My problem isn’t getting to the gym, my problem is that I favor cardio > strength training. Why? Because no matter how many fitness articles I read, I still don’t know what the heck I’m doing when it comes to weights. The bike, elliptical, and treadmill are easy: you set the incline and/or resistance and move your legs. Weight machines are pretty easy too: you set the weight, complete 10-15 reps, and repeat 3 times. Done and done.
My struggles are that when I’m on a weight machine [or are using free weights], I have no clue what weight I should use or if my form is correct. Do I pull all the way down or just halfway? Do I inhale or exhale? How fast or slow should I be going? There are so many factors!
With this in mind, Ryan and I signed up to try a strength training program at our gym two days this week. Holy heck, Tuesday night we got our butts kicked for 45 minutes! Our instructor started with a few ab exercises and then proceeded to take us through a circuit of strength training exercises, focusing on our shoulders and thighs [with 2 sets of lunges in between each set]… We. felt. the. burn.
pardon my facial expression, this picture must be mid-adrenaline rush, ha!
Our instructor mentioned that we may feel sore later but that would be normal. Wednesday morning I woke up feeling okay, a little sore in my shoulders but still had enough strength to make a stack of waffles Ryan woke up and didn’t want to move!
On Wednesday we were instructed to choose a routine from a cardio script; I chose to hop on the elliptical. I typically do intervals on the elliptical, but only alternate between 2 levels and each interval lasts 4-8 minutes, just enough time to get lost in a magazine and lose track of what I’m at the gym to do, to sweat. This routine doesn’t allow you to do that, it keeps you attentive because the intervals change every 2 minutes. With a good playlist, the workout goes by super fast!
Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s a workout so try it maybe?
2-Minute Elliptical Ladder
0:00- 2:00 level 2 resistance
2:00- 4:00 level 4 resistance
4:00- 6:00 level 6 resistance
6:00- 8:00 level 8 resistance
8:00- 10:00 level 10 resistance
decrease resistance to 2 and repeat
*Repeat as many times as you’d like. The ladder takes 10 minutes to complete.*
I did 4 ladders for a total of 40 minutes followed by a 5-minute cooldown. With the little energy I had left, I did some medicine ball twists and Tina’s 8-Minute Plank Challenge. I. felt. the. burn.
When I got home I refueled with a gigantic [unpictured] kitchen sink salad, eggs topped with avocado, and crumpets with peanut butter. Eggs and avocado is a winning combination- it’s packed with protein and healthy fats, it’s super simple, and it’s super satisfying!
Tonight we have training session #2 and assuming we can still sign our names at the end of the class, I have a feeling we’ll be signing up for the 13-week program that starts next week… Bring. on. the. burn!
“It’s that first step—getting out the door—that’s the toughest. If you can do that, you’ve already won.”
~Mary J. Blige
Question: What do you prefer, cardio or strength training?
Question: Do you have a personal trainer or attend any group training classes? Have you seen any improvements with your form or overall strength?
— Life's a Bowl