Archive for the ‘Strength Training’ Category

And I don’t mean this guy:

Triple H



I mean the dreaded..




The east coast is sweltering this week, folks! The gym was closed yesterday, so I did a cool-as-a-cucumber yoga session in my living room, but today, it’s back to the gym. Which may or may not be cooler than the outside temp – the past 3 weeks it’s been over 80 degrees in there.


So, just because we can all use the reminder….some tips for exercising in this mess:

(source)/ (source)/ my own common sense

  1. Stay hydrated! General rule of thumb is 8 oz. of water for every 15 minutes of activity in extreme heat!
  2. Exercise in the morning or late at night … to avoid the heat of the day. This isn’t really an option for me, and it was already 80 at 7am today, but if it works for you, go for it!
  3. Slow down – maybe don’t try for that PR on the hottest day of the year, ok? 🙂
  4. Wear light, breathable clothing – and sweat wicking, if you have it! This keeps you feeling cooler.
  5. Assess your body – don’t forget to listen to your body! Are you tired? Feeling sick? Dizzy? Then stop. It’ll be there tomorrow, or the next day. 🙂
  6. Dont forget to abide by weather warnings. If your local weather man tells you there’s a heat warning…maybe reconsider your outdoor run at 4pm, eh?

Alright, now that we’re done with education…

Here’s how today went down:

Citrucel on the way to work 7:30 (I was early today!)

Breakfast 8:30 a.m.

Total Raisin Bran, milk, ½ a banana


Lunch 12:00 p.m.

Big side salad (leaf lettuce, grape tomatoes, 3 kinds of peppers, carrots, cucumber a few croutons) with red wine vinaigrette and… fish sticks.



LMAO. I love it.

Seriously, though…hubs and I have had a hankering for fish sticks lately, so I picked up a box of Dr. Praeger’s to try. I figured they’re the closest thing to a healthy fish stick I could find in a frozen food section.

They were really, really good! And totally helped the craving.

Finished up lunch with an unpictured piece of taffy from a co-worker who just got back from vacation. It was soft and chewy…I don’t think I’ve ever had taffy that fresh before!

Snack 3:45 p.m.

½ a chocolate chip clif bar from the depths of my purse. I have no idea how long it’s been there. I prefer not to think about it.

Exercise 4:45 p.m.

I am on week 3 of Gina’s Summer Shape Up 2010 and having a blast! My only regret is it has been too hot to do the speed work days outside…and it’s a little cumbersome to do them in the gym, so I’ve been improvising. I am loving the two days of yoga I get every week though!

Today I chose to tackle Strength + Speed

5 minutes warm up cardio

3 sets of 12, done as constantly moving circuits:

Split Squat

Sumo Squat + Leg Raise

Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

Pilates Side Leg Lift (10 raises, then 10 circles forward and 10 back, keeping hips stacked)

The Sprinter

Bosu Calf Raise

Hip Raise on Stability Ball with Weighted Bar

HIIT – 5 minute warm up on the bike

          15 minutes HIIT

          5 minute cool down

Holy mother of sweat it was hot in the gym today. I’ll be spending my whole evening rehydrating after that!

1h20m@ the gym = 550 calories burned

Since it’s hotter than Hades outside today, I knew I couldn’t walk the doggle or water my garden when I got home, so I headed home and packed my lunch, prepped my clothes and gym clothes for tomorrow, did dishes, made dinner, ate, and finally got to water my garden at 8:15 p.m. The pup didn’t get a walk, but she ran with the neighbor dog for awhile, and I chased her skinny butt all over the yard.


And if I’m being honest, it was still craptastically hot. Whew!

Came in from my sweat-fest for a quick shower, and was rewarded by the hubs with a fresh peach milkshake.


Cool Links

I love this site – it shows you families and their food by month. It’s really amazing to see 🙂

Neat pro/con list for the Insanity workout – I haven’t forked out the dough yet to try it, but maybe??


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Hellooooooooo! While you’re reading, I’m in Butler, enjoying some time with my family! My folks live in the country, and are rather old school – which means dial-up internet! Which also means I won’t be posting, because I dont have the patience to wait for it! Ha!

When I was new to strength training and lifting I was often confused by workouts in magazines. Some said do sets of 8 repetitions (“reps”), some said do sets of 12 reps, and so on and so forth.
So here’s a quick guide to how many reps you should be doing.
It should be noted this is my own knowledge gleaned from a variety of sources over time. If youre looking for a print source, there was a good article in the February 2010 edition of Oxygen Magazine on reps and rest ranges(I actually give some tips below from the article, but its a great read). You can order back copies of the magazine from their website at: http://www.oxygenmag.com

I’m not saying this is the only way, or even the right way if you feel differently Id love to hear from you! Leave a comment 🙂

How Many Reps?
Your reps should be focused on your training goals. That being said, I think that using different set/rep combinations, with different weight combinations, is the best solution for most people looking to gain strength and change the look of their muscles. This is my belief because a) it keeps your muscles guessing on weight and how many reps those muscles are expected to perform, and b) because it works for me. You may find different results. 🙂
What Are The Ranges and What Are They Best For?

To Build Strength In Your Muscles
4 6 repetitions per set
Muscles contain two types of muscle fibers: fast-twitch and slow-twitch. When you lift the maximum amount of weight possible for 4-6 repetitions, you employ the use of your fast-twitch fibers, which learn to respond more quickly to strain/lifting. This, in turn, makes your muscles stronger.  Some women worry that lifting heavy weight for low reps means theyll get manly this is not the case! Your female body doesnt produce enough testosterone to make you look like an Olympic Hulk!

Rest Period
Keep in mind, when lifting heavy weight for low reps, you’ll want to factor in a longer rest period between sets – anywhere from 2 – 5 minutes works for me, depending on the muscles worked, and how heavy I am lifting that day.
To Add Muscle or Improve Shape/Size
8 12 repetitions per set
This range is – by far – the most popular range in fitness plans in magazines, exercise books, DVDs, trainers, and everything else. LOL
This rep range uses both the slow-twitch and the fast-twitch fibers, which makes it sound kind of like “the whole package”. By using both types of fibers, the shape of the muscle can improve, and you get a better definition as well.
Rest Period
Resting during this range runs from 60-90 seconds, on average. You can shorten this rest range when trying to “surprise” your muscles, but at least 60 seconds will give you the ability to do multiple sets of 8-12 reps.
To Build Endurance In Your Muscles
15 20 repetitions
I use this range the least, but it serves a very important function. By lifting a lighter weight for more repetitions, you allow your muscles to build their endurance, and allow them to be engaged and lifting for a longer period of time. This can be important if you participate in sports, want to go longer in your running or biking, or want to improve your “functional fitness” (lifting a couch, carrying groceries, etc).
The biggest, most misleading thing about this range is that – women especially – think a lighter weight/higher rep structure will make their muscles long and lean and defined. This is not the case.
This range uses mostly slow-twitch fibers, which are the muscle fibers charged with building and maintaining the endurance of your strength. This is what makes it easier for you to carry all those groceries from the car to the house!
The other big benefit of a high number of reps is it produces more capillaries, which help deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles for more effective work (Source: Oxygen)
Rest Period
Rest for high rep/low weight sets is generally low – maximum of 30 seconds. Since you’re working on endurance here, you obviously don’t want to rest too long, or you won’t be improving your muscle stamina! But a brief rest is good – unless you’re doing circuits!
Ways To Employ All Rep Ranges
That being said, using only one rep range has it limits, and eventually you will stop seeing the shape/definition you are seeking, due to your muscles getting used to the range in which you always work them.  My best results have come from alternating each reps range, to keep my muscles growing, getting stronger, and adding definition.
Ideas for using them all (Source: Oxygen):
  1. Stick with the rep range that best fits your goal – but put one or two of the other rep ranges into each week’s workout – for variety and flavor!
  2. Use each range for a few weeks (2-3 weeks) and then switch to a different rep range
  3. Go balls-to-the-wall: Use all three ranges (1 set of each) on each of your muscles during your workout!


Fun Fact:
Most of your muscles have a 50/50 split of fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers.  Some – like your calves and your abs – have more slow-twitch fibers. Take that into account when choosing reps for those muscles! (Source: Oxygen Magazine)

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