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How 'Bulking Up' Helped LeAnn Rimes Slim Down

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I was intrigued to see LeAnn Rimes on the October 2010 cover of Shape magazine. Yes, her recent divorce has made headlines, and she admits to feeling a lot of stress and pressure over the events of the past year, but one thing hasn't changed: her dedication to fitness. Now 28, she is looking better than ever. Her secret? It's not cardio, a crazy diet (the girl eats chocolate chip pancakes!) or even the three-pound weight myth so many other celebs subscribe to. In fact, it's just the opposite.

LeAnn graced the cover of Shape three years ago, and the writer of this story comments on how different her body looks today (in a good way). LeAnn admits that she actually weighs 6 pounds MORE than she did back then but that her body fat is "the lowest it's ever been." She's gained muscle, but actually appears curvier than before, and she's loving the results. LeAnn changed her body composition, which means she's dropped body fat and increased her lean muscle mass, by incorporating serious strength training into her workouts, three or four times per week.

When asked the ONE THING that has gotten her so sculpted, she credits her strength training program. And she's not talking measly little weights either.

"I don't think I've ever had more muscle than I do now," she tells Shape. "Some days I do heavy weights with only six to eight reps, and the other days I do light weights with 22 reps. I work with dumbbells or a bar with weights on each end. I don't know how much weight I lift anymore. All I know is it's seriously heavy!"

Never one to "doodle around" in the gym, she takes her workouts seriously, which has garnered her some amazing results. Not only does she look better than ever, but she also says that her increased strength is "empowering."

I thought this was worth sharing because it is SO rare to see a female celebrity talking attributing her lean figure to something other than Pilates or lifting teeny tiny weights. LeAnn is a great example of how lifting heavier weights can actually change your body for the better. Many women fear that big weights will make them big, but that's not necessarily the case. Muscle is naturally long and lean, not bulky, and it takes up less space than fat. So whether you build it with 2-pound or 25 pound weights, muscle is muscle. The more you have, the more your fat-burning furnace with be cranked up and the more toned and sculpted you will look. Not to mention, strong muscles are useful in everyday life, and beautiful, too! And let's not forget that the number on the scale is just that. LeAnne admits to gaining 6 pounds, but does it show? Not even close! She looks leaner than ever, despite gaining muscle mass, which proves that "weight" only means so much. Next time that scale goes up when you've done everything right, maybe you can rejoice the new muscle you're building instead of feeling down about the number on the scale, which doesn't really say much about you.

In the article, LeAnn Rimes talks about her diet and go-to stress relievers, and also shares how cardio boxing helps her break out of a bad mood and stay in shape at the same time. So be sure to pick up the October issue of Shape to learn more about her healthy-body secrets.

Do you still fear heavy weights or embrace them? How was strength training changed your body?

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CECELW 9/21/2020
I think i read this before. Great refresher though Report
Great tips. Report
STEBBY61 8/6/2020
10 year old article, but still relevant! Report
Good article. Report
PATRICIAAK 2/20/2020
:) Report
KHALIA2 1/4/2020
Great Article, Thanks, Coach Nicole! Report
NELLJONES 10/31/2019
Great tips! Report
I love the endorphin rush I get when doing ST. I prefer ST over Cardio and still hit the Cardio Zone while lifting weights. I have currently lost 6 lbs since starting a month ago and can already notice some of the changes, such as a - 13 inch body measure reduction and that is huge. I feel trimmer even though the scale tips over 190 I have a 27% body fat composition right now which is only 2% away from the normal range. I plan on losing another 10-15 lbs yet and yes my BMI will still be obese, but I am seeing this in a positive light as I near 60. Your body needs to maintain that muscle mass as you grow older to help prevent falls, the increase protein diet helps with preventing muscle loss as we age and bone loss is much less with ST. I am going to continue with weights as it seems to make the most sense to me. I can eat 1800 to 2000 calories a day and still lose weight. WIN WIN. for me :) Report
not bad advice. great tips Report
Thank you Report
Great advice! Report
Times have changed since 2010 when that article was written!! Crossfit classes are filled with women. And we do some serious weight lifting! Report
Sometimes there is discussion on injuries caused by lifting heavy weights, like joint injuries to shoulders, knees, back or injuries to muscles and connective tissue but I suffered an injury that is not commonly discussed which was a pelvic floor injury whereby my bladder prolapsed into my vagina. I was not given any warning or instruction on how to avoid this injury or that it was even a possibility when I began my weight lifting routine. I have an appointment to see my doctor to see what I can do about it.

I loved the weight lifting workouts, they made me feel an endorphin rush and I felt energized all day,and I wanted to get stronger but ultimately, it was not a good idea for me to weight lift heavy weights. Report
neat story Report
Love her Report
I have never concerned myself about bulking up. Strength training really does the body good. The older I get, the more I am thankful I am still able to strength train. I will be turning 60 this year. I started strength training in my 20's. I have fibromyalgia and connective tissue disease. My Dr. assured me that strength training can only help. Listen to your body. You are the only one that can gage when you feel well enough to train Report
Interesting. Report
I'm cautious around weights, as I do bulk up fast in the shoulders and biceps especially. I mentioned it to a personal trainer once when we were starting out - he scoffed 'Women always say that! You won't grow!' Three months later during a session he paused and said 'Have you ever thought of getting into body sculpting?' Not really where I wanted my X-dollars per session to take me... So it may be *unlikely* you'll bulk up with weights, but not impossible. Try it and see before you write it off, though - everyone's body is different and as folk say in the posts, it has heaps of other benefits to love. Report
Love strength training and its impact on my health! Report
thanks... Report
Very helpful! Report
Do you still fear heavy weights or embrace them? How was strength training changed your body?

No, I've never had a fear of looking like a body builder. You have to train very hard to look like that, and you always lose your breasts entirely, and I'm not sure I want to do that. But since it has to be such an on purpose thing, I have no fear of that. You have to eat a LOT of protein, and do a lot of what they call "cutting", which is some type of fasting, before body building competitions. Women CAN look pretty bulky if you look at body building photos of women. But it's not just going to happen, it won't fall into your lap suddenly, like you didn't plan on it, and obsess over it for years! That kind of thing really takes effort, which no ordinary woman need fear. I do not do any type of weight training at the moment, because it's not recommended for people like me with chronic iron deficiency anemia. We have to preserve our strength when we have that. Weight lifting makes your muscles bleed internally. If you are well, it also heals quickly. But with anemia, it doesn't heal well. So I'm skipping that at present. However, I have been doing wall push ups. And I've gotten up to 80! I consider it a fairly safe form of ST for me to do while I am waiting for my anemia to be resolved. Even with supplementation, that takes some time, especially when you are a vegetarian like I am.

The wall push ups are making my arms more muscular, as you would expect. When the number that I'm at feels easy, and doesn't hurt my arms at all, I go up by 5 the next time. When I get to 100 wall push ups, I am going to switch to incline push ups, and when that's up to 100 as well, I am going to do the real push ups. I don't bother with modified push ups, as that uses the wrong muscles entirely. And when I can do real push ups, I can also work on my planks, which is another great body weight strength training exercise. Report
ST has ALWAYS been such a help to me in losing weight! In fact, the weight I put on at Thanksgiving came OFF in three days due to ST and walking!!!! Report
I enjoy lifting weights and do either, depends on how I'm feeling from one day to the next. It's easier to do the small weights. It even works a lot faster than cardio, for me. Report
Thanks for sharing, it's good to see someone famous is espousing a healthy approach to weight. Report
great article very helpful Report
I embrace heavy weights. I love seeing the hint of toning that is coming, and the feeling of utter strength when I surprise myself. Report
I do powerlifting at the age of 45. I have a 265 pound squat and deadlift and a 155 lb bench press. My body infrastructure feels strong and supported. My knees don't warble around and I have no joint aches. I feel strong and brave :-)
I have never felt better.
I do about 30 min of cardio every other day.
Eating sweets is my addiction! Report
ST is great! It's way more interesting to me than cardio. I do cardio to burn fat and to warm up for my ST sessions, but it's always a chore. I have also started doing yoga and that is a great ST workout - I am always sore all over the day after my yoga class.

As so many have already said, ST works wonders in how your body looks, no matter what the scale is telling you. I dropped 5 inches off my waist in one month since I started doing the yoga class!

Ladies, please don't be afraid of ST - you will not start looking like a guy if you lift weights. Report
guess I need to look more into strength training... Report
I have a problem with the models Shape uses...far too skinny rather than just healthy - and I know they have been called out on their excessive airbrushing before. I do like their workout routines and I use their free website to get those, but I just can't support the magazine who is putting out as unrealistic images for people looking to get HEALTHY as any fashion magazine. Report
I love weight training. It is an important part of my exercise routine. Since I have started it, I have never felt more confident. Weight lifting is good for my figure, my self esteem and my balance. Although, I lift heavy at times, I have not developped ourtrageously big muscle. I weigh an athletic 113 pounds and I am 4'11". I feel all women could benefit from weight training. Report
She looks amazing and I am so glad that she isn't talking the same mumbo jumbo that most stars talk about their lifestyle. I for one, love weights, and am happy that someone else in the spotlight mentioned their benefits. Report
She looks great! I can't believe how much different she looks - just since the last time she was on the cover of the magazine. Nice to see a strong woman - great motivation! Report
She looks GREAT! Report
Good advise. Report
wow. She does look amazing. Im gonna do weights then! F all the little stuff lol Report
Strenght training is the key to looking really hot! I almost hope it doesn't catch on because there is never a line for my strenght circuit at the gym. I always feel so bad for skinny girls who just jiggle and have no tone. It also helps bone density which is so important for us!

I read that article in the magazine a couple of days ago and I had decided after I read it, that I would put a picture of her on my wall for inspiration because I want a body like hers and she motivates me!! ^ - ^ Report
Nice article. It was nice that LeAnn was honest about her weight struggles. I use my Tony Little "Easy Shaper" strength training bar with stretch bands. The resistance is awesome. It gives me a real good workout. I used it today for 30 minutes. I am getting over a cold so I am going to work my way up to doing strength training longer. I can see the changes in my upper body. My arms are getting toned and so is my shoulders. I am also hoping to see the difference in my butt. I am glad that I am including strength training in my workouts. It's a good workout to add to my running. Report
I saw her on the cover, and was tempted to pick up the mag because she looked so fantastic, and I love fitness mags. I didn't because I feel like I have so many magazines to read around here, but now that it's been featured on SP, I just feel like I gotta have it! I love fitness mags for the inspiration they give me, and it's always refreshing to see a celebrity with a healthy lifestyle featured in them. Report
Wow! She looks incredible!! Time to pick up the weights!!! Report
Looks like I need to focus on weight training too! Report
Strength training is the key...yet its amazing how many ladies still won't go there....due to fear of bulking up. Thanks for sharing this article hopefully it will spark someone to get started strength training!!!! Report
Hmmm, time to increase those weights Report
I do strength training 3-4 times per week with the highest weight that I can and maintain good form, but I guess for me I have a problem "looking lighter than I am." It may sound girly, but I like having my husband and friends be able to pick me up. Report
I have the body type that can always build muscle really easily. At 5'4 my healthiest weight I ever have been was about 135-140. For some, this might be too much, but for me this meant a six-pack and lots of toning. I have always weighed more than I look but when I am toned I am definitely ok with it. The number on the scale isn't displayed when I walk around, only my fitness is. Report
hey coach nicole--thanks for sharing this article with a wider audience! i subscribe to shape and JUST finished reading this one and as much as i like to THINK i know about strength training, this was still quite the eye opener. now i'm getting back into a regular work out routine after a busy summer, i DO plan to kick my strength training up a notch (or two)... Report
I too love weight training! Lifting weights makes me feel strong and confident. I've seen wonderful results in the way my clothes fit which has me caring less and less about the numbers on my scale. Thanks for sharing this article! Report
it's funny, i have always done strength training, i think because i worked at a gym for a long time, and just started doing it. i wish more women weren't afraid of weights, it does amazing things for your body!!!! besides, it's also kind if an ego boost when i walk into the weight area, and see the looks from the guys when i pick up 50 pounds and do squats with them, i never knew eyes could pop out that far....hehehe.... Report
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