A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday 5! (Fitness!)

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Today's Friday 5 theme is FITNESS! (per the rules of the Friday 5 Link Up).

Even though I am technically not a personal trainer anymore, I still learned a lot while studying for my certification. So I thought I would share with you some general tips about weight training.

Note: Never substitute my advice for the advice of a doctor or fitness professional! I am just sharing what I have learned over the years which MAY or MAY NOT work for you! One thing I know is every BODY is different.


1. Warm up! Just like you would warm up before a hard running workout, it is just as important to warm up your muscles before lifting heavy. Do some dynamic movements like jumping jacks, leg swings, arm circles, shoulder rotations, body squats/lunges, or even the elliptical to get your blood flowing. Then, be sure to do one or two light sets before putting on the heavy weights. For instance, I always do a set of chest press @ 15lbs before I do a set with 30lbs.

2. Quality vs. quantity. Pick exercises that target big muscle groups so you can get more bang for your buck. For instance, you can work all your major muscle groups even if all you did were pull ups, push ups, squats, and dead lifts. Isolation exercises like bicep curls and tricep dips are fine (I do them!) but save them for last. And they should be the first things to go if you're pressed for time.

3. Make sure you are using the correct weights. If you can do 20 reps of something, that's probably too much. Find a weight where you can do 6-12 reps (depending on your goal!). The last two reps should be difficult, but you should still be able to complete them with proper form. 

4. Aim for 2 full body workouts a week on 2 nonconsecutive days. For a runner who wants to gain strength and become a more well rounded athlete, two strength workouts is absolutely enough to gain strength and build muscle. Obviously some will do more and some will do less. I think two is the sweet spot if you are just getting started! And remember, these workouts don't need to be an hour and a half long! You can get an effective full body workout done in 45-60 minutes.

5. Hire a trainer! I learned so much when I hired a trainer to teach me how to weight train correctly. Yes, it was expensive, but the knowledge I gained was priceless, and I will have that forever!
Any tips you can share when it comes to weight training?

29 comments:

  1. Great tips! I struggle to know which weights to use and how many reps. Part of my problem is that I don't know a ton of different weight options. I finally got 15 pound weights so I use those alot now! I try to do alot of push up since they target so many muscles at once. I'm still sad my pull up bar broke:(

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    1. Weights can be expensive, and that is a pain! I need some in between weights- for instance I would like some 17.5, 22.5 and 27.5 but I haven't been able to find them "in store" anywhere and the only places online I have found them at are crazy expensive. Now the gym has the in between weights so if I go there I can use them.

      If you ever think you want to invest in weights, maybe you could try out a gym for free for one day and mess around with their weights and write down what poundage works for you?

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    2. Or go as a guest with a friend. I think at Planet Fitness I can take a guest a couple of times a month!

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  2. These are really great tips, Megan! My advice would be to find a lifting partner if you can. I had been lifting 2 x per week for the past 3 years but in December my friend Amy and I started lifting together at least 1 x per week (hard to coordinate schedules). She knew a lot more than I did and taught me so much. It completely motivated me and now I am lifting 4-5 x per week. I really love it.

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    1. A partner who can be a buddy and/or teach you is a great tip! I know lots of people like to workout with buddies. I have actually NEVER lifted with a buddy!

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  3. I'm all about quality, which is why I didn't do those planks for time during the challenge this month. But we're doing squats for July, and it will be about quantity--Coach Becky says that's the way to go with squatting!

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    1. Well take before and after pics of your bum! :)

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  4. Thank you. This confirms that I am doing things right at the gym. I try to go as often as I can cus I want to get my monies worth UT perhaps going every day is too much? It takes me only about 30-40 minutes to get through my whole cycle.

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    1. Are you working the same muscle groups each day? How heavy are you lifting? You just want to make sure you give your muscles time to repair.

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  5. Definitely hire a trainer :D And don't wait until you "have gotten started yourself." Come to us THEN so that you can start correctly!

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    1. Yup. Before I saw a trainer I never really knew what to do. I started weight training so many times but then stopped because I just had no goal, no focus, and really had no idea what I was doing!

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  6. I was determined to get back into shape when I moved to Dallas. Working with a trainer was great, not only to take me through the strength training, but the appointments held me accountable.

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    1. Yeah, the accountability of paying my trainer helped me as well. And also it helped me to follow her advice on days I didn't see her. I would always say to myself, "why would you pay hundreds of dollars if you're not going to do exactly what she says?"

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  7. Good advice about the isolation exercises! Because I don't belong to a gym, I'm kind of stuck in what I can do myself, so I do bicep curls and tricep dips pretty often, but I'm going to add pushups in more frequently so I can hit my shoulders and core more, too!

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    1. Yes and you will feel it in your triceps too depending on how you do your push ups. Hey, how about rows and shoulder press? You can totally do them when you do your weights between your running intervals. You don't need a bench or anything, just the dumbbells. Prob 10s or 15s??

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  8. Thanks for the tips! can I ask you a question? Are the workouts working, if I'm not at all sore the next day? The last few weight sessions I've done, I have struggled completing them, but the next day it's like I did nothing. Is that weird? or normal?

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    1. No it's not weird. I am usually not sore after a workout. I get sore if I do something different or if I took too long of a break off- like when we went on vacation I was sore when I hit the gym after! But even if I up the weight I am sometimes not sore. Yesterday I did 30lb chest press which is the most I did in awhile and I did several sets... not sore at all today! I was VERY tired after my workout.

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  9. My trainer always stresses quality over quantity and is a stickler on form.

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  10. I would love to hire a trainer one day....even for a couple sessions I think it would be so worth it.

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    1. It is worth it! As long as you hire someone good, you will learn a lot and that will last long after you stop working with a trainer. I chose to see mine for 10 sessions and would go back once every two months for some fine tuning.

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  11. Make sure to change it up every 4-6 weeks at least!

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  12. Great tips. I am doing strength 2x week - Monday and Friday. I feel better with a third day but can't fit it all in.

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    1. It is hard! I like at least two and if I get three well then I am super pleased. It's hard because I'm training for a marathon right now.

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  13. Nope, these are all great! Big muscles groups are a huge.
    I have been slacking terribly since I went to 10 hour days. I need to get a summer routine going fast. I am turning to mush!

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    1. Oh man I can see how the 10 hour days can hinder the lifting!

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  14. I've noticed that focusing on my biceps, triceps and deltoids I've slowly started noticing definition in my arms (i've got sexy arms! woo woo! :D) How long did you use a trainer for?

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    1. That's great! I saw a trainer twice a week for 5 weeks and then I went back every two months or so for a tune up. Eventually I decided to become a trainer myself, but after two years I stopped!

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