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weight & weights

May 26, 2010

Hmmmmmmm…… something has been conspicuously absent from my workouts for the last few months… since right around the time my weight plateaued…  coincidence?  Probably not.  We will see!

Yep, I have officially started lifting weights again. In the past week, 3 of my workouts have involved weight-lifting, which is a lot considering I had completely pushed the idea of weights out of my mind for months (besides some circuit training, which isn’t the same).   I feel slimmer and stronger already, and I am feeling generally optimistic about weight-lifting… I actually feel a little like I have unearthed buried treasure!

I do, however, have a TON of reservations/fears/excuses stored up in my mind about weight lifting.  Let’s get them out in the open:

1)  I’ll injure myself while lifting

2)  I’ll get insanely bulky and just look fatter!

3)  I’ll get so sore that I won’t be able to work out for days, even when I want to, or at the very least, adding weight-lifting workouts will take away from my cardio workouts

4)  I’ll look like an idiot in the weights section of the gym

5)  I need Sam (my boyfriend) to always be there with me to do weights & can’t do any lifting without him

6) Lifting weights is unnatural

…and probably more!  I definitely resist this whole weight-lifting thing.  And, some of those reasons do carry some weight (pun definitely intended)  😉  I want to take a little time sorting out fact from fear:

1)  It is definitely important to make sure you don’t get injured when you lift. Nothing is more important than this.  But that is NOT a good reason to never lift weights. You just have to be careful, and make sure you learn how to do it correctly from the start!  When you first begin weight-lifting you should have someone show you the ropes, someone you trust who lifts a lot or, ideally, a personal trainer.  They can demonstrate everything for you and then they will make sure you are using good form, doing the optimal number of reps and starting at a good weight.  It can be hard to keep track of all of these things, so I am finding it helpful to focus on a very small area/ muscle group to learn each initial weight-lifting workout.

2)  No, you won’t get insanely bulky from lifting weights, unless that is what you are going for. You have to try REALLY hard to get bulky, even if you build muscle quickly like I do.  I’m still learning this, and I have to remind myself that people go out of their way and lift extremely high numbers of lbs before getting huge muscles.  I’m just going to trust this and see how it goes… so far, it’s going well.  It feels good to feel like my muscles are stronger and more toned… and I haven’t turned into the hulk yet 😉

3) Yes, sometimes you get so sore from lifting weights that you feel like you can’t move much.  But often moving actually helps: it allows the muscles to stretch out and may help release some of the lactic acid that causes soreness (that’s what Sam says).  Yesterday my hamstrings were really really sore (actually, they still are), but I went on the stride machine anyway, and I actually found that somehow I felt less sore on the stride machine than I had just walking around the office a few hours before. So, when I find myself saying I can’t work out because I’m sore, I need to be extra honest with myself when I ask if it is just an excuse.

As for weight-lifting workouts taking away from cardio, try a weight-cardio sandwich! Warm up with cardio (15 – 25 min), work out a muscle group with weights, and then do another short cardio workout (5-15 min).  This way you can easily fit in a half hour of cardio, and breaking it up may actually be more beneficial to your body!  My friend Nadia Krasner is working towards her PhD in Medical Nutrition from Boston University, and she gives me loads of great advice.  One of the things she told me is that doing cardio after lifting weights burns way more calories. That makes sense to me… cardio certainly feels like more work after lifting!

4)  Everyone worries about looking like an idiot when they do something new.  It feels a little strange being a girl in a weight room, but no one is judging you for it, and if they are, what does that really matter?  I’m still working on this one!

5)  No, you don’t need the person who introduced you to weights to always be by your side.  In fact, odds are you won’t always have them there, and anyway, it can feel satisfying to do it on your own.  Just make sure you have someone check on your form every now and then to make sure it doesn’t slip.

6)  Yes, it is unnatural to lift weights.  But lifting heavy objects is not unnatural, so I try to just think of it in these terms, because nothing we do with our bodies in modern civilization is totally natural anyway… never lifting anything heavy is just as unnatural as repeatedly lifting metal bars!  The whole gym experience can be shockingly unnatural at times: a giant sterile warehouse full of strange, monotonous machines is definitely surreal… but again, within the context of our already unnatural lifestyles, it can still help to bring balance to your body.

Now here are some reasons why I do want to lift weights:

1) Increased muscle mass accelerates your metabolic rate

2) Strong muscles can help support weak joints/ligaments

3) When you lose a lot of weight it doesn’t look as good to just shrink as it does to reshape

4) Feeling toned gives me that I-feel-healthy glow

5) Feeling strong makes me want to use my body more

6)  In the end, it’s kinda fun 🙂

❤ Diana Banana

image courtesy of http://www.almightydad.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/lifting-weights-mouse.jpg

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Alix permalink
    May 26, 2010 2:27 pm

    I rowed in college and lifted HEAVY an average of 3 times a week. I got much smaller and more compact. I have lost probably 15 lbs of muscle after I stopped, and I feel that I look much “heavier” now that my muscles aren’t holding me up in quite the same way. Weight lifting is really really fun! It’s super rewarding to have a quantifiable way to track your progress. Enjoy!

  2. June 14, 2010 7:36 am

    Hey, I miss your blogging! How’s the weight lifting going?? Nudge nudge nudge! I just left you a present on my blog – come check it out. 🙂

  3. December 2, 2010 12:47 am

    You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material.

  4. July 6, 2013 11:25 pm

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