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New to Strength Training?

Me too.

I’ve been dancing all my life which means that I’ve been doing lots of body weight related strength movements: plies, jumps, pushups, sit ups etc.  I’ve never really taken and interest in lifting weights.  I always said “I’m too muscular already, I don’t need to get any bigger”.  So. Untrue!  First of all, a woman who wants to really “bulk up” has to try really hard to do so.  She has to train in a really specific manner and eat in a really clean, protein heavy way.  You don’t look like a figure model by accident.  They work super hard to work like that.  Second of all, lifting weights will make you “thinner” overall.  At this point, I’ve given up (or am attempting to give up) my obsession with the number on the scale.  I would rather feel tight and toned and strong than be that magic, pretend number in my head.  Lifting will change the composition of your body.  It will make you burn more calories overall and help achieve that tight body!

Over the last couple of months I’ve picked up some tips that I thought I would share with you!

1. Google it.  Check out blogs, youtube fitness videos, online workout regimes and find something that looks exciting to you. I recently found Zuana on Youtube and I love her.  Write it down and try it next time you’re at the gym.  And as always, pace yourself, take it slow, don’t use too much weight the first time.  Just try something new!

2. Write it down, plan it out.  I feel really silly wandering around the weight room wondering what to do next.  Look up some exercises and write up a plan.  You don’t have to take the piece of paper in with you, just writing it down will give your brain some help remembering what to do next!

3. Work the big muscles first.  Then the “opposite” muscles.  Then move through the smaller muscles.  For example:

If you wanted to do a full body strength session:

12 reps of a chest exercise (push ups on bosu ball)

12 reps of leg exercise (squats with weight)

REPEAT

12 reps of a back exercise (cable machine pull downs)

12 reps of a different leg exercise (walking lunges)

REPEAT

12 reps of a bicep/tricep exercise (curls or skull crushers)

1 minute plank on exercise ball

REPEAT

NOTE*** You should be able to get to 12 reps with the weight you’re using but only barely.  If you can’t get through 8 reps, it’s too heavy, if you can breeze through 12 it’s too light.  Or pick whatever number works for you.  You could say 8, 10, 15 reps if you wanted and adjust weight accordingly.  Please always start small and move up slowly.

4. Take a class, grab a friend, try a video.  Three quarters of what I know about weights came from taking group classes.  It’s a great way to just just off the deep end.  If you know someone who uses weights already, ask them for a quick tutorial.  Or if all else fails, hit up the library and grab a workout DVD and use some soup cans just to get the idea of what you can do next time you’re at the gym.

5. Switch it up.  I’m super into jump training lately.  I’m loving any leg workout that involves jumping onto the bosu ball or burpees.  Find something online that makes you feel crazy good, then do it!

6. Know that no one is judging you.  When I see people at the gym who maybe look new, I think, “congratulations, good for you, keep at it!”.  Yes, it’s naive to think that EVERYONE is always that positive at all times, but why not just imagine they are.  The big men grunting away in the weight room are too focused on their own muscles in the mirror to notice you.  And the normal men who are just there to work out are probably happy to see a woman in the weight room who isn’t intimidated!

Hope that helps!!

Do YOU strength train?  What is the one thing you wish you knew before you started?  

DISCLAIMER: I am CERTAINLY not an expert when it comes to this topic, I am merely summing up my recent experience with weight lifting!

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March Reflections.

relieved that I think the winter is over.

running more outside and loving it.

determined to move towards a cleaner diet.

addicted to coffee.  See above.

loving my costumes in the show.

making time to exercise consistently.

noticing how much I miss Mr. Best Things in the evenings.

thankful we’re both working great jobs right now.

proud of my friend Emily for spending the last year teaching in Dubai and thriving there.

watching episodes of The New Girl and laughing my butt off.

anxious for quick change rehearsals on Saturday.

happy to be here, in this moment.

ready to get crafty again.

working on accepting myself unconditionally right now.

marveling that I’ve been gone from Mr. Best Things for 7 weeks already.

wondering the exact date of our reunion.

changing my attitude towards my body one thought at a time.

I got the inspiration from this post from a blog called Elise Joy.  Please go check it out if you have time, I find it very inspiring…

Weekly Workouts

Here we are.  My weekly round up.

The weather has been pretty stunning around here for mid March.  It’s full blown spring.  Which means it’s full blown “I can finally run outside” season.  I did my Monday run and my Sunday run outside and it was glorious.  Monday’s run was a fast 5K (28 minutes, which is one minute slower than my PR) followed by a slow miles and some walking.  Sunday’s run was my “long run”.  I’m secretly training for a Half Marathon this summer.  Guess it’s not so secret anymore.  The most I ran last summer was 7 miles.  So I’m working my way back up slowly and seeing how I feel in a month or so.  I haven’t been running a lot over the winter (-40C in Edmonton.. I WILL NOT run outside), so I’ve lost my “base” to a degree.  I feel great when I’m running, but I’m aware that my leg muscles are probably swearing to each other saying “what is this chick doing to us?!”.  I just can’t risk an injury.  So slow and steady it will be.

Check out the blooms!  I’m in Ontario, let me remind you. It’s still full on winter in Edmonton right now.

Love a daffodil!!

Here’s Garmin proof of my 5 miler!  I love my Garmin 305!

Here’s to another good week of exercise consistency!  Did you have a good week?!

Weekly Workouts

This week was all over the place.  When I actually see it all laid out like that, it looks like I was more active than I feel like I was.  Monday, Wednesday, Friday I was in for 10-6 rehearsals.  Which means we were doing lots of dancing and running around.  Tuesday and Saturday I was in for a couple of hours doing private tap rehearsals.  Overall, I’m happy with the consistency.  That’s what I’m going for.  Not blowing myself out of the water one week and then not doing anything the next week.  Which is something that I tend to do when I’m not paying attention.

The weather around here has been spectacular.  It’s been such an early and amazing spring.  Let’s hope it holds out and doesn’t surprise us with a late March snow fall!

What workout are you most proud of this week?

Weekly Workouts

Here’s the stats from the last week.  I made a little more of a running effort, but let’s be honest, I hate treadmills.  2 miles is torture.  It’s probably for the best, though.  If I want to start running and racing again this summer I don’t want to burn myself out by starting too fast.  My stamina seems fine, it’s just my legs that get tired faster.  Rehearsals are really like interval training.  Your heart rate sky rockets for a couple minutes, then recover.  Repeat 5 or 6 times throughout the show.  Also, I’ll mention that “rest” days at this point are also rehearsal days.. lots of tap dancing and general merriment.

I think a new summer goal has emerged for me!  Do 2 body pump classes a week!  I am starting to see muscle development after starting the class last month, and I’m loving it!  I love the way the class is structured.  Fast pace, challenging.  But if you’re not feeling it that day, hold off on the weights you’re using!  Easy as that.

No yoga this week, though.  I’m kind of okay with that.

What was your favourite workout of the week?!  Mine was my Friday CRX class.  Great ab work!

Love vs. Fear

A lovely lady blogger/real life friend of mine Kelly (from Be Anything But Quiet!) recently posted about this idea of Love vs Fear.  It really got me thinking.  The idea is that we are motivated in everything we do by one or the other.  For example:

Do I go to the gym because I love myself? Because it makes me feel good, strong, healthy?  Because I love the way I feel afterwards?

Or do I go to the gym because I am scared of being fat?  Because I’m scared I won’t get cast in certain parts? Or worst of all, because I am not ENOUGH the way I am?

Deep.

Stick with me here.

In my opinion, fear motivated actions (with regards to fitness) are never going to last.  You can’t hate exercise your way to a healthy body and life.  It has to come from a place of love.  I do really love the feeling of sore muscles after a good workout.  I really love the feeling of sweat dripping off my elbows in hot yoga.  I love the way I feel after working out.  My friend, Alicia, who is a Bikram yoga instructor said in passing to me the other day, “I don’t LOVE yoga.  I love the way it makes me feel”.  She’s right.  Bikram is crazy hard.

I digress.

I was lying on a sweaty mat in a Moksha class last week and these love/fear thoughts were bouncing around with me.  I find yoga is a place that I get all body focused.  I am staring at myself in a mirror, scantily clad, and in a quiet room.  It’s like a pressure cooker sometimes.  I focused on trying to breathe in “love” and breathe out “fear”.  Like a mantra.  Every couple of breaths I would try and think of a specific thing I love (I love how strong my legs are in that pose) and then a couple breaths later I would think of a specific fear that I needed to let go of (I am scared that I’m not good enough to do what I do).  Hippy? Maybe?!  It was pretty deep at the time.  I enjoyed it.

I don’t think that I can honestly say that I have a completely healthy relationship with food and exercise.

I grew up in a bodysuit in front of the mirrors in ballet class.  I watched myself become the chubby kid.  I grew out of that stage, but I was never the “skinny” girl.  My teacher used to tell me that if I turned out properly I’d get rid of my “saddlebags”, from age 13 or so.  Love that double criticism eh?!  I now work in a field where I have to wear whatever they tell me to.  On stage.  In front of hundreds of people.  (When I see all this written out I wonder how I feel as sane as I do).

This all being said…

I want to move away from my fear based self talk.  I want to continue to do what I do, but not beat myself up about stuff that goes wrong.  I want to use this blog as a place to celebrate my accomplishments, share our triumphs, get advice from other healthy, active, positive people.  I really, truly, believe that Love is greater than fear.

Do you feel like you engage in negative, fear based, self talk?

PS- thanks for listening to my self counseling session!

Weekly Workouts

I used to do this a lot more, but I thought I’d try to start posting an overview of my workouts again.  Just to keep me motivated and seeing my progress.  I’m going for consistency here people.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I’m proud of my stats this week!

30 Day Vegan Challenge

So it’s actually Day 3 of this challenge.  I guess I wanted to make sure I could do it before making it blog world official.  The challenge was actually put forth by Run to the Finish so feel free to pop on over and check out the official page.  For me, this is more of a declaration of my general desire to eat more whole foods than non whole foods.  I have been really cracking down on my junk consumption these last three weeks and I’ve noticed a great difference in my body.  Not in a like magical, “Oh wow, now my body is perfect and I love everything about it” kind of way, just that I can tell if my body sort of disagrees with something.  Like a processed soy based granola bar with 35 ingredients.  Didn’t make my stomach feel awesome.  That americano I didn’t really need but drank at 4p.m. gave me a splitting headache.  Things I would never have noticed if I hadn’t cleaned up my diet.  I realize that I am in control of how my body functions on a day to day basis.  I can make it work harder, or not.  I can feed it clean, colourful food, or I can make it slog through junk to find nutrients.

Anyhoo.

I’ve been vegan before.  I don’t think I did it right.  I know A LOT more about food now.  About how to eat to feel great even if you’re cutting out animal products.  The only real changes I need to make to my diet to be vegan are: dropping eggs, cheese, and greek yogurt.  Other than that, I’m already there.  The challenge for me lies not in the actual “vegan” ness of it all, but in the whole food aspect of it.

Vegan related things on my mind:

-I’m making a ton of recipes by Angela at Oh She Glows lately.  Check them out.  They are AMAZING.

-I am eating so much kale and I’m loving it.  In smoothies, stirfrys, and chip form.

-I have eaten steel cut oats every morning for the past month.. I need to branch out.

-I gave up chips for lent.  I’m not religious.  Can I still participate?  I LOVE chips. I’ll give you my recipe for chip salad .. have everyone buy a small bag of chips then put them all in a big bowl together.  It’s delicious and nutritious!

-Before the challenge started I was eating some dip leftover from a party my dad had and looked at the ingredients list.. it included CHICKEN FAT?! WTF? I was baffled and upset.  Though not vegan at the time, I have been vegetarian for 4.5 years so this sucked!  WHY would one need chicken fat in a vegetable dip!?!?  ARGh.  read labels. lesson learned.

-same thing happened with some digestive biscuits but this time it was beef stock or something. again WTF.  Two incidents in two days.  Gross. I relearned the lesson thank you very much.

 

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