A few weeks ago I submitted an article to Labrada Lean Body for Her that was published over the Christmas break! I was really excited about it so I wanted to share it here as well in case you missed it!
It’s always fun to get to choose what I want to write about. I chose the topic of comparing strength training to cardio workouts because it’s something that has literally transformed not only the way I work out, but my body as well.
I used to be completely afraid of the weight floor. I used to be intimidated by the people who were there. I used to not have a clue what to do or how to do it. But one of the main problems along with those fears is that I just was honestly not convinced lifting weights had any more of an impact on my body than my long runs and cardio routines. (Or maybe that’s just what I told myself so that I didn’t have to step onto that weight floor!!!!) I totally thought that if I just pushed it hard enough with cardio then the results I was hoping for with my body would eventually come.
So, I would spend a ton of time running and often felt like it took forever to get anywhere…but then once I did get “somewhere” it was so tough to maintain it.
OH I could not have been more off base! Cardio is important. Don’t get me wrong! There’s definitely a place for cardio. But cardio WITHOUT strength training would never have given me the results I have now. Yes, I’m still a work in progress, but I have already seen some major changes.
For example: here’s what the difference looks like between a runner’s body and a lifter’s body. The pic on the left is the amazing Jamie Eason. The pic on the right is me…about a 8-9 months ago. Jamie has obviously been at this far longer than me so you can tell how she is much more well proportioned than me. There’s much more definition and much more muscle tone. And this pic of me is WITH weights included in my regimen for about a year! Girls, do NOT be afraid to bulk up! It’s so so so tough to get muscle!
That’s where supplements really do help as well. If you’re new to those, then read this article to help guide you through what I feel are the essentials. Or you can click HERE to send you directly to the website of all the products I use on a daily basis.
Real and sustainable changes with my body (post my five kids) began with allowing my thinking to be changed from what I had always known/done with my running career.
I know I can’t be the only one who gets stuck in a certain way of thinking when it comes to cardio!
I have had 4 conversations in the past week alone with girls who say they want to get started with a workout regimen and then tell me their entire plan is get on an elliptical machine every day for the next year. The article I wrote is just a small glimpse into the reasons why I now lift weights instead of relying on cardio alone. And I could not possibly encourage someone enough to start down this path as well. Hey moms, you have to hear this…I know that you’re already short on time. Don’t waste any more of it doing cardio alone. Make your efforts work FOR you by changing up how you view your workouts and adding resistance training.
Let me show you the difference. Here’s a pic that was taken about 3-4 months ago…can you see the difference in my arms from the photo up above?!?! My shoulders are improving little by little and my triceps and biceps are finally starting to show up too.
The changes are slow but there ARE changes. And that’s the fun part. Don’t watch the scale. Sometimes the scale goes up or stays the same. Muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t let that throw you. Watch your shape instead. I totally regret not taking pictures weekly to encourage myself in my own process. I’ve started doing that this year though and I’m excited to see the progress continue to happen in my own journey.
There is no better time to begin a new program than now. There are usually large incentives and great deals on gym memberships at this time of the year. Everyone in the world seems to be on board with setting new goals and making new changes and the gyms are no different.
But don’t join a gym without a plan for what to do once you get there. Without a plan it is much easier to fizzle out. You don’t necessarily have to have a trainer either. I personally have never had one. I learned everything I know from the plethora of information online. Check out www.bodybuilding.com or www.labrada.com for hoards of info readily available. I also learned from my free consultation when I signed up at the gym, from asking tons of questions, and from watching other people who seem to know what they are doing at the gym. Seriously, try it. Observing what others are doing can be one of the most helpful tutorials!
If you’re BRAND NEW to strength training and are looking for a spelled out plan of EXACTLY what to do then here is my recommendation in 11 simple steps:
- Find a good gym and join it -this is half the battle. Just pick one and get it done.
- Get some good shoes on and drive yourself to that gym you’ve just joined.
- Warm up on cardio equipment for 5-10 minutes.
- While on said-cardio-equipment get your phone out and pull up this program.
***TIP: Save that link in your phone’s “bookmarks” so that you can come back to it during tomorrow’s warm up as easily as possible.
- While you warm up, look through the days exercises and figure out where exercise number one will be. If you aren’t sure then watch the handy little video tutorial that shows you exactly what to do.
- Get OFF of cardio equipment and go to exercise one.
***TIP: The majority of exercises you see in this plan can be done with free weights OR with a machine. You have options here. Some gyms have a lot of machines and some don’t. This is where the one free consultation that most gyms offer will come in useful. Have them simply give you a tour of the weight floor to show you how they’ve organized the equipment. My gym, for example, has placed all of the equipment in order of body part. All of the chest machines are together. All of the leg machines are together. Knowing the floor plan and where things are at help you better grasp what they each do and help you move more quickly through your workout.
- Complete set #1 and #2. While resting and waiting to do set #3 get your phone back out and look up the next exercise. Look around to see where you are to go next. Knowing where to get up and move to after the first exercise is complete will help you feel like you know what you’re doing.
***TIP: The gym employees are available to help. If you have no idea where a particular exercise can be done then just go up to an employee, show them what it is on your phone that your’e trying to find, and ask them where you should go. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need.
- Complete all exercises.
- Go find the mats and stretch out.
- Go home knowing you’ve just completed Day #1 toward a brand new you.
- Do it again the next day.
Oh and number 12 would be to enjoy the process! Fitness is NOT a drain! 🙂 Let yourself have fun learning to do something new. You’ve got this girl!
Note: I’m assuming that everyone would know that there are most definitely other ways to work out besides joining a gym, but if not then let me say it again now. You can most definitely get workouts in many other ways. The main idea is to just find a plan that involves lifting weights or body weight in order to get some resistance in your training.