virtual personal training

Operation Glutes Follow Up

You can read the first post here

What I loved most about the plan Suzanne built for me is that pretty early on I felt STRONGER. This is the part of the post where I admit that I felt up my butt (good god, the Google searches that are going to arrive at my blog…) and found that I had muscle! My glutes FELT stronger and rock hard. It only took about 3 weeks for that to happen. While my butt didn’t look different yet, it felt different. It didn’t look like Kim Kardashian’s (maybe I just genetically have a flat butt) but it FELT stronger.

In general I just felt more muscular. In turn, I felt more confident in my body image.

Week 3 – I noticed around the 3rd week that I wasn’t sore for 1-2 days after a session like I was in the first two weeks. That first week I was sore for days and it was awesome! But that feeling quickly went away and I needed to increase the amount of weight.

For example, the first week I did the 1 arm tricep kickbacks I used an 8 lb weight and it was difficult but I could finish the 10 rep set. By the end of week 2 I increased it to 10 lbs (struggling to finish the 10 reps) and week 3 I did 12 pounds.


I breezed through week 4 and 5. I increased the weight on a lot of the exercises I was doing because they got too easy. I barely broke a sweat or I wasn’t sore afterward. I kinda like that “I worked out really hard last night” soreness…

Week 6 – The final week came and I knew the routine well and my transitions between exercises were faster. It look less time to set up and get started, which was nice. That was my frustration in the beginning. The final week I was up to doing 17.5 pounds for the tricep kickbacks. It was a pretty awesome feeling to be able to do 3 sets of 10 at a higher weight!


Final Results

I went into this experiment with the goal of strengthening my glutes and toning my arms. I believe I achieved both. I’m in no way “done” and still have a lot of work to do but I made progress. My physical therapist said my glutes were much stronger and that was music to my ears.

When I discussed my goals with Suzanne before starting, weight loss wasn’t even on the list. Which is strange for me–considering my background and my mindset. It just wasn’t the focus. Getting strong and healing my knees and toning my lunch lady arms was all I cared about!

I stepped on the scale for my first weigh-in since March. I hadn’t weighed myself for the 6 weeks that I was doing the program. I didn’t lose weight, in fact I gained 1 pound. But that could be inaccurate. My weight can fluctuate between 2-5 pounds depending on the day I step on the scale.

February 28th April 25th
Hips: 36 inches Hips: 35.5 inches
Waist: 33.5 inches Waist: 33 inches
Thighs: 18 inches Thighs: 18 inches

As you can see, I lost about 1/2 an inch on my hips and waist. Now for the horribly awkward “before” and “After” photos. I felt incredibly foolish posing, hence my dumbfounded look and Michael was teasing me telling me to do my Hulk Hogan pose. 😛

Robyn's BirthdayIMG_4441-217x300

Robyn's Birthday

The changes may not be totally obvious in these pictures but I can feel them on my body. My triceps, deltoids and biceps are stronger and more defined.  My thighs are a little more toned and muscular. The underarm and “side” fat (I don’t even know what to call it) is a little less. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the results. I can SEE a change. I can FEEL a change. I like it. And I’ll work on getting better pictures for the next round. 😉

Thanks for following along on my experiment. Stay tuned for Phase 2.

6 Weeks to Strong Glutes

I signed up with Suzanne from Workout Nirvana for her virtual personal training recently. I’ve been Twitter friends with Suzanne for years now and she’s always been generous with her weight lifting advice. I’ve even shared some awesome posts by her on my site:

Workout Nirvana

Reshaping Your Body with Weight Lifting

I figured it was time to try it out for myself. I had two reasons for doing so. First, I have most definitely been stuck in a rut this winter with my weight lifting–well, with all of my workouts honestly. I needed something different and for awhile Body Pump was getting me out of that rut.

The other reason I decided to (finally) sign up with Suzanne was my most recent physical therapy appointment. My physical therapist said that my quads were really strong but my glutes were still weak. Hence, my knees STILL weren’t healing. I was so frustrated when I went home from my appointment. I was starting to feel like I’d been wasting all my time ALL WINTER long and not seeing any results. My hope is that focused work in addition to my physical therapy exercises will do that.

It was super easy to get started with her. I filled out the questionnaire as thoroughly as I could, including doctor directives (i.e. no “explosive jumping” or lunges) and my goals (glutes mainly). Within a week we had everything worked out and I had my training plan for the next 6 weeks in my hands!

I’m not going to share specifics of my training plan other than a few things and a few observations. I encourage anyone wanting to get started weight lifting to contact Suzanne and find out if she can help.

I think a virtual training program like this works well if you follow the instructions and don’t half-ass it. If you’re more of the type of person that needs an actual trainer standing next to you motivating you to do it, it’s probably not for you. I’m a self-starter and I tend to go “all in” with whatever I’m doing so I don’t really feel like I need the motivation of a trainer with me. My only concern about doing something virtual was my form. With all the various injuries I’ve had in the past, I’m overly cautious now about proper form and wary of every little ache and pain.

My physical therapist told me last month to start keeping track of all my workouts/PT exercises/body aches and pains. So I bought a journal and I’ve been diligent about logging everything (even though it feels redundant week in and out). I printed of Suzanne’s training plan for each workout and taped it into my journal to keep track at the gym.


So my goals were this:

1) Strengthen my Glutes (to fix my knees).

2) Tone up my triceps (as much as I can, I have loose skin from the weight loss).

3) Tone up my abs (again, same as triceps, I have some loose skin).

Suzanne said that my biceps are pretty strong already so her focus is triceps and glutes, which I am happy about. I hope after 6-10 weeks I see a visible change! Above is my “before” picture. I have to admit, I was anxious to post it. The loose skin on my under arms is pretty much all I see when I look at that photo. It’s hard to think positive and how far I’ve already come.

I’ll break this up into two posts. This one is going to cover the first few weeks, the next one will cover the last few weeks and have a final update.

Week One –

The first session was harder than I thought it would be, but not for the reason you’d think. What I struggled with was actually doing the moves. I watched all the videos she sent me and knew a lot of the moves but once I got to the gym I seemed to forgot how to do them! I found that frustrating and I ended up going really slow while I tried to figure it out.

The day after my first session I was really sore in my triceps and delts. That was awesome!


That’s a pretty good number for my very first session! Especially considering that I felt like I had to rest a lot and put equipment together. My second session that week was pretty similar and it was solely weights–no cardio. In one hour I burned 513 calories. The second attempt was pretty good because I had a better understanding of what I needed and how to transition between the exercises.

Week Two –

This week my exercises were similar to week one but I was supposed to do them a little bit harder. The first week I was doing them at “65-70%”, meaning lighter weight and excursion. The second week it increased slightly, like 70-75%.


It was much easier doing the exercises after a few times. I knew the moves more and didn’t have to consult the videos. It still took a lot of time but I’m sure in the next week or two I will be more efficient.


I’m looking forward to seeing some positive changes!

QUESTION: Have you ever used a personal trainer? What results did you see?