Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Weight Training

In contrast to my not-quite-in-control eating, I've been doing really well with weight training lately. I've been going pretty regularly three times a week and spending about 45 minutes on my routine, which involves a lot of free weights, ab work, and a couple of machines.

I enjoy it in that I (usually) look forward to going and start off in a good mood, and in that I feel very good after doing it. But it's somewhat murderously hard to pick up weights that you can barely move 8 or 10 times. Your body gets into an anaerobic thing where you can't get enough air and it kind of feels like you're going to die all over. Afterwards I am completely worn out.

Last week, I found this awesome website - stumptuous.com - about women's weight training. It has a ton of information, advice, and just general kick-assness about the whole thing. (Almost all of the advice and info is gender-neutral, so guys, feel free to check it out.) I especially like the suggestions about routines and, really, all of the articles on the training page. But just click through the links at the top and enjoy.

Since finding that site, I've added squats to my workout. (You can read all about them here if you want.) I had been using a leg press machine, and doing some partial squats holding onto a railing, but a couple of visits ago I tried a real squat (not with weights). I did about 5 of them (not all with great form) and it murdered my legs. I could barely walk for three days.

But last time, I did 2 sets of 3, with better form than last time (still no weights; arms out in front zombie-style as illustrated on the link above), and my legs were weak afterwards but not sore the next day. People who are serious about weight lifting seem to think squats are super-important, so I'm glad to be headed down this path. It makes me feel like a stud, though I'm pretty far away from being able to do them with a heavy bar on my back. (Once I can do a set of 15 or 20 with my weight, I'll start working on the real thing.)

When I first wanted to do a squat, I couldn't even figure out how to try one. I mean, physically I didn't know how to start. Then I remembered peeing in the woods in snowshoes and a ski bib last winter, and realized I do at least know how to crouch, which somehow gave me the courage to just get down into some kind of a squat. I'm still working on balance so that I'll be reliably on my heels and not forward on my toes, but it gave me a place to start.

So despite the eating thing not going entirely well, I'm having success in an area that is fun and important to me. And I'm definitely getting stronger all over.

1 comment:

sally said...

I should have told you about that site months ago, but I had forgotten about it; it had been too long since I checked it out. But she is very much of the Squats Rule school. Have you tried doing the beginner-level wall squat, in which you, well, put your back against a wall to give you some support as you do the squat? I haven't done this personally, but I've often seen it cited as a way to get started with squats. I'm sure it would be easy to google up the instructions if you're curious. I don't have a long bar (or, probably, the strength to use it and keep anything like decent form); I do squats with a barbell held to my chest for added weight.