I've been spending the new year reading several fitness and diet-related books. Just reading about these things helps keep me focused and motivated. Of course, actually moving my body helps even more.
One of my recent purchases was The New Rules of Lifting For Women. I'd really been slacking off on my strength training (along with everything else, alas) by the end of last year, and I wanted a good, focused program to help me get back on track.
The subtitle "Lift Like A Man; Look Like A Goddess" might have irked me a little at first, but I get the underlying idea here: Too many women are conditioned to believe that if they lift anything over five pounds, they'll end up looking like Hulk Hogan. If only it were that easy to build muscle, particularly for women. If the author had his way, we'd all purge the words "tone" and "sculpt" from our vocabularies (a sentiment I think I've seen over on Stumptuous as well) and start getting used to hefting heavier dumbbells and barbells. It's hard work. Anything worth doing usually is.
His program is broken down into several stages and subworkouts; I did Workout A of Stage 1 on Sunday. Three days later, my abs are still killing me. And it's all due to the evil, evil "Prone Jackknife" move. I should have known that one was going to be trouble; the book recommended 15 reps of all the other exercises in Workout A, but only eight for the dreaded Jackknife. It doesn't *look* that bad in the video -- indeed, nothing in Workout A looked all that forbidding -- but I was one sore puppy for the next couple of days.
One of the nicest things about the workout? I was able to do it at home thanks to the dumbbells, barbells, mats, bands, and Swiss balls we've accumulated over the years. Naturally, it's optimal to do the workouts at gyms where you'll have a wider range of weights and equipment to use, but most of the exercises can be done at home.
And you know what? It was fun. I kinda missed my friendly little basement gym. It may not have all the fancy machines and weights and stuff, but on the other hand I don't have to wait for equipment, or wipe someone else's sweat off a bench I want to use (ewwww!).
That being said, I'm looking forward to trying Workout B at the rec center tomorrow night. I really do like the way I feel when I'm lifting weights; one of my goals is to see this program through to the end.