This pretty much sums up my thoughts on fitness…..
Strong is the new skinny….to get strong you need to lift weights. Lifting weights will not make you bulk up…it will make you lean and of course, strong! My goal is not to be stick thin. My goal is to be strong and healthy. However, I have not always liked lifting weights. In fact, I only found my love for it in the last few years. Here is a little background about my relationship with exercise over the years….
I have always been active, but the type of exercise being done has changed a lot for me over the years. I grew up being outside and doing physical activity. We rode bikes, went rollerblading, played sports but as a kid it was never “exercise”….. it was fun.
In middle school I played volleyball, basketball, and participated in track. My summers consisted of softball. I was a year-round athlete and high school was no different. I participated in softball, basketball, and golf for four years and, as before, summers consisted of more softball (it was my favorite sport). All this physical activity kept me rather thin.
During my freshman year of college I was a regular at the campus gym. I would consider myself a “cardio-queen”. I used different equipment – treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, stair master – but I rarely left the cardio deck. The summer after my freshman year I began running. I did not have access to the CSU gym and I didn’t want to pay a gym membership at the time, so I ran outside. Those three months were about the extent of my running life….I never did enjoy doing it.
Once school started back up my sophomore year I pretty much stopped exercising regularly. I was working 30 hours a week and I was a full-time student. I chose to use my free time to do other things, instead of exercise. I worked in retail and walked a lot during my shifts, so I still was not overweight.
Then, my senior year I changed jobs. I started working at the CSU bakery making all the baked goods for the dining halls on campus. We made donuts, cookies, cakes, brownies, breads, muffins. Let’s just say I didn’t walk or exercise much and my diet was far from clean. I loved that job and I am so glad that I made that move. However, I gained the senior-15…..I know, I know I missed gaining the Freshman-15 and just put it off a few years! Maybe I should refer to it as the Bakery-15…..
I graduated from college and immediately started working for the family business. I had been getting up early for my job in college (think 4:00 am…yikes) so I continued getting up early and instead went to the gym. I still stuck to cardio, cardio, cardio. Then one day, a friend of my mom’s started talking to me about this boot camp that she was doing. She was going to be gone for a week and wanted me to fill in to see if I liked it. I decided to do it.
The first boot camp I went to was hard. Really hard. I was not used to lifting weights or doing moves even using my body weight. I could run on a treadmill or do the elliptical for an hour, but couldn’t do 15 push-ups in a row. I went back a second time to boot camp and I was officially hooked! I signed up for my first session June 2011 and have been doing them ever since.
I have a fantastic trainer (yay Jodi!) who kicks my butt on a regular basis. We have class twice per week at 5:00 am. My class consists of 7 other women and we do a different type of workout each class. The basis of the class is to lift, and lift heavy. Jodi has made me fall in love with lifting weights. The best part – lifting has transformed my body and also my mind. I have lost weight but more importantly, I have lost several inches off my waist and other areas.
This graphic is 100% true in my book…. even if losing weight is not your goal, lifting will take inches off your middle, thighs, arms, etc….nothing wrong with that.
I am very competitive and I love challenging myself to see if I can lift more or lift heavier. I have realized I can push my body a lot farther than I ever imagined.
If you do not already lift, I encourage you to do so. I lift on my own outside of boot camp, and I use a lot of the same moves that Jodi teaches in class. If you cannot hire a trainer, or don’t want to, there are other resources available. Some fitness magazines and websites that I like to read for tips and moves include Oxygen, FitnessRX for Women, and Muscle & Fitness Hers.
I try to lift 3-4 times per week and do cardio 1-2 days per week. My cardio routine has changed quite a bit in the last few years as well. I prefer high-intensity interval training (HIIT) over steady-state cardio. I will save some of my favorite cardio workouts for a future post.
What is your favorite way to exercise?