Category Archives: weight training

Getting back on the wagon

It has been a struggle for me to work out lately. I haven’t been motivated at all and I’m starting to think me and the gal who runs half marathons are two different people!

But, we all go through peaks and valleys in life, right? One thing I have going for me is that I’ve been reading this book:

The only time I seem to be able to completely focus on reading is on the bike or elliptical trainer at the gym. At home, I get distracted by so many other things that I usually end up reading the same paragraph four times before giving up.

So I’ve gotten a few sessions in the past couple of weeks. I was on the elliptical for 60 minutes on Tuesday (keep up with my weekly workouts here)! Plus, it’s a really good book so far. When I finish, it will be the first book I’ve read all the way through in a very, very long time.

Another thing that has helped me get back on the fitness wagon is my friend Farrah.

I haven’t seen her in a while because we’ve both been busy. But today we got to workout for the first time in a long time and she kicked my behind (she’s a trainer, haha)! We walked outside for 3 miles and then came back in to do weights and abs. I know I will be sore tomorrow for sure!

And yes, that is an older picture, ha ha. It’s hard to imagine wearing sweaters right now as it’s been over 100 degrees here recently! But I shall not complain, I am no fan of winter.

Anyway, if you have been struggling with exercise (or lack thereof) try enlisting a really inspiring and active friend to get you moving or start diving into a new book while you sweat it out at the gym. Whatever it takes to get you moving so you can feel good again :)

I feel better already! Let’s hope this continues.

Losing focus & 30 days of yoga

I have not made it to Body Pump this entire week!

Image Source

Yesterday, I was just way too tired because I had stayed up late on Wednesday night and had some house cleaning to do for this weekend.

And on Tuesday, I was way too sore from a yoga class that I took on Monday night. It was seriously the most intense class I have ever been to. I was sweating like I was in hot yoga only it was just a regular, air conditioned room.

Now, to me, the point of yoga is not to sweat as much as you can, burn a lot of calories, or to be extremely sore the next day. What I like about yoga is that it makes me feel leaner and longer, plus it gives me so much mental peace and happiness. It also stretches out the tight spots I get from all the walking, running and other activities I inflict on my body.

And it’s fun to challenge yourself in new ways you didn’t know were possible. That’s what happened in this class and that’s why I was a bit sore Tuesday. We did some long holds in chair pose and with support, I got to do wheel again! I hope someday I can do this one on my own. ;-)

I recently read about Healthy Ashley’s 30 Days of Yoga challenge, where she is committing to doing at least 10 minutes of yoga per day for 30 days. This caught my attention and I totally intend to at least give it a shot. I mean, certainly I can do 10 minutes, right? Sometimes I stand in tree pose while I’m waiting for dinner to finish cooking. ;-)

But then again, as a person who enjoys multiple forms of exercise, I have a hard time staying focused on any one (or two) activity in order to see real progress. I jump around between running, weight lifting, yoga, walking, etc. so much that I don’t stick with one thing for very long or I neglect one activity for another.

So what should I do?

I think this is happening because I do not have a specific goal. No races to train for (yet) and nothing else really motivating me right now.

I don’t like choosing between so many things I enjoy but is it really realistic for me to think that I can run, walk, do yoga and Body Pump each multiple times in one week? There are just not enough hours or days.

If I were able to fit them all in, I feel like I would be doing each thing one day and then not devoting enough time to anything to keep it up.

Hmm…deep thoughts for a Friday afternoon!

I feel so distracted right now. Did I mention my high school reunion is tomorrow?! Perhaps I should wait until Sunday to make any major decisions. ;-)

What are your favorite forms of exercise? Are you able to fit them all in?

Seeing results

I am now into my third week of Body Pump and I can already tell a difference!

My results aren’t exactly “visible” yet but I can tell that I am getting stronger with each class. I have even increased my weight on a few different tracks: squats, back, and biceps. Lunges are also getting easier (did I really just say that?).

I enjoy Body Pump because it pushes me so much harder than I would push myself in the weight room. I like having an instructor there to tell me what I’m doing wrong and to encourage me in what I am doing well. Body Pump is also about endurance and toning, which is exactly what I am looking for.

And even though I have been in a class with men before, I love how this class I’ve been attending has been all women so far. Even though I know guys are typically stronger, it’s less intimidating not having them around ;-)

Here is a breakdown of what I’ve been using on the bar:

  • Warm up – 5 kg (11 lbs)
  • Squats – 10 kg (22 lbs)
  • Chest – 5 kg (11 lbs)
  • Back – 7 kg (15.4 lbs)
  • Shoulders – 5 kg (11 lbs) + 4-5 lb hand weights we use for lateral & front raises
  • Lunges – 7 kg (15.4 lbs)
  • Triceps – 5 kg (11 lbs)
  • Biceps – 5 kg (11 lbs)
  • Abs – N/A

I started out lighter on squats, back and biceps before realizing more weight works better for me. I can’t wait to see how I improve in the future!

Body Pump 74 just got released over the weekend and I haven’t had a teacher run through it yet. We’ll see what happens at tomorrow’s class. Apparently it’s brutal (in a good way, ha ha). I think I read something about “walking hovers” — yikes!

If you like weight training but can’t ever seem to get yourself doing the right things in the weight room, I highly recommend this class.

Many gyms offer Body Pump, even this small one that I go to. It’s been a great experience so far having somewhere to go but I’m still kind of bummed there is no cardio cinema or spinning classes. I’m thinking about switching to a different gym when this contact is up in November. ;-)

This week's workouts

I feel really good about how my workouts went this week. It’s been a long time since I can remember saying that!

I am really grateful for this new gym membership, it’s really motivating me to “fit it in” on the busier days! :)

Here’s how the week went down:

  • Monday -Long walk with Suzie
  • Tuesday -Ran 1.87 miles outside, abs, Body Pump class
  • Wednesday – 30 minutes on the elliptical
  • Thursday -Ran 1.87 miles outside, abs, Body Pump class
  • Friday – Ran 3 miles on the treadmill
  • Saturday – 15 minutes on stair master, Weight training, abs + Walk with a friend and lots of shopping!

I’m not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow, but my goal for the next week is to increase my running distance, since I have a 5 mile race coming up soon! I’m also hoping to get myself to a yoga class. :)

How did your workouts go this week?

Using proper form

I am running a 5k tomorrow morning, so I knew that today would either be rest or cross-training. I’ve been feeling pretty good today so I decided I wanted a good sweat session!

I started off with 30 minutes on the elliptical. I kept the ramp at 10 but I gradually increased the resistance from 5-8 when I got too used to it. I read some of the latest issue of Vegetarian Times while I worked up a sweat.

Woo! I hadn’t used an elliptical in a long time and I had forgotten how great of a workout it was. My heart rate got up into the 150′s, my legs were burning and I was covered in sweat. That might sound gross, but that’s exactly what a good workout is to me! ;-)

Afterwards, I carefully did some upper body weights. Since I injured my arm a few days ago (it’s better now), I was sure to use proper form and weights just a tiny bit lighter than I usually would. So far, so good!

For each exercise, I did 2 sets of 20.

  • Chest presses (12.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Military shoulder presses (7.5 lb)
  • Reverse flyes (7.5 lb)
  • Bent over row (20 lb barbel)
  • Upright row (20 lb barbel)
  • Bicep curls (7.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Tricep extensions (1, 10 lb dumbbell, overhead)

Since I was in the weight room and not on an exercise mat using a body bar, I think what made the difference was being able to see myself in the mirror. When it’s right there in front of you, it is easier to see what you are doing and to check and make sure you are doing it correctly.

This is how I usually work out but for some reason the other day, I was in a room without mirrors and just judging by how things felt. That is probably how I hurt myself. Noted!

This was a great workout and really made me realize how much I love the challenge of weight training. I’m definitely planning to get it back into regular rotation here soon.

What’s your favorite magazine?

Note to self

Dear Self,

I have absolutely no idea what you did to INJURE YOUR ARM but I wish I knew, so I could tell you not to do it again. Oh well, be careful.

Love,
Me

That’s right. Somehow I managed to jack up my left arm.

Yesterday, I did a brutal 10 minutes on the stairmaster and then headed into the weight room to repeat last Friday’s killer arms session.

Honestly, I felt great afterwards and even now, with the exception of my left arm, I’m not very sore like I was Friday-Monday the last time!

Basically, this part of my arm hurts.

Arm

I don’t know how I did it because it didn’t start bothering me until 9:00 last night while I was sitting on the couch watching TV reading blogs on the laptop. It came on pretty suddenly too, not like that delayed onset soreness you get sometimes.

I think it’s the wrist because it hurts to bend it forward or backward or put weight on it, pick something up with it, etc. But the pain shoots down sometimes all the way to the elbow. It’s uncomfortable no matter where I rest my arm. Not excruciating, just uncomfortable.

Anyway, self-diagnosis over!

So, obviously no weight lifting for me for a while. I’m hoping it’s just minor and I can take a couple days off, ice it, and be good by next week.

Looks like it’s cardio time!

Hello, arms!

I was feeling a bit sickly today, thanks to allergies and the medication I took, which I won’t do again. I swear, it makes me feel worse than I did before, which is why I usually never take anything but my congestion and cough were pretty bad so I gave in. Ugh!

I had really bad allergies as a child, received really good treatment and haven’t had any problems since. But for some reason this year has been horrible. My mom suggested going and getting re-tested so that is a possibility.

Anyway, the good thing is that I went for a workout this afternoon and it made me feel tons better. :)

We started out with a quick 1.87 mile run (in 16:06! 8:37/mile pace!) and then came back for some weights.


(Image Source)

I used a 12 lb body bar and did 50 (yes 5-0!) reps of each of the following exercises:

  • Chest presses
  • Bent over rows
  • Upright rows
  • Bicep curls
  • Tricep presses (aka “skull crushers”)

The chest presses were pretty easy but for most of the other moves, I had to do sets of 10-20 with a little break in between. My arms were shaking!

Then we did 50 regular crunches, some leg lifts, and side-to-side crunches with a medicine ball (50 or 25 each side). Lastly, we finished with side extensions — 50 (25 each side) holding 5 lb weights.

Do I even have to tell you how jello-like my arms are right now? They will definitely be sore tomorrow!

I think I’m going to have to do this workout more often. ;-)

Stairmaster + Weights = Yowzah!

Yesterday, I decided to do a little crosstraining at the gym instead of running since I’m not really training for any races other than 5K’s right now.

I started off my workout with an easy 10 minutes on the stairmaster to warm up, which I had not done in a long time! It was NOT easy. They also switched machines since last time I was there and this thing was rather intimidating.

Image Source

But, I hopped up on there and even though I pretty much had to look at my feet the whole time to keep from tripping, it was the most intense 10 minute workout of my life. My heart was beating hard and I was already sweating by the time I got done (I gradually increased the levels from 1-5 over the 10 minutes).

Afterwards, I hit the bench for some weights. It’s nice now that the semester has ended, the gym is much less crowded. So I had plenty of space to do everything I wanted to. It was an awesome workout!

I did 2 sets of each exercise, 12 reps each set

  • Chest presses (12.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Military shoulder presses (7.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Dead lifts (20 lb bar)
  • Upright rows (20 lb bar)
  • Bent over reverse flyes (7.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Bicep curls (10 lb dumbbells)
  • Tricep overhead extension (1, 10 lb dumbbell)

Then I went into the other room to stretch out my arms and do some abs. I did regular crunches, reverse crunches, and side crunches. I think I just did one set of each but 35 reps for each set (and each side of the side crunches). I did everything I’ve mentioned here in 45 minutes. I love short but intense workouts, I know how to maximize my time :)

I am a little sore today which tells me that it’s been way too long since I’ve done this much weight training. Can’t wait to keep it up this summer!

Do you weight train? What do you like or dislike about it?

What's next?

As soon as a big race is over, I’m always left wondering what my next challenge will be.

For the past 16 weeks, I have been mostly focused on training for the mini marathon and now I have a little down time to do some different things and run a bunch of really fun 5K races!

But what else will I do next?

Today, I did a challenging 15 minute incline walk on the treadmill, one set of a full body workout with weights, and some ab exercises. I usually do 25 reps of each ab move but today I noticed they were much stronger, so I went up to 35. That’s the key to keep exercises working for you — either increase the weight, the reps, or change the moves completely!

I’ve been thinking of doing a 30 day ab challenge this summer. It is the most neglected area of my body and yet it is so vital to all the things I do, whether it’s sitting at my desk at work or running mini marathons…I need a strong core!

I also miss yoga terribly, I cannot even tell you the last class I took or did on my own at home. This is a travesty! Yoga can be expensive but there are so many options available for all budgets. I just need to make an effort. I also want to try Hot Yoga again soon :)

In addition, Josh admitted that he is not really using his gym membership. While I am sad that he’s not been going, you can only lead a horse to water. And we both agreed that someone should get use out of it, so we are having it transferred into my name!

The gym he goes to is not quite as nice as Urban Active but it will come in handy on the weekends and in bad weather. Plus, they have Body Pump classes :)

I’m also toying with the idea of running the Louisville Half Marathon in October. But I have a little time to decide. I figure if I do register for it, I will have to start training in July. So we’ll see!

As you can can probably tell, I’m sort of all over the place, but I like to think it all balances out :)

What are your fitness goals for the summer?

My old "friend"

We had quite the rainy, cool day on Friday so I was forced inside to visit an old enemy friend, Ms. Treadmill!

I warmed up for 5 minutes and then ran 3.25 miles in 35 minutes before cooling down for another 5. I’m not worried about pace since this was on the treadmill. I gradually increased my speed from 5.0-6.0 over the course of 33 minutes and then the last few I sprinted between 6.0-7.0 which felt really good.

I was a sweaty mess when it was over!

I also decided to do some weights yesterday because I had time. I didn’t feel like doing multiple sets of anything, so I just did a bunch of exercises and tried to hit all the muscle groups I could.

  • Chest press + flyes (combo move) – 10 lbs, 12 reps
  • Bicep curls + Shoulder presses – 7.5 lbs, 12 reps
  • Lateral raises – 5 lbs, 12 reps
  • Front raises – 5 lbs, 12 reps
  • Bicep curls alone – 10 lbs, 12 reps
  • Tricep overhead extension – 12.5 lbs (single dumbbell), 12 reps
  • Bent over rows – 7.5 lbs, 12 reps
  • Reverse flyes – 7.5 lbs, 12 reps
  • Dead lifts – 10 lbs, 12 reps
  • Push ups – 10 reps
  • Tricep dips on bench – 10 reps
  • Side bends – 5 lbs, 25 reps (each side)
  • Leg curl machine – 55 lbs, 12 reps
  • Leg extension machine – 55 lbs, 12 reps
  • Sit ups with medicine ball – 25
  • Side to side twists with medicine ball – 25 (each side)

It never ceases to amaze me how I don’t feel like I did that much until I come back here and write about it! I feel pretty darn proud now :)

I’m hoping to take my dog for a nice long walk later today since I’m off work. The sun is out but I’m still waiting for it to warm up a bit more out there!

Happy Friday :)

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