On workout “cycles…”

So last night I hit up Group Kick – a class I not only love, love, love, but am also certified to teach, as you know. My sis and I reacted the exact same way to the class last night. Which totally inspired this very blog post.

Our reaction? 

In a word: “Meh.”

It was just ok. And at first I wasn’t sure why.
I thought well – maybe I was tired (truth). Or, I don’t love the new release as much as previous releases (truth). Or, maybe it was simply just an “off” workout for me (maybe?). They aren’t all going to be rockstar, right?

As soon as I mentioned it to my sis, she agreed, 100%. <—shocking, right? 

SO, in talking about all the reasons why we felt so “meh” afterwards, we came to an interesting conclusion. My sis mentioned the whole concept of workout “cycles.”

YES! That’s it exactly: whether we know it or not, we all go through workout “cycles.” Cycles where we love a particular workout, cannot get enough of it. And months later – we’ve moved onto something else.

For me, this has happened much more often for me than I realized (until I started writing this post, even)

…it’s happened with weight training. (and came flooding back, as you’ve seen here)

…it’s happened a million times with core work. (thank you Core Fusion, and now, Barre N9NE!)

…it’s happened with cardio, even. (until a particularly killer Ride class lures me back in).

…it’s happened with running.(thank you running mojo for slowly coming back!)

But one workout that never seemed to be impacted was Kick.
Until now.

I mean, sure – after the high of getting certified kind of “wore off,” I was maybe slightly less kick-crazy, but I still loved it. I still love it even though I don’t teach anymore. And until last night, I still loved getting to class at least once per week for a nice ass-kicking workout.

But apparently, it’s time for me to push Kick aside for a bit. A little time away may do me some good – and let’s be honest, timing couldn’t be more perfect. With the Barre N9NE challenge starting next week, I surely will not have time for a workout I’m not even digging all that much lately. So, I’m ready to say “goodbye” (for now) to Kick, in favor of new challenges. I’m pretty sure Kick will be back in my life in some shape or form soon, but for now, I’m at peace with it.

Does this whole concept of workout “cycles” make sense and/or resonate with you? Or am I one of few that tends to cycle through workout loves now and then? I sure hope I’m not in the minority on this one – especially since I firmly believe that switching it up is the best way to continually see results, and to stick to workouts consistently. But I’m anxious to hear what you think? Discuss, please. :)

What I worked Wednesday (and Mon, and Tues, and…)

What a week it’s been so far! I had the best of intentions to write a post today about my favorite workout of the week but guess what? It was too hard to pick just one so I figured I’d dedicate today’s post toWhat I worked Wednesday (and then some).”  I hope you don’t mind. ;-)

Sunday – leg day! Had to make up for last week’s skipped leg workout so I made sure it was a doozy.  Four sets of supersets done 3×20 style. Included lunges, squats (with and without weight), deadlifts, plie squats (still feeling those!), calf raises and side-slide and slide-back lunges. Finished off with a bit of Core Fusion abs (from my growing collection of Core Fusion DVDs of course). Love!

Mondaypuke-worthy run with Scott.

TuesdayBarre N9NE class which I LOVED so much. It was a fusion style class and kicked my behind, like whoa! I just LOVE how I feel both during a barre-style class and right afterwards. The only way to describe it is body-shaking and totally detoxifying.

Today – sweatfest of a Ride class. It was a new release today that was killer…plus the room was super warm for some reason today which left me dripping (good day to forget my towel, oy). I swear, I’m still sweating now!

Whew! Great workout week so far! Sometimes that’s all it takes to make my week that much better (in between that thing called work, right??). And there’s more to come, woohoo! So – my question to you: can you pick out your favorite workout(s) of the week? How did it make you feel? What made it your favorite?

In all honesty, I love every single workout I fit in for one main reason: I’m able and I totally appreciate that. Whoa-ly. 

What I worked Wednesday

Well.

That was quite the workout this morning. Now that I’m fully refueled (thanks to the hubs who has perfected the scrambled egg, I swear…and this from the guy who doesn’t even like eggs to begin with!), I thought I’d check in before my day goes into overdrive at the office (though I’m working from home today so I guess I should say “at my dining room table.”)

This morning started with a 6am Ride class – as usual, with my favorite instructor. She killed us – love it. But I noticed something. I seriously was sweating WAY more than I normally do in that class. Legit sweat pouring into my eyes. Reminded me of those longer half marathon training runs this past summer when it was 80 degrees at 7am. Oh how I miss those days…and cannot wait to get back to fierce running form again. I’m getting there. And I’ll take it (this is a reminder for you too, sis. We got this). 

When I got back, I decided to get my back/chest workout done.
Here’s how it looked:

Superset #1:

Pull-ups
push-ups (wide)
3×15

Superset #2:
one-arm rows
bench press
3×15

Superset #3:
Y’s with the resistance band
Flat-bench flyes
3×15 (or 20 depending on how I felt)

Quick and dirty - love those supersets!

This was the very workout I told ya’ll on twitter last night that I was foregoing in favor of being present. Was just what we needed – we watched (ok, sorta watched if you’re me) the Bruins playoff game while playing rummy on the couch together. Yep, we’re dorky that way. We actually have a bet going – which makes this much more fun, I’m so competitive!

Here are the details:  First one who wins 25 hands of rummy gets to pick the other person’s “losing prize.” If I win, Scott has to come with me to get a mani/pedi (seriously, that boy’s cuticles are in dire need…and c’mon, it would just be funny to see him in a pedi chair). If I lose? Scott takes me to Foxwoods or Mohegan where I have to actually play a table game (if we ever go to a place like that, I usually just watch, it makes me nervous, the whole betting thing). So yeah…I digress. But this is how we Sutera’s roll. A little dorkiness never hurt anyone, right?  ;-)

So yeah, long story short – I’m in a rambly, kinda goofy mood today. I blame it on the endorphin rush from today’s workout. Left me feeling super-duper alive. I dig it. Feeling good.  How ya’ll doing with your good/great week??

It’s gonna be a GOOD week

<says the girl who has a serious case of the Monday’s today>

Power of positive thinking, yes? But seriously – I do think it’s gonna be a GOOD, if not GREAT, week.

Why, you ask?

Well…there will be a lot of this:

A little bit of this: (more on what this is all about later):

And more of this:

Plus a fun blog friend meet-up in Boston on Thursday night (with blog reader Susan, all the way from Ireland! Can’t wait!).

So yes, I’m thinking this week will a goodie, and that’s sometimes all it takes. A little positive thinking,  lots of fun workout plans (if you’re a workout dweeb like me) and a great weather forecast (ignore the clouds, look at those temps!:

Three simple things to make me focus on the right things in my day and my week. Instead of wasting time focusing on the wrong things (the fact that it’s Monday…the weekend flew by…and “can’t-waiting” for the next weekend to come.)

Instead, I’m trying to live more presently and this is one pretty easy way of doing it. (something I know my husband can really appreciate…less “always-on-ness” and more “disconnectedness”)

So now, you take stock of your week and report back – how is this going to be a GOOD week for you??

Friday faves – weight training DVD’s edition

Weeeee, it’s Friday!!!!!
Whew. Sorry – just had to get that out of my system. ;-)

ALSO – before I forget: I changed my twitter handle. I am keeping @jsutera654 for professional use mainly and have created a separate handle for my personal life (i.e. fitness, food, wine, y’know the drill by now). Please start following me here: @JessFit654. I started following all of you guys last night but if I missed you, please follow back! Who knew creating a new handle would be so stressful!!

Anyway, I’ve been riding quite a high after last night’s incredibly inspired Core Fusion class with Fred DeVito. It amazes me what a long-lasting impact just one class with him has on me. Seriously. And I’m pretty darn sore in the glutes/thighs and core region. Nice ‘n toasty, love that!

Before I get to the final post in my weight training series, I thought I’d share my workout from this morning. I won’t lie, it wasn’t my best effort, I think I was a little sleepy this morning. Plus, I think I might have held back a bit as I’m hoping to go for a run this afternoon since the weather tomorrow looks like a total fail of a forecast (rainy, cloudy, ick) so I might have to nix the run tomorrow in favor of Ride or another indoor activity. See? Always planning ahead. ;-)

Back/Biceps/Triceps – endurance-style

Back – straight sets
pull-ups – bodyweight only; 3×10
bent-over rows w/dumbells @25 lbs; 3×15
Deadlifts @40 lbs; 3×15

Biceps/Triceps – supersets
Superset#1: barbell curl @25 lbs w/lying tricep extensions @25 lbs; 3×15
Superset #2: Hammer curls @15lbs w/dips on the bench (bodyweight); 3×15
Superset #3: medicine ball preacher curls @10 lbs (double-arm); tricep kickbacks @10 lbs (double-arm) <—these preacher curls got me good, love them!

Now – onto some Friday Faves – weight training, style. A few of you mentioned you’d love to start out with doing some weight lifting at home so I thougth I’d share with you some of my absolute favorite weight training DVDs. 

Butts & Guts - this is an older Cathe Friedrich workout but my absolutely FAVORITE lower body workout. Really gets the butt GOOD. Uses mainly light handweights or body weight only activity, plus lots of floor work (love to hate). She actually just released an “updated” version of this workout called Lower Body Blast, highly recommend this one, too. :)

Pyramid Upper and Pyramid Lower Body - this is great for those of you who want to get at least one upper and one lower body workout in a week. As I mentioned in my post on styles of weight training, this workout is based on pyramids, or three sets of one exercise “up” the pyramid and then the same three exercises back down. You increase the weight to the top of the first three sets and then decrease back down. Realllly good burner. This one also has a great pre-mix that incorporates some upper and lower body workout for those of you who want to try a full body workout once a week.

STS (Shock Training Sytem) - ‘nuf said. This is an amazing workout series. It’s pricey, and it requires a time commitment (3 1/2 month rotation) but absolutely worth it).

Core Fusion Body Sculpt – my favorite Core Fusion DVD as it really does mimic the class experience the closest. Includes light handweights at the start and then bodyweight only work for the rest of the workout. Full body workout. Amazing.

Core Fusion Lean & Toned - this is my second favorite Core Fusion DVD, really focuses on the lengthening/strengthening idea behind Core Fusion. Mix of light handweights, body weight work and lots of stretching. Love.

STS Total Body – This is a newer Cathe workout as well – if you aren’t ready to invest in the full STS series, you could try this one out and see what you think. As the name implies, its a full body workout and is based mostly on the second phase of STS which is the hypertrophy phase (lower reps, mid-level weights).

High Reps - Another new one from Cathe. A great workout from an endurance perspective as it’s all about lighter weights but TONS of reps. It is killer, not gonna lie. This is another total body workout, btw.

Hm, I am pretty sure I could go on for weeks about my favorite workouts to do at home…or you could just check out this pic and you’ll spy lots more workout DVDs to try from my personal collection. ;-)

Supersets, drop-sets, trisets, oh boy…

If you read yesterday’s post on weight lifting (not scary, promise), you’d know that I alluded to future blog posts in this quasi-blog series of mine. Well, here’s the second in the “series” – this one is all about various styles of weight lifting you probably have heard of but might not know exactly what it all means.

I’ll break it down for you here, in my very-non-scientific-I’m-no-expert-I-just-love-to-lift-weights way. ;-)

Trisets – probably my most favorite style of weight lifting, especially for legs. I’ve talked about it before. It’s basically three exercises (typically for one body part, but can include 2-3 body parts) done back to back for three sets. For example: a leg triset might include squats followed by lunges followed by calf raises. You’d do that triset three times in a row, resting for 30-60 seconds in between.

Drop-sets – are all about fatiguing the muscle by “faking” it out. It’s basically a set of three exercises done at “dropped” weights after each set. For example: You might start doing bicep curls at 15 lbs for 152-20 reps. For the next round, you’d drop down to 12 lbs for 20-25 reps. And the final round you’d be at 10 lbs for 25-30 reps, or better yet – to failure. This burns out the muscle in a great way and by “faking” it out, your muscle thinks it’s lifting the same pounds from the first round so it works just as hard as if it were lifting heavier weights, which allows you to lift longer and harder by the last round. <again – these are my made-up definitions, hopefully you get the idea, if not, check this out for a more scientific explanation.>

Back-off sets – is a favorite you’ll see in Cathe’s STS workouts that I love, love, LOVE (more on what this is, in a sec). If you’ve ever lifted a set of weights for a particular muscle group but felt like that last set didn’t burn you out quite enough? Try this. Back off your last set to 40% of what you were lifting and lift for as many reps as you can without compromising form, and go to failure (again without compromising form). Awesome burner.

Supersets – another favorite of mine as you’ve probably noticed, this involves two exercises done back to back – usually for the same muscle group but it can also be done for two complementary muscle groups (i.e a bicep/tricep superset vs. a back superset or chest superset). This is a time saver but it’s also an intensity builder.

Double-wave load – is similar to a pyramid style workout (if you’ve ever done Cathe’s Pyramid Upper or Pyramid Lower body workout, this is a similar, though not exactly the same, style to that). It’s about slowly upping your weights for a total of six sets of exercises for one body part. It tricks your body into recruiting more muscle fibers in the second set because you’re slowly increasing your weight (by 5% with each set). For example: if you’re doing a bicep curl double-wave load: start with 10 lbs for 15 reps for set #1; move to 12 lbs for 15 reps for set #2; and then 15 lbs for 15 reps for set #3; then repeat that series once. By the end, you’ll be burned out and your muscle fibers will be twitching away. Hm, I think I’ll add this into the mix next week, haven’t done that one in awhile. ;-)

Periodization – this is what my all-time favorite weight training rotation is based on: Cathe’s Shock Training System (STS). I’ve done three rotations of this workout in the past couple of years and have NEVER been disappointed. It does take a time committment though – one rotation is 3 1/2 months long. But WORTH it for the results you’ll gain (and no, this is not an informerical for STS, I swear!).

Without confusing you, it’s basically three workout cycles (called “mesocycles) that are based on three distinct weight training focuses – endurance style training, hypertrophy-based training and strength-style training. As I’ve said before, endurance style training is all about high reps; low weights. Hypertrophy (this is where you see muscle definition take place) is about slightly heavier weights and slightly less reps (so instead of lifting for 12-15 reps like in mesocycle 1, you’d lift about 10 reps per round). And the strength building phase is your heaviest lifting phase, only lifting for about 6-8 reps per exercise. It’s intense. and I love it. I could go on and on about it here, but if you want to hear how I got started with STS, check out a verrrry old post from me on STS here.

Whew!

I’ve thrown a TON of info your way, and all of it based on what’s been rolling around in my head over the years as I’ve picked up various styles of weight training. I hope I haven’t bored you too much. I just wanted you to see that there are LOTS of ways to weight train so you’ll never be bored, and should hopefully never hit a plateau. I’m a huge fan of switching it up, often, as you’ve seen here on the blog. I love to shock the system, keep it guessing. If I stick with one thing too long, I get bored, and so does my body. Hm, Maybe that’s where all this formerly “useless” data in my head came from, huh?!

So tell me – what style of training do you think you’d like (if you’ve not really done much weight training before). OR – if you’re a big fan of lifting weights, what is your personal favorite style? Did I miss any that you’d add to that list? Do tell! :)

Weight training, I promise it’s not scary

After last week’s round of comments on my post about weight lifting, I had to write a follow-up post (or two or three!) on the topic of weight training for women.

It’s sad to me that there is such a big fear factor over weight training amongst women – because truly, it is so, so, so good for you on many levels (more on this later). And mentally – I have to say, it instills a sense of power and confidence that I can’t replicate with other workouts.

So, here are my tips for how to make weight training both approachable but also sustainable. I heard from you that it is scary or an “unknown” for you, or that you just can’t seem to commit to a regular weight training routine at all. You need a goal to work towards (like a race) to stick with something, but with weights, there isn’t necessarily such a tangible end goal or “end” at all.

Weight-training-I promise-it’s-not-scary-tips*:
*Remember – I’m no pro, this is just my advice from personal experiences only

  1. If you’re intimidated by the gym…consider starting out with weight training at home. All you really need to get started are a few dumbells in various increments (5 lbs; 8 lbs; 10 lbs; 15lbs is a good starting point for a beginner) and either a handy-dandy workout “borrowed” from your favorite blogger (hint hint!) or a workout DVD that takes you through the steps (like my friend Cathe Friedrich who taught me so much about proper form – all in a DVD no less!)
  2. Take a weight lifting class at your gym. This one is huge for those of you who LOVE the vibe of a group fitness class but typically gravitate towards cardio-based group classes only. This is equally huge for those of you looking for form pointers and are afraid of injury. You should get solid direction from your instructor, and in some cases, they’ll walk around the room and correct your form if needed.
  3. If you’re comfortable, even just a little bit with going to the weight room at your gym (I know some of you are) – consider starting out slowly with your own weight routine. Start with one body part a day after you get your cardio fix on. For biceps – start with bicep curls with a set of dumbells, then shift to a set of bicep curls done with a barbell (it works the muscle differently), and finish with a set of incline curls on a weight bench. It could be as simple as that. You can start going crazy with “drop-sets” and “trisets” and “supersets” later, but get comfortable with the weights first, and the exercises (note why is that word so hard to spell?!). Get them down first before going into the more advanced weight work (and I will do a post on all of these fun types of weight workouts next, I promise).
  4. For those of you who are comfortable with weights but just can’t figure out how to stick to it? Consider a one-month rotation. Create your own 3x/week weight workout that incorporates two days of upper body and one day of lower body work (I’ll create a sample schedule for you in a follow-on post) and map it out for the month, gradually increasing your weight little by little. And by the end of the month, check out those “guns” in the mirror – I can guarantee you they’ll be more toned and defined. Feel free to measure before/after if that’s your thing. Or take before/after pics if you need that for tangible motivation. For me – my motivation is more mental, I love how weight lifting makes me feel so strong and confident. And wearing a tank top with killer arms in the summer isn’t a bad mental image either, not gonna lie. ;-)
  5. Above all else, figure out what works for you. For some of you – lighter weights with tons of reps may feel “good” for you. For others, going heavier but with less reps might be more your speed. You might hate working out in your gym but love it at home, or you might only want to take a group fitness class (like Group Power or Body Pump) because you like the group fitness atmosphere. Or you might find that you love Cathe as much as I still do, today! And maybe, just maybe you’ll realize that with consistent effort, you’ll find that sense of empowerment I mentioned above about weight lifting. At the end of the day though, this is about you and what makes you feel strong and fit and healthy and powerful. Am I right?

So yeah, this is turning into a series of posts from me. I’ve hinted at the topics I plan to cover here, but feel free to ask for others and I’ll add them in! This will be fun! :)

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And if you’re wondering…last night I ended up with a mix of my “revised” workout plan of Core Fusion but added in a weight workout. Of the leg (oww) and shoulders variety.

Shoulders – supersets, endurance-style (my favorite – high reps, low weights)

Shoulders superset #1: shoulder presses (barbell-style)@27.5 lbs; followed by upright rows (barbell-style) @27.5lbs – 3 sets @15 reps each

Shoulders superset #2: Front raises @7.5 lbs followed by lateral raises @7.5 lbs – 3 sets @15 reps each

Legs – trisets, baby!

Triset #1: Squats w/barbell @40lbs, deadlifts @40 lbs, lungs (bodyweight only)

Triset #2: slide-back lunges with paper plates (bodyweight only); plie squats @30 lbs; calf raises @20 lbs

Followed that all up with some lengthening leg work  (10 min segment) and core work (another 10 min segment) from Core Fusion Lean & Toned, one of my favorites. Niiiice and toasty when all was said and done. Just the way I like it. :)

On being able to.

On being able to…run.

Look no further than this story I happened to catch over the weekend while Scott was catching up on ESPN.

I wish I could’ve embedded this video because it is amazing and is so worth the five minutes to watch it.

Long story short? It’s an incredible story of courage and strength in the face of adversity and physical illness and a team that rallied around their coach. It brought me to tears. But it also reminded me yet again just how grateful I am to be able.

Able to walk. To run. To skip. To leap.
Able to lift weights. To spin to my break point. To race.
Able.

Incredible. And a total motivator (as if any of you really needed one – you all inspire me every single day!).
A great reminder on Marathon Monday too if you’re in or around the Boston area. Sadly, I’m in the office today but totally making a mental note to take this day off next year to cheer the marathoners on. I’ve lived here all my life and have yet to see the race live. Crazy, right? I must change that next year.

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In other news, I’m back to my weight training ways this week, starting with an excellent chest workout yesterday and two more weight routines to come tomorrow (shoulders and legs) and Thursday (back/biceps/triceps – trisets!). At this point, I’m  mainly sharing these workouts with you so you can get a feel for how to build your own weight routine…more on this later, promise.

Chest – endurance style

Supersets:
Chest press @17.5 lbs into chest flyes @12.5 lbs – 15 rep per set/3 sets
push-ups (while waiting for Scott to do his round) – 15 reps per set

Superset #2:
Incline chest press @17.5 lbs; into incline chest flyes @12.5 lbs – 15 reps per set/3 sets
push-ups- 15 reps per set

Seems short enough right? But man, it did the trick! 40 minutes later and we were were totally spent and dying for breakfast. I highly recommend it. :)

On tap for today? I have a “date” with my sister tonight for Core Fusion (Lean & Toned) followed by sister dinner. I was also hoping to run this morning but alas, a poor night’s sleep and I felt like a truck ran me down this morning. So I listened to my body (ahem – I’m learning!) and nixed the run for today, knowing it would’ve been a poor showing for me. I’m hoping to make up for it tomorrow, instead (rain be damned!).

Run dates and trisets, love!

<Editor’s note – this turned into a doozy of a post so I broke it into two, I apparently had a lot to say today! I promise to be more succinct tomorrow. hehe>

Ah, today was “run date” Thursday.  <—I like the sounds of that!

Which actually turned out to be a run date for two since my sis is battling a shin splint issue and wanted to rest up for a better run once healed (smart move, sis).  So we nixed our planned run date and instead, I ran with Scott which I still very much consider a run date, oh la la. ;-)

We ran the same route from Monday which is about 4.5 miles or so. And I fought myself. Notsomuch physically this time, but mentally. I realized about halfway through that I wasn’t trusting myself to let my body do the work. I was holding back. When I told Scott how I was feeling, he simply said “I trust you. You are so strong. Let your body take over. And if you won’t let it, lean on my faith in you and just run.”

Um hello, could he have said that anymore perfectly or what?? But he’s right. I need to trust myself.  I have no idea why I’ve suddenly lost my trust in my ability to run, to let my body do the work, but I totally have. I don’t find myself distrusting my body when it comes to weight lifting, spinning, or anything else. Just running. For me, running is so much more about mental toughness to me than physical toughness. I’ve got to strong-arm my brain into letting it go and just running. Freely. Letting my mind wander (and not to the “man, I want to die, this run is just not happening for me today” place).

Interestingly, right after we had this little revelation, we were running up a small hill on the return loop of our route, and suddenly the wind was at my back again (it was in my face on the way out), and it felt as though God had placed his hand ever so gently on my back and pushed me up that hill. It was almost like I was weightless. It gave me this incredible sense of peace, something I have never felt so deeply. It was kind of amazing. Almost like He was putting a comforting hand on my back to say “yes, you can do this. Trust it.” Seriously, unreal.

So now that I’ve figured out what my running block is, it’s time to quit talking about it and just get back to being in the moment. Just running to run. And trusting my body to lead the way.

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Trisets Thursday (sorry, couldn’t help myself – this one doesn’t sound quite as “cute” as “run-date Thursday” does, huh?)

Since I work from home on Thursdays, I have more leeway to get in lengthier or more involved workouts since I have more time in the AM and in the PM, a luxury I don’t have during my commuting days. Fingers crossed that that changes at least for next week – hello, school vacation week (ala no traffic!).

So one of the things I decided this week was to switch up my “plan” a bit from the original thoughts I shared on Monday. Given how sore my legs were after last week’s leg workout (woopsie), and given how much I’ve wanted to focused on getting my running legs back, I decided to opt out of a dedicated leg workout for this week. Instead of weights (as originally planned), last night involved Core Fusion Pilates Plus which is mostly core focused but also includes quite a bit of leg work so I’ll “count” that towards a leg workout for the week. It was awesome – and totally killer to do while my husband cooked dinner. My stomach was growling SO loudly by the time I finished up at 7:45. Oy.

So anyway, for my last weight workout of this week, I decided to group shoulders/bi’s/tri’s into a triset series. A triset is basically three exercises done back to back, three times. Sounds confusing but once you see how my triset workout panned out, you’ll see what I mean. This is still very much an endurance-style weight workout (low weights, high reps), but it gets your heart rate up a bit too which I dig – annnd you can work multiple body parts this way, pretty efficiently (I also dig this style of training big-time for leg workouts…a thought for next week, perhaps?).

Biceps/Shoulders/Triceps – Triset-style <—say that one three times fast, heh
(all sets done at 15 reps per exercise unless otherwise noted)

Triset #1: barbell curls @25 lbs; tricep dips (body weight); shoulder press – alternating w/dumbells @12.5lbs

Triset #2: hammer curls @17.5 lbs each hand; lying tricep extensions w/barbell @ 20 lbs; front raises w/dumbells @10 lbs

Triset #3: concentration curls @17.5 lbs each hand; tricep pull-downs with stretch band; shoulder press w/barbell @20 lbs

Holy crap.

Let’s just say that I do not anticipate being able to lift my arms over my head tomorrow morning very easily – should most certainly make for another bad hair day to say the least. ;-)

Of bad hair days and toasty upper body workouts

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you already know this much.

I’m having a horrible hair day. One that I *totally* blame on my upper body workout this morning.

I guess this “personal trainer of me” stuff is working out pretty well, huh? I’m loving it! So much more than I thought I would.

So let’s get to it, today’s workout was all about chest and back, with “smabs” to come tonight ala Core Fusion Pilates Abs (was just too tired this morning to get up earlier to fit in both).

Today’s workout looked like this – a little bit different than last week’s chest/back workout:
(three sets each @15-20 reps per set, unless otherwise noted)

Warm-up: Push-ups done drop-set style. Starting with 20 reps; then 15, then 10; then 5. Warmed up the chest and back muscles nicely. Wish I could do more on my toes…that will come, I’m just impatient. ;-)

superset #1: flat bench press (15 lbs per dumbell…could’ve gone heavier I realized after the fact) followed by stiff legged deadlifts (80 lbs – barbell)

superset #2: flat bench flyes (15 lbs per dumbbell, was just right) followed by one-arm row (started with 20 lbs but upped it to 22.5 lbs on the second and third set)

superset #3: incline bench press (17.5 lbs per dumbell); followed by pull-ups on the pull-up tower (loved this one, noticed good improvement in my pull-up ability)

(in case you’re wondering, this is what the pull-up tower looks like, it ROCKS, btw)

superset #4: incline bench flyes (15 lbs per dumbell); followed by pull-downs with the resistence band (I was aiming to do bent-over rows with the barbell but was so pooped at this point that I subbed in the resistance band work instead)

All told – this was an awesome workout! I got a good sweat on – thanks to the endurance style of the workout – and felt super-toasty afterwards. Sure-fire DOMS tomorrow is my guess.

Which brings me to my next point/question…
Why are some women afraid to attempt strength training workouts in the first place? I see it here and there in bloggy land and I always wonder. Is it a fear of working out with a bunch of sweaty, meatheads? A fear of “doing it wrong?” A fear of “bulking up”?I’m honestly curious. I’d love your feedback for a future blog post I’ve been mulling over.