It may be Labor Day weekend, but that's no excuse to totally let yourself go into full on pig-out mode! It's time to stop thinking exercise is only for the five months leading up to beach season and get to moving all year long! School may have started for you or you're still drudging along at work realizing you have nothing to look forward to until your next vacation, but getting some exercise will keep you in good spirits! It has come to my attention that sometimes, ladies are afraid to life some weights because of two things: 1. Weight rooms full of gym bros can be intimidating, and 2. They're afraid of bulking up. To address the first issue, one just has to tune out the bullshit and do what needs to be done and with the second issue, ladies don't have the chemical makeup to bulk up like a man. It takes some serious supplements and super restrictive diet to get big and ripped like Chyna in the late nineties, so women should not be afraid with weights. Load bearing exercise increase bone density which prevents osteoporosis and muscles help keep joints and the rest of your body protected. You can't go wrong with exercise!
I started out with three sets of dumbbells because they were cheap and readily available. I started with 5, 8, and 10lb. weights. These can be use for a variety of exercises and are great for beginners.
Sample Beginngers Workout (with any size weight)
15 Lunges (per leg)
25 Sumo Squats
15 Shoulder Presses
12 Bicep curls (per arm)
12 Front Arm Raises
12 Overheard Tricep Extensions
12 Lateral Arm raises (per arm)
15 Backward Lunges (per leg)
Repeat this sequence two more times and followup with a 20 minute walk/jog/bike ride to get in a little extra. If this is all you can manage then stick with this! The weight should be heavy enough that you are really feeling it by the last repetition of each exercise. If these weights get too light, it's time to graduate to something bigger!
Now, gyms can be expensive, but they really are a great idea if you want to pack on some muscle because everything is right there for you. If you would rather work out at home or found a good deal on some gym-quality weightlifting equipment then be my guest, but I just found it much easier to schlep to the gym after work! Here's what I do for a typical workout:
Leg Day (twice a week)
Barbell Squats (start with the bar)- 3 sets of 5
Barbell Deadlifts - 3 sets of 5
Hyperextension- 3 sets of 15
Leg Press- 3 sets of 12
Leg Curls- 3 sets of 12
20-30 Minutes of interval cardio (stepper or treadmill)
I use the highest weight I can manage for each set.I won't put my exact number because it shouldn't be your immediate goal to lift the same as someone else. You have to start at the bottom and work your way to the top!
Arms/Back/Shoulders (twice a week)
Assisted Pull-ups- 3 sets of 8
Chest/Bench Press - 3 sets of 8
Shoulder Press (dumbbell)- 3 sets of 10
Bicep Curls- 3 sets of 10-12
Tricep extension (dumbbell)- 3 sets of 12
Cable Rows- 3 sets of 10
Lat Pull-downs- 3 sets of 12
20-30 minutes of cardio
I alternate the leg days with the arm days so I give the other half of my body a break to rebuild some muscle. Weekends I usually take it easy or spend my time at the beach or leisurely walking around looking at stuff. Now, I am not an authority on working out and I would rather you talk to a trainer if you have doubts or confusion about working out. I have researched a lot and have sort of self-taught myself as much as I can. I got most of my knowledge from these two awesome sources that teach you form and fucntion to keep you from hurting yourself and looking like a dumbass:
Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
The News Rules of Lifting For Women by Lou Schuler
These books are great and can tell you a lot more than I can. Training with weights not only builds strength for sports and physical activities, but makes everyday things like bringing in groceries way easier. The point of this post is to get you all into gear and realize that lifting heavy things isn't just reserved for bro-meatheads and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. It's good for everyone and will keep you healthy for a lifetime! I'm working out extra hard to be ready to hit the water hard next summer! Lift on, brother!