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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Limits are meant to be pushed!

Yoda wisdom is something I wish I had instilled in me. 
I am starting this post off with an apology to my readers. Between work and life, I've been going Mach II with my hair on fire since my last post nearly two months ago.

It started in March with a trip to Vegas to celebrate my son's birthday (and my divorce) and I didn't slow down until a week ago after I returned from an eight-day road trip to Phoenix. Outside of work, the only thing I had time to squeeze in was my gym time, even while on the road. Y'all know that the gym is my happy place and it's what held me together when all I wanted to do was run and hide.

These past several months, Yoda has been whispering his various quotes in my ear. Even if you are not a fan of Star Wars, you should appreciate that fictional little green guru's wisdom.

When it comes to working out, I am a firm "do or do not, there is no try" believer. There comes a time when you have to stop planning, stop thinking, stop contemplating, and just start doing. I've been rockin' the cardio since October and combined with the right diet, I have lost nearly 60 pounds in the last six months. I have reached the point in my fitness journey that I need to step it up a notch so this week I added weight training to my routine.

Now, if you've been following me for a while you know I don't do anything lightly. I'm more of a "go big or don't go at all" kind of girl. I don't like to half-ass anything, even mistakes. LOL.

I am starting my weight training with a three-day upper/lower body split. As I get stronger, I will increase to a four-day split working my way to a five. What is a three-day split? Basically, I rotate through three weight training workouts each week where each muscle group is trained once every 4th or 5th day. I'm a newbie at weights so until I gain a little strength and skill, I am only doing three sets of 8-12 reps of six different exercises in each group. For instance, this past week my schedule was as follows:
  • Monday - Back and Biceps
    • Lat pull-down with wide grip
    • Seated row
    • Bent over row
    • Reverse peck deck flyes
    • Standing bicep curls with a curl bar
    • Supinating bicep curls, alternating
  • Wednesday - Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps
    • Dumbbell press
    • Incline dumbbell flyes
    • Peck deck flyes
    • Military dumbbell press
    • Tricep extension
    • Tricep kickbacks
  • Friday - Legs
    • Squats
    • Bulgarian split lunges
    • Romanian deadlift
    • Leg extensions
    • Leg curls
    • Calf raises (leg press / calf machine superset)
Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are still dedicated to the StairMaster and my beloved rowing machine. Sundays are my rest days.

One of my friends at the gym put the above plan together for me because I know nothing about weight lifting and had NO clue where to start. One of the trainers at the gym graciously worked out with me on each of my "first" days to make sure I knew how to perform each exercise and had proper form to avoid injury.

Monday and Wednesday were challenging (because of the whole breathing and counting thing - more on this later) but nothing I couldn't handle. By Thursday, my arms and shoulders were so sore I could barely get them over my head. However - in my true style, I mostly just giggled through the pain. Okay...I might have dropped a few F-bombs.

Now...I am not going to lie to y'all. Today is Saturday. Which means that yesterday was leg day. Do you remember when I first started the StairMaster and I thought I was going to die because my thighs felt like they were on fire? Yeah...that has NOTHIN' on leg day. This morning's workout was brutal because my legs were still shaking. I was only able to get through 60 of my usual 90-minute session. Even right now, at this very moment, 24-hours after I finished leg thighs could still very well spontaneously combust. Yet - I am still giggling (and dropping F-bombs) through the pain.

I can honestly say that there is more to weight lifting than just lifting a weight. You have to stand, sit, or lay in a certain way and you have to breathe properly. When I do my cardio, I just have to keep going at whatever exercise I'm doing. When lifting weights, you do a lot of counting. Not just counting your reps but you have to count how fast you lift the weight, hold the weight, and lower the weight. Who knew there was so much math involved?

The weight lifting lingo is also foreign - tempo and tension, eccentric and concentric, isolated and compound movements, the list goes on. And then there is the whole breathing thing. Exhale when you are using the muscle, except when you are doing squats, then it's the opposite. Aaaahhhh - so much to remember but Yoda's wisdom once again got me through - "You must unlearn what you have learned." Learning is a HUGE part of fitness. We learn what works and what doesn't. But mostly, we learn where our efforts really pay off because nothing worthwhile doesn't come without effort.

Limits are meant to be pushed and I am the queen at pushing them (just ask anyone who has ever met me...LOL).

Why? Because that is how progress is made.

You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them. And then you push a little harder.

I've still got this!

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