Thursday, July 14, 2011

post 200+1...more fit tips

I confess...almost every time I post, I find myself wanting to come back and add more.  This time, I'm indulging myself and adding a few more tips for the exer-phobic.  Of course, these came to me during my workout...often the case but even more so here (and another pro to is a great time for thoughts to pop in your head).

(For ease, here's Part One)
  • If you use a plate-loaded machine or dumbbells, etiquette demands you put back the weights.  That said, you'll inevitable encounter a machine that you want to use where someone has left their weights on the machine.  Inevitably, the folks who leave them have left behind 100lb plates or other large-ish ones, never a 5 pounder.  Do feel okay asking for help moving them...I do it.  Most people (okay, I mostly ask men b/c they are more likely to be able to help) are happy to help.  I will admit I scope out the right person to ask to be sure: 1) they can lift them w/o getting hurt (or would be honest instead of macho) and 2) they will get that I genuinely need help and am not hitting on them.
  • If you are new, you might worry about stepping into a gym.  Here's the truth -- I do notice new folks, especially folks clearly new to the fitness front.  But I am NOT thinking anything bad.  In fact, I'm often wondering if there's a polite way to say "Go you!" and express my admiration.  I also know that it is harder to start at a higher weight...I admire those folks even more.  So I do notice you, but you should be PROUD to be there.
  • When I do weights, I'll switch between exercises rather than rest between sets.  For example, I'll do a set of biceps, then a set of shoulder presses, and then back to bis.  The experts will say this technique is good because it gets your pulse up and adds a cardio element.  Honestly, I like it because it gets me done faster!
  • There's no need to be fashionable, unless the cute clothes provide you with motivation.  I do, however, find it helps to where clothes made for fitness rather than an old tee.  The tech clothes will help wick away sweat and are less likely to get soaked and heavy.  I sweat a LOT.  Target has great deals...especially if you can get away with a Girls L or XL (not much shape to them, but I don't care at the gym).
  • If you run, get fitted for shoes at a real running store.  Sports Authority isn't going to do this.  Look for something specifically aimed at runners where the staff will examine your gait and help you find the best shoes to keep you injury-free.
  • I was initially scare by the machines that say "Hammer Strength".  Don't be!  They are GREAT, especially for newbies.  All it really means is the left and right each lift their own weight.  This means your strong side can't cheat and help the weaker side. These are often "plate-loaded" machines (you put the round weight plates on them)...those look scary but really are the same as the other machines, just with more options in weight load. 
  • In the last post, I mentioned that you shouldn't fear bulking up (if you are a woman).  Along with this goes the fact that you should lift weights that are heavy enough that you are tired after 10-12 reps and don't feel able to do much more.  This does mean you need different weights for different exercises...your biceps are likely stronger than your triceps so you need different weights for each.  Push yourself....stay safe, but a workout is WORK.  I often want to go over to a healthy young woman using 5lb weights for a bicep curl and hand her 10s...I bet she could do it. And get better results.
  • I'm a treadmill addict.  I know running outside has bio-mechanical benefits and has even been shown to be mood boosting.  But, again, it's about what works for you.  Frankly, I need the TV on to help me keep going...and the fact that I'd fall off the belt if I didn't keep moving.  I also like the feedback.  Calorie counts are HORRID on machines, though better on treadmills than others, but the distance and speed are helpful markers.
  • light


Peaches said...

Working from the bottom up...

1) I have never understood the treadmill addiction you have...I love running, but the treadmill always makes me want to throw myself off the side just for entertainment so you get soooooooo much credit for running on there for any extended period of time.

2) I often do preach the gospel of "Unless you have an injury, lift heavy!" to random women. I explain that it won't turn them into a she-beast if they lift in the 6-12 rep range. I also use easy weight comparisons for them such as, "Do you carry a big purse? Weigh it sometime...I bet it weighs at least 10 lbs. If you carry that around all day without turning into He-Man you probably can lift something slightly heavier in the gym." I do this so often, I've taken to carrying an older pic of myself as proof.I don't look like a beast, I look HOT!
3) I notice the new folks too. I'm there early in the AM and it's a small group so it's unavoidable. I try to be friendly and make them feel welcome, especially when they look really awkward.
4) I can lift hundreds of lbs but it still irritates the crap out of me when people leave dumbbells, plates, etc sitting around.

The Rambling Blogger said...

I was thinking of you when I mentioned i generally ask men to help with the heavy plates left behind...i know you could totally help :P I know some of them I could likely move (45 or 35s), but it is best to play it safe sometimes...esp if the bar is above chest level.

And I'm glad someone else admitted wanting to approach the light lofters (esp. the folks that fit in the "skinny fat"...the women who are thin but out of shape and never lift) and the newbies (NEVER in a bad way). Well, okay, except for in ATL in January when the cardio lines took an hour). I've never approached folks though...I worry too much about not coming off right. I did once correct a woman's form, but she started talking to me first about my w/o (she was doing a tri press and swinging her upper arms rather than "gluing" them to focus better)

The treadmill is ALL about keeping distracted by TV. NOT the best choice and the experts will say to focus only on the w/o, but it WORKS for me and gets me through...esp. when it is all walking (b/c I can no longer run) so it takes a long time to hit my distance goal

Finesse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Finesse said...

Thanks for all the insights, especially about a vet-gym-goers opinion of newbies. My original goal was to work out at home until I got to such a point of weight-loss and fitness-gain that I wouldn't be too self-conscious in a gym. Now, my home routines are working so well, I'm just too cheap the spend the $.

Also, I think getting the right shoes is important for walking as well as running. They don't have to be the most expensive either--my $20 New Balances fit me better than the $100 Nikes.

The Rambling Blogger said...

good point on walking...i actually find my running go-tos (sadly, not on the less expensive end but they fit my wider toe box and narrower heels) aren't as ideal for walking (as my toenails show if i strip off the very dark polish).

i know plenty of folks who do well w/o a gym. for me, it has helped and i'm reluctant to let it go even though we have more home eqipment now and i'm trying to limit spending. it CAN be a good incentive to keep the habit if you've paid, but it sounds like you already have that down. if you do indulge, try a couple if there is more than one in a convenient location (which is VERY key...never gonna go if it is a pain and best if it is on your daily route)...some are MUCH more comfortable than others...i prefer a range of folks, not all crazy fitness buffs

Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun said...

GREAT tips!! And I love the one about not fearing parts of fitness - asking for help, you won't bulk up, etc.

The Rambling Blogger said...

thanks, Tina!