Monday, June 10, 2013
In the past few months I have really upped my exercise level. Now, when it comes to aerobics, I haven't done much. Strength Training, however, has become a mainstay in my workout routine. That's not to say that cardio is completely ignored, I have just decided to focus on strength. Its what works for me right now, what motivates me.
I started out using the equipment at the gym at work. That went well. Except for the time I didn't really stretch. I learned the hard way- if you're gonna push it to the max in the weight room you had better stretch out and had better do some warming up. Ouch. I was using the machines- kind of like the ones that they have at Curves or so I'm told. I was doing about 110-120 lbs for quads and hamstrings, 350-375 for the leg press, and between 50-70 for the various arm exercises. Eventually, I realized that the arm machines weren't doing jack. I switched to dumbbells. That went well and I was using between 15-20 lbs.
So, what was the problem? Well, I didn't have enough time in the day to do my job and do a complete workout routine. I fell behind on my paperwork which is so unlike me. That's bad news cuz if I don't turn in my paperwork on time I don't get payed. I was working 3 days a week but one of those days was Sunday morning and I'm even busier and just didn't have the time. I still have to do my job. Also, I had been told I could use the gym, but I don't want to take advantage of that perk. So, I've only been utilizing it once my patients are asleep and all my paperwork is current. Given that its a hit or miss thing now I strictly do cardio when I use it- 10-15 min on the treadmill, elliptical or recumbent bike.
I decided to start doing strength training 3 times per week at home in the mornings. Mon, Wed, Fri. Given that I had been using machines, I felt that I needed the option of something super intense. Yet, I needed something cheap. Different sized free weights were just not a luxury I could afford. I remembered hearing something about building your own sandbag. I did some research and found out that it was the equivalent to a bar bell in some ways. I got 100 lbs of sand at Lowe's for $8, purchased some ziplocs and duct tape, and then went to work filling up the ziplocs (double bagged) and then duct taping them. I then put the individual sandbags into an old duffle bag I had lying around the house.
The first time I did my sandbag routine I made the stupid mistake of trying to do way too much in one workout. Total body in excess. Ouch again. That was with stretching. I only worked out once that week. I spent the rest of the week stretching and researching what the heck I was supposed to be doing. I had it in my head the total body was the most sensible. Why work out legs only once per week? Turns out that I was right. At least according to some people. I found out that compound exercises are the best at building muscle. Building muscle is what I want. Contrary to popular belief it is impossible for a woman to look like a body builder unless steroids are involved. I would do 1-2 exercises for each muscle group and would focus on the best one that worked out the most muscles. Three days a week is what I was going for and each day the set of exercises were just a bit different so as not to put too much stress on the same muscle. For instance, I wouldn't do squats (weighted with a 50 lb bag) every day but would alternate between squats, dead lifts, and lunges (also weighted).
So, that was a great routine but way exhausting. So much so that I had no energy to do anything else at all. I was sore all the time. A good friend of mine who is in the air force shared with me his PT routine. He calls it 999. Its basically calisthenics broken up into a specific pattern. This focuses more on endurance with the strength training and is exercises that only use body weight. I can do the whole thing- although it is exhausting. For this week at least I am going to be breaking the workout up into 3 exercises per strength training day. Some of the exercises can be interchanged for similar exercises. So, its 9 different exercises in total. You do all 9 exercises 3 times. The first round you do 25 reps, 2nd is 20 reps, and 3rd is 15 reps.
Wide Arm Push Up
Oblique Crunches (also have tried what I think is called the jack knife)
Broad Jump (haven't tried this one yet- I was doing a variation on the squat)
Diamondback Push Up
Butterfly Kicks (I hate these so I do the pilates double leg drop)
Sound difficult? Apparently you can break it up into 3 circuits and throw cardio in between. Yikes! I'll store that thought for later =) I typically do about 10 minutes going up and down the stairs for my cardio before hand. Oh and I cannot emphasize enough how important stretching is! I did 25 minutes this morning of stretching.
I still would like to use my sandbag. I also have a weighted back pack that is about 25 lbs. I figure that once I get used to the 999 routine and can do it effectively without feeling like I've been hit by a freight train I'll start substituting 1 workout per week for a sandbag routine.
So that's my super strength program.
I really need to add in more cardio though. I'd like to pick up running but with the kids its kind of difficult to do. I can take them for walks which is great. I even run with them but they can't really keep up to me. (That is a glorious feeling! I remember when I couldn't keep up to them!) My son whines to be carried about half way through our walk. I'd like to get a double jogging stroller BUT that would involve money. SO would a treadmill- nor do I know where I would put it. So, stairs will have to do for now. Maybe I can increase my time as I go.