Tuesday, March 11, 2014

LEG DAY-Sample Workout + Where I get my Workouts

Before I get into this I feel like I need to say something about how I'm not a fitness professional, and I don't know what your capabilities are, this is just what I do, it's always important to be safe when using weights, yadda, yadda, yadda. Actually I wouldn't recommend some of these moves if you are inexperienced-especially deadlifts, which can really hurt your back if not done properly.
Basically, this workout may or may not kill you.

(Also note, these photos aren't mine. My personal gym photographer wasn't available today).

Ok, now that my ass is covered, why don't I tell you about the leg day I had today. I'm not going to list exact weights, just run you through the reps/sets

 Ruth's Leg Day

20 minutes running on treadmill at moderate effort (6.5 MPH at a slight incline)

1x 10 body weight squats (just to get those muscles moving)
3 x 8 Squats with barball (mid-heavy weight)
3 x 40 calf raises (in between squat sets)
3 x 10 front barbell squats (holding barbell in front of shoulders)
This isn't me.
3 x 10 leg press (heavy)
3 x 8 stiff-legged deadlifts (mid weight)
3 x 10 sumo squats (mid weight)

This one's me.

1 x 25 bridges, holding the last rep for 30 seconds (bridges are pelvic thrusts while lying on the ground. Not super flattering. I work out in the women's only section at my gym, but pretty much the moment I started doing this move a maintenance man came in and started working on the machine right beside me. Of course. No eye contact was made.)

5 minutes walking on treadmill at max elevation, taking long strides
 ***

A few notes on this workout: I have read that it's better to do cardio after weights. But I don't like cardio and I just want to get it out of the way. I switch my cardio up too-sometimes I do longer stints, sometimes I do sprints/interval training. Occasionally I'll do a different type of cardio altogether-stepmill or bike, but the majority of it is on the treadmill.

I don't like to rest too much in between sets-keep the heart rate up, keep moving. Often I'll do pylometric moves in between sets. That's things like burpees, box jumps etc. I actually did do some jumping split squats today, I just don't remember where in the workout. Plyometrics have become a really important part of my fitness routine-just wasn't the focus of today's workout.

I like to end a hard leg workout with an "isolating" move that really squeezes out my last bit of effort-that's what the bridges were for. Finishing up with the high incline walking makes sure I really have nothing left to give. Plus taking long strides serves to stretch my legs-I kind of neglected stretching today-just did a few stretches in between reps. That's not ideal, but I had to wrap it up to go to work.

As for where I get my workouts-sometimes, like today, I make it up myself. I've been working out for long enough that I can do that. But I got to that point with some help. I would highly recommend investing in some personal training sessions. I know it's expensive-but it's so worth it. About 6 years ago I spent a big chunk of money on trainers-and it was without a doubt the best money I've ever spent on myself. It completely changed the way that I work out. When you work with a trainer you learn how to use the weights and machines, use proper form, all that good stuff. But you also learn what it really feels like to push yourself(you can probably do more than you think you can)-and then when you work out alone you'll chase that feeling. Even if you can only afford a few sessions, you should really consider working out with a trainer.

These days, my main resource is Oxygen magazine. I can't rave about that magazine enough. It's not a girly fashion/beauty magazine with a few workouts thrown in. It is a woman's magazine completely dedicated to fitness. Every month there's an selection of challenging workouts, whether you're new to the gym or you've been going for years. I'm always amazed that each issues contains some sort of workout element that I've never tried before. Earlier this week I completed an all-lunge routine from this month's issue-it was brutal, in a good way. There's also tons of motivating columns written by fitness professionals, which makes the magazine feel kind of like having a personal trainer that helps you along the way.

The other place that I have been getting workout ideas lately is Pinterest. I tend to think of that particular social medium as the domain of crafty housewives, but I've found some really good workouts on there. Same with Instagram-just type in a hashtag like #legday or #abworkout-you'll have to sift through more gym selfies than you'd probably like, but a lot of people also post their workouts.

This wasn't a totally outrageous workout for me, but I'd say it leaned towards theo more intense side of what I normally do. If you're just starting out, I'd say pick 3-5 leg moves, and try to do like...2 sets of 10-12 reps of each move. So maybe you could do 2x12 leg extensions, 2x12 squats, and 2x12 leg presses. Do a bit of research, hire a trainer if you can. And of course, don't strain yourself to the point of injury.

I'm enjoying writing about fitness, but I do hope to get back to writing about other topics soon. I just don't have time to think about much other than work, school and the gym right now. Hope these entries are enjoyable to at least a few people!

Thanks for reading, now get your ass moving!!!!!
 (I mean, only if you want to, sweetie. I could never be a drill sergeant).

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