Friday, August 31, 2012

It is Time to "Pump, You Up!"

So far we have added water, movement and vegetables.  Now I want to add strength training.  When I started going to the gym, I would go to boot camp or run on the treadmill, use the stair climber or do a spin class but the thought of going into the weight area terrified me.  I had always lifted weights in high school, through college and even at Palmer but now I could not bring myself to do it!  I really felt intimidated to go into an area with all those muscles, men and women!  Well when I finally got the nerve to go into the area I found out that nobody laughed or pointed and they are actually all quite helpful.

We have all heard that muscle weighs more than fat, but do you know that muscle burns fat faster?  A lot of you are probably thinking, I don't want bulky muscles.  Great, neither do I!  I want you to work on toning or defining the muscle.  If you have never done strength training, I would highly recommend working with a personal trainer.  Most personal trainers have very affordable fees.  You can always go to the trainer once a week where they will customize a plan for you to work on that week.  If you go to a gym, you may want to look into a group power class or a conditioning class. If that is not possible, there are a lot of resources, such as books, magazines and DVD, to help you find more exercises.  Please understand, these recommendations are from my own personal experience - I am not a personal trainer.  I am going to give a few examples and suggestions for each body area. The book I am referencing from is The 100 Year Lifestyle Workout.

There are five areas to target; arms, back, chest, legs and core.  When working these areas you can use free weights, machines, resistance bands or you own body weight.  Find a weight that allows you to do 12-15 repetitions with the last 2-3 requiring some extra effort and I recommend performing 2-3 sets of each exercise.  Aim to do strength training 2-3 times a week.


  • Bicep Curls
  • Tricep Dips - can be done on the end of the couch, the front of a stable chair or the side of the bed.  
  • Front Shoulder Raise
  • Side Shoulder Raise
  • Shoulder Overhead Press
  • Push-ups - can be done with knees on the floor or or against a wall.  If you are in excellent shape, you can add more resistance by doing a decline push-up with the feet elevated
  • Lat Rows
  • Chin-ups - you can have a friend or significant other support your legs to reduce the resistance to start
  • Squats - can be done while holding dumbbells, with a barbell on shoulders or just with your body weight
  • Lunges
  • Plank - Lay down in a push-up position with your body weight resting on your toes and forearms.  Stiffen your body and raise your torso off the ground with your abs pulled in tight and pull your belly button toward your spine.  Hold for 15-30 seconds.
  • Side Plank
  • Floor Bridge
  • "Supermans"
You will be sore after your first workout.  You may even feel like a bus hit you!  Soreness is good but pain is not, so if you are experiencing pain you need to stop and consult a personal trainer to make sure you are lifting properly.  If the pain persists, consult a chiropractor who will evaluate your spine, nervous system and extremities for problems.  Don't feel intimidated and go for it!  I can guarantee you will feel great afterwards, well...after the initial soreness wears off!

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