Joining a Gym and Strength Training

Strength training time as arrived! Raise your hand if you are excited .... ok I wasn't really either. Going to the gym and actually lifting weights is something that I kind of dislike. It is not my favorite thing to do, but it is so important. I am getting ready for another marathon in the fall. That means that I need to start strength training now! 

I joined a gym across the street from the hospital where I work so that I could stop by on my way to/from work. That way I would be more likely to actually go to the gym + it was really cheap. Win and win! 

So why is it important to strength train before an endurance event? Excellent question ... one that I asked myself. Lots of times we think of strength training as putting on lots of muscle, but the main goal is to build some muscle and strengthen the muscle you do have. This strengthen muscles allows it to work more efficiently when you doing endurance activities. For example, strengthening your hip flexors will help to make sure that extra stress isn't placed on your quads/hamstrings which could cause knee pain with continued endurance activity. Getting your body stronger in general will help to prevent injuries. That was my main purpose in hitting the gym ... avoid future injuries. 

So now that I had a place to lift weights I had to actually decide what I wanted to do. I really enjoy classes, but this gym doesn't have classes so I have to lift on my own. Thankfully they have machines that I can use to work the upper body, chest, and legs. The big thing that I have been focusing on is getting a total body workout for 45 minutes on the various machines. That way I work arms and legs and hips too. This should help to prevent future injuries from running, which is the main goal! 

Now you might be wondering what in the world would you for exercises at the gym for ~40 minutes? I found myself in that exact same predicament. I started with a goal. I wanted to get a total body work out in the time that I had available (~45 minutes).  I started with the machines at the gym and developed a routine. I alternate how I begin my time at the gym - between legs and arms first.  I started with 2 sets of each exercise and completed 12 repetitions. The goal was start to build a base strength, because I knew that it would be helpful for endurance activity. Now I have worked up to 3 sets of 15 repetitions each. 

  • Bicep curls 
  • Tricep extensions 
  • Deltoid pull downs 
  • Sled press 
  • Hamstring curls 
  • Quadricep extensions
  • Hip adductor and abductor exercises 

I recommend that if you have been thinking about getting out that and joining a gym. You should do it! I normally dislike gym establishments, but I have been impressed with the results that I have started to see. I have gotten stronger and I think this training will help my marathon training starting this summer. If you head out to join a gym, make sure that you pick a place that meets your criteria, will help you accomplish your goals and is on our normal route of travel. You are much more likely to actually go to the gym if you are already driving past it each day. Happy lifting!