When I started working out in college, I did it as a way to avoid the “Freshman 15.” Doesn’t everyone have those thoughts? Knowing that, and having no background working out, like at all, I headed straight for the cardio machines. The stepper, elliptical, bike, and treadmill were my best friends. I spent at least 45 minutes on the machines daily, if not an hour. If I was attending a fitness class, I would go early to get on a machine.
Sometimes I pushed myself, but sometimes I was so mindlessly working out, reading a magazine that I cringe looking back at how much time I wasted. Eventually I did get more confidence and headed to the weight section. I started with just the machines and soon made my way over to the dumbbells. I attended more strength training bootcamp classes, and over the years, started cutting back on cardio.
Once I began teaching at the gym 3 years ago, I stopped doing cardio every day. When I taught a strength class for an hour, I didn’t want to be doing extra cardio. I ended up doing cardio about 3-4 times a week, and strength training/circuit training 2-3 times a week. I definitely thought I’d be gaining weight and looking flabby from not doing the cardio, and I was tempted to keep on doing it. Thankfully, my schedule didn’t allow those extra cardio sessions and I’m oh so glad it didn’t.
Do you know what happened when I dropped the cardio sessions and upped the strength training sessions?
I got stronger. I got leaner. I didn’t gain weight. I gained confidence.
I no longer spent hours on machines like this.
I found out what worked for me. I found out that my body thrives on the strength training and the cardio is more for my pleasure. I enjoy running and don’t want to lose that, but I also learned to love the interval training and strength training. I saw muscles I haven’t seen before and lose some flab that I thought was there forever.
It’s hard and scary and something no one wants to do to switch up routines. We get in a bubble where we think we know our body and know what’s best. Thankfully I have gotten over that fear. Pregnancy taught me a lot. I wish I could have learned it before that but I didn’t and that’s ok. I have learned that my favorite feeling is the sore feeling after I lift heavier weights. I have learned that shorter workouts that pack a lot in are better for me. I have learned that hour long workouts just aren’t in the plans for now.
I’m so glad I’m not on that cardio train anymore. Don’t get me wrong- there is a time and place for it absolutely! I still do cardio, it just doesn’t rule my world.
Example of teaching a strength class and then some time on the treadmill. Time and place for all!
A typical week for me include 2-3 cardio sessions (running or HIIT workouts that are quick) and 2-3 runs (3-4 miles typically). I aim for one lower body, one upper body, and one full body or circuit workout. I try to get in a HIIT workout on the treadmill, an easy one, and a little faster run if I can. I’m not saying this is the best schedule for your body. What I am saying is that you need to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while. Switch things up if you want to see results. Our body’s are so adaptable and can get in a funk by completely the same workouts. I switch up my workouts weekly and never do the same more than 2 weeks in a row. I love completing new workouts and the fun it comes with! Maybe running isn’t for you, try biking, or barre, spin, lifting, bootcamp. The possibilities are out there, you just need to find them.
Go find your strength, my friends. <3