In the past I have to admit to being a bit of a cardio bunny. You would very rarely find me doing weights, or if you did it would be a token effort at the end of a good wedge of hardcore cardio. I was a competitive runner back then, so in my mind weights held no benefit to me on my quest for a new PB. I also was secretly scared of weight training, thinking that if I started doing regular weights I’d end up some female version of Arnie Schwarzenegger, which wasn’t the look I was going for.
Nowadays I love my weight training. What changed? Well shortly after having my second son I got an injury. Not your low grade tear or strain – nope I do nothing by halves, not even when it comes to an injury. An inflamed pelvic bone, along with degeneration and instability of the pelvis meant running was off the cards for 6 to 12 months (if I was lucky), along with a lot of other cardio drug fixes of my choice such as the cross trainer, arc trainer, even aqua jogging…..and so I reverted to weights.
Any port in a storm they say and weight training became my port – along with RPM and Rowing, (2 other activities I’d always detested but now love). Then a weird unexpected thing happened. My body started to change, and when I say change I mean I started getting leaner, way leaner than I’d ever got before (even back in the days when I won races and ran 140ks a week). I also started getting toned muscles, not bulky muscles just more toned, athletic looking muscles. The regular weight training was changing my body, but not in to the Mrs Arnie I’d feared I might look like – ironically I was starting to look more like an athlete than I had done when I was competing.
It’s been 9 months since I found out about my injury and in a funny sort of way I’m glad it happened as I’ve learnt so much more about fitness, exercise, health and nutrition because of it. The saying goes ‘what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger’ and in this case it couldn’t be more true. 9 months of incorporating weight training into my exercise regime have made me leaner, stronger and I think in some ways fitter.
All the signs are looking good for me to start back running within the next couple of months. Yes I still want to run and I’m determined that there are still a few PB’s in this old gal yet, BUT I am also determined to train smarter and not go back to my regime of old, which consisted of endless mileage and a few token bicep curls and crunches. Weight training is part of my regime now and not begrudgingly so – I really do enjoy it – to the point that I miss it if I’ve not done it for a couple of days. In fact, I guess you could say weights are my new cardio.
5 Reasons to incorporate Weight training into your Exercise Regime
- Increase your metabolism
- Tone and tighten muscles
- Increase your joint stability and reduce injuries
- Increase your insulin sensitivity (which in turn makes you body less likely to store fat)
- Increase your strength!!! (you won’t believe how useful this skill is in your everyday life until you have it)
The cardio bunny in me still loves to puff and pant and I’ve found weight circuits a great way to do this and maintain my fitness while I can’t run. I thought I’d use my blog to share the love (so to speak) by posting a little circuit I put together for you to try. Take a look at the link below and tell me what you think.
Kettlebell and Bodyweight circuit
Kettlebell (beginners – 8kg, Intermediate 12kg, Advanced 16kg+)
- 15 x Kettlebell swing – Feet a bit wider than hip width apart, pivot at hips, strong core, swing kb to shoulder height (beginner to intermediate) or overhead (advanced).
- 15 x Press ups – hands under shoulders (bit wider than shoulder width), chest proud, strong core, lower to at least 90 degrees at the elbow.
- 20 x Mountain climbers – from a press up position, keep the upper body still and run the feet in and out
- 15 x Kettlebell Clean, catch and overhead press – Deadlift kb to floor squatting down, then pull up, shift hands round side to catch and press over head, keep core tight.
- 2 x 6 metres crawl forward then lunge back to where you started from.
Do 3 to 5 rounds of the circuit above taking as little rest as possible. Time yourself and as you repeat the workout look at whether you’re improving and doing it quicker.