Jul 012014
 

Back in the early days of this blog, I used to write a lot about the workouts I did. I was focusing on running and I used to run the waterfront loop during my lunch hour (man, I have so many fond memories of that). On the weekends Michael and I used to ride our bikes on the 40 mile Springwater Loop around Portland. These were the focuses of my blog. Weight lifting was pretty non-existent on 110pounds.com. I just didn’t like it. I didn’t really spend much time on it and didn’t see any changes in my body as a result. I thought it was a waste of time. Boy was I wrong. Several injuries that sidelined me from biking or running meant I had to find SOMETHING I could do. That’s when I started lifting weights.

Funny, when you lift weights FOR REAL, like it’s your main focus, several times a week for months on end–you DO see results! Who knew? That started the love affair with weight lifting. Once I saw a change and felt a change, I was convinced. I haven’t done a post in a long time about what kind of work I’m doing in the gym. I wanted to share what my favorite workouts are lately in this post.

Kettlebell High Pull

This is one that I learned at The Warrior Room but with two kettlebells. At first it was hard and I didn’t quite get it. I kept dropping my elbows but once I practiced a bit and found my rhythm it was easy and FUN. Check out this video on how to do the High Pull. Fast-forward to about 45 seconds in to see a demonstration of the move. The video is only using one kettle bell and when I do it, I use two. Currently I’m using two 15 pound kettlebells. This isn’t a great picture, but it gives you an idea:

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Kettlebell Swing

This is the basic swing, one move you learn on day one with kettlebells. I’m currently using a 30 pound kettlebell. I could probably go up to 35 but I tend to air on the side of caution when it comes to increasing my weights. I know, I know, if I want to see progress I need to up the weight! I try my best but my history with injury has made me overly cautious and as such, I tend to get stuck in ruts for awhile before I go up in weight.

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One Leg Romanian Dead Lift

This one can be done with free weights or with kettlebells, whichever feels most comfortable with you. I love this exercise because it reminds me just how imbalanced my body is. One side is ALWAYS more wobbly than the other. I also notice that if I take a break from doing this exercise I lose whatever balance improvements I’ve gained pretty quickly. I am currently using two 15 pound weights for this exercise. I’d like to go up to 17.5 pounds soon but I keep having setbacks and have to start over again.

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Chest Press

There is nothing flashy or fancy about this exercise but it’s functional and I notice a difference when I do it consistently. I lay down on the bench and then do a few sets of presses with a 30 or 35 pound barbell. I could probably increase to 40 pounds any day now if I’d stop being so cautious. :) This is a move that helps me with day to day life. For example, Michael and I recently bought a new bookcase and had to move the old one into the office and then move the new one to the living room. These were very large, very heavy pieces and while there was no way I could life it all by myself, it was certainly easy with the both of us and I did not struggle with carrying the weight. Yay for weightlifting!

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Leg Abductions/Adductions

This exercise is something I’ve been doing for awhile, on and off depending on what kind of resources I have handy. My physical therapist suggested I do this to strengthen my glutes (when I was trying everything I could to fix my knees). It works. I can feel it! I use one of the machines at the gym and do both legs. If I don’t have access to the machine, or I’m at home, it can be done with those stretchy bands, but I like the machine better.

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Bird Dog

This one is a suggestion from my physical therapist, as well as a yoga move. It’s a funny name but it is so beneficial–for runners, for anyone with muscle imbalance or chronic injury. It works on the core as well as the glutes and hamstrings. I work this move into my abs workouts.

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The Result

A recent workout included all of the above moves, plus a few other various things (some balance exercises, ab exercises and weight machines), 15 minutes of the elliptical and 10 minutes of stretching. This was the calorie burn:

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Not bad, huh? I’m working on strengthening my core and still working on my glutes. I know they are a weak part of my body and if I’m going to be serious about getting back to running I need to focus on my weaknesses or this will never stick! I’m glad I’ve been sticking with the weight lifting. The focus may change (I go back and forth in focus between the glutes, triceps and abs) but the bottom line doesn’t: lifting weights makes me feel better and stronger. Read these two interesting articles I found:

7 Strength Training Myths Every Woman Should Know

Why Women Don’t (But Should) Lift Weights

If you’re on the fence about starting a strength training program, I recommend you give it a chance–at least for a few weeks. Give it four weeks of 2-3 sessions each week and you WILL see a change. It might be a change on the scale (most likely a loss!), you might notice you are stronger, you might feel better or you might notice some muscle definition you never had before. Sure you won’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger after just a month of lifting weights, but trust me. If you stick with it, you will see a difference. Ladies: don’t be intimidated! You have every right to be there with the guys and show them what you got! Don’t be shy! I let my shyness keep me away for far too long. I am so glad I learned to love weights!

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Jun 162014
 

I wouldn’t say last week was a great one. Lots of stress and by Friday I was just cranky and in a poor mood. I went swimming and had plans to go to a friend’s party and almost bailed I was in such a bad mood. I’m so glad I didn’t! It was a blast and something very out of the norm that was a lot of fun. My friend Debby was have a “divorce party” and instead of burning her ex in effigy :) we had a craft part at K. Marie’s in downtown Milwaukie. It was an arts and crafts store that held workshops and parties.

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There was champagne, artichoke dip with crackers and veggies, chocolate, cheese, punch and cupcakes! Look at these things:

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There were a bunch of us there, maybe 15 (and several were awesome coworkers), and we enjoyed our glasses of champagne while the shop owner started to describe what we were going to make. I used to be pretty crafty but haven’t done much in a long time. I missed making something out of nothing! It was so much fun and it was easy with just a few instructions and guidance.

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The final product was a fancy shoe made out of paper on a gift box! I was pretty happy with mine. Some of the other ladies there were super creative and did wild things with their supplies. It’s cool seeing people’s creative side. I had one cupcake because it looked just too damn good to pass up:

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On Saturday I slept in a little bit and then went to the gym. It was one of those workouts where everything felt good, which was nice. I did a bunch of squats with the 30 pound bar and also did pushups, ab work, some glute exercises and the chest press. I finished up with the elliptical because my IT bands were a little sore from a recent massage. I just didn’t want to push it with a run yet.

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When I got home from the gym I spent an hour in the yard pulling weeds and tackling the MONSTER blackberry bushes we have. I feel like I spent my entire life in the yard pulling weeds. And then next weekend they are back. It never ends! But I got a ton of stuff done and managed to chop down more than half of the blackberry bush:


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There’s still a ton left to do but I’ve found that doing more than an hour of yard work in one day is a recipe for back ache. I’m always surprised at how much work gardening is and if you have any doubts, check out how many calories I burned doing one hour of work:

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Nearly 400 calories! Holy cow! That is so crazy. I probably didn’t need to go to the gym. I could have just worked in the yard. ;) After all that it was time to meet my cousin Anna and her friend Shawna for happy hour at East Burn. The restaurant/bar had a big screen TV up showing the World Cup (which I had no interest in but everyone else did!) and we shared two happy hour items–the giant pretzel with cheese sauce and the goat cheese and kale dip with fresh foccacia bread.

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The goat cheese and kale dip was tasty but the kale needed to be chopped smaller and the consistency was a little on the runny side. It wasn’t like your typical spinach and artichoke dip, thick and gooey, like I was expecting. The foccaccia bread was fresh, warm, airy and buttery. Our “dinner” was just the right amount of food, with of course a tasty adult beverage–

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A Moscow Mule! Light and refreshing! After that Shawna took off and Anna and I went to the Memorial Coliseum for the Rose City Rollers championship. For years I’ve wanted to go check out the roller derby tournaments and for some reason never made it. It sounded like so much fun! I had no idea what to expect and had never seen it before. The place was pretty packed but not uncomfortably so and we got some decent seats towards the front.

There were two different matches– the first was the Guns-n-Rollers versus the High Rollers. The second bout was the Heartless Heathers versus Break Neck Betties. The names of the team members were fantastic! I think some of my favorites were Jala Pain Yo, Scratcher In The Eye, and Minstrel Psycho. HAHA!

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I posted some short videos on my Instagram that are pretty good. The bouts were absolutely fascinating. Since it was my first time I really didn’t know what the rules were but the announcers explained a bit during the competition and there was a handy guide on the game and rules in the booklet. It was pretty easy to follow. Basically the girl with the large star on her helmet was the one that was trying to get through the pack from the back and then skate around the track. The other team’s goal was to block her (or knock her down) from passing them and scoring points. Both teams had the leader with the star on their helmets and it switched out periodically.

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During half time they had some really hilarious competitions! Like the picture above, and then also some little kids on roller skates playing capture the flag, then there was a group of guys with balloons tied to their ankles and they had to stomp on the other’s balloon to pop it and win. The second set of derby girls was much more exciting than the first (I think it was the Break Neck Betties and Heartless Heathers). They were SUPER aggressive, fast and more violent than the first group of girls. It was so much fun!

Overall it was a much nicer weekend than my week had been and I got to try a bunch of new things! A quick update on Michael: he’s feeling a little better and moving around easier but by no means healed. I think it will be awhile. :(

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