Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Your Workout is Worth Squat

Last Thursday, after I sent my latest set of progress photos to my coach, I received an email in reply stating, “I am absolutely dumbfounded at the progress you have made.” I was felt I was allowed to be proud of myself (especially after comparing Day One photos to now … a later post to come).

This weekend I headed home for one of my closest friend’s baby shower (and if the baby is on time I might get to meet her in a few weeks!!!!). It was so great seeing my friends, as I miss them dearly.

But traveling literally wreaks havoc on a strict diet and exercise program. Especially short weekend jaunts (so much to do, so little time and no routine).

Not only did all my good feelings shoot out the window this weekend, my flight back to FLL was a complete disaster. We landed two hours after the time we were supposed too, meaning my second and third meals were missed, and with a Monday night class, there was no time for my workout. All of which makes for one VERY unhappy bikini competitor.

To add to my negativity, my first wedding anniversary is this weekend, and I can’t even celebrate the way I would like too (top layer of our cake or a piece of the fresh cake our bakery made us, and a glass of champagne). I feel like a big bummer.

So I am going to take this blog post to continue to rant about a gym pet peeve.

There is this girl that I share MY morning gym time with. She looks like she’s in good shape, though she has a bit of a pooch (I know how that feels!) and she’s always buzzing around the gym doing combinations and circuits.

Here’s the thing. She’s bicep curling with 5 lbs. dumbbells. And then she had the audacity to place two 5 lb. weights on the barbell of the Smith machine and promptly do three sets of squats. She’s squatting as much as she’s lifting! Oh lord.

I know she is trying to lose weight because I see her doing major cardio intervals with Burpees and pushups in between (and one day she had a torn-out workout routine from a fitness magazine with the title “Drop the last 5 pounds!”)

And while a big portion of weight loss takes place in the kitchen, BUILDING muscle is essential to maintaining a hard working metabolism.

I want to shake her. She’s in my way and wasting her time.

Think about how many times a day you use your own body weight as resistance. Dropping down to find that black heel under your bed? Oh, you found it. Pushing yourself up again. Squatting down to pick up that folder you dropped at work? Standing up from a sitting down. Um, walking?

And let’s not forget everyday objects we pick up that are relatively heavy: grocery bags, your purse, your dog, your kids!

We are stronger than we think.

If you are lifting the small VW Bug that you call a purse with one hand, you need to put down the 5 pound dumbbell, step away from your pre-conceived notions of lifting heavier will bulk you up, and start kicking your own ass (or arms). Just try the 10 pound dumbbell … Get a little crazy and see what you might be able to do with the 12 pound.

And while your biceps are tiny muscles, think of your biggest muscle groups: the quads and glutes. Your legs take you everywhere. They hold you up all day, and sometimes all night, for hours … in 5 inch heels. They are strong. Show them some respect. DO NOT shame them by giving them the same weight you are giving your arms.

Don’t be afraid to start at a higher weight, realize you safely can’t lift it and start backing down until you can. Can you only do eight of the 12 reps in a set with the heavier-than-usual-weight? Go down a dumbbell size (or five pounds on a barbell), and finish the set. Next week, try again. I promise you will eventually be able to master that heavier weight. And your arms and legs will look kick-ass. (… And once your arms and legs start to lean out, the belly will usually follow.)

How will you know how strong you are if you don’t push yourself?

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