Holy storm tonight! I was hoping to make it home after work before the torrential downpour but…
Luckily I still made it to my gym’s 5:30 BodyPump class. We have been doing the new #77 release for two weeks now, and it is a challenging one, for the biceps especially… My muscles have been feelin’ the burn! Which leads to me weights, and incorporating them into my workout routine.
Until about six months ago, I tended to stick to the cardio machines in my gym and pretty much avoided the weights area at all costs. I would maybe experiment with a few weight machines, although I didn’t really know what I was doing with them, or what muscles I was supposed to be working out. Free weights intimidated me and I didn’t really think I needed them.
When I used to think of weight lifting, I pictured hardcore muscle dudes drinking raw eggs and creatine shakes for breakfast. It didn’t help that in the bigger gyms if you wander over to the weights area, said muscle dudes may be hanging out…
What first got me interested in adding weights into my cardio routine was honestly reading blogs. It was really inspiring to read about other peoples’ workout regimens and started me thinking that maybe weights aren’t as scary and intimidating as I thought (the Fitnessista is pretty inspiring, FYI).
I started to realize that weights aren’t about building giant muscles and downing jugs of protein shakes, and I started educating myself about weight training benefits.
Weight training tones your muscles and raises your metabolism so that you burn more calories while doing nothing! It strengthens your bones and reduces your risk of developing osteoporosis. And it doesn’t give you GIANT bulky muscles, it gives you toned muscles! (It does a bunch of other things, so feel free to google.)
I still didn’t know what I was doing though. This is where my friend Dawn came in. I started “training” with her once a week, and she showed me some moves with the free weights, and also the bigger weight machines that were always more intimidating to me (like the one where you switch up the handles…I had no idea what you were supposed to do with that before).
Dawn was so confident on all the machines, and it definitely inspired me. Before I started gymming it up with her, I couldn’t even do a proper squat, or a push-up (the boy way). She totally gave me the knowledge (and therefore confidence) to hit up the big-boy gym by myself and not feel totally useless on the machines, or look like a tool with the free weights.
The other thing that has helped with my weight routine in a huge way is BodyPump.
BodyPump has seriously become my favourite class. I actually genuinely like it. This is how the website describes BodyPump:
“BODYPUMP™ is the original barbell class that strengthens your entire body. This 60-minute workout challenges all your major muscle groups by using the best weight-room exercises like squats, presses, lifts and curls. Great music, awesome instructors and your choice of weight inspire you to get the results you came for – and fast!”
BodyPump works out all the major muscle groups in your body. Each muscle group has a dedicated song, usually about five minutes long. So instead of the usual reps of 15 or whatever for weight training, you work a certain muscle group for the entire song, so your weight will be a bit lighter than what you would typically use.
And the good thing is, you get to control the intensity of your workout, since you load up your bar yourself.
(With warm-up weight on the bar, and you also use a mat for abs, etc, which is not pictured here)
Each class is always in the same order:
- Cool down
Squats and lunges are always the worst for me. But the great thing about the squats is, once the squats track is over, it’s chest time! So you get to lie down. Sure, you’re working your chest, but it still feels like a break.
And the songs are so upbeat, which gets me really into it. And they change up the tracks and the moves every three months or so, though the order stays the same.
I was a bit apprehensive going into my first BodyPump class (luckily I had my trusty gym buddy Leah with me :)), but it was fine! There is usually a new person in every class I’m in, and the instructor always gives weight recommendations. If BodyPump is offered at your gym, I highly recommend it. And it’s fun with a friend too!
I have been trying to do BodyPump at least twice a week, and let me tell you, I have been noticing serious changes in my body. The cardio has probably helped me to lose weight, but it is the weight training that has been really making the difference. For probably the first time in my life I feel toned.
Sometimes I’ll have my hand on my upper arm and I’ll move it and all of a sudden I’ll feel triceps muscle. I don’t think I’ve ever had a triceps muscle! And I can do push-ups the boy way! Only about 10, but whatever, I’ll take it. I had zero upper body strength before, so it’s very encouraging. Jiggly pipes no more!
These days I actually enjoy weight training more than cardio. Weights aren’t scary my friends, they’re good times!
Question: What is your take on weight training? Did you used to be afraid of weights like me? How did you overcome your fears?