Girls Best Friends… Weights

Diamonds are too but they do not have any proven health benefits:-)

Today’s post is going to be about lifting weights. And I am taking serious weights, not some 1lbs pink dumbbells. There are many benefits, but I am going to list just a few main ones, that made me swap my cardio routine couple of times a week for some serious lifting:

  1. Increased metabolic rate – what it means is that your muscles are like engines burning more fat much longer after your workout is already over. While cardio is a great way to increase your metabolic rate only weight training can permanently do it. With every 1 lb of lean muscle you simply burn 35-50 cal a day, so with 10 lbs it is between 350-500 cal a day. How much cardio do you have to do to burn 500 cal ?
  2. Improves and restores bone density – regularly putting weight on your bones improves their spinal bone mineral density, add an adequate amount of calcium and you have a formula fighting osteoporosis.
  3. Increased strength – it is a great feeling to find out how strong you really are, not to mention all the request from your husband to open a jar:-)
  4. Injury prevention – you body is getting stronger, so there is less possibility for injury.  It becomes even more important as we grow older so take care of yourself… now!
  5. Looking better – it is no secret, that we all want to look our best and why shouldn’t we? It does not take long to see results, only few months of regular training and your self esteem arrow is gonna go up:-)
The above is what the science has to say now the following is my personal experience and observations.
Having 2  almost 9 lbs kids via C section and then nursing them for over a year each left my body far from perfect. I was thin but my boobs looked like deflated baloons, my butt was flat and my tummy …och well I got a lot of “Are you pregnant again?” questions. Everything was hanging:-(I shortly convinced myself that a tummy tuck and a boob job is going to be the only way. The problem was justifying the cost to my cheap husband who said he loves me no matter what:-) I did cardio but only when I switched to training with weights I was able to reshape my body. All I needed was commitment and hard work. My body is not perfect and it will never be because there is no such thing. That was not the goal. I just wanted to feel good in my own body again and I acomplished my mission. I like the way I look but I LOVE the way I feel. It was not only a physical change it was mental, far more important. And the fact that I did it MYSELF makes me feel even better.

The one complaint I hear over and over is „ I do not want to bulk up and look like a man”. It ‘s simply not possible because women do not have enough testosterone to develop such big muscles. Most of the women bodybuilders get testosterone injections and workout 6 hours a day so unless that is what you are planning to do there is nothing to worry about.

I have been on the road for 9 months now and could not take my weights with me for obvious reasons so i made my own:-)

I use plastic beverage bottles and milk jugs instead of dumbbells.

I also use my own body weight doing push-ups and pull-ups on a regular basis. You do not need gym memberships and fancy equipment to workout, you just need to be creative. Be sure to check out older posts: “Playground fitness routine” and “Fitness on the Go” to get more ideas.

Here it is Ladies, lift havy to be healthy, strong and lean.

 

Playground Fitness Routine

If you have kids most probably you spend 3 or even more times a week at a playground. I simply have to, or my children would destroy the house. It is good, I do not complain at all. When they were little, I had to be there with them every step of the way to help, show and hold, but now they are pretty much independent. I still have to be there of course just in case, keep an eye and make sure everyone is fine. Sometimes I had a book to read or a magazine but most of the time I just sat there for hours …until my butt hurt.

I came up with this routine because as a mom I hardly get any time for myself and I am no exception. I am used to doing fifteen things at the same time, why not fit in a workout while my kids play at the playground, right?!? It is a free gym afterall, no memberhip required!!!

Here is what I do:

  1. Jogg around the playground 15 times, you can do fast walk if you prefer. The goal is to raise your heart rate up.
  2. Chair dips on a bench. Start with 2 sets of 5 and when you build your strengh up add more. Soon you will be amazed with your tricepts, I promise:-)
  3. Pushups on a bench. I know they are hard at first but worth every second of your time. Remember, quality over quantity so do less but good ones. I started with 2 sets of 5 and then increased later on. This excercise is very powerfull because it makes your boobs bigger working all the muscles underneah, your tummy gets tighter and toned, your arms get beautiful and strong and your overall posture improves. This is a POWER excercise that everyone should do.
  4. Pullups on the monkeybars. This is the most challenging excercise for me. I mean it is hard, it is a killer. I remember my first attempts where I kept thinking I was never going to be able to pull myself up!?!?!?! I kept trying for months. Sometimes I managed to do 3 sometimes it was just one but I did not give up. Now I can do 3 sets of five. Start with just hanging on the bar and gradually try to pull yourself up. Try doing reverse grip first since you get to use your bicepts and they are going to help a lot. It might take a while but you will get there, trust me, I know. Pullups are crucial in maintaining our healh and getting our upper body strength. This POWER excercise works your whole body, your back, arms, tummy, legs, your butt…all. It is THE great multitasker!!!!
14-Feb-2012 17:35, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. u850SW,S850SW , 3.5, 6.7mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 64
14-Feb-2012 17:35, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. u850SW,S850SW , 3.5, 6.7mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 64
14-Feb-2012 17:35, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. u850SW,S850SW , 3.5, 6.7mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 64
 
14-Feb-2012 17:36, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. u850SW,S850SW , 3.5, 6.7mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 64
14-Feb-2012 17:36, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. u850SW,S850SW , 3.5, 6.7mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 64
14-Feb-2012 17:42, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. u850SW,S850SW , 3.5, 6.7mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 64
 
14-Feb-2012 17:37, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. u850SW,S850SW , 3.5, 6.7mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 64
14-Feb-2012 17:37, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. u850SW,S850SW , 3.5, 6.7mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 64
14-Feb-2012 17:36, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. u850SW,S850SW , 3.5, 6.7mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 64
 
14-Feb-2012 17:42, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. u850SW,S850SW , 3.5, 6.7mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 64
14-Feb-2012 17:43, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. u850SW,S850SW , 3.5, 6.7mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 64
14-Feb-2012 17:54, OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. u850SW,S850SW , 3.5, 6.7mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 64
 

This whole routine should take you no more then 20 minutes, that is all. Not much considering the outcome that you are going to see very soon doing it 3 times a week. I love this routine because you get the most in very little time. It has been a lifesaver for me on the road since playgrounds are everywhere! The last but not least is the example that I set for my kids showing that fitness is important at every stage of you life.

Fitness on the go, how I stay in shape while travelling.

Most of my adult life life I have been working out on my own. I say most, because I divide my life into two eras: „before kids” and „after kids”. „Before kids”, I am not even sure if I was an adult… maybe just on paper :-).

Anyway, belonging to a gym or taking regular classes are pretty darn tough when you have a family. Who has time for that, right!!!! Time gets a totally different meaning, you wonder how much more can you do with 5 minutes and sleeping for prescribed 8 hours is not an option anymore.

I could not get through all that if I did not excercise, I swear. Fitness to me is means of producing energy. Without it I would be sleepy, lethargic, tired and I would certainly not be able to keep up with my kids, who are NEVER EVER tired.

I was wondering, how I was going to fit it into my schedule while driving for few hours every other day, sleeping in tents and not being able to take any props with me (except for my bicycle and strech band).

Well, when you want something you can become pretty creative. Here is what I did before we got to San Miguel. I woke up an hour before the rest of the crew and went for a run or rode my bike. It was a great experience because we stayed mostely in National Parks, so I got to enjoy the beautiful sceneries and nature. My favourite was Hunting Island beach, the hard sand was perfect for both, running and cycling and the view of the endless ocean was very calming for my mind. Cardio is great but strengh is also escential. I created something that I call playground fitness. I would take my kids to the playground and instead of sitting on a bench just watching them play I would workout… not for long maybe 20 minutes. I started with jogging 5 times around the playground, then I would alternate between pullups on the mankey bars, pushups and tricept dips on a bench. I did few rounds and I was done for the day. The most challenging where pullups, but I started with one and gradually was able to do more. Old school excercises, but they make wonders for your body, mind and the strengh that you gain is unbelivable.

Now in San Miguel de Allende (SMA), I have much more freedom. Since we stay in one place and in a APPARTMENT I got to be much more creative and change it up a little.

I still run in the mornings. I walk my kids to school and then jog back home. It is pretty challenging since most roads here are cobblestones but on the other hand balancing on it sculpts your ass in a way you never thought was possible 🙂 I also have my favorite P90X on my laptop, so I do it 2 or 3 times a week. You need weights for that, so I made my own from gallon water jugs. I also jump rope on the rooftop terrace of our house when I do laundry.

Since we have been staying here for a while, I was able to take some yoga classes, but I am still searching for the perfect one. Either the time, the teacher or the style does not work for me. Today I tried kundalini yoga and I am positive it is not the right fit… too calm for my personality and I do not own an animal fur rug that they used as a mats 🙂

It all would not be possible if I was working full time. I would have to limit my workouts or get up at 4:30 am like Jen H does:-) I am very grateful to be a SaHM (stay at home mom), even on the go, take care of myself and what is even more important set an example for my children.