Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Ok, I admit it, I've become a gym rat! My time at the gym is like a cure-all for my moods and life's problems. I enjoy getting into a good sweat, I'm addicted to watching my heart rate increase as I'm working out, and I LOVE lifting weights. I love how it feels while I'm lifting, I like the challenge of lifting heavier than I did last week, and keeping and eye on proper form-which I take great pride in achieving. I understand that not everyone is going to get the same rush from the gym as I do, and I'm fortunate to finally be able to afford (plus I have found a very affordable gym membership) the monthly charge to belong to my gym, and also fortunate that my gym offers anything I need or want from a gym at an affordable cost. I know, from experience, that a person can lose weight without the gym ( I lost 80 lbs, in 8 months without doing anything but walk--eventually run), but I have to believe that I would have stalled or plateaued, at some point without adding serious weight training. That weight training, could not be duplicated in my home without investing a lot of money in equipment. Yes, I did buy exercise bands, and had used them before I joined the gym, and they provide a certain level of fitness, as does body weight exercises. Recently, I've been bombarded by articles touting at-home exercise/equipment free exercise from almost every resource that I subscribe to, and the question becomes, how long are these types of exercise effective? Two of my favorite magazines, Oxygen, and M&F Hers, which usually cater to serious weight-training readers have devoted months and months of copy to non-gym exercises. This is very disturbing to me on many levels. First, I subscribe to these periodicals in order to find new, challenging workouts that I can utilize at my gym; Second, it seems they are joining the rest of the weight-loss industry in promoting the myth of losing weight easily. I'm sure this blog will cause some further backlash for me, and I re-iterate-I'm certain that many folks have found success with these types of workouts, but I'm really curious as to how long one can keep progressing without the gym...I know I'm not motivated enough to workout as hard at home as I do in the competitive setting of the gym. I could never, day-in-day-out duplicate my workout in spin class-not while running, or even if I had a spin bike in my home--so perhaps it just means I'm not a strong enough individual to be an at-home exerciser..and if that's so...than I've learned something new today.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
After a less than impressive weekend, which saw me feeling too nauseous to eat much, and have to leave spin class a little early, I'm back on track today. I'm still not feeling quite right, but I got my workout in and lifted heavy and did five extra minutes of spin today. It's really funny how most times when the alarm goes off, I begrudgingly get up and promise myself a nap when I return from the gym, but ultimately that never happens, because I'm energized enough. I especially love chest/tri days of my workouts, not sure why, but I really do enjoy the lifting on those days, and it does get me going for the remainder of the day. I'm also glad to say that I'm lifting heavier each week (except with chest flyes--always careful to protect my left shoulder so I don't go crazy with the weight for this exercise).
This week's weight loss was only -.2 but I attribute that to not eating within my calories for a couple days and also not being regular...sorry if that's TMI! Hoping for a better number this week, but really am seeing such results in my body composition, that I won't be upset if it's not at least a pound.
I have a game to umpire this afternoon, and boy is it freezing out there today--in fact, they are predicting snow and freezing rain for tomorrow! I could really live without that!!!!
Oh well, looking forward to another good lift tomorrow--back and bi's...
Saturday, March 19, 2011
I just finished taking a SP poll in the fitness section and was stunned to see that 22% of people never refresh their music and 29% of people don't even listen to music while they workout! I couldn't dream of getting a good workout in without my music. It totally dictates how hard I push no matter what I'm doing. If I'm running my strides match the beat, if I'm in spin the music decides what I'm going to do, either increase tension, or pick up the cadence, while I'm lifting it gives me the push to get the extra rep, or lift very heavy weight...music drives me! I change up/add music a couple times a month and I'm always looking for something new to help keep my workouts fresh. It's no wonder that people don't enjoy their workouts, if they are not jammin' to some cool tunes! Sometimes when I'm out running in our orchards I'm just singing at the top of my lungs and that is an awesome "high!" I would encourage everyone to get an mp3 player and download your favorite music and then get moving. You'll be shocked at how much easier and fun your workouts become!
Friday, March 18, 2011
Rather than do three sets of dumbbell presses followed by three sets of incline presses, combine the two exercises. Start with one set of chest presses on a flat bench. Then raise the bench one notch from the flat position—to about 15 to 20 degrees—for your second set. Continue raising the angle one notch per set, stopping at the notch before vertical.
"This lets you exhaust more muscle fibers by working your chest through five or six different angles instead of just the basic two," says Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., a Massachusetts-based exercise researcher. You'll actually end up doing fewer sets, so you'll save time, too.
I found this interesting to try, and after I finish 4 weeks of my current workout (I actually just finished week one--so that leaves three to go) I'm going to incorporate this technique into the next program I use. I'm always looking for new workouts and exercise techniques to keep things interesting and challenging.
Today was the fifth lifting day for the week, the second leg day, with focus on deadlifts. I again surprised myself by doing things I had convinced myself I was unable to do, because of my OA knee problem. Today's workout: deadlifts 4x8, 95 lbs; front squats 3x12 35lbs; leg extensions 3x12, 70lbs; romanian deadlifts, 3x12, 95lbs, seated leg curls, 3x15 45lbs.
Later in the afternoon, because the weather was so unusually nice, I went for a 25 minute walk/run, just for the pleasure of getting outdoors!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wow I don't believe I haven't blogged since Monday! It's been a little busy around here, having to help out with my grandsons, who have been sick..and so has their mommy...that caused me to miss my spin class and morning workout yesterday. In the past I would have definitely just canned the whole day, especially since I had an afternoon softball game to umpire. But...instead I went over with the boys while my daughter-in-law napped and got a little rest after being sick with a stomach virus the night before, and then around 10:30 went to the gym to workout. Of course I missed spin, and was concerned because my cardio motivation was lagging a bit...so I made the decision to workout on the elliptical for 15 minutes before my lifting, which also helped me warm-up my muscles properly and get ready to lift...and then post lifting I did 20 minutes of running/walking intervals on the treadmill. In between it was back/bi's day and I got an awesome lift in. I'm enjoying this workout because it focuses on each body part in a more in-depth manner and it will workout my legs on 2 days each week. Plus, it's shorter-though very intense-in duration so I don't have to get to the gym so early to work-in an hour of lifting.
So, I've had some thoughts over the past few days...today while packing up after spin class, and seeing my reflection in the mirror, I came to the revelation that it takes 3 months to regain the muscle and fitness level (maybe a little less) that I had previously attained prior to my slipping...I'm not certain how long it took to lose that muscle tone, but I do know that I'm not thrilled with having to backtrack. It made me realize what a huge waste of time I spent over the past year, undoing all the hard work I had put in to get fit. So, 3 months may not seem like a long time to some, but for me it was an eternity of not being able to stomach my mirrored reflection! So, it feels good to be happy with the results I'm now seeing...
I also was struck, not for the first time, with the lengths people are willing to go to, in order to find an easy fix to their weight problem. Watch TV for any length of time and the bombardment of commercials selling worthless products to get that "easy" fix, is mind boggling! Shoes and clothes that are supposed to shape up your body without working out?? Really? Who would buy such a thing you ask...well it's one of the hottest items on the market today!!!! Why? I'll never understand people's gullibility or is it desperation? Either way, we all know what's needed to achieve weight loss but apparently most are unwilling to do what it takes!
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