Oh, hey there!
I thought for a change of pace, I’d share one of my workouts. (Scroll all the way down to check it out!)
For a REALLY long time, I pretty much thought I could maintain my health with just nutrition. Like, if I was super-dialed in on the food side of things, somehow, I’d be a totally “fit” person. Maybe some walks here or there, maybe some kettlebell or body weight exercises here or there, but nothing consistent.
While I still believe there is HUGE power in transitioning to a real food diet, I more recently decided to investigate how incorporating a regular gym routine could change and improve my body – in terms of strength and lean muscle, and also in terms of aesthetics (because let’s face it; I think we’d all like to rock swimsuit season!).
When Andrew and I moved to our new apartment in late November 2016, one thing we were super-excited about was having our very own gym on the premises. In fact, the gym itself is directly next to our building, meaning there’s little excuse for not fitting in a regular workout. It’s one of the main reasons I was so excited to be in this exact building. I know myself, and I know what enables me to fall out of a habit.
In my last post, I talked about making it to the gym in the afternoons, and being perfectly okay with that. I also talked about the prospect of trying morning workouts at some point, to see how that felt.
Well, I can tell you this: the very best thing about a morning workout is that when you eat that frog first thing, it’s DONE. You’ve accomplished something before your day has even really started, and you’ve treated your body to some much needed movement…especially if the majority of your day has you sitting at a desk.
In mid-February, I decided to take things a step further. I was concerned about my form, and I wanted to be sure I was doing certain movements properly. I also became interested in pursuing a personal trainer certification, as the work I’d begun doing in the gym had – after only two months – increased my confidence, and my muscle tone. Seriously, folks. Lifting weights: Where. It’s. At. (Cue Beck.)
Seeing those changes, and recognizing that exercise (and, specifically, strength training) truly was my “missing piece”, made me realize how few people, particularly women, know this. Think about it…if you’re a woman, haven’t you spent most of your life with this strange inherent knowledge that working out translated to “elliptical” or “treadmill” or “spin class”? And have you also spent most of your life not necessarily seeing the results you wanted from that type of workout alone?
Enter: the personal trainer certification. I was just so freakin’ jazzed about this fitness revelation; I wanted a way to share it! I mean, if you’re starting to – for the first time in your life – actually feel confident about your body…wouldn’t you want to share how you got there with someone else? ESPECIALLY other women?
Another plus to being a personal trainer, there’s a bit of an “in” to talk to clients about the power of real food. Nothing therapeutic, of course, but when folks come to you looking to train, they’re often looking to make other healthful changes, as well. How cool would it be to have an audience that’s already open to hearing about fitness AND nutrition? I love it!
Well, turns out, if you want to be a personal trainer, a great first step is to JOIN A GYM and work with one. Which brings us back to mid-February, when I joined a gym in Edgewater, MD called Results U on a one-month trial, to try it out and see how I liked their program. I made my intentions really clear up front – I was there to learn as much as I could, I wanted to build strength and muscle…and I wouldn’t mind looking nicer in my swimsuit as a bonus.
My trial at Results U ended last week, which definitely has me a little bummed out. I may end up going back, but I’m still working out how I might be able to do it. In case you’re wondering: real results – with real coaches and real support – does cost money. Results U is not you’re run-of-the-mill gym membership, where you’re given a laminated pass and come and go from machine to machine as you please. This is a full-on fitness program. It’s serious stuff. But you’ve gotta chat with them for more details!
Some of my favorite things about the program were the camaraderie between the folks in the training sessions with me, and the high-fives after a great workout from the coaches. I also loved learning how to structure workouts in a balanced way that increased my cardiovascular endurance, and helped build my strength and muscle.
Every week, I saw the weight I was lifting increase, and I was always willing to push myself – within reason – to try for better. The coaches were super-helpful at watching my form, giving me tips and pointers, and finding this great middle-ground of encouraging me to up my game, while also encouraging me to modify an exercise when it was needed. I didn’t feel like I was “going harder” just for the sake of it; I felt supported to improve, and not settle when I knew (and the coaches knew) I could do better.
From here, I’m taking what I’ve learned to build my own workouts with the equipment available to me at our apartment gym. I’m combining the exercises I learned and improved at Results U with new movements I’m discovering on my own.
Below is a glimpse at the workout I built for myself this past Sunday morning; I’m only sharing the parts I put together, as my warmup really hasn’t changed from what I learned at Results U. If you want to learn more about what they do for warmups (and the rest of their fitness program for that matter!) you’ve gotta check them out in person! They refer to themselves as the “anti-gym” with good reason, and I’m so glad I had an opportunity to try it out!
Weekend Workout: March 26, 2017
Alrighty; here we go!
I’m showing the weights that I used for these exercises, however, if you’d like to try out something similar… First, I’d say check in with your practitioner, as you should do that before trying out any new diet or fitness program, just to be safe. And second, start with lower weights initially than what you might think you’d need. Better to work on perfecting your movement patterns with lower weights, than to risk injury with heavier ones.
- Dumbbell (15lb.)
- Kettlebell (20lb.)
- Exercise Mat
- Weight Bench
- Medicine Ball (8lb.)
Strength Training Circuit (20 minute running clock):
- Single arm rows with dumbbell (8 reps each arm)
- Straight leg elevated glute bridges (8 reps)
- Hinge to overhead press to tricep press with kettlebell (8 reps)
- Medicine ball frog-pumps (8 reps)
- Treadmill (1 minute, 3.5 mph)
- Treadmill (2 minutes, 7 mph)
- Toe touches (30 seconds)
- Treadmill (2 minutes, 7 mph)
- Side to side with the medicine ball (30 seconds)
- Treadmill (2 minutes, 7 mph)
- Plank (1 minute)
This workout also included a stretching/aerobic warmup and a cardio/core warmup, as well as stretching to cool down. With a full warmup and cool-down, this workout clocked in at just about 1 hour. It had a solid amount of intensity, but also plenty of good lower intensity, for fat burn.
For tips on how to perform the glute bridge exercise above, or the medicine ball frog pump, you have GOT to check out Abby Pollock. I’ve really been enjoying her videos – she’s got great energy, and tons of knowledge. Find the video I was referencing for two of the movements in this workout by clicking here!