I’ll be the first to admit I’m not necessarily the best at incorporating strength training into my workout routine. By “not necessarily the best” I mean “definitely the worst,” by the way. I just hate strength training. I find it boring. I don’t like weights, I hate the feeling of my muscles giving out on me at the end of a set, all of that. You might interpret this to mean that I don’t like working hard, and I’ll let you think that if you want because it’s possibly true. Nonetheless, I recognize that strength training has a place in any well-rounded workout plan, and that most running coaches recommend it. I wasn’t really particularly inspired to add in strength training to my workout regimen, though. I’m busy enough with running, biking, and
trying not to drown swimming, and there’s plenty of times when I feel overwhelmed about everything I have to fit into the day. Thus, my motivation to make time for something I despise was pretty minimal.
While perusing some of my favorite blogs over the past few weeks, I came across two that kind of left an impression on me that I didn’t really recognize at the time. My friend Kelsey, who I ran the Med City Marathon with back in May, wrote a blog recently about making small changes that add up to big results. Kelsey has made an amazing lifestyle transformation over the past 6 years, losing an incredible 100+ pounds through diet and exercise – and now she is a marathon runner! Anyway, this particular post was about ways you can make small changes in your diet to start eating healthier without doing a complete overhaul and becoming overwhelmed. It made me think of running, because so many people start out running way too fast and trying to do way too much too soon, forgetting that getting in shape takes time! Losing weight is the same way, and small changes over time can snowball into bigger changes, more weight loss, etc. While there’s many of her tips that I should follow, I smiled quite smugly when I got to the bottom of the list and thought about how much water I drink – despite the fact that it’s the only thing on that list I do. Oh well. Small changes, right?
Anyway, so it was with Kelsey’s list in mind that I ended up reading Anele’s blog a few days later. Anele writes a blog called Success Along the Weigh, which chronicles her weight loss journey. She started out weighing 494 pounds and has since lost over 200 with again, diet and exercise alone. It’s pretty amazing, but I’ve never met her – I just secretly stalk, as I like to do. Her blog focused on an article that came out recently that says sitting is as dangerous as smoking. I won’t regurgitate the whole article (because I’m too busy doing that with my stomach acid, heyyyooooooooooooooooo), but basically, prolonged periods of sitting increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, and other bad things, regardless of other activity levels. So it’s all well and good for me to go run for an hour after work, but it’s not completely undoing the damage I’m doing from sitting all day at my desk, like many of us with desk jobs are forced to. Kind of a scary thought! (Yes, I know this is based on a few studies and my death is probably not impending, but go with me here). Anele decided to solve the problem by putting a reminder in her Outlook calendar to tell her to get off her ass and do 10 squats every hour, and I thought it was absolutely brilliant.
Of course, it took me a little while to decide to actually implement this idea. I thought about Kelsey’s concept of small changes, and Anele’s suggestion of doing 10 squats an hour definitely fit that description. I figured it was worth a try, and my thighs could definitely use a little toning up, so why not? Because Anele is much smarter than me and I did not read her blog very carefully, she put one appointment in her calendar and then just clicks “remind again in 1 hour” every time it pops up. I failed horribly and now have a million reminders in my Outlook calendar, which awkwardly pop up anytime someone tries to schedule a meeting with me and looks for conflicting appointments.
Of course, I figured out that doing 10 squats 9 times a day would only come out to 90 squats, which is unacceptable. Therefore, I had decided to do 11 squats per hour with 12 on the last set. That now seems too wimpy, so I’m presently shooting for 22 per hour and 24 on the last set, for a total of 200 per day. Not sure what I’m going to do once my thighs are too muscley for my jeans, but I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
So far, the experience has been great. I’ve actually started to look forward to the little “ding” coming from my computer and I enjoy the chance to move around, get my heart going, and inevitably go get some more water, since apparently I’m dying of thirst at all times. I think this is a change I could keep going for quite awhile. I’ve even started to think about how to incorporate some other small movement during the same time – maybe a 1 minute plank or something. Ok, you’re right. That would be ridiculous. Point being, if I can incorporate some tiny little bit of strength training into my day, anyone can. It sucks considerably less than you might think.
LEAVE A COMMENT: What small changes are you trying to make right now? Does the idea of a reminder going off every hour motivate you or make you want to throw something? What else should I incorporate into my routine?