Today I’m sharing how I got into strength training and why it’s an absolute essential component of my workout routine…
As I mentioned in a recent post, training on a regular basis with assessments and programming from The Move Project has helped me stay fit, strong, healthy, and injury-free! Although I’ve worked out for many years, I didn’t get into a consistent weight training routine until after our second child was born. That was almost 5 years ago! Up to that point, I worked out 5-6 days/week, doing weights 1-2 days per week, but focused mainly on group fitness classes and cardio (too much).
I developed a passion for being active and exercising in my teen years, but was always afraid to “gain unwanted size” through weight training. And, I was more focused on the calorie burn rather than feeling healthy and strong. Yes, even though Ryan continually assured me that would not be the case, I didn’t give priority to weight training for a long time. I can be pretty stubborn! I wish I had listened sooner…I would have saved lots of time and effort. Long story short, I was working out harder than I do now, but definitely not smarter, and I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted to see!
During my last pregnancy, I felt nauseated most of the time, didn’t eat well, and the last thing I felt like doing was working out. It was the first time in years I did not go to the gym on a regular basis. It felt strange and was a vicious cycle. I felt tired all the time, and I didn’t have the energy to do the things I knew would help me feel better. Ugh.
The result of this combination (after our son was born) was feeling like I was starting over again in terms of my fitness level…because I was! Add to that a 50 lb weight gain (during the pregnancy) and I knew I had a lot of work to do, to get to where I wanted to be again.
I finally decided to lift weights regularly!
I wanted to regain the strength and endurance I’d lost and then some, and on a vain note…I wanted my body back! In the beginning, I trained at home with a couple sets of dumbbells and resistance bands and once Andrew was old enough to take with me to the gym, I progressed to full gym workouts. It was great to have those home workouts to fall back on days he was sick or I didn’t want to take him out. I could easily do them in 30 minutes while he napped and then would take him for a 20 minute walk pushing the stroller.
Working out/getting back into shape as a new mom can be overwhelming!
It’s good to remember that all of the little things you do count, and its all about consistently being active, eating well, and getting extra rest when you can. Yes, the exercise is great for your body/health, but it also does wonders for your mind and stress-level!
During the first few months of doing this, I started to see my body change while I was losing weight (slowly but surely!) and rebuilding my strength. By the one year mark, I’d lost all of the baby weight and literally transformed my body. I have more shape/muscle in my body than I’ve ever had before, and I love feeling stronger!
Always a work in progress, but staying consistent with training makes such a difference. I love that I can complete my workout in about an hour, making it easy to fit sessions into my schedule. After each session, I feel great, have more energy, and it keeps me coming back for more! Even on days I don’t feel motivated, once I’m there and I get started, I never regret it!
This is what my workout schedule looks like now…
Now, a typical training session consists of 30-45 minutes of weights/20-30 minutes of cardio, usually the treadmill, elliptical, or stair master. (If I’m short on time, I do weights and no extra cardio at the end.) I strength train 4 days/week, and I benefit so much from it. I like to focus on the movements and breathing, paying attention to how my body feels. I also still enjoy group fitness classes and would never give those up. I incorporate classes such as (cycling, yoga, pilates, barre, etc) differently now, by adding them in 1-2 times a week, to mix up my routine.
Also check out the MoveFit App for more exercises and workouts!
Photography: Stephanie Drenka