One thing I've neglected over the years is the concept of strength training or weightlifting. As you know, I'm a huge cardio junkie and can easily go for a run or jump into a Tabata class. But tell me to go lift weights and I will come up with any excuse to get out of it. But as I've gotten older, I realize the value of feeling stronger. Plus there are plenty of studies out there that highlight the value of weight lifting for women especially later in life. And we all know strong is the new sexy!!
With all of this in mind, I'm making a conscious decision to begin incorporating Body Pump into my weekly schedule. The goal is to start with 1-2 classes a week and get to a point where I'm taking it 2-3 times a week without even thinking about it. This should be easy given the many options I have for taking that class at my gym but I know this will be hard for me for two reasons:
1. I don't want to give up my regular classes so I plan to add these classes to my existing weekly workout schedule.
2. I have a hard time mentally getting excited to take the class. This is also why I recommend everyone find a friend, buddy or community of people who you love working out with. I'm relying on the Gym Crew to get me to go to these classes.
Body Pump takes quite a bit of equipment so if you do plan to attend a class I'd recommend going at least 15 minutes before the class starts. If you go to Community Fitness and you want to try a Susan Cotter class, you definitely want to be there 15 minutes before as that class very often sells out. Body Pump requires barbells, weights, a mat, risers and often dumbbells or a band depending on what routine. The class always starts with a warm up routine that covers simple moves like deadlifts, rows and squats. I generally start with 25 lbs on my bar for the warm ups and find this works well for me. One of the things that is challenging, if you are new to lifting, is getting the form right. Fortunately, instructors like Susan always give tips and show you how you should be lifting. The one small challenge you will have in the studio at Community Fitness and finding a spot where you can see Susan on stage but also see yourself in the mirror to make sure you are doing it correctly. I have a better angle in terms of seeing her full movements if I am in the back of the room but this means I give up the option to see myself in the mirror.
The class goes through a similar format each time but changes up the routines to make it more fun. You'll work pretty much every part of your body and hit every lifting move from deadlifts, clean presses, rows, tricep dips, push ups, bicep curls, chest presses, squats and lunges. You won't get the same rush you get out of the cardio classes but I always walk out of the class feeling stronger and better about my body. I'm also noticing that it's helping my neck and back feel better and stronger. I haven't quite perfected the balance of knowing how much weight to rack for each body area (for example, I'm certain I could handle more weight for squats but not sure how much more). But I'm sure that will come with time, practice and more confidence.
I highly recommend everyone try to at least get some level of focused lifting into their weekly routine. It's changing my perspective on what my body is capable of and realizing I am strong enough to lift.