Sunday, September 21, 2014

Strong is the New Skinny

Strong is the new was the perfect saying for me, it gave me the freedom to stop worrying about the scale and just work on my strength. 

September half marathon training hasn't really been going as planned. These first weeks of September the afternoons have stayed hot, so after work I still head to the gym.

The temp this afternoon while I was running errands

Lately weight training and biking have been saving me, I've have logged 100 miles on my bike so far this month. 

I hoped for a lot more outside running time this month, but I've only logged three outdoors runs, the rest of my miles were on the treadmill. My lack of running has been getting me down a bit, so I am trying to focus on the good things I have going...even though being strong will not help me run 13.1 again. 

I don't know if you remember, but this is what prompted me to start getting serious about my weight training... this picture really bothered me. 
March 2013 

I saw this thought, "Oh my goodness the arm hang has to GO and got to work."

I had been through almost a year with a frozen shoulder, gone to physical therapy, and had several cortisone shots. Not being able to work upper body left me a mushy mess. At first I was doing very light weight and lots of reps trying to get confident. I was very afraid to hurt my shoulder and feel pain again.  Back in May, I got serious about getting stronger and really started working. 
I am happy to say that my arm hang is gone...

Look  no hang :) 

Now I need to work on making those muscles pop :) 
When I started this journey I had to do push ups on my knees. My shoulders are still a work in progress, I've had to spend some nights icing, but I keep trying to balance going up on the weight and getting hurt again. 

I work out a very small Gold's gym and I love it.
The exercises, reps, and weights have varied throughout this journey, but this is one of my routines I did on Friday. 

A set for me is usually 12 and I try to work at a weight until I can get 15 fairly easy. 

Smith machine bench press
1 set w/40 lbs. 
2 sets w/50 lbs.
1 set w/70 lbs. struggled to get to 10 (next weight level I am trying to tackle)

Smith machine raised seat for shoulders
2 sets w/40 lbs. of weight
1 set w/50 lbs. (hurt - my shoulders are very finicky)
1 set w/40 lbs.

Wide grip lat pull downs (to my chest)  can't do behind the neck it kills my shoulders. 
3 sets w/60 lbs.
1 set w/75 lbs. - struggled with form
2 sets w/60 lbs.(15 reps)

Tricep rope
1 set w/ 30 lbs. (15 reps)
1 set w /40 lbs.
2 sets w/50 lbs.(10 reps) losing my form-(next weight level I am trying to tackle)
1 set w/40 lbs.

Standing lat push down (use two handles)
3 sets  w/20 lbs. (15 reps)
1 set w/30 lbs. - can barely get 8 with decent form.
added the half plate weight and did 20 reps. I am stuck in between weights here- just have to keep at it.

Sitting tricep push down
2 sets w/130 lbs.
2 sets w/140 lbs.

Bicep curl
1 set w/30 lbs. (15 reps)
3 sets w/40 lbs. (10 reps)

The handle lat machine (this machine has a wheel you can add 10 lbs.with)
3 sets w/80 lbs.
1 set w/90 lbs. (10 reps)

3 sets w/20 lb. bar
1 set w/30 lb. bar

Hand weights
10 lb. weight in each hand did shoulder raises 3 sets of 10

I also did 3 sets of 12 push ups and  3 sets of 12 incline sit ups in between sets on the machines. 

After my work out hubby and I headed to the beach over the weekend and had a bunch of fun biking. (more pictures in a future post) 

Sunday afternoon I did a quick upper body session and still felt some soreness (darn shoulders), so I shortened up the workout and will focus on cardio Monday :) 
Trying to learn when to push and when to rest, and still working on that great run. 

How was your weekend? How many times a week do you weight train? Have you ever had to get a cortisone shot? 


  1. What an improvement in your arms! Karen they look fabulous! I love weight training- and I love RESULTS!

    1. Thank you :) I am so glad not to so jiggly anymore, now working on looking a little more muscular.

  2. Amazing job!!! Love those results! I love that you set out for a specific goal and achieved it! I am impressed that you can do bicep curls with 40lb dumbbells! I struggle to get 15 reps x 2 with the 15lb dumbbells!

    1. Thanks! Uh oh, the heavy curls I do on a seated machine, I forgot to fill that in. I can't curl that much with dumbbells lol :) I do some things free weights and some on machine. The free wights are always harder!

  3. I LOVE the title of this post. Couldn't agree more. Your strength training is really paying off. You look awesome! And that strength training will help you run better! Great job Karen!

    1. Thanks! I still have lots of work to do on my core, it's hard to fit it all in.

  4. Look at your arms!!!! Talk about motivated! I usually strength train once or twice a week, but in the summer time when I'm on vacation it's 3-4. I only use 15lb to do bicep curls :0 Great job!!!

    1. Thanks! I use the 15 lb. if I use a hand held also, I realized I forgot to add some details when I was typing out my list lol I am on a seated machine when i curl 3 0lbs. It was challenging to get enough sessions in last winter when I was running a lot. i will have to see how this winter goes :)


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