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Strength Training Post- Part 2

Hey friends! Open-mouthed smile

This is Part 2 of the Strength Training post. The first part- the Basics– can be read here, as can my disclaimer (important-please read!!). By the way, if you aren’t very interested in this topic, I did a ‘normal’ post this morning, so you can skip to that if you want!

So in this post:

  • How to go about strength training
  • 5 tips for strength training nutrition
  • A strength training routine- upper body only (the abs one will be done in a separate post coming soon, as this was a popular request!)
  • Sweet Tooth Runner’s ‘Tone Up’ challenge! Open-mouthed smile

How to go about strength training

  • Check with your doctor. This may sound silly, especially if you’re young and fit, but it is recommended you talk to your doctor before starting a new fitness program of any kind.
  • You don’t have to use weights! Like I mentioned in my previous post, strength training doesn’t necessarily have to be weight lifting. It can be in other forms, such as yoga.
  • Know the lingo! Sorry if this is too basic, but there are just two words you need to know as far as weights go:
  • Repetition (rep) – One complete exercise motion.

    Set– A group of repetitions

  • So how many sets and reps? How many sets and reps you do is totally up to you, and dependant on a number of things (e.g. your goal, how heavy your weights are, etc.) but the ‘usual’ recommended amount is 3 sets of 10-12 reps, with a short rest in-between sets.
  • Go slow! Lifting weights should be done fairly slowly and with control, otherwise your muscles won’t be doing the work- momentum will!
  • Rest is important. Muscles should be allowed at least 24 hours of rest before being worked again, because your muscle fibres need time to repair.
  • Set goals! I’ll be talking about my personal goal at the end of the post Smile

5 tips for strength training nutrition

  1. The most important fact: If you aren’t consuming enough calories, your muscles cannot grow (the muscle tissues can’t be built). You actually need to be consuming more than you burn. If you’re not eating enough, you won’t see muscle gain!iStock_000005896731XSmall
  2. Drink up! An obvious, but important one! You’ll need more than the normal recommended amount of water to replace what is lost, so try to drink before, during and after your workout.After Workout
  3. Get yo protein! Strength trainers need to consume more protein than the nomal recommended amount, as protein is the ‘basic building material’ for muscle tissue.protein2
  4. Pre-workout munchies. Before working out (this applies to all exercise really, not just strength training) try to eat a small meal (no more than 30 mins before) that contains complex carbohydrates and protein. The carbs for sustained energy and the protein to help your muscles as they are broken down. Example: high protein cereal and milk.DSC05529
  5. The all-important post workout meal. Directly after a strength training workout your muscles are broken down and so a fair bit protein is essential. Carbohydrates also play an important role because they are needed for an insulin spike which will release a growth hormone. Example: a big Green Monster with a couple of scoops of quality protein powder.sunWarriorNewXL

My strength training routine!

This is one of my strength training routines! This is a mix of stuff I’ve learnt from various classes and reading, so I hope it’s useful! You will need hand weights for this. I use these…DSC05565

 DSC05569…but you can use whatever ones you want!

I was going film a video for you guys today, so you can see how completely idiotic I really am, but tragically the video camera I dragged out from the attic won’t turn on Sad smile. Not a surprise really… So Plan B! I have linked all these exercise to pages with descriptions and pictures so you know what they are and how to do them. I do the usual 3 sets of 10 reps but obviously if you do this it is up to you.

Upper body exercises:

The abs post is coming at you at some point in the next few days, so stay tuned for that!

The Tone Up challenge!

So what is crazy Sweet Tooth Runner’s ‘Tone Up’ challenge? Basically, I’m going to try and do the whole strength training workout (this+abs) for 8 weeks, and see what results I get! So starting next week (Monday 17th Jan) I’m going to be doing this at least twice a week, as I have BodyPump and yoga too, and I’m excited to see what results I’ll get by the end! There will be Before and After’s too (I think we all agree here- the best bit Smile with tongue out)!  This is also part of my plan in helping to accomplish #7 of my 2011 goals! And if anyone wants to join me on the ‘Tone Up’ challenge, that’ll be awesome too! Open-mouthed smile


Have you ever done an exercise/toning challenge before? I’ve always been interested in trying Jilian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, since everyone seems to rave about it so much! And do you have a plan of how to achieve your 2011 goals? Caitlin did a great post on this recently- check it out!

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend, and have an amazing week! Smile


Strength Training post–The Basics

Hello friends! Smile

Here, as promised, it part 1 of the strength training post! This was one of the requests I received, and since this is such a big topic, I’m doing it in two parts. So look out for Part 2 later this week! Open-mouthed smile

*Disclaimer*: I am in no way experienced, or qualified, to advise on strength training. I am still learning myself, but I will post about what I know and what works for me! I have researched thoroughly, and I post these facts to the best of my knowledge. Also, the images used do not belong to me.

There are so many benefits to strength training, and most of these have only been discovered fairly recently, hence the sudden rise in popularity.

5 Reasons to strength train:

  1. Good for your bones. Lifting weights increases your bone density, thereby reducing your risk of bone diseases, such as osteoporosis (which us women are particularly prone to!)
  2. Reduces injury risk from other activities. Strength training creates strong ligaments and tendons, which support the joints.
  3. It increases your metabolism. Strength training can increase muscle fibre size. Once enlarged, they consume more energy, consequently increasing the metabolism.
  4. Has positive effects on day-to-day life. Strength training enables the performance daily activities that require lifting, pushing and pulling with much more ease.
  5. The results can be seen and felt quickly! A more muscular and toned physique does not take long to build (given certain factors such as diet.) Positive results = more confidence!

There are so many more benefits, but this would be a ridiculously long post if I put them all! Smile with tongue out Here is a link to a recent Fitsugar post about the benefits (link). However, there are also a lot of myths surrounding strength training. So here are a few of the more commonly known ones you may have heard: 

3 Strength training myths

  1. Strength training makes you look bulky and masculine– This is a common fear that women have, but it is not true! Women do not have the same hormones as men, which allows them to build bulk. Women body-builders often take drugs to counter this, but all it will give you is a more toned physique! You will not end up looking like these bodybuilders!strength-training259d8811b0caff11_body-builder
  2. If you stop strength training your muscles turn into fat/ strength training turns fat into muscle– Muscle and fat are two totally different things! Muscle can be lost through inactivity and other causes, but it doesn’t turn into fat! And likewise strength training doesn’t turn fat into muscle. It builds muscle and burns fat.
  3. Fat can be reduced in certain areas with targeted exercises– How and where fat is lost depends on, among other things, genetics, hormones and age. Targeted exercises, such as abdominal crunches, will only affect the muscle in the area, not the fat there. So if you want abs like this…3-strength-training-exercises-women-shed-fat-fast

…doing 30 crunches a day may not help you get there!

So how do I go about strength training?

  • Going to a exercise class that deals with this is a good way! I’m a huge fan of BodyPump, which can definitely give you great results! This is just one example though- there are many other classes that can give equally impressive results.body_pump
  • Buying a set of handweights/dumbbells and using those. There are various exercise routines that can be found online with dumbbells, if you need.aa-women-weighttraining-600
  • Using weight machines at a gym. These vary greatly from gym to gym, but are very easy to use, and you can use the exact resistance you want.Gym_02
  • Actual strength training isn’t the only way to build muscle, and to attain a toned physique. Other activities such as yoga require plenty of strength, and so can build muscle. So if using weights isn’t for you, it isn’t a problem!imagesCADVHV1T

In Part 2 of my strength training post later this week, I will post one of my own strength training routines, how to go about training, and about nutrition and strength training. Please do bear in mind though that I am not an expert, but this is all personally learnt information and experiences that was requested!

So do you do any strength training, or do you want to? What exactly do you do, and has it/is it giving you results? Please feel free to leave your own thoughts, tips etc on this topic!

Hope this was helpful to all of you, and particularly to those who requested it! Smile Tomorrow will be a normal post again!

Tackling the 2011 goals

Hello lovelies! How’s 2011 treating ya?

I woke up behind schedule today after another late night (bad habit!) and was slightly late for church! Whilst throwing on clothes, I threw a slice of bread in the toaster and the ingredients for a breakfast smoothie in the blender. BLEND.DSC05298

Just had enough time to gulp it down and slather PB on my toast before dashing out the door and running down the road to church. Whilst eating my toast. And wearing this hat:untitled

Okay, I don’t have that ultra-cool hat (yet), or this equally cool shirt…untitled 2

…but my birthday’s only 9 months away…got the subtle hint guys? Winking smileAnd yes, I do look like that person on the shirt when eating PB. Foodgasm alert.

Anyway, moving swiftly on! I had a quick lunch before going shopping (yes, again!).DSC05318

Houmous and sautéed courgette on toast, with more courgette and smoked almond+sesame seed tofu on the side. Followed by…DSC05324

Dark choccie x3. Obviously.

Shopping mission today? To get hand weights to help accomplish 2011 goal #7! Mission accomplished. 2 x 2.5kg hand weights which were half price! Open-mouthed smileDSC05328

DSC05308But it wasn’t easy, I can tell ya that! Getting them home involved 5 plastic bags, which subsequently broke, and so I had to stuff them in my handbag.DSC05302

Poor handbag. It wasn’t designed for carrying >5kg, and neither was my shoulder! Smile with tongue outBut hopefully I’ll do a weight training post this week, so keep your eyes peeled!

I also used up the last of my book shop gift card on this book which totally caught my eye:DSC05311

DSC05310Babycakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-about Bakery

This book is the bomb. Yes, that good. Looking through the recipes, I loved everything!

And with ingredients lists like this…


Ingredients for raspberry scones

…and with pictures like this…


Double chocolate crumb cake

can ya blame me? I can’t wait to bake some stuff from here! Open-mouthed smile

So I’m off to spend an hour all night looking through this book.

Do you get excited over recipe books, or is it just me? Seriously, I could happily spend  whole day perusing one! And have any of you started making headway on your New Years Resolutions/Goals? I’ve stuck to doing some yoga everyday so far (well it has only been 2 days to be fair!) and am getting moving on the weight training. Also, I’m planning to go to some new exercise classes over the next few days which is exciting! SmileSo numbers 5, 6 and 7 on their way!

Have a great evening! I know I sure will! Winking smile

First ever yoga class!

Today was the day. The day I would finally go to my first proper yoga class. In the past, I’ve been to a few one-off yoga courses, etc but had never found a good, cheap local class that I could make. However I found a little notice about a class pinned to a noticeboard, and it sounded good! When I called up about it, the instructor described it as a ‘small class’. He wasn’t kidding! I brought a friend along with me, and apart from the guy leading the class, there was just one other person! So practically 1-2-1! Smile This was my favourite pose:


The Pose of a Warrior! Open-mouthed smile The class, although relaxing, was so tough! There was SO much I couldn’t do! But soon, I’ll be able to do all sorts of amazing moves hopefully! But I can feel certain underused muscles (ahem abs and arms!) complaining already! I’m going to be stiff tomorrow! Smile with tongue out

I was in a smoothie mood today, so breakfast was a good old breakfast smoothie with added oatbran:DSC03710

My lunch that I threw together in about 30 seconds before I ran out of the door  was leftover brown rice from dinner a couple of nights ago with some marinated tofu chunks (in my usual reused butter tub of course!) :DSC03716

During my lunch hour, I had planned to get in 20-30 mins of fartlek on a treadmill. Much as I dislike/hate the treadmill, it is really useful for interval training and that sort of thing! But I heard of a (free) group exercise class happening at the exact same time, so decided on impulse to go to that instead. Man was it hard! It was like a BodyPump class, but with a ton of push-ups and bench presses thrown in!  I was a right sweaty mess by the end, and my arms felt like jelly! Must. Gain. Arm. Muscles!

So tomorrow I have a 3 hour music rehearsal that starts at 9am (oh joy!) but I am hoping that I can get in a short run before that…we’ll see how I feel in the morning! Smile with tongue out But thanks goodness it’s the weekend now! Open-mouthed smile

So questions: Do you do yoga, and if so, do you have a favourite pose? And treadmills: love them or hate them?

Have a great weekend everyone! Smile