It is crazy that I am almost done my 10 week strength training program. I am scheduled to end on New Years Eve, hence the title “Finish Strong Challenge,” as I will be finishing the year strong. Though I’m not quite done I thought I would talk a bit about my “results.” It is certainly a different type of result than a race training plan… there is no finish line, no medal to commemorate me completing a race and the training, and I didn’t really do a lot of running!
I decided to use the marathon “off season” to work on my strength training and essentially build muscle that I hope to use to run faster and farther in the spring and summer. I took about two weeks mostly off after the Chicago marathon and then began this 10 week session focusing on weight lifting. My brother got my hooked on watching a few YouTubers who are power lifters and while that’s something I don’t quite think is for me it definitely motivated me to lift heavier and challenge myself to more than just running and cycling.
One thing I will be the first to say it that is definitely did NOT lose weight with this challenge. As a person who struggles with self image and “looking” the part of someone who loves fitness, I am surprisingly okay with this. I think the giant gains in strength I have made in the gym have shown me that the number on the scale doesn’t matter as much as the confidence I have found in weight lifting and the fact that my pants still fit my toned muscles. I went into this challenge knowing I wasn’t going to lose 20lbs, and that I would probably gain a little bit of weight with the strength I gained. I did exactly that and I am happy with it.
If you are getting into lifting weights or even power lifting, just like running, PATIENCE is huge. It took probably 5 weeks for my to see increases in my strength and that was on top of the regular weight lifting I was already doing! I loved that I was beginning to be able to lift heavier and the weights I started with became easy. I didn’t miss ONE lifting session (4-5 times per week) and really dedicated my time in the gym to weights more than cardio. I started doing all of my strength training first when I got into the gym, and then adding a bit of cardio after I was done the “main workout.” This is a total reversal of what I would normally do, I use to immediately hop on the treadmill when I got to the gym which made my strength workouts so half assed that no wonder I wasn’t seeing an increase in strength!
My major results were earned with my upper body strength. I did a lot of shoulder and upper body lifting because that was definitely a weak point for me heading in. Due to running I have always loved leg day and the strength I gained from working out my legs specifically. I worked a lot more on my glutes and hips to help when I begin running training again. I think one area I really can improve now is my core. That always seems to take a backseat and it’s one thing that could significantly improve not only my running speed but my form.
What’s next? Well now that I have these perfect and toned muscles (obviously) I am going to start a new challenge in the new year to maintain the strength I gained in these last nine weeks while also including HIIT and cardio bursts to assist in leaning out to improve my running time. I am happy with all of the muscle mass I gained but I think I could show it off a little more by toning down the lovely layering protecting those muscles. 😉 It’s safe to say I have fallen in love with strength training and the confidence it has brought me!
Do you lift weights or do Crossfit?
Have you ever tried powerlifting?
What is one way weight lifting has helped your day-to-day fitness?