3 words (and one extra)

Three words: 




Remember when I asked you all to come up with three words that you’d describe yourself with? Well, I have this habit of asking Scott random questions when we’re eating dinner or sitting on the deck, going for a walk, whatever. It’s always something really random. So the other night (I think it was Sunday), I asked him how he’d describe me in three words (words, not phrases, I specified).

And these were the words he uttered…sexy, strong, adorable.

I don’t know why, but those words totally made me blush – even though he’s probably complimented me using those words a hundred times in the nearly seven years since we’ve been married. But hearing him rattle them off without hesitation really struck me somehow. Reminded me how grateful I am to have such an awesome husband who adores me (and who I adore right back!), but also reminded me that I should revisit these words next time I have a low confidence moment. So, while looking in the mirror this morning while getting ready for my day (in the midst of watching William & Kate coverage!), I remembered those words and made sure not to let negative thoughts creep in.

Sometimes it truly is the little things – like three simple words – that make all the difference. 

Regardless, I urge you to give this little exercise a try – with your boyfriend, your husband, your best friend, your sister. You might be surprised by what you hear. Embrace it. 


So the title of my post mentions “three words (and one extra)” – that extra word? 

Half marathon.  

I can’t get it off my mind…despite my running mojo being  a little hit or miss lately.

And the half I *really* can’t get off my mind?

The Healdsburg Half. 

At the end of October, amidst the vines in Dry Creek.

Am I crazy to sign up for it when I haven’t even figured out our vacation plans to return there this fall?? 

Or should I throw a little caution to the wind and register anyway, even if it could mean a very quick weekend trip to Cali just to run this race?

Am I equally crazy for also still wanting to run the Wicked Half again a month prior – just because that race holds sentimental value to me as my first-ever half marathon?

Hm. I think I’m crazy.

The teeter-totter effect…

Remember that feeling you’d get as a child sitting on a seesaw – that teeter-totter feeling where you aren’t sure if you’ll stay up, balance well with your friend on the other end, or come slamming to the ground? 

That’s the balancing act I sometimes find myself in as it relates to fitness and living a balanced, healthy (and happy) life.

You all know how much I pride myself on my ability to maintain pretty decent balance most of the time – and that it’s something I’ve been working on extra hard this year in particular. Focusing on being more present, on getting past the workout “numbers game” and enjoying my workouts, and my life outside of fitness, as much as possible. No regrets, no guilt, no what-if’s.

Well I was reminded this morning of that dangerous teeter-totter effect that comes into play now and then and that yes, I still battle it from time-to-time. Long story short – I tried to skip my rest day because this morning’s weather was begging to be run in. And I almost did skip it if my conscience didn’t get the best of me and I admitted to Scott that I  hadn’t taken a rest day in almost two weeks (my last one was on a Sunday I believe). To that, he promptly responded by resetting the alarm clock and forcing me back to bed. Now, I’ll admit that my body was indeed telling me to rest, but my brain was not hearing it. It literally took Scott’s reaction to get me to accept it (thank God for him, seriously).

I guess the moral of this little story is two-fold:

Finding – and maintaining – balance is hard.  And takes lots of diligence. 

Falling out of balance happens to the best of us. Even to those that *think*  <ahem> they’re doing a bang-up job of maintaining said balance.  

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m honestly not beating myself up here. I’m human. It happens. I know that. I guess it just totally struck  me this morning by just how much of a teeter-totter effect that this whole “balance” thing can take on. And that I can always be more diligent about maintaining good balance.

And, similar to what Fred DeVito said about fitness being a journey that never ends, well – balance is also a journey that never truly ends. 

My question to you – how do you keep good balance in your life? Do you struggle with it? Do you try to go with the flow? Do you not think about it at all?

What I worked Wednesday


That was quite the workout this morning. Now that I’m fully refueled (thanks to the hubs who has perfected the scrambled egg, I swear…and this from the guy who doesn’t even like eggs to begin with!), I thought I’d check in before my day goes into overdrive at the office (though I’m working from home today so I guess I should say “at my dining room table.”)

This morning started with a 6am Ride class – as usual, with my favorite instructor. She killed us – love it. But I noticed something. I seriously was sweating WAY more than I normally do in that class. Legit sweat pouring into my eyes. Reminded me of those longer half marathon training runs this past summer when it was 80 degrees at 7am. Oh how I miss those days…and cannot wait to get back to fierce running form again. I’m getting there. And I’ll take it (this is a reminder for you too, sis. We got this). 

When I got back, I decided to get my back/chest workout done.
Here’s how it looked:

Superset #1:

push-ups (wide)

Superset #2:
one-arm rows
bench press

Superset #3:
Y’s with the resistance band
Flat-bench flyes
3×15 (or 20 depending on how I felt)

Quick and dirty – love those supersets!

This was the very workout I told ya’ll on twitter last night that I was foregoing in favor of being present. Was just what we needed – we watched (ok, sorta watched if you’re me) the Bruins playoff game while playing rummy on the couch together. Yep, we’re dorky that way. We actually have a bet going – which makes this much more fun, I’m so competitive!

Here are the details:  First one who wins 25 hands of rummy gets to pick the other person’s “losing prize.” If I win, Scott has to come with me to get a mani/pedi (seriously, that boy’s cuticles are in dire need…and c’mon, it would just be funny to see him in a pedi chair). If I lose? Scott takes me to Foxwoods or Mohegan where I have to actually play a table game (if we ever go to a place like that, I usually just watch, it makes me nervous, the whole betting thing). So yeah…I digress. But this is how we Sutera’s roll. A little dorkiness never hurt anyone, right?  😉

So yeah, long story short – I’m in a rambly, kinda goofy mood today. I blame it on the endorphin rush from today’s workout. Left me feeling super-duper alive. I dig it. Feeling good.  How ya’ll doing with your good/great week??

Two (good) things Tuesday

There sure is something to be said for positive thinking. My all GOOD post from yesterday on how I envisioned this week panning out is paying off so far.

So today’s post is all about two (good) things Tuesday. 

First up? My run this morning. It was as close to runner’s high as I’ve gotten in months. I won’t classify it as a top ten run but it was definitely my best longer (of late) run for me. It was *only* about 4.5 miles but it was a run where the miles didn’t hurt. The brain didn’t throw me into panic-I-hate-this mode.  It was hard. And that felt good.

It reminded me of something my husband always tells me (and clearly I must have forgotten this fact) – if you’re doing it right, running should always be a challenge. It should never feel “easy” or “effortless.”  Sure – some days you might feel like you could run forever. Those are rare days in the world of running. And I think part of my problem is that I forgot that fact. In all my haste to get back to runner’s high again, I guess I sort of idealized running in my head a little bit.

Because the fact of the matter isI run because it IS hard. It IS challenging. And it makes me feel alive.
Bottom line. 

So, I’m feeling good and confident again that I am still indeed very much a runner. A runner that lost her way for a little bit, but a runner through and through. And that feels damn good.

What else is making me feel good? The fact that my sis and I discovered an awesome alternative to trekking into the city for Core FusionBarre N9NE is a studio near both of us that we tried for the first time last night (thank you Gilt Boston!). And it was SUCH fun, a great workout, and pretty similar to the barre-style that Core Fusion is known so well for. The one piece I’ll admit that was slightly amiss for me was the body-mind connection/inspiration piece that Core Fusion teachers at Exhale are known for. I really dig that part of the class – the guidance to look inward, to dig deep, to focus on connecting your breathing with your movements.

But honestly? Aside from that, I loved the class – and that it does give me an alternative to Boston which means I’m more likely to stick with barre-style sessions consistently, something I fully believe I need to continue to do to build a strong core, and long, lean muscles. But let me be clear, that doesn’t mean I am not still fully committed to Core Fusion and Exhale. They will always hold “first place” in my heart. I just can’t help it. 😉

Two (good) things Tuesday – running, running, running, and a local Core Fusion alternative. Wee! 
What’s on your good list for today?? 

It’s gonna be a GOOD week

<says the girl who has a serious case of the Monday’s today>

Power of positive thinking, yes? But seriously – I do think it’s gonna be a GOOD, if not GREAT, week.

Why, you ask?

Well…there will be a lot of this:

A little bit of this: (more on what this is all about later):

And more of this:

Plus a fun blog friend meet-up in Boston on Thursday night (with blog reader Susan, all the way from Ireland! Can’t wait!).

So yes, I’m thinking this week will a goodie, and that’s sometimes all it takes. A little positive thinking,  lots of fun workout plans (if you’re a workout dweeb like me) and a great weather forecast (ignore the clouds, look at those temps!:

Three simple things to make me focus on the right things in my day and my week. Instead of wasting time focusing on the wrong things (the fact that it’s Monday…the weekend flew by…and “can’t-waiting” for the next weekend to come.)

Instead, I’m trying to live more presently and this is one pretty easy way of doing it. (something I know my husband can really appreciate…less “always-on-ness” and more “disconnectedness”)

So now, you take stock of your week and report back – how is this going to be a GOOD week for you??

Friday faves – weight training DVD’s edition

Weeeee, it’s Friday!!!!!
Whew. Sorry – just had to get that out of my system. 😉

ALSO – before I forget: I changed my twitter handle. I am keeping @jsutera654 for professional use mainly and have created a separate handle for my personal life (i.e. fitness, food, wine, y’know the drill by now). Please start following me here: @JessFit654. I started following all of you guys last night but if I missed you, please follow back! Who knew creating a new handle would be so stressful!!

Anyway, I’ve been riding quite a high after last night’s incredibly inspired Core Fusion class with Fred DeVito. It amazes me what a long-lasting impact just one class with him has on me. Seriously. And I’m pretty darn sore in the glutes/thighs and core region. Nice ‘n toasty, love that!

Before I get to the final post in my weight training series, I thought I’d share my workout from this morning. I won’t lie, it wasn’t my best effort, I think I was a little sleepy this morning. Plus, I think I might have held back a bit as I’m hoping to go for a run this afternoon since the weather tomorrow looks like a total fail of a forecast (rainy, cloudy, ick) so I might have to nix the run tomorrow in favor of Ride or another indoor activity. See? Always planning ahead. 😉

Back/Biceps/Triceps – endurance-style

Back – straight sets
pull-ups – bodyweight only; 3×10
bent-over rows w/dumbells @25 lbs; 3×15
Deadlifts @40 lbs; 3×15

Biceps/Triceps – supersets
Superset#1: barbell curl @25 lbs w/lying tricep extensions @25 lbs; 3×15
Superset #2: Hammer curls @15lbs w/dips on the bench (bodyweight); 3×15
Superset #3: medicine ball preacher curls @10 lbs (double-arm); tricep kickbacks @10 lbs (double-arm) <—these preacher curls got me good, love them!

Now – onto some Friday Faves – weight training, style. A few of you mentioned you’d love to start out with doing some weight lifting at home so I thougth I’d share with you some of my absolute favorite weight training DVDs. 

Butts & Guts – this is an older Cathe Friedrich workout but my absolutely FAVORITE lower body workout. Really gets the butt GOOD. Uses mainly light handweights or body weight only activity, plus lots of floor work (love to hate). She actually just released an “updated” version of this workout called Lower Body Blast, highly recommend this one, too. 🙂

Pyramid Upper and Pyramid Lower Body – this is great for those of you who want to get at least one upper and one lower body workout in a week. As I mentioned in my post on styles of weight training, this workout is based on pyramids, or three sets of one exercise “up” the pyramid and then the same three exercises back down. You increase the weight to the top of the first three sets and then decrease back down. Realllly good burner. This one also has a great pre-mix that incorporates some upper and lower body workout for those of you who want to try a full body workout once a week.

STS (Shock Training Sytem) ‘nuf said. This is an amazing workout series. It’s pricey, and it requires a time commitment (3 1/2 month rotation) but absolutely worth it).

Core Fusion Body Sculpt – my favorite Core Fusion DVD as it really does mimic the class experience the closest. Includes light handweights at the start and then bodyweight only work for the rest of the workout. Full body workout. Amazing.

Core Fusion Lean & Toned – this is my second favorite Core Fusion DVD, really focuses on the lengthening/strengthening idea behind Core Fusion. Mix of light handweights, body weight work and lots of stretching. Love.

STS Total Body – This is a newer Cathe workout as well – if you aren’t ready to invest in the full STS series, you could try this one out and see what you think. As the name implies, its a full body workout and is based mostly on the second phase of STS which is the hypertrophy phase (lower reps, mid-level weights).

High Reps – Another new one from Cathe. A great workout from an endurance perspective as it’s all about lighter weights but TONS of reps. It is killer, not gonna lie. This is another total body workout, btw.

Hm, I am pretty sure I could go on for weeks about my favorite workouts to do at home…or you could just check out this pic and you’ll spy lots more workout DVDs to try from my personal collection. 😉

Overheard at Core Fusion…

…”Focus on your journey…a journey that never ends.(fitness)”

Spoken by the one and only Fred DeVito, founder of Core Fusion and Exhale Spas.

You might remember the last time my sis and I took a class of his last time he was in Boston. It went something like this:

That was life changing…

I didn’t think. I just moved.

And it was unreal just how motivating it was, and incredibly detoxfying. I even tried some moves I was only modifying before and I was stunned to see that I didn’t do a half bad job at the “real” version of flat back, for example. Just his encouragement was all I needed – he came by during that very move and said “tomorrow – you’ll get there” and just smiled. And I beamed with pride

Yeah, it was just like that. Again.

Only this time? I felt even more confident in my movements. Even stronger. More in control. More in the moment.

And, remember those moves I talked about mastering?
Yeah, I still haven’t mastered them. Truthfully, I never will.

As Fred said, fitness is a journey that never ends. And working through Core Fusion is part of that journey for me in such a big way. I was just so incredibly proud of myself tonight for the changes I saw in some of those moves. Moves I thought I’d never get better at back during my original Core Fusion Challenge.

The curl? MUCH stronger and more control.
Flat back/round back series? Yup, still have majorly tight hamstrings but the more I do these moves, the better it’s getting.

And I dig it. So much.

But really, it truly has become all about the journey for me. Not just with Core Fusion but with all of these fitness goals I place before me. Goals that are no longer about the numbers. Not about schedules. Not about structure.

Weight training.
Swimming (someday!).
Core Fusion.

A journey.
My journey. 
A journey that never ends.

Weigh’r do I start?

<Editor’s note: I must ap0logize for that title, I am suuuuuch a dork for finding that play on words to be kinda funny If you aren’t nearly as dorky as me, it was my way of saying “where do I start with weight training schedules.”>

But yes, this is my third in the series on weight training (if you missed the first and second, go back and check ’em out!) – and this one is all about giving you an idea for how to build your own workout schedule for a given week. And a little insight into how to turn that into a “rotation” – thought this was especially important for those of you who said you had a hard time sticking with a weight training program because there wasn’t a tangible “end” like there is if you’re training for a race or something more definitive.


My advice for building your own weight training schedule is this:

  • Keep it simple
  • Keep it manageable
  • Make it fun

There are tons of schools of thought on working all upper body then all lower body vs. a couple of body parts per workout vs. full body workouts, but I’ve found that working 2-3 body parts per workout is effective for me. There are times when I go for a full body workout (like Group Power, my favorite group weight training class), but lately I’ve been digging the working 2-3 body parts/workout groove. It lets me work each muscle just a little bit more intensely than if I were doing a full body workout (which would entail less exercises per body part).

Again – this is what works for me, you’ll have to play around with schedules to figure out what style you like, what works for you and what makes you keep coming back for more. And remember, I’m still no professional, this is just my advice from personal experience only.

Monday – chest/back
Chest Superset #1: chest press done with either a barbell or dumbells, whichever you have, both work well here. Follow this up with chest flyes done with dumbells
3 sets; 15-17 reps per set. 30-45 seconds of rest in between sets.
Chest Superset #2: Incline chest press done with either dumbells or a barbell; incline chest flyes to follow
3 sets; 15-17 reps per set. 30-45 seconds of rest in between sets.

Back superset #1: Stiff legged deadlifts (barbell or dumbell will work), followed by bent-over barbell rows;
3 sets; 15-17 reps per set. 30-45 seconds of rest in between sets.
Back superset #2: One-armed row with a dumbell, using a weight bench for stability; followed by lat pulldowns with a resistance band

Wednesday – Shoulders/Legs
(note – this has become one of my favorite pairings, since it’s only one upper body part, I can work those shoulders good, and legs, well I just love working legs so it’s always a fun workout for me!)

Legs set #1: Lunges, body-weight only. 3 sets/15-20 reps per side. 30-45 secs rest between sets.
Legs set #2: Squats with a barbell (or dumbells). 3 sets/15-20 reps per side. 30-45 secs rest between sets.
Legs set #3: Plie squats with one weight. 3 sets/15-20 reps per side. 30-45 secs rest between sets.
Legs set #4: Calf raises with two weights.3 sets/15-20 reps per side. 30-45 secs rest between sets.

Shoulders superset #1: Front raises followed by overhead press with the barbell (or dumbells); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets.
Shoulders superset #2: Overhead presses with dumbells w/arms rotated forward followed by rear delt flyes; 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets.
Shoulders superset #3: Side lateral raises followed by upright row with the barbell  (or dumbells); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets.

Friday – Biceps/Triceps:
(note – sticking to supersets or trisets for the most part since it’s the easier of the various styles of weight training I discussed here to learn, IMHO anyway)

Superset #1: barbell curl followed by triceps dips; 3 sets @16 reps each. 30 secs rest between each set.
Superset #2: concentration curls followed by lying triceps extension with barbell: 3 sets @ 16 reps each. 30 secs rest between each set.
Superset #3: incline curls followed by double arm kickbacks; 3 sets @16 reps each. 30 secs rest between each set.
Superset #4: hammer curls followed by one arm overhead triceps extension; 3 sets @16 reps each. 30 secs rest between each set.

Whew. Seems like a lot to learn, right? But really, once you get started, I’m betting you’ll be surprised at how quickly the time passes and that you might actually have a little bit of fun in the process. (who knew?!)

If you wanted to turn this into a one-month rotation, I would stick to three weight training sessions per week, but I’d up the weights you’re lifting by about 5% per week  (or whatever feels good to you, just always remember that the last rep or two should be hard to complete with good form, if you’re not feeling challenged, you should go heavier).

I’d stick to this schedule for about four weeks and then re-evaluate:
Are you still having fun?
Feeling challenged?
Seeing/feeling results?

If you answer “no” to any of these – it’s time to switch it up. Go for a full body workout twice per week. Or, work all upper body one day, all lower one day. Choose a different style of lifting – try some drop-sets or double-wave loads. Go for heavier weights and fewer reps. Go for a body weight-only workout with something like Core Fusion. Add some floor work to you leg routine (leg lifts anyone??).

There are literally endless options when it comes to lifting, just imagine all the possibilities, right??

Supersets, drop-sets, trisets, oh boy…

If you read yesterday’s post on weight lifting (not scary, promise), you’d know that I alluded to future blog posts in this quasi-blog series of mine. Well, here’s the second in the “series” – this one is all about various styles of weight lifting you probably have heard of but might not know exactly what it all means.

I’ll break it down for you here, in my very-non-scientific-I’m-no-expert-I-just-love-to-lift-weights way. 😉

Trisets – probably my most favorite style of weight lifting, especially for legs. I’ve talked about it before. It’s basically three exercises (typically for one body part, but can include 2-3 body parts) done back to back for three sets. For example: a leg triset might include squats followed by lunges followed by calf raises. You’d do that triset three times in a row, resting for 30-60 seconds in between.

Drop-sets – are all about fatiguing the muscle by “faking” it out. It’s basically a set of three exercises done at “dropped” weights after each set. For example: You might start doing bicep curls at 15 lbs for 152-20 reps. For the next round, you’d drop down to 12 lbs for 20-25 reps. And the final round you’d be at 10 lbs for 25-30 reps, or better yet – to failure. This burns out the muscle in a great way and by “faking” it out, your muscle thinks it’s lifting the same pounds from the first round so it works just as hard as if it were lifting heavier weights, which allows you to lift longer and harder by the last round. <again – these are my made-up definitions, hopefully you get the idea, if not, check this out for a more scientific explanation.>

Back-off sets – is a favorite you’ll see in Cathe’s STS workouts that I love, love, LOVE (more on what this is, in a sec). If you’ve ever lifted a set of weights for a particular muscle group but felt like that last set didn’t burn you out quite enough? Try this. Back off your last set to 40% of what you were lifting and lift for as many reps as you can without compromising form, and go to failure (again without compromising form). Awesome burner.

Supersets – another favorite of mine as you’ve probably noticed, this involves two exercises done back to back – usually for the same muscle group but it can also be done for two complementary muscle groups (i.e a bicep/tricep superset vs. a back superset or chest superset). This is a time saver but it’s also an intensity builder.

Double-wave load – is similar to a pyramid style workout (if you’ve ever done Cathe’s Pyramid Upper or Pyramid Lower body workout, this is a similar, though not exactly the same, style to that). It’s about slowly upping your weights for a total of six sets of exercises for one body part. It tricks your body into recruiting more muscle fibers in the second set because you’re slowly increasing your weight (by 5% with each set). For example: if you’re doing a bicep curl double-wave load: start with 10 lbs for 15 reps for set #1; move to 12 lbs for 15 reps for set #2; and then 15 lbs for 15 reps for set #3; then repeat that series once. By the end, you’ll be burned out and your muscle fibers will be twitching away. Hm, I think I’ll add this into the mix next week, haven’t done that one in awhile. 😉

Periodization – this is what my all-time favorite weight training rotation is based on: Cathe’s Shock Training System (STS). I’ve done three rotations of this workout in the past couple of years and have NEVER been disappointed. It does take a time committment though – one rotation is 3 1/2 months long. But WORTH it for the results you’ll gain (and no, this is not an informerical for STS, I swear!).

Without confusing you, it’s basically three workout cycles (called “mesocycles) that are based on three distinct weight training focuses – endurance style training, hypertrophy-based training and strength-style training. As I’ve said before, endurance style training is all about high reps; low weights. Hypertrophy (this is where you see muscle definition take place) is about slightly heavier weights and slightly less reps (so instead of lifting for 12-15 reps like in mesocycle 1, you’d lift about 10 reps per round). And the strength building phase is your heaviest lifting phase, only lifting for about 6-8 reps per exercise. It’s intense. and I love it. I could go on and on about it here, but if you want to hear how I got started with STS, check out a verrrry old post from me on STS here.


I’ve thrown a TON of info your way, and all of it based on what’s been rolling around in my head over the years as I’ve picked up various styles of weight training. I hope I haven’t bored you too much. I just wanted you to see that there are LOTS of ways to weight train so you’ll never be bored, and should hopefully never hit a plateau. I’m a huge fan of switching it up, often, as you’ve seen here on the blog. I love to shock the system, keep it guessing. If I stick with one thing too long, I get bored, and so does my body. Hm, Maybe that’s where all this formerly “useless” data in my head came from, huh?!

So tell me – what style of training do you think you’d like (if you’ve not really done much weight training before). OR – if you’re a big fan of lifting weights, what is your personal favorite style? Did I miss any that you’d add to that list? Do tell! 🙂

Weight training, I promise it’s not scary

After last week’s round of comments on my post about weight lifting, I had to write a follow-up post (or two or three!) on the topic of weight training for women.

It’s sad to me that there is such a big fear factor over weight training amongst women – because truly, it is so, so, so good for you on many levels (more on this later). And mentally – I have to say, it instills a sense of power and confidence that I can’t replicate with other workouts.

So, here are my tips for how to make weight training both approachable but also sustainable. I heard from you that it is scary or an “unknown” for you, or that you just can’t seem to commit to a regular weight training routine at all. You need a goal to work towards (like a race) to stick with something, but with weights, there isn’t necessarily such a tangible end goal or “end” at all.

Weight-training-I promise-it’s-not-scary-tips*:
*Remember – I’m no pro, this is just my advice from personal experiences only

  1. If you’re intimidated by the gym…consider starting out with weight training at home. All you really need to get started are a few dumbells in various increments (5 lbs; 8 lbs; 10 lbs; 15lbs is a good starting point for a beginner) and either a handy-dandy workout “borrowed” from your favorite blogger (hint hint!) or a workout DVD that takes you through the steps (like my friend Cathe Friedrich who taught me so much about proper form – all in a DVD no less!)
  2. Take a weight lifting class at your gym. This one is huge for those of you who LOVE the vibe of a group fitness class but typically gravitate towards cardio-based group classes only. This is equally huge for those of you looking for form pointers and are afraid of injury. You should get solid direction from your instructor, and in some cases, they’ll walk around the room and correct your form if needed.
  3. If you’re comfortable, even just a little bit with going to the weight room at your gym (I know some of you are) – consider starting out slowly with your own weight routine. Start with one body part a day after you get your cardio fix on. For biceps – start with bicep curls with a set of dumbells, then shift to a set of bicep curls done with a barbell (it works the muscle differently), and finish with a set of incline curls on a weight bench. It could be as simple as that. You can start going crazy with “drop-sets” and “trisets” and “supersets” later, but get comfortable with the weights first, and the exercises (note why is that word so hard to spell?!). Get them down first before going into the more advanced weight work (and I will do a post on all of these fun types of weight workouts next, I promise).
  4. For those of you who are comfortable with weights but just can’t figure out how to stick to it? Consider a one-month rotation. Create your own 3x/week weight workout that incorporates two days of upper body and one day of lower body work (I’ll create a sample schedule for you in a follow-on post) and map it out for the month, gradually increasing your weight little by little. And by the end of the month, check out those “guns” in the mirror – I can guarantee you they’ll be more toned and defined. Feel free to measure before/after if that’s your thing. Or take before/after pics if you need that for tangible motivation. For me – my motivation is more mental, I love how weight lifting makes me feel so strong and confident. And wearing a tank top with killer arms in the summer isn’t a bad mental image either, not gonna lie. 😉
  5. Above all else, figure out what works for you. For some of you – lighter weights with tons of reps may feel “good” for you. For others, going heavier but with less reps might be more your speed. You might hate working out in your gym but love it at home, or you might only want to take a group fitness class (like Group Power or Body Pump) because you like the group fitness atmosphere. Or you might find that you love Cathe as much as I still do, today! And maybe, just maybe you’ll realize that with consistent effort, you’ll find that sense of empowerment I mentioned above about weight lifting. At the end of the day though, this is about you and what makes you feel strong and fit and healthy and powerful. Am I right?

So yeah, this is turning into a series of posts from me. I’ve hinted at the topics I plan to cover here, but feel free to ask for others and I’ll add them in! This will be fun! 🙂

And if you’re wondering…last night I ended up with a mix of my “revised” workout plan of Core Fusion but added in a weight workout. Of the leg (oww) and shoulders variety.

Shoulders – supersets, endurance-style (my favorite – high reps, low weights)

Shoulders superset #1: shoulder presses (barbell-style)@27.5 lbs; followed by upright rows (barbell-style) @27.5lbs – 3 sets @15 reps each

Shoulders superset #2: Front raises @7.5 lbs followed by lateral raises @7.5 lbs – 3 sets @15 reps each

Legs – trisets, baby!

Triset #1: Squats w/barbell @40lbs, deadlifts @40 lbs, lungs (bodyweight only)

Triset #2: slide-back lunges with paper plates (bodyweight only); plie squats @30 lbs; calf raises @20 lbs

Followed that all up with some lengthening leg work  (10 min segment) and core work (another 10 min segment) from Core Fusion Lean & Toned, one of my favorites. Niiiice and toasty when all was said and done. Just the way I like it. 🙂