On this “Transformation Tuesday” let’s talk about the transformative power of strength training.
“We thought you just ran lots of miles,” you’re probably thinking.
Well, that’s true. For the past half a year, running has been my main focus. But now that I have some time before I need to start upping my mileage again in preparation for the Pittsburgh Marathon, I’m trying to get back into weights.
Yes it can be a little intimidating at first to step away from the treadmill and the elliptical and the safety of other girls like you, looking cute in your Nike and Lululemon.
But let’s be real. You dream of one day being that badass chick doing all sorts of exercises with the free weights with the guys. (Or maybe you dream of being the badass girl all alone in your own corner of the gym because you’ve been that girl at the free weights with the guys, and they’re just obnoxious for the most part).
Well, I’m here to tell you that you absolutely should go for it.
There’s no excuse. You don’t know where to start? How to do the exercises? I’m pretty sure there are approximately 129308 ways to fix that. Google. Youtube. Pinterest. DailyBurn. BodyBuilding.com. There are literally infinite resources for you to find different exercises and study up on the proper form before you test them out yourself. More times than I can count I’ve printed out workouts, pictures, instructions and brought them to the gym with me. I’ve also watched YouTube videos with no shame.
Start simple, with a few basic moves. Get comfortable. The best part is that once you move to the weight area of the gym- you’re going to see people doing some crazy shit. And then you’re going to go home and try to Google it with weird terms like “crunchy side step weighted leg lift thing” and then say a prayer that Mr. Google somehow figures out what exercise the Hulk at your gym was doing. And then you’re going to research it. And then YOU’RE gunna do it.
Everyone in the fitness world says that cardio bunnies are doing it wrong. Sure, you can lose weight from doing a ton of cardio. I certainly lost weight when every weekend for 4 months consisted of running 15+ miles.
I was never sold on the idea that weight training was just as, if not more, effective in toning your body than cardio until my attention to weight training became almost non-existent. And now, I MISS MY MUSCLES :(
(I even used to have baby biceps when I wasn't flexing!)
At the gym a few days ago, I was doing ab exercises and was asked, “How often do you work on your abs? Your body is amazing.” 1) I thanked that person for the compliment and 2) Said sorry to disappoint you, but I barely ever focus strictly on abs at the gym.
Here’s me 6 months ago when I was doing a pretty good mix of weights and cardio. At this point, I was only dedicating 1 day a week to an ab-based workout. The rest of that came from all the core stabilization necessary to use free weights for shoulder, back, bicep, tricep, leg, and chest exercises.
I read about it all the time, and rolled my eyes. But looking back, it is so completely true.
So while most people use transformation Tuesday to show their progress- I guess I’m kind of doing the opposite. I have totally lost this strength, those obliques, that 2-pack. Those biceps. The triceps I worked so hard for. Gone. Poof. So sad. But I’m excited to get back into the gym to be reunited with dumb bells and kettlebells and squat racks in the hopes of getting toned back up. Looking at these pictures is rough because I know how much hard work I put into getting into that kind of shape, and part of me, of course, wishes I still looked like that.
But at the same time, RIP to that body. I could get it back. But I don’t think I want to. Now, or ever again.
Because that body meant saying “no” way too much.
No to delicious food, no to happy hour with friends, no to drunken nights as a single twenty-something in NYC, no to a coworkers birthday cake.
I was obsessed with never missing a workout. I was obsessed with seeing that definition when I looked in the mirror. Clearly, as demonstrated here, I was obsessed with taking selfies to track my progress (embarrassing…)
And for what? I don’t walk around in a sports bra my whole life. I don’t compete in fitness competitions. Quite frankly, it’s a waste of time and energy for me to look like this. It made me cranky and not fun. I like froyo. I like beer.
I also really like lifting weights and doing squats and learning new exercises and running and taking spin classes.
So I’m going to do all of the above. And what happens in terms of body transformation, happens. I am so over the days where my mood every morning was determined by whether or not I could see my abs.