Weightlifting is Fun! Really…

Last week I had my last weight lifting session with the personal trainer I hired back in June, Erin Reding. I mentioned her in a blog post in July. Erin had me design our last workout together. Brilliant teaching strategy!! Put the student in the leadership role. 

Good reminder

I designed the workout on Tuesday evening, did the workout on Wednesday. Revised it on Thursday in anticipation of our final workout on Friday. I coded the various exercises as Upstairs, Downstairs – the Saint Paul Gym where I workout has two areas to lift weights, one is upstairs and one is downstairs. I also used an H to indicate the ones I needed some guidance or help (thus the H!) from Erin to understand my positioning and so forth. 

Here’s a photo of the workout I created. 

As I mentioned in my July blog, I am doing two one-hour long full body weightlifting sessions each week. I am almost four months into this rhythm.

You see, I am a person of planning and consistency. If you know me, you might be laughing! I LOVE LOVE LOVE consistency and reliability in my life. I don’t enjoy surprises. I do enjoy planning. I appreciate knowing what’s ahead in my life. I suspect that my skill in planning is largely due to successfully living with type 1 diabetes for 40 years. Learning to be prepared, just-in-case, is essential for type 1 calm. 

Do the impossible

I am committed to endurance athletics. I love swimming, biking, running (yes, I’ve slowly come to love even running) and cross country skiing. I have not loved weightlifting. I just couldn’t imagine how I could consistently weave weightlifting into my routine. Wonder of wonders, I am pleased to report that I have done what I considered to be impossible. 

The Strong Healthy and Empowered, SHE, program that I’m using is amazing. There are 9 groups of exercises that cover the whole body. In each group, there are a variety of exercises from beginner to advanced. They are labeled by difficulty level. 

Drop set weightlifting

Erin taught me the concept of drop set weightlifting. Meaning that when doing one particular exercise on one part of the body, you begin with a lighter weight to warm up, doing more repetitions of the exercise. For me that’s usually about 12 repetitions. Then for the next set of that exercise, you increase the weight. Making a strong effort to maintain the form. I often can only do 6 to 8 repetitions with the higher weight. In fact, as I get stronger and more confident doing the various exercises, I finally have learned what “lift to fatigue” feels like and means!! 

Lift to failure

In our last session, I was doing a tricep exercise called a French press with dumbbells on a ball and I was in the second set and I was using 12.5 lb dumbbells. They were HEAVY!!!! And I could only get to 5 reps, and that last repetition my arms were shaking! In fact, Erin wrote on my paper, “lifted to failure.” I felt like I got an A+ for doing something to failure!!! 

Weightlifting fun pays off

In fact, what I discovered over these four months is that I LIKE weightlifting! I like how my body is changing and how strong I feel in my body. I enjoy planning my workouts. I enjoy focusing on what I’m doing as I lift and I like how my body feels as I challenge myself. I also really like that two days a week is all it requires.

I’ve noticed that I’m getting faster in my biking and running. My massage therapist (I go once a month for a glorious session with Sarah – she has a high powered HEPA filter in her office and we both wear KN95 face masks) has even noticed how much more muscle I have and how my body has more definition. I’ve noticed that my posture is better. 

In short, this weightlifting with consistency feels do-able for the rest of my life. I like that feeling. And yes, I like planning for something to be do-able for a very long time!

What about you? Do you lift? If not, I strongly encourage you to give it a try. Your wellness is worth it, YOU are worth it!  

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10 thoughts on “Weightlifting is Fun! Really…”

  1. HI Mari, long time no see! I have recently started a similar weightlifting journey. I had been thinking about joining a gym for some time, but then COVID hit and all the gyms shut down. But just this month I’ve followed through, joined a gym and have hired a personal trainer. I’m only a couple of weeks into this, but I’m enthusiastically embracing it and looking forward to results.

    I fooled myself into thinking I had attained a good level of fitness with all the cycling, but it only took one or two sessions with the trainer to show me I have a lot of work to do!

    • Brooks!!! That is totally amazing that you too have recently discovered the power and magic and maybe even the joy of weightlifting!!! I bet you will notice your cycling fitness will improve too. And dude, you are a rock star cyclist!! It is humbling to start lifting and discover how much more the body is capable of!! Way to go!! Thanks for dropping by and giving me an update!

  2. Good for you, Mari! Strength training is even more important as we age, and with all of your other healthy habits, you’re setting yourself up for health! I also love weight lifting and have found my habit with the help of an amazing personal trainer who has taught me so much — most importantly, I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I ever thought I was and it feels so good to lift regularly and actually see/feel my strength increase over time. It’s such a good feeling to lift heavier weights or do more reps than I could do before, and so motivating to keep the habit. Thanks for your wonderful post!

  3. Hooray! This is such good news that you’ve found joy, a sense of satisfaction, and tangible results from your efforts. Well done!

    Even though you already know so much about being healthy, it’s great that you’ve added heavy weights to your toolkit.

    When COVID times subside, I suspect you’ll also meet some great people and find some interesting ways to challenge yourself mentally and physically with weights.

    • HUGE thank you Linda for being such a great inspiration on the lifting heavy weights!!! Excited to see what happens after a solid year of lifting!!

  4. This is inspiring! I’m with you- I LOVE cardio and don’t really enjoy strength training, so sticking to a routine is tough. My issue now? No gym! I’m waiting until COVID gets better and gym childcare is an option. So when I do strength training, I have to make do with body weight exercises and a couple of light dumbbell sets…

    • Super good that you make the at-home strength training effort Caroline!!! Have you tried the phone app Workout For Women? They have some great strength workouts that are all body weight and light dumbbells!! I did W4W for a year before finally transitioning to the SHE program!

  5. I want to get back into lifting this fall so thank you for the timely motivation and reminders and new info!

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