Up until April of 2013, my workouts consisted primarily of cardio and a lot of body weight exercises. I was doing plyometrics and HIIT, burning calories, but not building much strength. But trust me, I thought I was in good shape! It's important to note that back in February 2012, I had surgery for a herniated disc and ever since was "afraid" to begin strength training again. When a local gym reached out to me (Hard Pressed/Chicago, IL), I put my fears to the side and committed to meeting with them twice a week, for 30 minutes. While I didn't trust myself to lift weights, worried I would reinjure myself, I figured someone else would be able to coach me through it.
training also helps you:
- Develop strong bones. By stressing your bones, strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- Control your weight. As you gain muscle, your body begins to burn calories more efficiently. The more toned your muscles, the easier it is to control your weight.
- Boost your stamina. As you get stronger, you won't fatigue as easily. Building muscle also contributes to better balance, which can help you maintain independence as you age.
- Manage chronic conditions.Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including back pain, arthritis, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
- Sharpen your focus. Some research suggests that regular strength training helps improve attention for older adults.
After the show, I continued working out at Hard Pressed until January 2014. At that time, I made the decision to train on my own--realizing that if I made so much progress with just two sessions of 30 minutes per week, how much could I achieve by lifting more often? While there's no doubt that a strength coach can and WILL push you beyond your limits, my time at Hard Pressed has inspired me to "reach" for that level of difficulty. A strength coach also ensures proper form, continual progress and is beneficial for countless reasons. I am beyond grateful for all of the strength coaches at Hard Pressed. They brought me through a major fitness plateau and provided the accountability I needed at the time. Currently, I spend about 40 minutes per lifting session, and aim for 4-5 days/week. Usually I emphasize upper body day (back and chest), leg day, and glutes day (yes, mine NEED a day of their own--spend more time on what needs the most improvement). Throughout the week I incorporate arms, shoulders and abs. There are times I close my eyes during the last couple of reps because if someone is looking at my face, I don't wanna know! My weekly cardio usually consists of teaching a spin class, two 30 minute sessions on the StepMill, and typically one or two HIIT/plyometric workouts. I also walk about 1.5 miles round trip to the train Monday through Friday. Walk more, take the stairs, move your body! It adds up. Remember, these are ingredients for my own recipe of progress and may or may not be what works for you. Use this information as a guideline, not a rule. I have posted various workout videos on my blog if you are new to fitness or wanting to add variety. Please contact me if you would like a customized program based on your goals and current fitness level. I am an AFAA Certified Personal Trainer and Intructor. I do not currently provide nutritional programs but could put you in touch with someone who does.
Stay tuned for my post-competition, bikini-prep entry. It will provide a more in depth look at my training, nutrition and more (including a circuit workout you can do at home!). Questions, comments, feedback? Let me know.