Thanks to Gail O’Connell for contributing to our blog and writing this post. Gail is a fitness enthusiast and a role model for healthy and fit living. It’s hard to keep up with Gail. She’s always on the go – hiking, meeting up with friends, hosting book clubs, traveling here and abroad. She attributes her ability to live such an active life to her consistency in working out and eating healthy. Gail has been a client of Pam Strand’s for many years. Here’s Gail…
The Need for Strength Training
You hear a lot about strength training, but do you really know what it means? Many of us picture a gym full of muscled men who are lifting enormous weights and grunting a lot as they do so. However, strength training is much more and should be an important addition to your work-out routine.
Like a lot of people, when I started working out years ago, I did a lot of cardio – step class, jazzercise, the treadmill, running, biking. All of that was fine, but there was something missing. I soon realized that my body didn’t have the definition I wanted. My arms were not as toned as I thought they should be. I also thought I was losing some of my strength – just doing everyday lifting around the house and yard was a little bit of a struggle. I thought, “wow, if it’s a struggle now what’s going to happen when I really do get older?” I knew it was time to add strength training to my routine.
Solo in the Weight Room
First, I checked out the weight machines at a gym, and I will admit they were just a tiny bit intimidating. I didn’t know how high the seat should be or where to put the back rest. I thought I needed to learn the proper technique and machine adjustment or else the workout would not be effective; or worse, I could injure myself. I tried the machines and it was OK, just OK. I carried a piece of paper around the gym to remind myself of the correct adjustment for each different machine. I spent as much time adjusting the equipment as I did using it for a workout. Finally I thought, “time for a different approach; time for a personal trainer.”
Guidance with a Personalized Strength Training Program
Working out with a personal trainer was great! I learned correct alignment and ways to work different muscle groups to maximize my workout. Not only was it fun, but I could feel myself getting stronger and looking more toned. I didn’t need machines. My personal strength training includes using with free weights and sometimes just my own body weight. Together, my trainer and I work on new ways to keep me motivated. What I truly enjoy about free weights is the ability to incorporate them into a cardio exercise session. Kind of a two for one workout session (like the current BOGO trend in retail stores!). Utilizing weights while working out on the BOSU ball or holding a barbell on a set of steps is the perfect workout cocktail. Even adding in strength training movement with my own body weight can make for a challenging and rewarding workout (it’s interesting how many variations of the plank there are!).
Has strength training made a difference? You bet it has. I am stronger and able to do the household tasks that require lifting and a strong back. I look better in my clothes. The muffin top is under control. Even more important, I enjoy the workouts. Strength training offers endless variations on moves and combinations of moves which keeps it from becoming boring.
Written by: Gail O’Connell
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Strand Fitness is a personal training studio in Downtown Wheaton, serving Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Winfield, & Chicago Western Suburbs. To learn more about how Strand Fitness can help you reach your fitness goals, contact Pam (630-653-8152) and schedule your free fitness consultation.
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