Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Strength training: 1 year in

It's been a full year of strength training for me, with the bulk of my 52 weeks resulting in three trips to the gym. This is the longest I've ever gone, other than a few faltering attempts to commit at various times in my life. (I recall ones that lasted close to a few months in Fall '12, and in the early 2000's.) I've generally been one of those "the more cardio the better" types.

Today I am stronger than I've ever been, and seeing results even despite my actual pounds lost having halted to a snail's pace. And some of that might be due to the addition of muscle mass.

Qualitative review:
Biceps: distinct muscles. You know that "make a muscle" move? There's a serious muscle there.

Shoulders: there are some distinct visible muscle curves/lines. I'm no Athleta model yet, but give it a little more time and I won't be limiting tank tops to my hot and steamy runs.

Triceps: hands down my strongest upper body muscles! Blows me away how far I've come. (Check the metrics below.) However, this part is difficult to see because the back of my arms are still covered with a layer of fat. When this finally out!!

Back: this is a boring body part to work out, in my opinion, but very necessary. Most of my exercises incorporate the glutes as well, now. I can't see my back but I can feel the strength. Those muscles are there, again, continuing to trim down is gonna make the huge difference here. I love noticing them when I'm laying on my side, maybe with my arm outstretched over my head. My sides/back area under my shoulder blades are not soft at all.

Chest: my progress here has been slow but early on I noticed a "lift" that I wouldn't swap for anything. Ladies, especially those who are NOT members of the "itty bitty tittie committee," do yourselves a favor and work those chest muscles!

Legs: my legs, like most, are my strongest muscle group. My instincts have always been to be careful because I don't want to tire my legs out, but this couldn't be farther from the truth. Stronger legs help keep the injuries at bay, especially with my injury prone knees. (Hallelujah!). A careful balance of the quad/squat machine and calf raises is what I do. During running season I've decided to not focus too much on increasing strength, but maintaining. A few weeks ago while icing my knees I finally noticed some nice curves on my thighs near my knees. My work is starting to pay off!! This is exciting because honestly, I am very self conscious about my legs and haven't worn shorts casually in public in years. Decades. Only running shorts and only when I have to. Even in the dead of summer I wore capris when I knew BB would see me. I ran 18 miles in August '12 in black capris because of this. Isn't that silly, kinda? But this behavior has become engrained in who I am. I recall being self-conscious as far back as my senior year in high school. I will work on changing this, and part of that is feeling more confident in how I look. I haven't really admitted this to anyone.

So...I've established a great base and really started to see some great progress. As I continue this commitment, the results will become even more obvious as I continue to lose weight--hopefully at a faster pace. Yay, me!

Please note that earlier this calendar year I started working out at a new gym with new equipment of different brands, many of which switched up angles in seating and "limb" placement, which, surprising for me, resulted in drastically different starting points.

Bicep curl:
Week 1: 50
Week 24: 70
Week 52: 55 (new machine)

Tricep extension:
Week 1: 65
Week 24: 85
Week 52: 120

Tricep press/push down:
Week 1: 95
Week 24: 120
Week 52: 120 (new machine, worked my way back up to 120)

Shoulder press:
Week 1: 20 (barely)
Week 24: 30 (highest was 40, but had to scale back due to pain)
Week 52: 40 (JUST hit this; shoulders have remained difficult)

Lat pulldown:
Week 1: 75
Week 24: 105
Week 52: 85

Lower back extension:
Week 1: 150
Week 24: 185
Week 52: 180, higher reps

21's (bicep bar curls 3 sets of 21 at different angles):
Week 1: --
Week 24: 20
Week 52: 30

Tricep overhead pull:
Week 1: --
Week 24: 17.5
Week 52: 32.5

Chest press:
Week 1: 30
Week 24: 50 (different machine)
Week 52: 60

Pec(toral) Flys:
Week 1: 30
Week 24: 60
Week 52: 85

Lat pulldown:
Week 1: 75
Week 24: 105
Week 52: 80 (new machine)

Lower back extension:
Week 1: 150
Week 24: 185
Week 52: 180 (higher reps)

Assisted dips/pull-ups (weight on this are in reverse. The weight selection assists you by alleviating this amount from your total body weight. e.g. A 200lb person with 100 pounds is actually pulling up 100 pounds of their body weight, not the full amount. Set at 150? Just 50 pounds of their own body weight/)
Week 1: ---
Week 24: 150
Week 52: 100

Squat machine/leg press:
Week 1: 105 (whaaaat?!)
Week 24: 195
Week 52: 190 (switched to higher angle machine. On previous machine that i used from Weeks 1-24, I can do 240)

Week 1: 0
Week 24: 25
Week 52: 40

Calf press/raises:
Week 1: 75
Week 24: 105
Week 52: 120 (on old machine, I can do 135)

So there ya have it. I'm hooked. Already contemplating goals and plans for the "off season," meaning when I'm not marathon training.

Stay tuned, I'm not finished with me yet!

Last but not least: yes, I've put in the work, but BB is who helped me figure out a plan and continues to cheer me on and provide technical assistance & advice. He also inspires me because no matter what kinda day he's had at work, you can bet your bottom dollar that 9 times outta 10, he's at the gym on a weekday. Thank youuuuuuuuu BB!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

No comments: