Let’s Talk: Weights

20 Sep

Good morning, good morning! Man, was I out last night. Pretty sure the house could have burned down around me and I wouldn’t have noticed. Someone left a window open last night and when I went downstairs this morning, it was COLDDDDDDDDDD. You know when you step on cold kitchen tile and you sort of have to tip-toe around, Grinch-like, until you get used to the temperature? That was me this morning.

It was time for a hot breakfast to warm up the tummy. Goodbye, smoothies and hello, Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal.

In the bowl:

  • 1 chopped mini apple from Trader Joe’s (probably about half of a regular sized one)
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon (or more, I just kind of kept shaking until I liked the flavor)
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar (or more, I kept drizzling until I like the flavor)

As you can tell, I’m super accurate about my recipes.

Today is Thursday, which, as I’ve previously dictated, means anything goes. I’m going to try something called the ‘Let’s Talk’ series, where I will pick a topic and ramble about it for awhile and then I want you to respond with your own thoughts (yay, reader/writer interaction!). Today’s topic is going to be weights and weight-lifting.

Yes, that would be me. I have never been good friends with weights. When I played volleyball competitively, I usually just blindly followed what our trainers told us to do. Often, we used our own body weight with weighted balls, or other things that didn’t require much thought.

When I got to college, I would occasionally go to my university gym, do a couple of reps on some random machines and then head for the elliptical and the Food Network channel. During my year in Rome, I sat on my butt and didn’t do anything. Fast forward to the present day and I am more curious than ever about these strange machines that take up the whole first floor of my gym.

Regular readers of my blog know that I’m a huge fan of Body Pump classes, mainly because the class guarantees that I will get in at least two days of strength training a week. It’s set up differently than most strength training, though, because it is relatively low weights (think 10-50 pounds) for time, rather than maxing out during a set of 12-15 reps. Each muscle group corresponds with a song and you are in motion for the duration of the song, which is enough to get about 50-100 reps in per song!

I read an interesting blog post over at Fitness Treats that talked about the pros and cons of Body Pump, namely with regards to muscle tone. The post says “Some people can achieve muscle hypertrophy or the results they’re looking for by doing Body Pump only, but if you have a lean build and want to look a bit more muscular/curvier, you probably won’t notice any difference, even when gradually increasing your weights. In my experience, Body Pump does not help adding muscle mass to my frame and does not really ‘sculpt’ anything. I will usually get a temporary muscle pump during the class because of the increased blood flow to the muscles doing high reps, but this is only a temporary effect. If I want to make real progress on the shape of my butt I usually need to do some weight lifting with heavier weights and lower reps.” 

I was curious about this and I am considering venturing into the world of strength training without the help of an instructor or guide…*gulp*. I’ve done a little reading and I might try to supplement my days with Zumba with a little bit of weight training, just to ease into it. My body puts on muscle quite quickly and I have been seeing differences since taking the Body Pump class. The beginning of October will mark 12 weeks since I’ve begun my workout regime, since moving away from Italy and the sedentary lifestyle that came along with my life there. Maybe at 12 weeks I will switch it up a little and try something new!

Food For Thought: Do you weight lift or do some form of strength training? What advice or tips do you have? If you don’t strength train, but are curious about it, what questions do you have (I will find them out for you!)?

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