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Posted on Jun 4, 2012 in Working Out | 21 comments

What I’m Doing at the Gym

A week or so ago I received the following tweet:

While I assured her it was absolutely not a dumb question, and gave her the 140-character-limit version of my gym routine, but it occurred to me that some of you might also be interested in hearing about what I’ve been doing during my sweat sessions lately. I knew ahead of time that after the relay, I would be putting running by the wayside (for now) and concentrating on other, more currently interesting means of fitness. In addition to videos and workouts at home, right now that means a big emphasis on strength training!

So when I joined my gym as part of my Lenten resolution to bring an end to my lackadaisical and sporadic attempts at exercising regularly, I also signed up for three personal training sessions to help me get an idea of what moves to do, and how to maintain good form with them. I really wish I had the budget right now to continue with personal training, because it was so immensely helpful! Fortunately, my trainer, Jordan, and I established a great rapport from the get-go, so he still stops by occasionally to see how I’m doing and give me pointers. I pretty much follow variations of all the moves that he had me do during those initial sessions.

I’m at the gym at least twice a week, either attending a cardio class (there’s this Dance Cardio-X class that is SO ridiculous and SO much fun) or doing strength training. I’m lucky enough to have found an awesome workout buddy, Kate. The stars aligned when I met her at a party (through Sean, actually) and she told me she was a fellow Falls Churcher and was thinking about signing up at the same gym as me. Having someone that I’m accountable to meet with, whether it’s a friend or a personal trainer, has been integral in helping me establish a regular routine.

Generally, my weight lifting routines consist of a combination made from some of the following free-weight moves: bicep curls, tricep curls, walking lunges, squats, crunches, leg lifts, shoulder lifts (I’m not sure of the official name, but it’s where you have a weight in each hand, fully extend your arms, and pull them up the side, in to the front, back out to the side, then down), barbell curls, the move where you put one leg up on a bench and use that side’s same arm to pull up a weight (targeting your back muscles), etc. I generally do 3 sets of 10 reps each, though I’m very bad at not losing count, haha. It’s nothing groundbreaking, for sure, and as of yet I don’t have specific workouts that I follow each time (though perhaps that will develop as I put more planning into my strength training, haha).

I usually start out with a couple of minutes on the elliptical or treadmill just to loosen up, and I also will generally throw just a couple of weight machines into the mix as well. My favorite is the leg press, but I also will do a couple of the arm and shoulder machines as well. The free weights I use are generally 10 or 15 lbs if they’re dumbbells, or 20 or 30 pounds if it’s a barbell. On the machines, for arms/shoulders/back the weight is usually somewhere within the 40 – 50 lb. range, and for legs it’s usually within the 75 – 115 lb. range.

Anyway, that’s about all there is to it! There’s still a lot I have yet to try out (I’d like to learn how to use kettlebells and resistance bands better) but for now I’m enjoying feeling like I’m getting just the slightest bit of definition in my still rather floppy appendages, hahaha. If any of you have questions about my gym routine, or if you have any tips to offer, I welcome both! I’m definitely still new to strength training in general, but I love how it makes me feel like I’ve worked hard without feeling like I want to die, the way straight-up cardio does. And for those of you who were utterly bored with this post, I have a delicious recipe coming your way tomorrow!

What’s your favorite strength training move?

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Posted on Mar 7, 2012 in Working Out | 30 comments

Workout Motivation

Yesterday marked my last of three personal training sessions that I purchased when I joined a gym as part of my Lenten resolution. I have actually really enjoyed strength training with my trainer, Jordan, and am a little bit worried about putting in the same effort on my own. There’s no internal argument when I have someone there telling me what to do — I just, I dunno, do it. Ideally, I think I would honestly prefer to work out with a trainer on a permanent, regular basis, but monetarily that’s not very practical for me at this time.

I do know that I want to keep going with weight training, however, because I am actually enjoying it more than I expected. I wouldn’t say I like it, but I decidedly don’t hate it (yet), which is a big step for me! Alas, it will be up to me to (try to) remember all the exercises that Jordan has taught me, and to devise a few workout sets of my own to keep going. I suppose I’ll also be joining the ranks of people who scour the internet for workout plans and inspiration, too. And whaddya know, I’ve already found a few that I am more than happy to get on board with!

katniss and peeta

Theodora‘s company recently sent me a workout plan that was developed by Lisa Wheeler, the Fitness Program Director of DailyBurn. This workout is specifically inspired by The Hunger Games. I know how cheesy it sounds, but honestly the simple act of combining something that I don’t like (exercise) with something that I love (Hunger Games, durr) makes the whole idea of actually, y’know, doing it more exciting. Honestly, I should probably capitalize on this excitement most by taking a full-on archery class (resistance training, whoop whoop!) but we’ll go with what we got for now, haha. And what we got is a free workout that you don’t even need a gym to be able to do!

hunger games banner

ARMS
Exercise: Single Arm Row with Rotation
Equipment: Resistance Band
Description: A single arm row simulates the upper body action in archery by drawing one elbow back (engaging the deep muscles of the back) and slightly rotating the torso. Hook tubing around a stable pole or door jam and place both handles in your right hand. Step back until the tubing has some tension. Pick up your right foot and balance on your left and then begin to pull the tubing back, right hand moving towards right hip. Add a slight rotation to the right, opening up the shoulder.

ABS AND CORE
Exercise: Bear Squat
Equipment: none, just your body weight
Description: The bear squat combines a full plank, which is fantastic for the core, and an explosive leg press. Begin in plank then bend your knees and send your hips back over your heels keeping the knees off the floor (spine is flexed and arms are extended). With a powerful push from your legs, extend back out to plank and hold.

LEG STRENGTH
Exercise: Curtsy Squat Side Lunge
Equipment: Dumbbells
Description: To truly develop strong legs that are functional for running, jumping, leaping and carrying heavy loads, you must train them in all directions. Holding heavy dumbbells in each hand begin with feet together. Step out to the side with your right leg, keeping your left leg straight. Hinge forward slightly but keep chest lifted with the dumbbells on either side of your right leg. Push off your right foot and immediately step back and cross behind the left leg, bending both knees into a curtsy squat.

AGILITY
Exercise: Quick Feet Drill
Equipment: none, just your body weight
Description: To be quick on your feet and have the agility to change direction quickly, you must train the muscles to fire rapidly and with power. This drill is about quickness and endurance and really elevates your heart rate. Begin in the athletic ready stance (feet a little wider than shoulder width with knees slightly bent and a slight hinge forward from the hips) with arms out the side, palms forward. Start moving your feet as fast as you can as if running keeping the feet close to the ground. Keeping your shoulders and torso stable, randomly twist your hips (knees and feet as well!) to the right and quickly back to the center. Repeat to the left continuing to keep your feet moving as quickly as possible.

011712-hunger-games-new-still

As you can see, these aren’t exactly as simple or easy as your basic bicep curl. They are much more complex exercise moves that most definitely fall under the category of a “full body workout”. Each move seems to challenge your stability and balance along with the body part they are targeting – more bang for your workout buck! I’m happy because at least for OMGRIGHTNOW, I have some new moves to test out as I figure out how I work solo in the weight room. My legs are crazy sore (again, sigh) from my training session yesterday, but you can bet I’ll be attempting the faux-archery Arm Row exercise tonight!

How do you do your gym workouts? Do you need a gym buddy? Personal trainer? A workout ripped from the pages of a magazine or printed off of a website?

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Posted on Feb 14, 2011 in Food, Working Out | 13 comments

Zippity Doo Da

Hello again! I am just riding so high off of my good news from this morning that I decided to give you all an additional post to get you through the rest of your day. You’re welcome! 😛

Nothing fancy, just an update on my eats and post-work activity. Lunch was a ginormous beast of a salad:

In the mix is a bunch o’ greens, red onion, avocado, and a couple pieces of leftover roasted duck that Ben and Taylor brought home after going out to dinner at the famous Peking Gourmet Inn for Taylor’s birthday over the weekend!

I also had a big ol’ green bell pepper with the rest of the homemade hummus that I made last night:

Green is definitely my least favorite color of bell pepper, but it does work pretty well as a vehicle for hummus (which let’s be honest, is always the goal!)

After work I took my good mood all the way to the gym and cranked out 1.52 miles on the treadmill! Unfortunately, that “zippity doo da” feeling didn’t last too long once my legs starting moving.

It was pretty rough, and I got a bad cramp not too long into the run, so I ended up doing a lot of alternating speedwalking (3.5), jogging (4.5 – 5.5), and sprinting (6.5). All in all, I got to a mile and a half and decided to call it a day. I did do some nice stretching afterward though, plus a li’l bit of ab work so I chalk this one up as a success!

Okay, short and sweet post for you guys. I have big plans to make up a batch of Green Monster Pasta for dinner tonight – I’m supahdupah excited about it!

Question: what is the best way to counteract cramps that come up when running? This has always been a problem for me, and my sister says it’s purely because I’m not breathing enough but I feel like I’m huffing and puffing away and it still happens! Tips from you more experienced athletes would be much appreciated!

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Posted on Feb 9, 2011 in Working Out | 1 comment

2nd post – see?

Well, this is going to be a short one too, I’m afraid, since after a day of work and going to the gym I am poopity pooppoop pooped. But! I just wanted to proooove that I made good on my promise to go running this afternoon:

I ran just a smidge over a mile, and I ran the mile itself in around 12 minutes which is actually superduper fast for me (I think I averaged like a 13 and a half minute/mile during my first 5k haha). I didn’t want to push myself too hard considering I am just getting over being sick and whatnot from yesterday, but I’m proud for cranking at least that one full mile out. After all, 6 months ago I could barely run for a minute straight. My body actually didn’t feel too bad during the run, it was my throat that starting to kill me strangely enough. I guess sucking down all that air just seemed foreign to my pipes after taking over a month off, haha.

Anyway, that’s the big news for today. I’m hoping to be back up to a strong 2 or 2.5 miles before my trip next week. I’ll keep you posted!

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Posted on Feb 9, 2011 in Dear Diary | 1 comment

This feels like a two-post day

So I’ll try to keep this one short. I’m feeling much better today, for those of you who were worried about my ailing health. My sister thinks I had a mild case of food poisoning and it seems like a likely scenario, so we’ll go with that. I am feeling much, much better this morning however, and am ready to jump back into all the work that I missed and start up my 5k training up right.

I haven’t stepped foot on a treadmill since the cruise and I’m a little scared as to how my endurance has tanked. But I figure, I’ll start back small and work my way back up. Now that I know that I CAN run a 5k already I don’t envision it being that hard to get back to that place. Before, the furthest I had ever run was from the car to my front porch on especially cold days, haha.

Anyway, I think I’m feeling well enough stomach-wise to make it to the treadmill this afternoon, so I’ll let you all know literally how far I can get later on. In the meantime, because I think that every post should have at least one photo in it (plus, how else am I going to get something to pop into that super cool scrolly header bar thingy at the top?) here is a cool but totally irrelevant picture of me that Ben took of me a little while ago for his Project 365 Photo-A-Day self-challenge:

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