Early in my fitness journey I started strength training – mostly because my cardio consisted of the stationary bike and aerobic DVDs…both of which I found incredibly dull. Strength training gave me something fun to do.
At first I was too intimated to go to a gym. I bought a small set of dumbbells and a few DVDs and would work out in my living room. Mostly Elle MacPherson and Kathy Smith…this was circa 2005. I think I found those DVDs cheap in a bargain bin somewhere, so they were the ones I used.
In 2006 I joined a YWCA and started strength training using more of a bodybuilder type routine. I read Oxygen magazine quite a bit and would lurk around their online forums to gather advice and knowledge. I mostly used free weights and I really enjoyed tracking my progress on various lifts. At this point, I mostly saw cardio as a necessary evil – weight lifting was my real workout interest.
I went through a period of not working out much for a year or two, but eventually came back and really fell in love with running. I would still strength train a couple times of week (following a bodybuilding program), but my main interest was moving more toward endurance training. By 2010, I was running a fair number of races and competing in triathlons. Strength training really took a back seat.
In late 2010 I had moved, started a new job, and triathlon training was no longer a part of my life due to no pool access. I was still running, but it was no longer my main focus. My workplace had an onsite gym, and so I started strength training during my lunch hour. This time my focus wasn’t so much on hypertrophy. Instead, I took more of a power lifting approach and wanted to gain strength. I focused on the main compound lifts: bench, squat, and deadlift.
Unfortunately that job did not last that long and I was laid off. Luckily my apartment complex does have a gym, although it is pretty bare bones. It has a few cable machines and dumbbells (only up to 50#).
This is also around the time I started recovering from foot surgery and re-building my running base. I no longer wanted to spend hours a week strength training, I wanted to hit the pavement running instead. I started turning toward fast-paced dynamic strength workouts. I eventually found the Bodyrock website, as well as Zuzana Light’s Youtube channel where she posts her ZWOW workouts.
Now that I’m marathon training, I try to do at least two Bodyrock/ZWOW workouts and one heavier dumbbell lifting session each week. These workouts typically take me 20 minutes or less, and are easy to fit in. They can be tough, but I also find them fun and enjoy the challenge of beating my old scores.
Looking back on my fitness journey, I like to reflect on what specific activities captivated my interest at different points in my life. Right now running is my main focus and strength training has taken a back seat. Will it always be this way? I doubt it. I think it’s important to structure your workouts in a way that is fun and rewarding foryou. This might not always look the same year to year.
How have your workouts evolved? Do you incorporate strength training into your fitness regime?