weights with a purpose

16 Aug

too often i’m in the gym wondering around looking for an empty machine to haphazardly use to pretend like i’m working out.

i decided after months that that was…stupid.

after months at the gym, i’ve also noted that for some people this is clearly a place to be seen and not sweat.

i sweat.  i may not have been lifting with a purpose.  but i sweated.

i do not stand around in my carefully matched yoga pants and tank top and talk to people while holding 3 lb weights.

also.  in case you’re a newbie.  leaning on the machine while talking to someone doesn’t make you more “cut” and you’re in my way.

guys.  there’s more to working out than bicep curls.  you’re arms are huge, but so is your gut.

rant over.

let’s get to liftin’.

the gym can be scary

*also, if you’re running late for work, you may be inclined to forget deodorant, bring a sweatshirt instead of a t shirt, and forget hair ties.  but trust me, matching workout outfits are over rated

it’s easy to be scared with all the muscle bound monkeys running around and the girls who apparently don’t sweat, but trust me, go in there with a plan and you will look ten times more bad ass than buffie over in the corner twirling her hair or rex who is flexing in the mirror but hasn’t lifted any weights in the 30 minutes you’ve been there.

in college i took a weight lifting class, and the 2  biggest pieces of information i took from that class besides how to lift correctly were to keep records of your workout in order to visually see the reps progress and/or the weight increase as well as taking a moment to learn your muscle groups and how they work together.

i never see anyone at my gym with a notebook in front of them.  perhaps they have their routine and weight amounts memorized by heart.  i have more important things to remember.  like what time jersey shore will be on, or the name of all the bad girls club members.

especially starting out, it can be really helpful to have notes like “too easy” or “too heavy” or “oh my dog, remember to buy some febreeze, your tennis shoes stink.”

knowing your muscle groups and how they fit together will also help you understand why it’s great to have defined abs, but why, if you’re not doing equal back exercises, you’ll end up sore and physically unbalanced.

my weight routine is done on monday, wednesday, and friday.  i have 2 separate workouts that alternate.  i make sure to give myself a rest day in between (or two) to make sure my muscles have time to repair themselves.  with lifting you are gently tearing those muscles (the pain you feel after) and allowing your body 24-48 hours to repair and grow stronger (the definition/strength you seek).

workout a: *good form and completing the full motion in any exercise is the most important task in lifting to make sure you stay injury free.  seek a personal trainer, online, or printed resources if you are unfamiliar with proper techniques.


oh the burn in my hamstrings hurts so good.  – very important to stretch afterward if you want to walk the next day.

3 sets 10 reps each weighted or basic – i choose to use a kettlbell (10 lbs on monday) as it encourages me to dip low enough to touch the kettlebell to the floor before coming back up.  of course, you could use a regular free weight, weighted bar, or nothing at all.

overhead shoulder press:

3 sets 10 reps each 35 lbs total (done using OSP machine) – again you can choose to use free weights, a weighted bar, or machine.


3 sets 10 reps each using 50 lb weighted bar as of monday.  this was feeling doable, but definitely heavy.  the key to finding the correct weight for any exercise is to feel like you might not be able to finish the last rep or two in a set – but still able to complete the full motion.  when you can complete the last rep easily it’s time to increase the weight – but only by 10%

tricep extensions:

1 set 12 reps 15 lb free weight used monday.  there’s only one set so make sure you are using enough weight to feel like it’s effective.

bicep curls:

3 sets 12 reps each 12.5 lbs each hand on monday.  do not jerk the weights up or let them fall back to the starting position.  the controlled movement through the whole exercise makes sure you work the muscle out fully.  one arm may be stronger than the other.  you may notice one side of your body struggling to complete the motion smoothly.  if so, lift using one arm at a time in order to concentrate on the motion but complete the same number of sets on each side.

calf raises:

2 sets 10 reps each leg  i have horrible balance.  i choose to use the elevated block and hold on to the wall for added support.  if you are more advanced you could start incorporating a weighted bar or free weights.


i completed this workout in 35 minutes on monday on lunch.  i was in and out and feeling worked.  workout b will be for tomorrow so stay tuned.

my goal is to increase my strength throughout the next 11 weeks.  in order to measure this goal, a detailed journal of the weights used.  my other goal would be to hopefulyl be able to do 3 unassisted pull-ups.

i can do none.

oh yeah – see that above?  those are goals.  measurable goals.  at the end of your defined period it’s nice to see if your hard work has paid off.

think realistically.  think measurably.







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