Saturday, March 1, 2014

Step Away From The Machine

So, today was a victory day.  Why?  Because I went to the gym!  I went to the gym and it wasn’t for a midnight torturous run on the treadmill-dreadmill.  So, minus the midnight run on the treadmill the other night, I haven’t set foot in my gym in probably about 4 months.  As we all know, I’ve been working out.  I run 2-3 times a week and usually workout with my trainer once a week.  So, yea, I’m definitely working out.  I just haven’t been going to the gym to do any strength training on my own.  Since I won’t be working out with my trainer for at least the next 4 weeks, I have decided to make it a priority to get to the gym for strength training twice a week.  This morning was one of those days. 

It was legs and abs today.  The workout I had set up for myself went as follows:

• 20 walking lunges w/farmer’s walk on the return (basically walking calf raises)
And then 4 sets of 20 reps of each of the following:
• box jumps
• free squats
• pistol squats w/TRX
• kettlebell swings
Then onto abs as follows (3 sets of 15 each):
• TRX supermans
• toe reaches/touches
• sit-up ball throws

I got to the gym and parked.  I strapped on my phone and hit “start” on my Garmin, heading out of the parking lot and down the street for a mile for an out-and-back 2 mile route.  I headed out with the idea of doing this run hard and fast…as hard and fast as I could muster and keep up for 2 miles…with a short breather at the halfway mark, of course.  I crossed the 1 mile mark at 10:01.  Cruising right along.  Definitely not my fastest and, frankly, if I’m being honest, not as fast as I want to go on a short hard and fast run.  I was hoping for 9:45 or faster.  So, then I take my breather and head back to the gym parking lot.  I find my groove and I hit it.  When I check my distance close to the end of mile 2, I can’t help but notice that I’m around 2.92 and I’m still below 19 minutes total time running.  Then, I hit mile 2 and I press “stop” and view my stats.  I did my second mile in 9:22!!!  What?!?!?!  That’s 40 seconds faster than mile 1!!!  That’s just crazy!!!  And that just shows me that I really could have pushed myself a little more in the first mile, however, I still had my treadmill run from the other night on my mind, so I think that’s what slowed me down…pure mentality.  Mind over matter…it’s gotta happen.

So, then I grab my stuff out of my car and head into the gym.  I change my shoes and my earphones (Bluetooth for the run, corded for the gym) and trade my Garmin out for my Polar HRM.  I head out to the gym and set my water bottle and my list of exercises down by the mirrors near the TRX area.  I go and grab a 50 lb flat grip barbell for my squats.  Then I grab two 20 lb dumbbells to do the lunges and farmer’s walk with.  I grab a kettlebell (no idea how much it weighs because they don’t have them label…I’m guessing it was a 15 lb one) and then I grab a box jump box.  Then I get at it.  I do the lunges and farmer’s walk no problem.  Then I do the box jumps.  I get to 8 and I’m all like oh my goodness.  I cut it off at 10 reps.  That’s still good…I think 20 was a little too much…obviously.  Then 20 squats with the 50 lb bar.  Easy.  Then I go to the TRX straps and do my pistol squats.  10 on each side.  Then 20 kettlebell swings.  Breather and repeat.  I noticed it was taking me about 10 minutes to complete one circuit.  I was starting to run out of time.  There was no way I was going to get through 4 sets, so I changed it to 3.  Then, halfway through the second set, I decided to stop when I was done with that set.  My legs were jello when I got done with the second set anyway.  Then I moved onto the abs portion.  I decided to skip the ball throw sit-ups because of time and just did the supermans and the toe reaches/touches.  And I only did 2 sets of 15 reps each.


I burned 668 calories between my run and my strength training workout.  Total time for both: 50 minutes.  Don’t tell my trainer, but that’s a higher calorie burn than I get with him most of the time and I go a full hour, sometimes slightly longer, with him.  D’oh!  So, that’s why I’m saying I won’t be working with him for “at least” the next 4 weeks.  If my gym workouts all go like this morning’s workout, then I may just not go back to him and save myself the $130 a month.  I gained a LOT from my workouts with him.  I have learned a LOT of new exercises and have developed an absolute LOVE of all things TRX.  The only thing I’ll miss if I decide to not go back to working with him is the kickboxing portion of my workouts.  Too bad my gym doesn’t have a punching bag that I could just go through the kickboxing workouts on them solo.  I think I’ll have to look…I know they don’t have the hanging bags, but they just “might” have the kind that stand up and have sand in the base.  I’ll have to look next time I’m at the gym…which will hopefully be Monday if I have enough time between the dentist and work. 

If I do have the time to hit the gym between the dentist and work on Monday (I’m taking my gym clothes and such with me when I go to the dentist as the dentist’s office is halfway between where I live and my gym), then it will be upper body and abs.  I’ll shoot for 3 sets of 15-20 reps each of the following exercises:

• TRX bicep curls
• TRX triceps extensions
• TRX deltoid Y’s
• TRX chest press
• chest press-sit up-military press w/dumbbells on an exercise ball
• flyes on an exercise ball
• bentover row with dumbbells

Then onto abs…I need to come up with these exercises still.  I don’t want to just do the same exercises for abs on both days each week.  I need to pick a couple different ones to rotate through.

As you can see, I’m trying to stay away from machines if I can avoid them.  I want to do most of my exercises as bodyweight or free weight exercises.  While you can lift more weight with a machine, I think you really get the better workout from bodyweight/free weight exercises.  For starters, you’re utilizing all muscles involved…including the stabilizing muscles.  You don’t use those muscles when you use a machine because it’s not necessary.  The machine holds it stead for you while you just lift the weight.  Bodyweight/free weight exercises are done with natural movement instead of guided like you get with a machine, so if you were performing that same movement with something outside of exercise in “real life” you would do it the exact same way you would do the exercise. 

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