Jeannie Mai, the 39-year-old co-host of the talk show The Real, is encouraging women to lift heavier weights now that she has gained 17 pounds of muscle. In a post on her Instagram page, Mai revealed that she avoided lifting because she was afraid it would make her look masculine. So, she used to focus on following a strict diet to stay in shape. But a couple of months ago, she embraced a new approach that transformed the way she looked, People Magazine reports.
“I used to RUN from heavy weights like bcuz I was sooo afraid of ‘getting buff’ or ‘looking like a dude.’ Not tuhday hunnay,” she wrote in the caption of a video of her lifting some barbells. “After 9 months of consuming healthy calories to bulk my bod, I’m now lifting heavy to shape & slowwly build muscle to get stronger.”
She previously announced her changed perspective towards her workouts in an Instagram post four months ago. In the photo, you can see a comparison of Mai wearing the same dress before and after deciding to eat more calories and lift heavy. In the “after” shot, she looks noticeably curvier and her face looks fuller.
“On the left is the first time I tried on this dress, at a weight I’ve kept for 12 years, 103 lbs,” she revealed in the caption. “Staying 103 came from my self-control to lose ‘chubby’ teenage weight and a stressful idea that my body was built to look best ‘thin.'”
You can view Mai’s before-and-after Instagram image here.
Mai added that as she’s gotten older, she’s realized that she doesn’t have to deprive her body anymore since she’s already been through a lot of mental and emotional turmoil.
“As I’m nearing my 40s, I realize that I’ve been thru so much sh*t mentally and emotionally, why the hell should my body be forced to suffer (from my over controlling ways) too? So 3 months ago I started a new eating plan and training program and gained 17 lbs.”
In her most recent Instagram post, Mai gave fans lots of insight into how she transformed her body. She revealed that her routine targets the back, legs, and butt. To keep herself in shape, Mai does bench squats with 95-115-pound weights, hip thrusters with 95-pound weights, cable kickbacks with 30-pound weights and deadlifts with 115-pound weights.
She adds that the hip thrusters are the best exercises for building the “booty.” Mai then reiterated the importance of lifting heavy weights as the move isn’t as effective with lighter weights, she says.
“Biggest prob w/ Hip Thrust is using weight that’s too light,” she wrote. “Don’t waste your effort! Your glutes are strong; you need to lift heavy! Your mind is ready, PROVE IT.”
Mai’s fans seemed to be appreciative of the advice. She got praise for showing the benefits of putting on healthy weight from her followers.
“Your such an inspiration for us thin girl who want to gain good healthy weight!!” one fan commented. “Next time I got to the gym, I’m totally gonna do the hip thrusters and cable kickbacks!!”