Tag Archives: strength workout

Strong is the New Skinny

hope you’ve been seeing this around. Within the recent decade, gyms, fitness centers, and health clubs have been booming. And along the last couple of years, females have been admired for getting buff. Especially this and last year, as I’ve noticed, there are tons of phrases coming out like “Strong is the new skinny” and I am 100% on board with that. For too long, women have been shuffled into a space where they are expected to look a certain way.

Hello, earth to people–everyone’s body behaves, evolves, and trains differently. That’s it. Check out this post to learn more about fitness definitions like “mesomorph” that describe different body types. Now, I’m not saying, go and eat 5 cheeseburgers because it’s okay to be fat. No, it’s not okay to be overweight for your body type–not because of how you look, but because of the health inside of you and the problems it can create. No, I’m saying, that it’s okay to have more than 15% body fat, that skinny is out, and strong is in.

Abby Wambach, the “gladiator” of the US Women’s National Soccer Team

Once you begin strength training and really building yourself with endurance, strength, and agility, you find power. Think of our Olympians–they’re sexy because they’re strong. And guess what–it is HEALTHIER to be strong. Often times, it can be unhealthy to be skinny. It’s a whole new level of empowerment. I ask you to stop shying away from your broad shoulders like I once did and embrace them. They give you great power for swimming, back workouts, and overall strength. They help you become a better athlete.

Me during a pull workout a few months ago

Me during a pull workout a few months ago

Some people call me skinny and I stop them. I don’t have a lot of body fat, but I do have a good amount of muscle. I am strong, not skinny. I almost take insult to being called skinny now when I would’ve loved that compliment five years. Times have changed and perspectives are almost coming around to where they should be. I am lucky enough to have someone like Chris who admires me for my strength, which all should do of their partners instead of desiring unrealistic and unhealthy figures. I apologize for the rant, but I’m sick of people starving themselves to get a certain look. Feed your body and put it through work. Love yourself, love your body, and love the power that strength can give you.

Treat your body with respect and kindness. STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY 

Where Did My Arms Go?

It’s the third week in January and I haven’t focused on my arms in the gym once. Add that to the fact that we haven’t really really worked out since mid-November-ish and it’s been months since I’ve touched my arms. Now, are arms a body part that I enjoy working out? Not entirely, and I don’t think that they need the same amount of focus that other body parts need.. but should anything be neglected? Of course not, so it almost had to be done. With a recent chest-back workout that left me sore and somewhat sore shoulders, I knew I would have to be very careful and not cheat with any motions. Considering they’re one of my weakest body parts, due to neglect and injuries, it wasn’t awful. Here’s how it went.

Working Out

Working Out (Photo credit: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)

6:22Warm up superset: chinups 6-7 reps/tricep dips 8-9... 90 degrees on all my reps, no full range of motion but hitting my contractions right
6:28main superset 1: iso incline pinky offset curls/incline iso cross-body extensions… alternating a 30 and 45 degree incline, 4 sets of increasing weight and decreasing reps, to failure
6:43main superset 2: ez bar preacher curl/horserope cable tricep push downs4 sets increasing weight and decreasing reps, to failure
6:53main superset 3: iso seated hammer curls/seated overhead dbell extensions: 4 sets of increasing weight and decreasing reps on the curls while decreasing weight and increasing reps with extensions, to failure
7:07main superset 4: standing iso reverse curls/flat ez bar skullcrushers4 sets of increasing weight and decreasing reps with a drop set for the last set of skullcrushers, to failure
7:23 – (Running a little long, realize cardio is out of the question) main superset 5: cable iso lowering achilles curl/cable no grip iso tricep kickback4 sets of maintaining weight at 1-2 setting until failure
7:37tricep cool down: over the top horserope cable presses... 4 sets of increasing weight and decreasing reps with a drop set at the end, until failure
7:44bicep cool down: arm curl machine, bilateral… 4 sets until failure with decreasing weight and increasing reps
7:49finished, 4 minutes of boxing on the bag with gloves to finish up, maintain some discipline and get the heart rate up a little bit
English: an exercise of triceps

English: an exercise of triceps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Overall, it was good enough and since I never feel like I get a good arm workout, I wasn’t at all disappointed that I felt like I didn’t get a good arm workout. Try to work opposing muscle groups sometimes to really reach great contractions and full stretches during your “rest” periods. Supersets are a great way to keep you moving, shorten your workout, and push yourself harder. Just be careful committing to one when the gym is busy because you might have your equipment or machine taken, no questions asked.

 

At the gym for an hour and a half, pretty long for just arm strength training but sometimes you need to take it slowly when you’re getting just back into your routines so you don’t get hurt. Especially when working on one of your weaknesses. Also, remember that there are many ways to grip a dumbbell when working biceps, neutral/thumb offset/pinky offset. It could be a little detail you can adjust this week and work some different muscles. That’s the tip of the post!

Circuit Training and Why You Should Try It

Ever feel like your workout is stale? Don’t look forward to it because you’ve done it numerous times before? You might’ve even reached a plateau and haven’t been able to achieve new progress lately. Don’t sweat it (lol, get it), it happens to all of us if we don’t change our workouts up. For example, we always switch up the muscle groups and add new exercises. But say you just do total-body workouts, which a lot of people do, and you’re just getting bored and losing interest. I have a solution! 

It’s called circuit training. No, you don’t need to be an athlete, a fitness extraordinaire  or even in shape! This will be the pathway to getting there and having some fun while doing so. Circuit training involves numerous stations with little rest time in between. This especially great for people who want to lose or maintain weight because you’re constantly keeping your heart rate up and your body moving. You give yourself a certain amount of time or reps at each station and then move to the next without resting. There are various ways to do this, and you can even do it at home. 

Let me give you an example. 8 Stations:

  1. Push ups 
  2. Supermans 
  3. Dumbbell swings 
  4. Mountain climbers 
  5. Plank 
  6. Curl, shoulder press, triceps extension (one sequenced movement) 
  7. High knees (in place) 
  8. Squat jumps 

You would go through say, 45 seconds of each station and move to the next. It depends on your fitness level. With some of my more beginner clients, I will give them 15 seconds rest between every two stations rather than until the end. I will give you variations at the end. Want to workout at home and don’t have any equipment? No problem.

  1. Squat jumps
  2. Push ups
  3. Reverse crunches 
  4. Russian twists 
  5. Jumping jacks
  6. Lunges
  7. Calf raises 
  8. Jog on the spot 

Don’t need any equipment for that one. And you can design the circuit training to fit your needs. Looking for only cardio? Swap the strength exercises (like push ups) for things like jumping jacks, jump rope, high knees, mountain climbers, jog in place, and so forth. Want to focus more on strength? Take out the cardio and add more strength in. Either way, you’re getting your cardio up by going from station to station without rest. Personally, I would suggest keeping both in the routine. Strength and cardio training is important for everyone, I don’t care who you are.

List of more exercises you can do (with and without equipment):

  • Crunches
  • Dips
  • Squat press
  • Plie squats
  • Wall sits
  • Triangle push ups
  • Step ups
  • Shadow boxing
  • Medicine ball throw
  • Chest press
  • Pec flies
  • Skull crushers
  • Jump lunges
  • Hip bridges
  • Burpees
  • Curls

And so on and so forth. There are tons of exercises you can do. You can make your own routine. Pull some of your favorite exercises from the list and go for it. Try to hit all parts of your body.

Beginner: 8 stations, 45 seconds at each station, 15 seconds of rest after each two stations, two minutes rest at the end, complete three circuits.

Intermediate10 stations, 1 minute at each station, 15 seconds of rest after 5 stations, two minute rest at the end, complete three circuits.

Advanced: 12 stations, 2 minutes at each station, no rest in between, two minute rest at the end, complete three to five circuits.

Please, try circuit training. At your gym, at your home, outside, wherever! Some advantages of circuit training? I already covered some but I’ll recap: saves on time, encourages fat loss, keeps your heart rate up, effective use of time and exercise, works on all muscles of your body, improves your cardio, and improves strength. Those are just a few. You choose the number of stations, length of time at each station, and how many circuits you have time to do. Challenge yourself every time.

Let me know what circuit you did and how it went! And if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.