I have seen the light, and it comes in the form of an exercise class.
I attended Body Pump Thursday night at my gym and am now in love.
I am a cardio machine. I know how hard I can push myself while jogging or elliptical-ing (what would you call that anyway?) and when to start pushing myself to go harder or longer. I know that cardio is so key to burning fat and losing weight, so I do it. A lot. I get at least an hour of cardio six times per week, between the above mentioned elliptical machine, the treadmill and Zumba.
But, everything I’ve been reading about weight loss keeps talking about HOW IMPORTANT it is to lift weights. Apparently, if you don’t you will die. Or something.
No of course you won’t DIE, but it eventually makes it harder for you to lose weight and your body will start to eat your muscle too. It’s all very bad. There are ten million articles on this here internet to support strength training in combination with cardio while trying to lose weight (I’m not going to link to any, but they’re out there. Trust me).
I’ve been struggling with this. I hired a trainer for a short period of time, to try and figure out how to lift weights without hurting myself, but I am not a Rockefeller and could not afford a personal trainer forever. I bought a book that had about six months worth of weight lifting programs I could follow. I did all kinds of stuff, including standing at the gym and staring at the free weights for an indetermined length of time.
Still, I couldn’t quite kick myself off the cardio equipment and onto the weight bench. I guess part of me is/was afraid. Of what, I’m not quite sure. I woke up on Thursday morning after getting home late from Zumba (the after-Zumba coffee my friends and I go for turned into an hours long session of bitching about our lives), and decided to skip the 5 am gym session. “I know,” I thought “I’ll take that Body Pump class after work instead. It has weights!” And I did. The instructor was super friendly and nice, she showed me how to setup the equipment and what to expect in terms of intensity. She kept her eye on me during the class and made sure I understood her demonstrations of proper form and technique before she started the music up for each muscle group. I never felt overwhelmed or out of place and I felt like I was lifting weights correctly and in a manner that was going to build me some muscles!
It was awesome. I left there feeling wobbly and strained (in a good way) and determined to take the class once a week for the next little while, adding a class a week as I feel ready and eventually doing it three times a week.
Today is Saturday and I’m still so sore that I whimper whenever I have to sit down or stand up. I get stuck every time I go to the bathroom, getting halfway into a seated position and then not being able to push myself the rest of the way down, but also unwilling to stand back up. It’s been interesting. My biceps and chest are burning and I can’t laugh without feeling my abs protest. I sincerely hope that I don’t feel like this after the next time I take the class.
Still, the pain is a virtuous one! Every ache was earned, doing something that not only didn’t kill me, but will make me stronger.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to take some Advil and apply an ice pack.