Wednesday, February 23

Strength training scares me

This is the face I typically make when stepping foot near the weight area of the gym.

Ehhhhhh, I don't like it here.

It smells yucky.

These big men are scaring me.

I am not a fan of strength training, but I know I should be. Word on the street is that it's good for you. Muscles burn more calories than fat and any activity that allows me to eat more chocolate should be game in my book.

and yet......

I don't do it. Many other women don't do it either. Just pop into any local gym and the ratio of men to women pumping iron is drastically disproportioned.

To me, it seems that there are two fractions of "healthy" people who enjoy working out: those who strength train vs. those who don't. I read a million and seventeen blogs about running, yoga-ing, and oatmeal photographing, but very rarely do I see people pimping out their strength training routines.

Why do we consider running 20 miles the epitome of healthy living, but not lifting 20 pounds? I love running as much as the next gal, but just ask any doctor or sports therapist and they'll willingly tell you about the disastrous effects long term marathon training can have on your knees, joints, and hips. Cardio is fantastic, but it can't be the end all and be all. Are you just as healthy even if you don't strength train? What determines a "good workout"?

I love the feeling of satisfaction after tackling a long run, the breathlessness and racing heart beat make me feel alive. It is a feeling I would never want to trade in. But for my body's benefit, I need more to my workout routine and I'm stalling on it. I'm aware of the factors that prevent from me strength training:
  • gym membership- running is free and is something I can easily squeeze into a spare 30 minutes. With most memberships running anywhere from $20-$80/month, I usually choose to spend my money on different things (like shoes. and wine.)
  • pace- weight lifting is so incredibly boring to me. I see people doing a lot of flexing and mirror-staring in between all those reps. One of the reasons I love running so much is because I'm constantly moving and pushing myself.
  • intimidation (and stubbornness)- I get scurrrrred. And stubborn. I don't like being the newbie at anything, particularly in a place where I'm sweating and surrounding by men in cut-off t-shirts.
I need to get over it though. If I don't start trading in the chips and dip for some tricep dips, these wings are going to be flapping around in people's faces. No one likes a bride with parachute arms.

More importantly though, I need to make a shift in my thinking. I respect my body enough to avoid cigarettes, eat a predominately plant-based diet, and pack in the cardio sessions, so why aren't I treating my muscles with the same regard? Besides, if Pauly D and The Situation can do it, why can't I?

Any strength training experts out there? I'd love to get your input on this.

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