Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Weightlifting Is My New Running??

Hidy-ho friendly friends and welcome to the post with the title-teaser that's probably shocking the socks right off your little feet! Or big feet. Or whatever size feet you have..

Anywho, today, as suggested by the title I wanted to talk about my flirtation with the weightlifting and strengthening workouts that have started to make up the majority of my workouts. Now this was both intentional and also sort of accidental/ not planned.

See, on one of my recent long runs, the dreaded runners knee came back to bite the outside of my left leg, starting off as a little nibble and then growing hungrier with quite the painful bite! I knew as I drew nearer to home and took the short cut back to my house, cutting my run about 500m short, that I needed to take a break from the long distances and yet my motivated, enthusiastic and power-crushing recent workout self felt a little antsy about that.

Enter the new plan! I decided that since I had to decrease my mileage significantly (read: no running for around a week; I've sort of become the expert with this common running injury!) that I would increase my focus on strengthening my body instead.

So, now you see the accidental part of the picture.

However, also recently, I've been drawn to more and more weightlifting and strengthening Instagrammers posting impressive arm, back, bicep, glute, quad etc. shots (as well as the typical drool-worthy post workout pancake stack/ oat bowl with ALL the nut butters, syrups, chocolates  and anything else you can name that tastes good- gotta feed those muscles to get those gains somehow!!)
So I suppose that's the not-so-accidental aspect of this new plan.

Anywho, the week started off with a killer leg sesh of squats, lunges, calf raises, deadlifts etc. But I think as coming into this whole new workout style, I broke the number one newbie mistake- my legs felt fine, I didn't feel like I was sweating much/ enough for a proper workout, so I went harder for longer without any much change to the way I was feeling.

Then the dreaded 24/48 hour muscle pain occurred after a restful sleep and I felt every muscle in my legs. And they were screaming.

I did know that I had to mix up each different section of body I worked on to strengthen and so the following day I focused mainly on abs, using the stability ball (again; torture) and some other workout videos. Arms next (chest and back) followed by a sprint session the following day (my legs felt ok, not quite back to normal but no more severe biting!!) and then some Blogilates toning workout videos.
It may be pink, but that does not make it any nicer! :P
And what did I notice from this new routine?

I noticed my arm muscles getting more definition.

I noticed the different types of pain I'd never felt before, muscles I never used running starting to show up and make themselves very present (it was good pain though).

I was hungrier somehow?? This shocked me at first but then it made sense; my muscles were breaking down and requiring fuel to build themselves back up again; sure that happens in running too, but not quite to the extent of lifting heavy weights (also running doesn't really require all that much arm power, mainly just legs anyway). So this week I simply ate more. :)
 ALL the good stuff: two wholemeal crumpet, toasted,with vegemite and avo slices, raw sprouted beans, chopped carrot and a bowl of steamed peas

I felt leaner, less bloated (you know that post-long run bloat you sometimes get; yeah, I get it quite a lot), stronger and more powerful and seeing as I was feeling all of these new benefits I decided to do a little research on the benefits of weight lifting and share some of my findings with you guys!

1. First of all not only does weightlifting improve your physical work capacity (physically showing that strength, baby!) it also improves every day activities, enabling you to go harder and longer in all sorts of everyday activities.

2. Bone density; This was a big one for me because I know just how important my growing bones are at the minute and how important they will be later on in life. I like knowing that through this strength training I'm increasing my bone density and protecting myself from the older-onset conditions of osteoporosis and low-bone density issues like fractures and breaks.

3. It increases the strength of connective tissue, muscles and tendons improving performance and decreasing the risk of injury- something that sounds pretty good to me!!

4. Lifting weights helps make you mentally stronger- this is definitely something I've experienced for myself. I found the same thing with running; especially running for extremely long periods of time- that takes a lot of mental strength and determination that I feel running gave me, however weightlifting demands a different version of mental strength- the powerful, pushing, immediate version that gets you straight up from a low squat and pushing that heavy bar above your head. Ever. Single. Rep. We're pushed out of our comfort level, the discomfort is real and so is the challenge- and that's what strengthens your mind muscle!

5. More muscle= a higher resting metabolism rate. Whilst I'm fairly sure I already have quite a high resting metabolic rate (as I'm already fairly active and ensure my body is always well-fed/ nourished, read: I eat a lot of food and seem to burn the majority of it off) lifting weights has definitely increased my appetite, whilst at the same time producing little ridges and bumps of defined muscle that I've never seen before. More muscle and less fat means more calories are continually burned- which means more food for the tank for me!

The list of benefits is practically endless (just google 'The benefits of weightlifting' and you'll see what I mean!!) but those are just a few that I've come across in my own strengthening journey. As my legs begin to recover after the overuse during that long run, I'll probably add in a few more runs/ cardio, but in the meantime I'm quite content in sticking to lifting. I feel strong and powerful and that is an addicting feeling my friends! #liftlikeagirl

Your turn:
Do you lift weights/ do strength training as the majority of your workouts?
Favourite benefits of weightlifting?
Running; yay or nay? I think it will always be a yay in my life. It has given me too much not to always be even a little bit present in my life.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found some insight into my new love-affair with the weights! As always; have yourself a a magical day, do something you love and... EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D

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