Turns out cats make great role models for lifting weights (and fitness in general). They have their rest and nutrition dialed in, and when they move, it’s with high intensity and total commitment. Read on for lots of great lessons your cat can teach you about lifting.
1) Stalk your PR(ey)
When you’re chasing a PR, it’s tempting to go charging after it head first. This can work for a little while, but long term gains need a little more finesse. Cats stalk their prey. They approach with precision and restraint, and they prepare for exactly the right moment to pounce. Do the same with your lifts and you’ll steadily bust through your plateaus.
2) Get. Really. Focused.
You know how cats get really focused on (apparently) nothing? Like, SUPER focused. Do that with your lifting. Focus on each rep like it’s the most fascinating thing in the world.
3) Use the butt!
No, I’m not actually telling you to wiggle your butt while you lift. What I AM telling you to do is squeeze it, no matter which lift you’re doing. Your glutes are the largest muscles in your body, and squeezing them makes everything stronger, period.
4) Make the zoomies your cardio
You’ll never see a cat going for a long run. They tear around the house at full speed, and then they stop. And then they do it again. Sounds a lot like interval training, doesn’t it? It’s fast and efficient, and it’s usually more fun than a treadmill (our bootcamps are great for this!).
5) Rest is the best
Cats sleep around 12–16 hours per day. Now don’t get me wrong, you don’t need anywhere near that much. BUT, the lesson is clear—more is better. Sleep is when your body builds muscle and flushes waste products, so be sure to give it the time it needs (that’s 8–9 hours, in a perfect world).
6) Keep yourself supple and limber
You know how cats are always stretching, twisting, and flopping? Imitating their movements is a great way to keep your body limber and mobile, so get down with some cat stretches to limber up your back, shoulders, and hips.
7) Don’t let anything get between you and meal time
Cats know exactly when, what, and how much they want to eat. They’ll also bug the crap out of you if you don’t deliver on any of those expectations. Follow their lead by knowing what you’re eating, and when—and when it’s time, make that meal happen!
8) Eat like a predator
Whether you prefer chicken or chickpeas, eat more protein! Make this your number 1 nutrition goal until you’re eating at least the amount recommended by this calculator—and be sure to eat toward the higher end of the range if you want to build muscle and/or get leaner!
9) Eat plants like it’s serious business
For predators, cats seem weirdly fascinated by plants. I don’t need to tell you to eat more vegetables, but if you show the same kind of obsessive curiosity about them as your cat does with grass, your body will thank you. (Bonus points for high fiber veggies like broccoli, brussels sprouts, and collard greens).
10) Drink lots of fresh water
This goes without saying, but I couldn’t write this article without including a gif of a faucet cat. If you’re getting less than half your bodyweight in ounces per day, drink more water!
- Be patient and methodical about setting new PRs. Stalk them like a cat! Focus on your reps like they’re the most interesting thing in the world.
- Start every lift by squeezing your butt. It stabilizes your core and promotes full-body tension (which makes you stronger).
- Keep your cardio short, intense, and playful.
- Get plenty of sleep—you get stronger by recovering from lifting weights.
- Stretch, roll, and play with movement to keep yourself supple and limber.
- Take meal times really seriously.
- Eat more protein and vegetables.
- Drink more water.
- Watch this hilarious video by our member Lucia Fasano—she actually beat us to this topic 2 years ago!
Have another great lesson about lifting you’ve learned from your cat? Tell us all about it in the comments!
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