Of bad hair days and toasty upper body workouts

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you already know this much.

I’m having a horrible hair day. One that I *totally* blame on my upper body workout this morning.

I guess this “personal trainer of me” stuff is working out pretty well, huh? I’m loving it! So much more than I thought I would.

So let’s get to it, today’s workout was all about chest and back, with “smabs” to come tonight ala Core Fusion Pilates Abs (was just too tired this morning to get up earlier to fit in both).

Today’s workout looked like this – a little bit different than last week’s chest/back workout:
(three sets each @15-20 reps per set, unless otherwise noted)

Warm-up: Push-ups done drop-set style. Starting with 20 reps; then 15, then 10; then 5. Warmed up the chest and back muscles nicely. Wish I could do more on my toes…that will come, I’m just impatient. πŸ˜‰

superset #1: flat bench press (15 lbs per dumbell…could’ve gone heavier I realized after the fact) followed by stiff legged deadlifts (80 lbs – barbell)

superset #2: flat bench flyes (15 lbs per dumbbell, was just right) followed by one-arm row (started with 20 lbs but upped it to 22.5 lbs on the second and third set)

superset #3: incline bench press (17.5 lbs per dumbell); followed by pull-ups on the pull-up tower (loved this one, noticed good improvement in my pull-up ability)

(in case you’re wondering, this is what the pull-up tower looks like, it ROCKS, btw)

superset #4: incline bench flyes (15 lbs per dumbell); followed by pull-downs with the resistence band (I was aiming to do bent-over rows with the barbell but was so pooped at this point that I subbed in the resistance band work instead)

All told – this was an awesome workout! I got a good sweat on – thanks to the endurance style of the workout – and felt super-toasty afterwards. Sure-fire DOMS tomorrow is my guess.

Which brings me to my next point/question…
Why are some women afraid to attempt strength training workouts in the first place? I see it here and there in bloggy land and I always wonder. Is it a fear of working out with a bunch of sweaty, meatheads? A fear of “doing it wrong?” A fear of “bulking up”?I’m honestly curious. I’d love your feedback for a future blog post I’ve been mulling over.

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25 thoughts on “Of bad hair days and toasty upper body workouts

  1. I always hear women fret about bulking up more than anything. I think there is likely also a fear of looking silly at the gym, not knowing where to start and/or what to do. I wrote a blog post for another blog friend about getting started. I seriously give major kudos and credit to instructors like Cathe and her DVDs. I was able to learn soooo much and get comfortable with exercises and moves before attempting in public. LOL

    It really can be intimidating. Until more recently, I did almost all of my weight work at home b/c I wasn’t as comfortable using some of the gym equipment like the squat rack or assisted pullup machine.

    • Totally agree – it’s the “OMG-how-will-I-look-to-others-at-the-gym” fear factor in a big way, I’m sure. But a lot of it is not enough education around it that’s accessible for most women. You know what I mean? I’m totally doing a blog post, or maybe a series on this – if I do a series, I’d love a guest blog from you, dear!

  2. Haha, sweaty meatheads! πŸ˜› I know it’s been forever since I’ve commented (sorry!) so I wanted to give my two cents…back in the days when I was working out regularly, I always threw in a few arm weight moves, but never really spent much time on them. For two reasons…(a) in college, my friends staged an intervention because my arms were getting as “muscley” as one of our best guy friends (true story!) and (b) my main goal of working out has been to tighten the flab, which tends to concentrate around my core (not my arms or legs). But since I DEFINITELY do not want old lady flabby arms, I’ll have to add that work back in eventually. πŸ˜‰

    • hehe, sorry – I couldn’t help myself. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for commenting friend!

      SO interesting that your friends actually threw an intervention because you were getting “too defined” for their liking. Well – my answer to that? Who are they to say what is too much, not enough, or just right? What if you were just getting very strong – I see nothing wrong with that. I think physical strength is so sexy and empowering in women – mental strength too (which goes hand-in-hand in many ways) – so I would love to see more women get out there and embrace their strength, whatever form it takes.

      You are funny – you will never have flabby old lady arms! But trust me, if you want a personal trainer after the little one comes, I’ll volunteer for the job in an instant. I’ll come by after work. Hehe. πŸ˜‰

  3. I’ve been following your personal training adventure in awe. I would love to be able to do my own strength workouts but the truth of the matter is, I’m not very good at doing things on my own, or at least, I wasn’t until recently with my running. I’ve done strength work outs in the past with a trainer, but the truth is I am lazy and I need someone to keep me accountable. That’s why I love Core Fusion so much xoxoxo.

    Also, I am having a bad hair day today as well. I took Core Fusion Cardio last night and didn’t wash my hair because I was going to run this morning. I did run this morning but I didn’t have time to wash and dry my hair (plus I am going to Core Fusion tonight so it’s just going to get gross again) so I let it be. Thankfully, it doesn’t really matter here.

    • Aw, thank you so much for stopping by- I LOVE to get comments like this one, you totally made my day!

      So you say that you aren’t good at keeping accountable – unless its running. But running is a discipline in and of itself, give yourself major credit for that, girlfriend! You did give me a good idea for a blog post – how to get started, and keep up with a weight rotation. So thanks for that. πŸ˜‰

      AND I love that you dig Core Fusion!!! Isn’t it a freakin’ amazing workout – surprisingly so? You are funny, speaking of bad hair days right?? Have fun at Core Fusion tonight! I’ll be witih you “in spirit” doing Core Fusion Pilates Abs at home tonight. πŸ™‚

      • I had to think about this and I came to the conclusion that the reason I am accountable with my running is because I sign up for races! Looking forward to hearing more about getting started with weight training. I hope your CF was as good as mine tonight!

  4. I used to be hesitant to do strength training for a few reasons: I thought the guys (only ones in my gym) would look down upon me, and I didn’t think adding muscle would aid in weight loss. Now I’m over both of those things!

    • I think that’s very common actually – especially the part about guys looking at you funny in the weight room, and especially the comment on adding muscle wouldn’t help you lose weight. Quite the contrary. And you’ve sparked another blog post idea! πŸ˜‰

  5. Love these workouts sis. Maybe we can do one together for sister dinner soon πŸ™‚ Like, next week?? I LOVE weight workouts, they are like no other, such a great feeling. Glad you are back in the groove with weights. Lovelovelove.

    • I’m down for that sis – I love sister workouts/sister dinners!! Maybe this time we’ll actually take some pics to post, since we clearly suck at doing that for the most part, hehe.

  6. I’ve had friends tell me that they’re just scared. Either of the weight room or that they’re lifting wrong. It’s hard when you’ve never done it before and don’t have someone to guide you in the right direction. I was the same way until I “kinda” knew what I was doing! πŸ™‚

    • It’s true – a big part of it is finding someone to test the waters with you so you don’t feel quite so out of place. A workout buddy works reallllly well in cases like this. Also, as the “other” Heather said, sometimes it’s even better to start with weight workouts you can do at home, in private, until you feel comfortable giving them a whirl in front of others. I know this means investing in some weights, but it might be worth it, if there’s a real fear factor there holding you back, you know?

  7. Great post, well done for doing pull ups, I’m impressed and as for the push ups and drop sets, woozers!

    I think women are afraid of lifting weights because they see too many images in the media of over muscly women and they then think that they’ll become as large. It’s not just women who think that on my date on Friday night, I mentioned I did weights and the guy said you don’t need to, you don’t want to get muscly. I said back to him, that’s why I do weights- to stay in good shape! I do think people like Tracey Anderson are to blame for women sticking with teeny tiny weights if they do do weights. Also some of the more mainstream magazines such as Shape and Self only really discuss workouts where the fitness model is using 5-10 pds and max 15 pds. They do place emphasis on strength training but it’s kind of contradictory because they’re using such light weights.

    I think too that plastic surgery has had a negative influence on women’s fitness. Most if not all of the fitness models have had a boob job and it would seem that the majority of such boob jobs really do look fake and balloon boob like. Add in steroids which some of the female figure competitors take and it’s no wonder women are afraid and get put off lifting weights.

    • EXCELLENT point on the whole Shape and Self thing – that is what really drove me away from those magazines in the past year or two. They either present “quick fix” diet tips and such that are meant for short-term results vs. a lifestyle change (which I am not a big fan of), or they give workout options that are so very beginner that anyone with even a little bit of lifting experience would be frustrated by – there needs to be a place for workout advice for the intermediate lifter vs. just for the beginner or advanced (Muscle + Fitness, for ex) lifter. Such a huge gap there, I think.

  8. I know all about bad hair days! I think strength training intimidates me because I don’t know what I’m doing, but I have some friends who are teaching me, and I’m getting into some weights at CrossFit. πŸ™‚

    • I love that you friends there to help you out – that’s awesome! And honestly, sometimes that’s all it takes, a friendly face to help you figure out the whole new world of weights πŸ™‚

  9. while i’m not afraid of strength training, i am one of those people who are afraid to do it on my own. in fact, as i write this, i should be getting ready for a strength training session, but instead, i’m lying in bed avoiding it and catching up on blogs :/ how do you do it?

    • Interesting – seems a lot of you are afraid to try it on your own. Not surprised since I just finally decided to go out on my own too! I’m definitely writing a post all about how to get started, stay motivated, etc. So keep an eye out πŸ™‚

  10. You are my strength training hero! Intense workouts! I am not afraid of strength training as far as the effort it takes or the results it yields, but I can say I am very afraid to use the weights on my own. I feel like there is a huge risk of injury if these exercises are not done properly. I simply do not have the confidence in my ability to choose the correct weight, use the proper form, and complete the workout without harming myself. Even with pictures and descriptions in books, magazines, and blogs, I am concerned that there is too much room for error on my part. It definitely holds me back and I’m not sure how rational I’m being about it, but injury would really stink!

    • Aw shucks, blushing. See? You’re my run-spiration and I’m your strength training hero apparently, yay us. πŸ˜‰

      I hear you on the risk of injury and totally agree that improper form can definitely lead to injury but can also lead to ineffective workouts which would really bum you out if you worked so hard only to see minimal results. Sometimes just taking a couple of strength sessions with a trainer is all it takes to get the form down (and to allay any fears) so I think more should take that option up (if they have the funds for it). Otherwise, seriously strength training DVDs taught me a ton (hello Cathe Friedrich!), personally, But then, working out to a DVD isn’t always ideal for some people.

      Anyway, I have lots more to say on this so expect more, for sure!

  11. I want a pullup tower!!

    Ok, I’m late to this, but I don’t think you did the post you’re talking about yet, so I’ll add my two cents.

    I think predominantly it’s a fear of the unknown. Women don’t have a culture of lifting like men do, so it’s totally alien to us when we finally square up to the weights room at the gym. And just as we’re thinking we might just get in there and do it, 2 huge guys strut in, strew their stuff everywhere, and set up an olympic bar right where we were going to do pushups.

    I started out with a trainer, and I still felt self-conscious even when I was with him. Getting round without him required me to plan the route in my head beforehand, and for ages I panicked about form. Which is funny, because I’ve since realised that the guys I was training around mainly had terrible form — I just didn’t know it back then! Basically I just worried obsessively about being out of place, which is something that I think women suffer from far more than men. I’ve heard it said before that women are much more social and other-oriented than men.

    I also think there’s still a lot of ignorance and prejudice out there. The amount of times I get told to not bulk up / don’t get too big / etc etc. The more women lift, the more normal it will become, and the less out of place newbies will feel in the gym. So I’m looking forward to this post of yours to tout around πŸ˜‰

    • AMEN!!!! I should just have YOU write the post instead of me! In fact, I’d actually LOVE it if you’d write me a guest post on weight lifting – how you got into it, what style you gravitate towards now, whatever you want it to be about. what do you say?? I’m planning a whole series on it next week or so I think. πŸ™‚

  12. Pingback: Weight training, I promise it’s not scary « EatDrinkBreatheSweat

  13. Pingback: Weigh’r do I start? « EatDrinkBreatheSweat

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