So, in an effort to keep myself motivated to stay on track with my fitness goals, I am once again going to try and add a fitness element to the blog. I’ll just be sharing my progress, what I’m doing at the gym, what I’m eating, and the tools I’m using to help me meet my goals… stuff like that. To kick off Fit Friday, here are my goals:
- Target Weight: 135 lbs
- Target Body Fat Percentage: 21%
- Target Dress Size: Who cares as long as my other goals are met!
Right now, I don’t know my weight or my body fat percentage because I refuse to check, but I can tell you that when I weighed myself four weeks ago I was 162 pounds (sigh), so I’ve got a loooooong road ahead. Lol! One of the things I’ve noticed about myself is if I start checking my weight and body fat percentage too often, I obsess too much on the numbers instead of just enjoying the journey. Besides there are other ways to measure progress. For example, this week I was so thrilled that I was able to do TWO “real” push ups. Lol! I know that sounds pitiful, but I’m proud because I have never been able to do real push ups. I always do the “girl pushups” on my knees, and I just accepted that “I didn’t have upper body strength” but as Fab would say, that is total BS. So, I’ve got two major strength goals – 1) build the upper body strength to do pushups and 2) build the upper body strength to do real pull-ups. For me, these types of goals are about enjoying the journey and celebrating small successes at the gym every day, instead of focusing on how far I am away from my long-term weight loss goals because the truth is those goals are many months away…and looking at that scale every week can be flat out discouraging. (oh, and by the way, I don’t just do the two real pushups and stop Lol. I do my two real pushups and my 28 girl pushups…and every week I try to add one more real pushup to the mix until I phase out the girl pushups completely.)
So anyway, everybody has their own opinion about the most efficient and effective way to meet your goals at the gym. Some people swear by hours of cardio, and others live on free weights and machines. I’m no expert, but personally, I lean more towards the strength training philosophy. Cardio is great for so many reasons — heart health, conditioning, endurance….but if maximum weight loss and body sculpting are the goal, strength training is far more efficient and effective. That’s not to say that cardio is not a necessary part of any fitness routine, but if that’s all you do, you’re not getting the best return on your time investment, and bottom line…you will see your results plateau pretty darn fast. In my experience, to get the best results, you’ve gotta mix it up!
That said, one of the things that I always struggle with is coming up with a variety of different of strength training workouts to do at the gym. Doing the same workout over and over is another surefire path to the dreaded plateau. That’s one of the benefits of hiring a personal trainer, right? All you have to do is show up and they come up with a diverse program to keep you challenged even as you make progress. But, personal trainers are soooooo expensive. Fortunately, nowadays, you can download really great apps right to your phone for a one time charge of anywhere from free to $5….way cheaper than a personal trainer. They have pictures, and step by step instructions, and some even have videos. And, many of them even allow you to track your times and log sets and reps. They’re really cool! (Side Note: Back in ’05 I was a major gym rat, and I actually used to drag a book with me to the gym so I could follow along with the workouts. Thank goodness for smartphones!)
Here are three of my favorite fitness apps!
Popsugar Active | FREE
This free app is really awesome! It offers loads of videos and step by step workout guides, and allows you to save your faves for quick reference later.
Women’s Health Workouts | $1.99
This was my first ever fitness app…I downloaded it about 4 years ago, and it’s still one of my faves! It has picture guides for individual exercises AND complete workouts. It also allows you to track your time, and log reps with weight used, and number of sets…so you can track your progress when you do the same workout again. Also, a lot of workouts can even be done at home.
Women’s Health 28-Day Fat Blaster | $2.99 (for iPhone only)
This is my most recent download, and I’m loving it so far. Here’s how it works — you open the app and select a training mode. There are three – Power, Strength, and Endurance. (I’m using strength right now). Next, just shake your phone and the system generates a different 30-minute circuit workout every day. Let me tell you ladies…I’ve used this app twice at the gym this week and the workouts are TOUGH!! By the time I finish, I am totally worn out! And, because you’re doing something different every day, your muscles are constantly being challenged…and challenge = progress!
So, I hope you guys find following along on my fitness journey to be motivational for your own fitness goals. We’ll overcome The Struggle together. Lol!!! And, if you decide to download any of these apps, please come back and let me know how you like it!