Yesterday, I started off my Body-for-LIFE challenge with an upper body workout on the Bowflex. The folks at EAS (the company sponsoring the B4L challenge) recommend 2 strength training exercise per muscle group worked (I had been doing only one), and 5 sets of varying reps & weights for each exercise.
For example, if the exercise is Chest Fly, you would do 12 reps of at one weight; add weight, do 10 reps; add more weight, do 8 reps; add more weight, do 6 reps; then immediately do 12 reps of the starting weight.
I actually like this idea because you’re not really getting your body used to one particular kind of resistance, and you’re constantly upping the ante. However, in practice — on the Bowflex, at least — it kind of didn’t work. The way the Bowflex is designed, you add weights (a.k.a. resistance rods) to each side because each arm moves independently of the other. I don’t have a bar, which would probably fix this problem (maybe it would be worth it to get one?), so there is no way I can add just 5 lbs. without making one arm work harder than the other.
As a result, every time I notched up the weight, I was increasing by 10 lbs., not 3 or 5, which are the increments more likely suited to the design of the BFL guide. The lower resistance was way too easy, and the higher resistance was nearly impossible. I went through the entire workout this way, and I realized by the end of it that I would need to change this workout next time, otherwise there would be no way for me to get a consistent workout.
I obviously did something to my muscles, though, because my arms felt like jelly for a good hour afterward. Later that night, I really started feeling sore and tight, which I know is a good thing, but reminded me that I need to do a lot more stretching before and after my workouts.
This morning, I got up and turned on Jillian Michaels’ 30-day Shred on Comcast On Demand. I figured I’d start with Level 1, and it’s a good thing, because it kicked my butt! Things I need to have next time I work out with her video:
- a yoga mat (she switches back and forth from on-the-floor exercises–abs & push-ups–to standing/running/jumping exercises)
- hand weights (I used soup cans from the pantry this time, but I know I have some hand weights somewhere, and I’ll have to dig them out)
I’m still not entirely sure how I’m going to do her workout while I’m at the Renaissance Faire this weekend (we basically camp out on grounds, so it’s dirty and the floor isn’t exactly even…and then there’s the whole shower situation to contend with — don’t get me started). I might have to modify this exercises program again and turn my three days in Lancaster into jogging days or something.
I figure as long as I’m doing SOMETHING, I’m working towards my goal.