It’s true, I don’t love strength training. Granted, I don’t hate it either. I’m just sort of ambivalent about it. I know it’s good for me… on many levels. I’m a woman who is now 54.5 years old and it’s good for aging bones to do strength training. Plus, as someone who has diabetes, I know that weight lifting helps build strong muscle in my body which helps insulin process glucose in my body better.
Given all these good things that happen with strength training, you’d think that would be enough motivation for me. Nope. I need extra motivation. Here are my 3 tips that get me doing strength training in the off season, also known as winter, where I live!
Tip #1: Have a simple plan
I am going to do my first Olympic distance triathlon in 10 years this coming summer. A few days ago I met with my friend and fellow triathlete Nadine and we are together crafting the training plan for the 5 to 8 of us who will do the Timberman triathlon on July 11, 2020. We are using the Essential Week-By-Week Training Guide by Matt Fitzgerald.
In the book there are 13 strength training exercises, nearly all of them can be done anywhere in a short amount of time. Matt suggests that in the off season, also known as the preparation season, that one do 3 sessions of strength work a week. I realized that I can commit to that. Especially after realizing that I can do almost all of the 13 exercises in about 20 minutes.
This plan feels simple to me! Thus it also feels do-able. Simple and do-able make ALL the difference!
Tip #2: Weave strength training in with fun cardio
The next thing I did was go into my calendar, where I list every week all the cardio sessions I have planned for the coming week, and I added 3 strength sessions, tacking them to before or after my cardio. That way it’s more fun!!
Last weekend I finally got my bike set up on the trainer for winter riding in the basement. While I was organizing and arranging, I made sure I found my yoga mat and my weights. Now I can seamlessly move from cardio to strength!
Tip #3: Give yourself a little reward for success
Rewards generally don’t work for me, but sometimes they do. With strength training I’m giving the reward system a try! So far it’s working!!
Reward number 1 is really simple. On my calendar, after doing my cardio session and also after doing my strength session, I give myself an X and an exclamation point!!! Seeing the x! after I do a session is very affirming.
Reward number 2 is a bit more complex. After doing 3 sessions, one week worth of cardio sessions, I confess, I go to the local coop and I buy myself some rice pudding. It’s a big treat and I really enjoy it. We shall see how long I do this reward. I’m willing to keep modifying.
One fun thing I’ve discovered is that the more I do strength training in conjunction with my beloved cardio, the better I feel. My body feels stronger (duh!) and I find that I’m way less inclined to eat food that isn’t ideal for me. Turns out strengthening my muscles really does strengthen my whole being!
How about you? Do you do strengthening 3 days a week?! Let me know, we can support each other!