Billy and I both graduated this past Saturday! Our families collaborated for a cookout/graduation party.
With the 'rents:
My fam minus my older brother who lives in Arlington:
Now that graduation has passed, I am enjoying massive amounts of free time. I am officially starting my new job at the physical therapy clinic tomorrow, though, and will be working 9-5 for my first day (yikes!). From there on out, I will only be working around 25 hours a week. I definitely need to work more than that, so, starting July 1st, I will most likely be personal training at Fitness Together.
I am excited to train at Fitness Together versus any other gym because it really is a unique experience. The "gym" is really broken into 2 small, separate gyms. The trainer takes the client into one of the fully stocked "gym" rooms, where the client is trained one-on-one. There is no waiting for equipment or having other people watch you because you are the only ones in the room.
The only problem is, even though I have a Bachelor's in Exercise Science, the owner wants me to get my official certification. This isn't a real problem, because all I have to do is take the test, but I have to fork over a couple hundred dollars for the test. Kind of funny that 4 years of college in a related field isn't good enough, while passing a test that someone straight out of high school could take is! Plus, the state of VA doesn't even require certification to train. But, like I said, I really like the company's structure and the location is perfect because it's right down the street from my job at the physical therapy clinic.
Billy and I are insanely excited to be signing our lease to our new apartment next Friday. Billy will be living there alone till the wedding, and we'll get everything moved in. We are proud owners of a Tempur-Pedic mattress (thank you Grandma and Grandpa Beaumont!) and a Natuzzi leather couch, both of which we got fabulous deals on. We got the couch for $700 less than selling price, and the mattress for $600 less. I still don't really understand how either of those deals happened, but one thing I have learned about furniture shopping at privately owned stores: just ask, and you can work something out! I have my mom to thank for my bargaining skills.
Onto the Exercise:
Since I haven't posted in so long, I'm not going to write down each exercise session I've done, but I have been really enjoying my workouts. While I'm still running, I'm spending more energy on shorter interval/speed/hill runs of about 2 to 3 miles each, and incorporating about one "long" run of 5 or 6 miles a week. The speedwork really is shocking my body, and it's great! I've also been doing about 2 strength training sessions a week, and have increased my core work as well. I also bit the bullet and signed up for the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in September! Here we go again.
Have you ever tried interval training? Intervals can be done on virtually any cardio equipment (or on your own 2 feet outside!). Intervals are simply short bursts of speed followed by recovery at a moderate pace. For example, for my interval run on Tuesday, I used the treadmill to warm up at a moderate pace for 5 minutes. Then, I alternated 20 second sprints at 8.0 mph with 1 minute recovery at 6.0 mph. I repeated this for roughly 2o minutes, then cooled down at a moderate pace for 5 minutes. This quick, 30 minute segment packed in more muscle and cardiorespiratory challenge than an hour plus run at a moderate pace. Not only that, but intervals are exhilerating and break up the boredom and monotony of cardio. They're great for days when you need to get in and get out of the gym.
I'd like to add a little something from one of my favorite exercise books, The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler. This section deals with the confusion between women and weight lifting, because it's something I get asked about all the time. Women are afraid to lift heavier weights because they only want to "get toned."
"Weight-training advice for women revolves around what I call the three dirty words: toning, shaping, and sculpting.... The way 'toning' is used in books and magazines catering to women, and then by women themselves, it means 'make your muscles look better without making them bigger.' The idea is that there are specific types of workouts-usually involving lots of repetitions with light weights-that will help you acheive this. But that's not a realistic or healthy way to look at your muscles. If the weights are unchallenging, your muscles won't grow. If your muscles don't grow, they won't look any better than they do now, even if you could somehow strip off whatever fat sits on top of them."
"So this brings me to the fourth dirty word: 'bulky.' As in, 'I don't want to get too bulky.' I'll say this as simply as I can: Unless you're an extreme genetic outlier, you can't get too bulky. Your body won't allow it. "
And my favorite section:
"But here's something I've observed over my many years of hanging around in gyms: A woman who's willing to work like a galley slave in Spinning class, twist herself into Gordian knots in the yoga studio, and build enough core strength with Pilates to prop up a skyscraper will walk into the weight room, pick up the pastel-colored Barbie weights, and do the exact opposite of what will give her the results she wants."
He then goes on to discuss watching a woman do a triceps kickback, "a simply and useless exercise in which you lean over a bench, hold your upper arm parallel to the floor, and straighten your elbow while holding a very light weight," followed by a one-arm row "in which you lean over a bench with your upper arm perpendicular to the floor, and row the weight up to the side of your abdomen." While he explains how the rowing exercise uses many accessory muscles and targets the large muscle groups of the back, and the tricep kickback only uses the muscles of the back of the arm, the woman proceeded to use a 6 pound weight for the triceps kickback, and a 7 pound weight for the row! That's a mere 1 pound increase between a simple, single-joint exercise and an intricate, multi-joint exercise, when clearly larger muscle groups are equipped to handle heavier weights.
Ladies, your body is amazingly created and your muscles, especially the muscles of your back, are designed for strength. What a shame to ignore the potential you have for building strength to stay healthy, reduce or prevent pain, improve your posture, feel better, and help with activities of daily life, such as lifting kids and groceries, or to be so afraid of getting "bulky" as to not challenge yourselves in the weight room. Give it a shot!