Yesterday at the gym I decided I wanted to share my fitness story! I thought I had it all together but had it all wrong
I started working out in high school after being forced to run a mile in cheerleading class and finishing somewhere around 15 minutes! Yep I was that pathetic but my journey began. I started going to the YMCA after school a couple of times a week and that progressed to getting a Lifetime Fitness membership and really utilizing their facilities and classes. I was swimming, running and taking Total Conditioning & Cardio Kickboxing classes 4-5 times a week...I was a cardio queen! This continued throughout college...riding my bike to and from campus and trying to get in 45-60 minutes of cardio at the rec center. As you can imagine, I had the endurance of a lab puppy but I wasn't seeing any physical results in my muscles (I didn't understand why I didn't have Michelle Obama's guns...little did I realize curling 5lb. weights weren't going to get me anywhere!)
It took about 10 seconds for me and Jon to start working out together (our first date was kayaking at Town Lake!) and we continue to hit the gym as a couple. I am so impressed and motivated by Jon's dedication to fitness and healthy living. Jon lost 60lbs in college simply by working out and eating right and comes from a family where almost everyone has diabetes. Prevention is the best medicine right? We see working out and leading a healthy life as an investment. We only get one shot at life and we plan on sticking around as long as possible! Mind you, we are known to occasionally chow down on wings, french fries and chocolate cake, but I can't help but to feel guilty for fueling my body with such poor nutrients and clogging my arteries with crap.
So when Jon and I started working out together, I expressed my desire for toning and muscle definition and he helped me makeover my workouts. It took me a while getting used to...only working out 1-2 muscle groups a day and doing minimal cardio, I was a bit weary. So what he does is create 4 different workouts for me (legs/abs, biceps/shoulders, back/triceps and cardio) which I stick to for about 8-10 weeks, and then we switch it up. Jon is the king of research and I totally trust his advice and judgment but please know that he has no professional fitness training. Here is the workout I am currently doing and Jon if you are reading this, get back to work on a new workout!
Day #1 -- Legs/Abs:
Unilateral leg press --> Hip extensions on ball
Butt lift on ball --> Side bends w DB
Step-up's w DB --> Leg lifts on bench
DB squats --> Ball crunches
Burnout: Stationary bike -- 2 minutes on level 8
Day #2 -- Back/Tri's:
Standing cable rows --> Bench dips
Two-handle pulldowns --> Skullcrushers
Wide-grip seated rows --> Unilateral cable pulldown (knuckles down)
Burnout: Compound movement -- DB back flyes --> DB tricep extensions
Day #3 -- Shoulders/Bi's:
DB press on ball --> DB preacher curls
Vertical cable rows --> Reverse grip cable curls
DB up-n-outs --> Curl bar
Burnout: Compound movement -- Seated DB curl --> Arnold shoulder press
Day #4 -- Cardio:
45 minutes of whatever strikes your fancy
It may look confusing and it does take me a while to get used to a new workout- locating the machines/equipment, finding the right weight for me and perfecting the correct form and Jon is so patient with me! Depending on my focus (aka what I am watching on TV/listening to on my ipod), my workouts take me anywhere from 30-50 minutes. I usually start each workout with a light warmup (10 minutes walking or on the elliptical) and end with a good stretch. Oh and I always take at least 2 days off during a 7 day cycle.
I look back at my workouts over the past couple of years and think of how exhausted I must have been! Cardio everyday? On Saturday, Jon and I played basketball at the gym for 45 minutes and I was excited to have gotten in my cardio without sitting on an elliptical or treadmill. I have enjoyed the results I get from my workouts and don't mind the added weight gain.
We recently joined 24 Hour Fitness and are absolutely loving it! We bought these 2 year passes from Costco for $300 each and when you do the math, that's $12 a month for full access to an awesome gym! There is one right by our house with an indoor pool and basketball court and there is also one right by my office which is so convenient to get in a mid day workout.
Jon has also taught me the importance of fueling your body with lots of protein after a workout. I didn't used to be such a meat eater, I could go days without a single serving but that explains why I never used to feel full :-). I try to do small meals/snacks throughout the day and get protein at each of them (Jon even wakes up with me in the mornings to make me eggs for breakfast!). My husband has reactive hypoglycemia (not the type that is a precursor to diabetes) which causes his blood sugar to rise and drop dramatically causing headaches, uneasiness/shaking, nausea, etc. so we are constantly eating! I laugh because sometimes I feel like my purse is a diaper bag, filled with snacks to keep Jon's sugar regular (at our wedding, a server was instructed to offer Jon sliced apples every hour to prevent blood sugar drop!).
My favorite protein snacks are hard boiled eggs, lunch meat, fruit topped with peanut butter, black beans or a chocolate muscle milk. Since I have such a sweet tooth, I've started incorporating Muscle Milk Protein Powder into smoothies, pudding, desserts and muffins. Muscle Milk is kind of pricey (especially when we go through so much between us) so Jon and I ONLY buy it when it is on sale at GNC. GNC usually has awesome sales once or twice a quarter but nothing compared to the deal we scored back in October, we haven't been since...
The point of this post was to hopefully help those who are in an exercise rut change it up or let those who do endless amounts of cardio know that it is OKAY to skip the treadmill! You won't turn into a beached whale I promise!