A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Archive for the ‘workouts’ Category

Taking the next step: Strength-training

Through extensive reading, I am continually learning new concepts. Eighty percent of being fit depends on nutrition. An easy way to measure portion sizes is to remember that one portion of vegetables is a double-handful, a portion of lean meat is the size of your hand, and a portion of nuts is a small, cupped handful.

Another important lesson is that cardio and clean eating will burn fat, but progressive resistance strength training is necesssary to add shape to your body. Building muscle also increases your metabolism, which in turn, burns more fat!

I have learned that the best way to stick with a fitness program is to choose healthy foods that you like and to do exercises that you enjoy doing. By choosing foods that I enjoy, I have been able to stick with the meals plans I laid out. And when I go off track, it’s easier to be motivated to get right back on, because I am not forcing myself to eat things that are unappealing.

In an effort to stay motivated for strength-training, I have decided to apply the same logic. My upper arms are my least-favorite body parts. Even when I am thin, my arms have very little tone and no definition, and I have very little upper body strength. After reviewing several workout options, I have chosen one that hope I can stick with!

Here’s my latest fitness goal:

10 minutes of strength training each day for one week.

Deltoids/Biceps/Triceps (shoulders and arms): 3 days per week

Continue 35 minutes of cardio 7 days per week.

Steps along the way: Arms and shoulders

When I decided to lose weight earlier this year, I took many small steps to help me get started. Over several months, I read everything I could find, asked others for tips, and collected tools that would help me reach my goals. As I learned, I put many new ideas into practice. I bought yoga pants and loose shorts for working out, found a digital scale for weigh-ins and a digital kitchen scale for weighing food portions. I bought a gym membership and set goals for working out every day. I also bought a new pair of gym shoes and downloaded various fitness-related iPhone apps.

I have the fitness tools and equipment that I need, and I feel confident that I know WHAT to do, but sometimes actually DOING it is difficult. I am motivated to eat clean and do cardio, but sticking with strength training is a challenge for me.

A few months ago, I bought a set of Jillian Michaels dumbbells. They sat in a box on the floor of my bedroom for awhile, then I finally committed to 10 minutes of strength training each day. Over the last three weeks, I completed three, 10-minute sessions. Instead of beating myself up for not reaching my goal, I am taking steps to a better path.

For the next week, my new goal is to be consistent with my strength workouts. For inspiration, I picked up a couple copies of Oxygen magazine.

In the Fall 2011 edition of Oxygen’s Collector’s Issue Off The Couch, there are a couple of great workouts for beginners:

1. Your All-Purpose Home Workout with dumbbells and a resistance band.

2. Head-to-toe fit…In just 15 minutes! which involves “5 total-body moves that don’t need any equipment.”

In the November 11 issue of Oxygen, I found this: Stunning Shoulders in Only Four Weeks. This workout requires the use of dumbbells, and most of the moves are done in a standing position.

Because I would like to improve the look of my arms and because I prefer to stand while exercising, I have decided to start with the Stunning Shoulders workout. I will also use selected parts of Your All-Purpose Home Workout for arms. As I get more confident, I plan to add additional routines for future workouts.