clearly see the progress.

The one area that I am struggling on is my hips, they are massive, I think, and have always been my problem area.  I know they are trendy thanks to Kim Kardashian but Ithelmaprogressweek7 don’t like them and the need to go down big style.  This is where the interval training will come into place and burn off that fat, short periods of high intensity activity followed by little rest is what will slim those babies down, I just need to be patient, which you all know isn’t my strong point.  The belly has gone down too as you can see from the picture, I am not quite crop top ready but compared to what I looked like in the beginning I think I’ve come along in leaps and bounds.

The week finished off with news that Clara is back and that can only mean two things, a change of my program and a reduction in calories with the food. Basically, the last four weeks are going to be hellish.

Contact Thelma’s trainer Clara Mosha:

Clara on Facebook 

Twitter: @UPTByClaraMosha

Thelma Mensah is a personal trainer and founder of the uber-cool blog She is Healthista’s Kit Diva blogger.

Read more from Thelma’s strength training challenge.

What REALLY happens in a weight training programme

Week 2 Strength training challenge

Week 3 Strength training challenge

Week 4 Strength training challenge

Week 5 Strength training challenge

Week 6 Strength training challenge

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