Me, I’m excited because I am doing a new workout routine from Nia Shanks at Lift Like a Girl. (If you don’t know who this person is…go Google right now or click here to find her website! Amazing resource for women who want to learn more about strength training.)
This workout has pushed my body to limits it hasn’t seen in awhile. The moves are simple and don’t seem like they would challenge you to the point of major sweat but…they do, if you do them right. 😉 You wouldn’t think that I would get as sore as I do either from these exercises. These simple moves last week left my body sore and tender from Tuesday until Sunday…I was not loving the stairs or sitting down on anything last week (if you know what I’m sayin’). My legs were feeling it…all over. IT.WAS.AWESOME!
I wrote recently here at The Journey about the month long challenges that are posted all over the social media world and was just bringing to all of our attention what we all know already…those challenges don’t work for the majority of us. They just don’t. But there are ways to get the exercise stuff to actually happen and stick. I’ll share below a few ways that worked for me.
Strength training is one of my favorite things. It has become one of my passions and I get to teach and show others how great it is to touch that barbell and lift it above their heads…or somewhere below. 😉 Why should you lift weights? The benefits truly are something you can’t ignore, so go check out this link that talks about how strength training benefits that body of yours.
Who can strength train? YOU! If you have access to a gym or some weight equipment at home, you can lift. In fact, if you don’t have a gym membership or any equipment you can still workout (what!?). Bodyweight workouts are amazing and can be done anywhere! We’ve even put together one to do right here at The Journey for you. You can find it here: Bodyweight Workout by The Journey (14 days of great workouts to do anywhere!)
As I am working out I like ask myself a few questions. These questions help me think about what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and also see if I am getting the full benefit out of the time I am taking for exercise. Really…we are all busy and time is a big deal for me (hello, mom of 3 right here!) and I don’t want to waste those precious minutes. These questions have also helped me as I think about what I truly want to spend my time on while I am exercising. The treadmill bores me…the elliptical is fine but not my favorite…running is just not a good time for my hips and asthmatic lungs…but lifting weights…that is my sweet spot. 🙂 That metal bar in my hand makes me feel like I’m on top of the world.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself during your workout session (so you too can feel on top of the world while covered in sweat):
- Are you working as hard as you can? Lifting weights, doing intervals, running…we all have different ways to gauge how we are doing and what our exhaustion and effort levels are. One of the most common ways that I figure out my exertion level while strength training is by seeing where I am at as far as reps. Can I do more? Is the weight heavy enough? Here is an example: As I am getting to rep 8 of 10 I like to ask, “Do I feel like I could do this exercise 3 more reps?” If yes…the weight wasn’t high enough because I want to feel like I can hardly do 1 more at about number 9 and then push hard to get that last one done for number 10. If I was already at my limit and can’t finish those last 2 reps…the weight might be a tad too high. Know what your limits are and then figure out if you are reaching those…and be honest with yourself. No point just going through the motions. NOTES FROM THE GYM: I often hear women say, “but I don’t know what weight to pick.” You know what…I don’t either unless I try and ask myself these questions. There is no specific rule book for each of us because we really are all different and there is no way that I could look at you and say…”oh, you should lift 10lbs for that.” I don’t know…that is a question you need to figure out by trying.
- Are you having fun? Are you dreading what you are doing or truly letting that adrenaline push those endorphins all around that body? Enjoy what you are doing because you will have a better chance of getting off the couch the next day and actually finishing. If you don’t think Zumba is fun…don’t do it. If you don’t find any joy in riding a bike…don’t get on one. If you have decided that mountain climbers were designed by people that dislike you…do something else that will work those leg and arm muscles and give you a little cardio. There are many options out there that you can pick from, try and explore. Don’t limit yourself of fun and joy as you are working out…because once you find what you love to do, this whole healthy exercise thing gets a little easier. NOTES FROM THE GYM: I can see on faces that they don’t like certain things…and watch as they are walking on that treadmill for an hour…or find that piece of other cardio equipment and snatch it up so they can spend the next 30 minutes, 45 minutes or hour going through the motions and watching the calorie counter move. I would like to pull those people aside and show them strength training…because I see their faces. They look sad. They look like they are hating every minute of what they are doing. If this is you…get off the treadmill or elliptical. Come on over to the free weight side of the gym…it isn’t as busy over there!
- Who am I doing this for? My beginning was really my low. I had low self-esteem, low self-confidence, lack of knowledge in about every area of anything healthy or fitness related and low movement overall. My eating habits were basically consuming fast food because it was easy and cheap…and I thought it tasted so good! All of that combined and some hips that decided they were done working on my frame, I found myself in a doctors office which then led to seeing a physical therapist. As I sat in the physical therapy office and learned my options, 1) hip replacements in both or 2) work with the exercises and get stronger, I realized that having surgery would not solve the ultimate problem. I had to figure out for me what to do to get healthier. I was suffering. I wasn’t putting me first…and actually hadn’t for years…and now I needed to figure out how to do that. Since that point I have had many days where the gym was my escape. It was how I recharged, how I got some frustration out, how I tested myself to see what I could do (I am a bit competitive with myself at times) and to just relax. It was my me time. Was I doing this for my friend that I see at the gym? Nope. Was I doing this for my trainer? Nope. Was I doing this for the teacher at the gym? Nope. Was I doing this for my family? Nope. You have to put YOU first at some point…YOU are the one who has to lift the weights or move that body. YOU have to find that energy to run faster or jump higher. YOU have to be the one that makes the decision if you are going to exercise today. YOU. If you don’t get that workout in or don’t make that healthy food choice at lunch…don’t think that you are letting anyone else down…put yourself first and depend on YOU. That is where it all starts…that person who is looking back at you in the mirror.
- How Am I Feeling Today? This is probably one of the best questions to ask yourself…but you must be honest with your answer. That is the tricky part. Does anything hurt today that could lead to future injuries? Are you truly too tired to workout today? Do you have a plan of what you are doing today? Are you sidetracked? Did you eat enough to get you through this workout? Do you have a goal? Are you really in this today or do you need a break?
Couch Thing or Workout Thing?…That IS The Ultimate Question.
I could do that…the couch thing…it is an option (and sometimes what I would love to be taking a nap on!)…but if I pick that comfy option that will either keep me where I am at physically or will help me get back to that starting point where I had pain 100% of the time. Just a few years ago I was in the extremely obese category and had a face that showed unhappiness. I thought my only option to getting healthier and losing weight was the treadmill. You can read my story and about some of that journey here.
Tips for Getting Results:
- Go through the questions above while you are exercising…answer them honestly.
- If you are wanting results…you gotta do the work. If there is a comfy chair or couch in your possession…make yourself do something before you can sit in that spot. Do squats. Do situps. Run up and down your stairs. Hit the gym for 20 minutes. Something. Earn that spot on the comfy couch!
- Have fun! You will stick with this whole workout thing longer if you find joy in what you are doing. If you haven’t found something that makes you happy yet…you gotta keep trying new things.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING? We would love to hear what YOU are doing to get your body moving or healthier…and I’ll post a few pics this week on our Instagram to show you what I’m doing too. You can find ways to get in touch with us at our contact info below too!
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