Happy New Year!
If it seems like the only thing I’m writing about lately is exercise, you’re not imagining things, and I don’t blame you for stopping reading right here, either! I’m going to the gym a lot these days (5-6 times per week) and when I’m not at the gym, I am usually eagerly looking forward to my next visit there. What has happened to me?
This all black outfit will surely give me super ninja powers!
It’s not like I’ve suddenly transformed from couch potato to gym rat. After all, I’ve been fairly active most of my life – trying everything from dance, to skiing, to hiking, to swimming, to most recently – running. I’ve been pretty much obsessed with running since “discovering” it in 2009, after a horrible car accident that inspired me to try and shed the 25 pounds that crept on over the last decade. Over the past two years, I’ve run many 5K’s, a few 10K’s, and two half-marathons.
After my last half-marathon and a stubborn knee injury that refused to heal itself, I started to look for other ways to stay fit. As I mentioned in my last post, I finally committed myself to strength training – twice a week with a personal trainer, and once per week on my own, using routines that my PT set up for me.
In addition to the 20-30 minute cardio sessions I do prior to lifting, I add an additional 2-3 cardio sessions every week ranging from 45-60 minutes, incorporating intervals as much as possible.
I’m now a full month into serious weight training, and I’ve already noticed the following physical changes:
- A two-pack emerging from my previously zero-pack abs.
- No more back fat.
- Starting to see definition in my arms, particularly the triceps and biceps.
- Thighs are looking more defined, although that’s where I carry my weight so I have a loooonnnggggg way to go there.
- A general feeling of well-being and invincibility – when my trainer asks me to crank out a bunch of full-body pushups, I no longer groan in protest as I know I can handle it.
- My body CRAVES protein, and I no longer have any problems consuming enough of it. Important when you are trying to trade muscle for fat.
It took me a LONG time to fully embrace weight training, and I fully credit my personal trainer with giving me the boost I needed to finally take it seriously. What I’ve learned the past four weeks is that a good trainer will take all of the guesswork out of the equation, so you can focus on executing the exercises to your best potential. Your trainer will also work around any injuries you many have, and perhaps most importantly, motivate you to do those last two reps when your arms feel like they may just fall off at any minute.
It’s not all sunshine and roses, though. My workouts are very difficult (for me) and I am often VERY sore the next day. In fact, my whole upper body is on fire as I type this and I’m wondering how I’m going to be able to do even one push-up tonight. But the rewards, even four weeks in, are keeping me energized and focused.
I still love my cardio – especially running and my new BFF the stair mill, but am very excited to see how things progress with the weight training over the next few weeks.
Onward and upward!