Thursday, July 21, 2011

Weight Training and Me: A Love Story..

My history with weight training goes back a long way.

I was in high school when Terminator 2 came out (I was working at my first job at a movie theatre... still one of my favorite all time jobs). Sarah Connor/Linda Hamilton had really buffed up between the first and second movies. I remember seeing her and thinking, "Wow. I want to be *that*." At the time, however, I wasn't willing to work out, quit smoking or stop eating crap.

She was *such* a bad a$$..
Fast forward a few years. In college, I bought a pair of 5 pound weights and the workout Cindy Crawford: The Next Challenge.

After a few weeks of that, I wondered why I didn't look like Linda Hamilton? Hmm. So, I decided to eat more crap and just wish for my body to change...

Fast forward another few years. I was in my 20s and really didn't want to look back on my 20s as my "fat" period. So, I saw a Firm Video on VHS in Target, and brought it home.

So, the Firm was pretty serious about weight training. The most serious I'd seen, at least. There was an informational segment included with the workout that talked about why you need muscle to burn fat. Wow. What an idea! So, I added a pair of 8 pound weights and a pair of 10 pounders, and my obsession was born.

I saw such great results with my Firm video that I bought more. Back then, The Firm made a claim: "Visible results in 10 workouts". It totally worked for me. Plus, I became addicted to feeling *strong*. I still didn't look like Linda Hamilton, but I was losing weight and feeling healthy.

Fast forward a few *more* years. I got multiple certifications in fitness, and taught group exercise classes. I knew I could lift heavier weight, but I was still afraid to. I was afraid of "split" workouts- doing each body part once a week. I preferred doing a total body workout 2-3 times a week. But, I was never *ripped*. Did I need protein? What was the deal?

I taught 2-3 cardio classes a day when I was getting ready for my wedding. I was in good shape, and looked great, but I remember being disappointed that I wasn't more muscular. I just looked skinny.

[If any pictures of me in my wedding dress existed online, I would put one here. I guess we didn't have cameras back then. In 2003....]

This is not me, but let's pretend I looked just like this. With my $99 dress. (Source)
Anyway, it wasn't until I started P90X in 2006 (I had it for around a year before I actually did a round of it) that my upper body started to look like I wanted it to. And... hmmm... it was because of more intense weight training. I didn't start taking protein supplements. I didn't really start eating any differently (I didn't even follow the nutrition guide that closely). But something about the combination of doing a 3 day split, adding intense exercises like pullups (assisted) and lat pulldowns, and increasing the weight had an effect. I also was running 3 days a week so I'm sure leaning out a bit helped. But that's what did it.

(Of course, as I came to the end of my first 90 days, I discovered I was pregnant with my first child... in fact, both times I got pregnant I was in the "best shape ever". Isn't that how it works?)

The point is this: For so many years I was afraid of hard core weightlifting. I thought cardio was the way to go. But, you know, it *isn't* the most effective way to lose weight OR sculpt your body.

I would never be able to give up cardio, though, because I love it. I love endorphins. I don't get that *high* from weightlifting (usually. Unless I'm about to pass out).

Do you have any experience with weight training? Have you ever done an old Firm video? What are your thoughts?


alison said...

I've never done the firm, but I did totally want to be Linda Hamilton. When she's doing chin-ups in the mental hospital? OMG YES PLEASE!

Sarah Fitness said...

Yes, Alison! That was totally the moment for me!

Dina @ DinaRuns said...

I feel like that when I read Oxygen magazine. It really motivates me to want to get ripped.