Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The gym

I'm sitting here this morning, munching a banana and wondering would it be worth sipping my coffee through a straw. I'm in pain see, I can't lift either of my arms over my head because I trained them and my back and shoulders to death yesterday. Ouch. But good ouch.
Because I'm training for the Dublin City Marathon and because I have yet to replace Memnoch, my- evil here let me show you how to fight you weakling- trainer, I have upped my weight training considerably.
Yesterday I raised my weights as my body had adapted to the weights I was previously using.
Today I'm feeling the BURN.
I knew before I even opened my eyes this morning that I was going to suffer. And by golly I was right. So I'm writing this post to remind myself why I do it.

Lifting weights is a terrific way of burning a lot of calories-even when you're resting your body is still working. It takes quite a goodly amount of energy to sustain muscle and it tones a gal's body like you wouldn't believe. It raises your metabolism and forces your body to repair muscle and work over time.
Far too many gals go to the gym and avoid the weights room. A lot of the time I imagine it is because they feel intimidated by the large chaps striding around, clanging weights and grunting and posing in front of the mirrors. To this I would say, don't be. Those chaps did not start off that way, and nine times out of ten they are very helpful indeed should you ask them a question. These dudes know shit, it's like finding a deep well of weight lifting/body shaping knowledge.
Cardio has its place and if you're trying to shed pounds it is very useful, Christ knows I needed it after Christmas, but to really get a the most out of your body I would go out on a limb here and say you need to hit the weights room as well as the bikes/cross trainer/treadmill. You won't suddenly get massive and bulky. Women have about one third of the testosterone men do and frankly, unless you're on steroids, you will never get as big as a man.
And don't use tini-tiny pink dumbbells either. The heavier the weight you use-still doing the movement correctly- the better. Think heavier weight, lower rep (everyone has different opinions on this, but personally I think three sets of eight using the heaviest weight I can is plenty).Don't be afraid to push your body, but be aware of it. Yesterday I watched a gal doing a sort of bicep curl using a 2k weight, she was flicking it up and down without fulling extending the bicep. What's the point of that? The bicep is actually a pretty small muscle. To work it you've got to let it extend fully and then curl back, extend and retract, don't swing it, but challenge it. Resistance is key.
Fortunately a chap the size Sliabh Bloom noticed what she was doing and corrected her. He's the same chap who spotted me yesterday on the bench press. Awesome dude, his upper arm is bigger than the top of my leg. Six people could have a comfortable dinner off his back.
Anyhoo, what was I waffling on about?
Oh yes, the gym. Right, if you have a membership to a gym and you go regularly, do hit the weights, not just the machines either, they have their place of course but the free weights are where it's at. No stability you see, you've got to work harder to steady yourself and maintain. Squats, curls, bench press, over arm tricep curls, do 'em all. Not at the same time, but do 'em. You'll be amazed at the difference. You'll notice all sort of shit after a few weeks, clothes getting looser, arms getting slimmer, nice shape to your shoulders, bum firmer (especially if you do squats). Do it, split your training between cardio and weights.
Because you're worth it.

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Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Hmm, you've gone into the 'zone', haven't you? Marathon's a stamina challenge, not just a fitness challenge. Try some distance swimming as well as the road work, it's easier on the joints and you've less risk of impact damage.

10:48 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Funny you should mention that, I was swimming last week. I'm a terrible swimmer really very poor indeed, but I need to do it to split up my training a bit, like you say to save the joints. I was complaining to Finn, I forgot my goggles, and by the time I did eight lengths I was exhausted and had swallowed half the pool. Not a good start.
And I've got it tomorrow. Yack.
Today is long run day, I wish I could feel my shoulders.

11:09 a.m.  
Blogger Kav said...

This is what I need Cat, a kick in the arse from someone like yourself. Good advice, not just for women.

11:22 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Too true Kav, but men don't seem reluctant to use weights and women do-which is a real shame.

11:30 a.m.  
Blogger mimi buzzard said...

I've had two weeks off from the gym as i caught a chest infection and bloody hell it's difficult to get motivated again!

I've become so unfit i couldn't belive it and i looked like a drug addict going cold turkey, with scary red patches around my eyes...
Anyway, thanks for your recommendation about using weights. I didn't use many before but certainly will now!

12:29 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Btw (off topic) this baby stuff is worrying [post below and your comment at Kav's gaff]... you are not allowed steal babies but do have one of your own if the broodyometer is over 6.5 on the rictus scale. Incidentally, lugging a baby around is just like doing weights.

12:40 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Well in Mimi, give yourself about four weeks and let me know how you're getting on.
Conan, It's alarming isn't it? But look at his little feet.

1:30 p.m.  
Blogger finn said...

that live version of Comfortably Numb w/Van Morrison is incredible.

happy running.

2:45 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

It's freaking awesome. I think he makes the song.
Right, any moment now I'm going to get my bag ready. Talk about motivation. It's miserable here, wet, dark, little bit for lounging about in fleece and reading, perhaps with a hot chocolate and a plate of buttery toast by one's elbow.
Get up fatcat! Get up!

2:56 p.m.  
Blogger finn said...

sometimes just getting yourself out the door is the hardest part.

(applies to running AND swimming.)

3:17 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

Agreed. I don't do nearly enough weight stuff - mainly because I find it boring. But I always add weights when I do lunges and crunches, so at least there's that. Though I haven't even done my cardio lately because of a stupid foot/leg injury. I don't even KNOW how I did when I get back to it, I'm going to add more weight stuff - spouse just bought a weight bench and a barbell set, which I cannot WAIT to hit.

The dancing baby, by the way. What the...? That's brrrrrilliant!

3:18 p.m.  
Anonymous D said...

Is it ok to begin with 5 kg weights? Do you do both hands together? How do you lift the dumbells? Is there any online site you refer to?
Am confused .
What's your diet like?

3:59 p.m.  
Blogger Annie Rhiannon said...

I always avoid the weights because I'm scared of them.

There is a class called Body Pump at my gym though that I might join. I did it once in Iceland but it was all in Icelandic so I didn't really get what was going on.

4:07 p.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Holy moley, cat, a marathon? Conan's right - you're in the zone, baby.

My routine is very much a maintenance one and what works for me is keeping it as much like my childhood as I can when i didn't give a second's thought to how much exercise I was getting - and consequently got loads.

I walk a mile and a half every morning then up a great big hill at the end. Whenever I'm boiling the kettle - five or six times a day - I run up and down the stairs as fast as I can until my muscles scream at me. When I'm watching the news in the evening, I do free weights and handstands and lunges and squats and stuff. Once a week I run along the beach - a couple miles. It's not a very serious programme or anything but it's fun, easily incorporated into my day, is just habitual now after all the years I've been doing it, and it keeps me reasonably fit. I could do better but I don't because I'm lazy. Since I added more squats and lunges a while back though, my bum is loads better, and that's encouraging.

Despite all that, I'd like more drive and to set real challenges for myself and you've been an inspiration over the last months, so one of these days I might just join a gym. They're so flippin' expensive here though, it's not funny.

5:54 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Urgh, after all my waffle, I must report, disaster most foul.
Running into the forth half hour and I suddenly felt rather queer. Stopped treadmill, checked distance, 14.42 kilometres, a goodly 5.5 short of my previous long run. I walked for a few minutes, fast, but walking, to see if I could over come my queer feeling, got up to 15k and then I noticed I was a bit goosebumpy and feeling a bit chilly. Most bloody odd. So I quit and headed for the showers. Then in the shower I had what can only be described as a little sicky buzz.
Not pleasant.
Home now, still feeling a bit odd, but much better. The paramour is cooking comfort food of breaded fish and beans. Can't go wrong with comfort food.

D, start with whatever weight you can lift. Curl one hand then the other, use dumbells if you want or a barbell for more stability. There are some very good sites but for beginners this one is very upbeat and imformative.

But realistically, get your gym to do you out a programme tailored to suit your needs and build on it form there, don't be afraid to ask questions.
Despite my great unabiding affection for rum my diet is actually very good. I hardly eat processed food at all, lots of fruit and veg, eggs, lean meat and wholemeal bread/rice/pasta. My weakness are bloody delicious cheese and salty stuff, so I try to limit them to once a week. Lots of water and I try real hard not to imbibe during the week.
That's it. Oh and I try to eat most of my carbs earlier in the day, when I need them. This seems to suit me better. But each to their own.

6:45 p.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Wait! Feeling faint? With accompanying nausea? Very odd and not at all usual for you? You're not...? You don't think...?

7:18 p.m.  
Blogger finn said...


FMC you're just a bit peaked, right?

nothing some comfort food a good night's sleep can't fix.


7:30 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

aahah, I see where that went, er no, just a bit peaked, training hard and what not. No baybees.
My next road race is Monday, the Flora mini- marathon, and I'm all jazzed up for that. Aiming to whoop the ass out of my last time. Gonna run an easy 5k satdee, but rest the old gams between now and then.

9:29 p.m.  
Anonymous Ian said...

fmc, are you doing lots of core work? (i don't just mean crunches). a strong core will be incredibly important in the last few miles of the marathon. It's easy to incorporate into your normal resistance training, try using a stability ball instead of the bench, and the cable machine for back/bicep moves...

And annie, i teach bodypump, it's a great introduction to resistance training and really effective, at least until your body adapts to the high repetitions...oh and it's fun. honest.

good luck in the mini, fmc.

10:57 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Doing a fair bit, mostly yoga moves and this very horrible machine at the gym that I grip, drop my body weight into and then raise my leg up to about waist height. But I very much appreciate any help to improve my performance.

11:06 p.m.  
Anonymous ian said...

drop me a line and i can send you a few core specific distance running moves..

8:35 a.m.  
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