It is sooo dark and dreary here today! I’m pretty sure I wrote that same exact sentence earlier this week, too. I guess we’re just going through a little rainy spell here. You guys know how I feel about rain. And, if you don’t know, I’ll share my feeling with you in one word. Yuck.
To brighten this day up, let’s talk about one of my favorite things – strength training!
I have to start out by saying that I didn’t always know (or appreciate) the benefits of strength training. When I would work out in high school and college, I would only run, get on an elliptical or do some type of cardio/dance DVD. I always felt like I needed to be jumping around like a maniac and sweating my buns off to, actually, be getting anywhere. Oh, how wrong I was!
A couple of years after college, I wised up and started changing up my workouts. While I would still do cardio (I was an aerobics instructor), I really started to concentrate on throwing some strength work into my training and that’s when I really started to see changes with my body. I found a workout plan that was a 6-day-a-week plan that incorporated half cardio and half strength. It was amazing. I have always tried to not worry so much about the number on scale but, instead, how I looked in my clothes and felt physically, but, when I added in muscle work, I did see that number drop and, more importantly, saw a change in my physique. A change that happened much quicker than when I was just logging a million minutes on my elliptical! For the record, I hate the ellipical! From that time on, my workouts have always included an element of strength training and, this past year, with a new goal to really work on my toning and my muscle definition, it is more of a part of my training than it ever has been! And, I love it! My workouts consist of a variety of moves and equipment, including dumbbells, resistance bands, stability balls, a Bosu trainer, and, most important, my own body weight. Don’t underestimate what your body can do on its own, guys!
Now that you know my journey into loving strength training, I want to share my favorite moves as part of a holiday challenge started by Fit Approach! The idea behind the challenge is to stay active and healthy during the busiest time of the year…the holiday season! We all do a million things and, often, find it hard to fit in time for workouts, stick to meal planning, or try to stay healthy through the holiday parties and family dinners. With an amazing group of healthy friends, though, these things can be easier, right!?
Anyway, I had a hard time narrowing my training down to one favorite move, so I decided to narrow it down to two: squats and planks.
While I love training my arms (especially my shoulders), I feel the strongest when I’m working my legs or my core. I have always had muscular legs and, while there was a time I hated them and wanted them to be thinner, I have fully embraced them and am thankful that they have carried me through multiple races and killer workouts! I have learned to love the fact that I can see my quad tighten and my calf pop (even though they’re small) while doing regular squats or turned-out sumo squats. I love being able to work my entire lower body with one move!
And, that same principle applies when I think about doing planks, as well! If you want one move that is going to target every single muscle in your body? – a plank is that move! I love being up in a regular forearm plank or a side plank and feeling every muscle in my body shake! Is there anything better!? Your arms are tight, your abs are tight, and your legs are tight…total body. Perfection.
Alright, guys, I have probably shared more today than you would ever care to know so I’ll let you get on with you day and get on with your strength training! Get out there, join the challenge, and do some squats and planks! Have a beautiful day!
Something to share: Do you enjoy strength training? What are some of your favorite moves!?