Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Working Out + Strength Training

We've already discussed how to burn fat effectively through a couple different cardio routines, but today I want to talk to you about something else. But something that's equally as important. And that's strength training. And yes, with weights.

A lot of women have a common misconception about using weights in their fitness programs, thinking that they might just end up like this if they push themselves too hard. (Sexy, right?) Well, that's just not true!

And did you know that after working out with weights your body will continue to burn fat all day long? Sign. Me. Up.

Here's a great full body workout that will help get you started. These workouts can be done a few different ways, and can be easily substituted with something else. This is just a starting point. When I first starting working out, I had no idea what I was doing. I searched the internet over and over again, and printed off descriptions and photos and pasted them inside a notebook that I would bring to the gym. It helped me, so I thought it might help you too!

(If you want to see how to do each workout, just click on the links. You will find hilarious diagrams that show you how to do each move. Hilarious and helpful.)

Leg Press
Tricep Dips (or these)
Shoulder Press (sitting on a ball - can also be done without a stability ball, the ball will help you use more of your core muscles to keep you stablized) )
Chest Press (on a ball)
Wall Sit (hold for 40 seconds)
Bicep Curls
Leg Curl
Leg Extension
Inner Thigh
Outer Thigh

Try to do 12-15 reps, 3 times. I found it easier to pair workouts up by grouping them in two's or three's. For example, 15 reps of leg press, then 15 reps of tricep dips, then leg press again...you get the point. Make sure to choose whatever weight feels right for you. (You'll know!) By the end of your reps, your muscles should feel exhausted. And remember, it's okay to start slow. The last thing you want to do is push yourself too hard because you'll be in far too much pain the next day and you'll never want to go again.

(When I did my first leg workout, the next day I literally had to crawl up and down the stairs because I was so sore. My legs were like rubber and if I had a cain, I would've used it. Every step I took was so painful. Whuttup old lady!)

Next up are a couple of ab workouts. When I went to a personal trainer, he got me to do these and they always kicked my butt. I couldn't find any photos, so I'll do my best to try and explain them to you.

Bike with Hamstring Hold - Lay down on a mat on your back, lift your upper body slightly so that your shoulder blades are coming off the ground. Keep your neck straight and avoid tucking in your chin! Naturally, you'll want to do this so you can watch what your doing but try to look up at the ceiling instead. Lift both legs up, just slightly above the ground, keep your right leg tucked in, and your left straight out. Switch and repeat. It will kind of look like you're riding a bike, minus the circular motions. The key is keeping your legs as close to the ground as possible without actually touching the floor. Do this 50 times. (25 reps per leg)

Plank Climb - Go into a push-up position, with your forearms resting on the ground. This can be done with your knees on the ground, or your feet, whatever you feel like you can do. The most important part is making sure to keep your back straight, so keep your body aligned.
Next, push yourself up with your right hand, keeping your left forearm on the ground, until your right arm is straight. Then follow with your left hand. Lower your right forearm back to the ground in the starting position, followed by your left forearm. Repeat. Once you've completed this 10-15 times. Switch. Instead of pushing yourself up with your right hand, push yourself up with your left hand. Then lower yourself back onto your left forearm, followed by your right.
True story: I once was doing this at the gym and a woman next to me exclaimed, "That is amazing!!! I have to try that. I can never do regular push-ups, but that I can manage!" And it is easier. But you'll still be happy when it's over. :)

Pike Sit-ups - Lay down on your back, legs straight out, and arms straight out above your head. Force your legs, and arms into the air at the same time. It will look like you're "folding" your body in half. Try to keep your legs, arms, and back as straight as possible when you do this. When you come back down, try to keep both your arms and legs off the ground, just slightly hovering above it. Repeat. Do this 10-15 times. It will seriously work every part of yours abs. I hate them. But love them at the same time. It's complicated. (But do it!)

The best advice I can give is to record everything you do; write down your workouts in a book, keep track of what weights you use, and the reps/sets you complete. Seeing your progress and how much you've been able to increase over time is incredibly motivating. I can't tell you how many times I was down on myself because I wouldn't be noticing results... but then I realized I had increased my weights by say, more than 10 pounds on some workouts. Knowing that I really was getting stronger helped push me even more.

And there you have it! Combine this full body workout with some cardio, and you'll whip yourself into shape in no time! And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment or send me an e-mail.

P.S. I tweeted the link to this inspiring video yesterday, but thought I'd post it here as well - click here to go watch. You might will probably cry, but it will totally be worth it.

(Photo via Pinterest, Source Unknown)


  1. ugh, this made me tired just reading it! but very inspirational indeed.

  2. This is great! It makes going to the gym easier since you know EXACTLY what to do and aren't self-conscious about it!

  3. Hahahaha tiring but in the best way possible!

  4. That video is amazing- yoga is such a great thing, both for strengthening muscles and strengthening your mind. What a powerful video, and that man is definitely one of my heroes!