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Must Read Muscle Basics

Must Read Muscle Basics


Why a photo of a high fashion model chewing bubble gum? Because I needed to get your attention. There are too many smart women out there confused or misinformed about muscles. Below, I debunk some muscle myths and shed light on some fascinating facts regarding your beautiful and possibly neglected power houses. I hope these tidbits help you stay motivated during workouts and keep you from wasting your precious time.

Myth: “I can spot reduce by lifting weights.”

Advice: Get off the inner/outer thigh machine and stop doing crunches! It’s not helping like you think it is.

Fact: You CANNOT spot reduce “fatty” areas with site specific muscle training. IF this were true, everyone who chewed gum would have skinny faces.

Myth: “If I lift weights, I will bulk up like a man/body builder.

Advice: Let go of the fear and get your fine self over to the free weight area (or call me to make an appointment.) There are tremendous benefits to weightlifting for women. 

Fact: VERY few women have the genetic tendencies required to make significant muscle mass increases. Body builders devote an incredible about of time and very specific training regimes to look as large as they do.

Myth: “Lifting weights will make me less flexible.”

Advice: PROPER strength training technique actually increases flexibility.

Fact: In one sport comparison study, Olympic Weightlifters were second only to figure skaters and gymnasts in terms of flexibility.   

Myth: “Muscle weighs more than fat.”

Advice: Think it through, which is heavier – a pound of feathers or a pound of lead? 

Fact: The truer statement is “Muscle weighs more per square inch than body fat.” This explains why two women weighing the same amount will wear different dress sizes. The woman carrying more muscle and less body fat may wear a size six, whereas the woman carrying more body fat and less muscle might wear a size eight or ten.  

 As always, feel free to connect with me if you would like to come in and get those lovely muscles working for you in the way they were intended. Drop me a line with any questions. Have a wonderful weekend! All my best, Michelle 773-680-6824

Your Breast Investment

Your Breast Investment

Being breast cancer awareness month, it’s fitting to address a simple topic relevant to every active woman: proper support for your breasts.  If you invest in one expensive piece of equipment for your workouts, make it a fabulous sports bra. Weather you include high impact movements in your sessions or not, your breasts need the support provided by a serious bra. How serious? Try this test:

  1. Put your bra on at home in front of the mirror.
  2. Jump up and down.

Do the girls move? Do they bounce up and down? Yes? Then it’s time to go shopping. Or, do they stay strapped in tight with zero movement? Then girlfriend, we have a winner.

I wish you happy shopping for a supportive new bra. It is truly an investment that will pay off today and years into the future.  All my best, Michelle

Headshot of Michelle Blakely by Kim Kort Photography

Donate $25 to the Breast Cancer charity of your choice and receive $50 off your next Blakely FIT purchase.

Just bring your donation receipt to your new client assessment or session package purchase. 

Offer valid until November 15th 2011.  

Call 773-680-6824 or email to schedule

Simple Is Good

Simple Is Good

Having another adult around on Saturday, my mind spun with the possibility of getting oodles of errands run and chores finished. I sounded like a pep team captain on Redbull. “We could get the groceries, return the Bed Bath and Beyond purchase, drop off Salvation Army, get gas, clean the condo, maybe go out for lunch with the girls…” Fearing I might derail, my husband pumped the brakes, stating “I think that’s a good enough list to start.” At first I was not in agreement (uh-uhm.) Slowly, I realized he was right.

Attempting to do all that you usually do when life is exceptionally full is not a good idea (wherein my husband’s genius lies). Personally I’ve got a new baby, new body, back to work demands, sleep deprivation and new family routines – for me, life is nothing if not full right now. Some of the changes are just more work and some are delightful, joy-filled additions. In any form, increased commitments make finding time for exercise a challenge for all of us. It can make us feel more encumbered and deflated, depleting the energy we so desperately need. Solution? Embrace where you are at and use it as an opportunity to simplify. Define what is a need and what is a want. What will energize you? What will tire you?

It’s no surprise that I firmly believe exercise belongs in your life during these times. What may surprise you are my suggestions for including it into an overflowing schedule. Let go of your notions of a “good workout” and focus on “good enough for now.” Keeping it simple and easy will give you meaningful boosts until life settles down into something more manageable.

Habits to employ to keep healthy during demanding weeks:

  • Get off/on one train stop earlier/later to increase your walk to/from work.
  • Exploit simple meal ideas even when they are not your ideal – better to eat something moderately healthy than not at all or binging later because you are so hungry.
  • Do ten squats, ten jumping jacks and ten deep breaths every morning.
  • Dance in your living room for ten minutes.
  • Commit to drinking ample amounts of water.
  • Take the long way home – walk by the lake for 20 minutes before checking out for the day.
  • Take 5 during your work day and walk around the block or up and down the stairs – ask a coworker to join you.
  • Shut your office door and stretch your back, hips and chest for ten minutes.
  • Take the stairs every day, every opportunity.
  • Park in the space farthest from the entrance.
  • Schedule a family walk – fresh air and movement will boost spirits, increase sleep quality and provide free quality time.
  • Book the cleaning lady – lessen your chores list and free up a little time for a bout of exercise or more/better sleep.
  • Do a few yoga moves that you remember from class for a quick break from work.
  • Check your posture before every phone call – refreshing that mind/body connection can make a huge difference.

Print this list and post it in your office, share it with your HR rep. or attach it to your fridge. Hope it is a big help to you during busy weeks. Remember – Simple is good, and often, good enough for now.

All my best, Michelle

Headshot of Michelle Blakely by Kim Kort Photography

Blakely FIT
Strength Training Exclusively for Women  773-680-6824

Operating out of Symmetry Center:  401 West Ontario, 4th Floor, Chicago IL 60610