Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Strength Comes From Within

I’ve been on a quest to go back to basics lately so when the opportunity to spend some quality time alone at the gym with the weights came up, I knew I had to take it. Part of the perk in being married to a man that also values his gym time, we take turns.

So I took off and on my way I started thinking about what it is that I wanted to do exactly. With a gym full of equipment and no strict training plan at the moment, I really didn’t want to spend it on the treadmill. I kinda felt like the kid who had just walked into a FREE candy store. I wanted it all. So, in the spirit of just doing what felt right, I fell back on my workouts of years past. Before there was serious running plans, before there was a blog, before there were babies I used to spend a good hour in the gym pushing myself in no fewer than 10 different ways.

I spent the first 30 doing cardio but I jumped around. 10 minutes on the Stairs climber, 10 minutes on the bike and 10 minutes running.

Then stretching for 10 minutes. WOW! Somewhere along the way I stopped stretching. I guess in the interest of time management, it was the first thing to get “voted off the island” but I quickly realized just how good it felt. It put me in the right frame of mind to move on to Abs and weights.

My ab routine also was something that I had forgotten. I quickly started realizing just how much I’ve changed but it felt so good to get back to a part of me that had gone dormant.

Then on to weights. I didn’t want to spend my time focused on just a couple muscle groups so instead I decided to test my strength. Starting at the top with shoulders and back…working all the way down to calves. I wanted to see where my “max” was. I reached for what I thought was a heavy weight but after doing a few reps easily, I knew I needed to move up. I picked up the next weight and again, did a few quick reps. Did I need to move up again? My body was telling me yes but my mind was saying something like...

“well, this is what we always do. We should just stay here.” 

And I can honestly say it took more mental strength then I would like to admit to pick up the heavier weight. I was actually shocked by how much I could do and it reminded me just how easy it can be, at least for me, to just go with status quo.

The next 30 minutes I spent pushing every muscle group to the brink and loving every minute of it. Ever rep gave me a new level of confidence that I had forgotten about and lots of moments where I found myself saying…

 “Holy crap! I can do this!” In my most shocking inward voice.

I left the gym knowing and feeling very excited to feel that soreness that comes from challenging yourself. It’s like an inside joke that makes you smile for days afterwards. Why am I telling you all this? I’m not bragging. In fact, if you saw the actually weights you might just snicker but I am telling you this for a reason.

Let’s call it a “learning opportunity”. There is so much value in pushing yourself and you don’t have to be on a dedicated training plan to see and feel the benefit (although it does help). This time of year especially, if you are making time to work out, make the time worth it.

See what you’re made of, challenge that inner voice that says

“Meh…just stick to what works” 

You WILL be tired, you WILL be sore but you Will also be very, very happy.


  1. Awesome!! Good for you, you should be proud of yourself. I'm a personal trainer and I love it when a client shocks themselves with how much they can actually lift (or pull, or push) when they're not stuck thinking about what they 'should' be able to do. Brava!

  2. I've been hitting the weights harder for my legs. When I'm in training for something I tend to not want to do that. I don't want to be too sore for a long run, tempo, speed. I'm good about pushing, going heavy for my upper body. Love it!

  3. I love this. It is so easy to get in a comfortable routine, and as a personal trainer my job is to get people out of that, but it can be much more difficult when you are trying to get yourself out of it! It really is all in your head- you body can do so much more than you think if you just allow it to!

  4. Stretching totally gets voted off the island first. LOL. I love how you worded that. I have been working on my strength and on a 1 mile test run yesterday, it was EVIDENT. Makes such a huge difference. PLUS, I am convinced I am happier after squatting then running. Have renamed run happy hormones to squat happy hormones!

  5. AMEN SISTER. it all all all originates from within. from our core.

  6. I've phoned in so many workouts and then regretted it later. I'd think, "that was MY time, and I wasted it staying comfortable." When we really focus on our workouts - when we remain mentally present during them and commit to pushing ourselves to the max - awesome things happen.Thanks for this reminder!

  7. Nice! I love alone time with weights, sans kids, and you're right -- that sore feeling the next day bring with it a certain feeling of accomplishment, doesn't it?

  8. LOVE THIS!! Confession: I hate weights... I know, I know... I am a cardio girl. It is something I have to work on. Feeling inspired!

  9. I know what you mean when you have the luxury of heading to the gym and feeling like a kid in a candy store! You totally should be proud of yourself. I love when we surprise ourselves.