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6 Things I Have Learned From My Training Program

So, since I’m about 6 months into my training, I figured it would be fun to share some of the fitness related things I have learned (mostly about myself).

I have to admit, it makes me feel like I was pretty ignorant before – but I guess the point is, I have learned a lot and that is what’s important!

(If you are new around here, you can read the details about my training program and what it is here).

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1 – Form
I think this is one of the major things I have really learned is my form. Remember how when I started I always had hip pain? And I dont know if you have noticed, but I havent complained about it in a long time. Mostly because it really doesnt bother me anymore! It goes back to me doing things in correctly and straining the wrong part of my body.

To think of all those squats and lunges I always did at the gym on my own – I was doing them wrong and not reaping the benefits for all the work! My form has improved hugely.

2 – How to push myself & that I really am stronger than I think
I’ll be honest, when I was working out on my own at a gym. I wouldnt push myself. I thought I was…. but I really wasnt. I realized this the other day. We were doing overhead presses with dumbbells last week, and he said the minimum weight for me to use is 20 lb dumbbells. I was like what? I typically used 12s for most stuff like that. And when I got over there, it was tough – but I managed it fine and it was a little extra hard, and it made me a little extra sore.

So I realized, because that was the option he gave me (no option to down grade to the next size) that I was fine with it. If it were me by myself, I would have probably never upgraded to be honest… I would have stayed in my comfort zone.

Some moves that he gives us he gives us a couple different “options” for the more advanced people he wants to make sure it is extra hard and challenging for them. Then usually there is an in between for the average, and then an easy for those that have injuries or are beginning (or the few elderly people we have). I at least always try to do the difficult one first, at least a few reps and if I dont feel I can continue with that I will downgrade usually to the “intermediate” move.

3 – Cardio isnt my love anymore
When I was going to the gym by myself, I always did a mix of cardio (elliptical, treadmill, or stair climber) and then did some strength training (usually on weight machines). I usually didnt like the strength part as much as the cardio portion.  I always loved cardio (or thought I did) and would spend the bulk doing that.

Now cardio is obviously really important, but now that I have been doing the training that is typically strength moves (though it still involves a lot of cardio, just not on a dreadmill) I have realized I didnt really love cardio and have so much fun with weights… which leads me to my next lesson I learned…

4 – Variety really is good
No secret I am a creature of routine. I like to have a routine and stick with it. Just like when I used to go to the gym by myself. I’d do the same stuff. I started with strength, would do upper body or lower body depending on the day (at one time I also started doing “front of the body” and “back of the body” which was then, my version of switching it up) and then end with some sort of cardio.

I always read everywhere that variety was good, if you dont have variety you’ll get bored, and your muscles will get used to it. But thinking of straying off of my usual routine just sounded like I would fail. So my idea of variety was taking a group class every once in a while or doing something outdoors (bike riding, hiking etc). When I first started reading blogs for info about healthy living – one thing I noticed was none of the fit bloggers I followed would talk about “oh I went to the gym and ran for 30 minutes today and then did strength training for 30 minutes” and then say the same thing the next day. No, they all had different circuits they were doing, different classes they would take on certain days, sometimes working out at home, sometimes going to a gym to do it. It was appealing, and I wondered how they kept up with it.

Now I really know what that means as far as switching things up. And I like it because I still feel structured and in a routine (having a scheduled time to workout helps me, because lets face it, if it wasnt scheduled it was easy for me to put it off or cancel all together or for something to come up). We do something different pretty much every training session. Every night that I have gone there have been at least two new-to-me moves that I had never done before. 3x a week for the last 6 months and there is still something new everyday. Pretty crazy… but I realized that that makes me look forward to it! 

5 – How to listen to my body
I admit, if I’m hurting I will maybe try to be tough and work through it. Not always the best bet obviously. I’ve learned to listen to my body and feel out if I have a problem. If I feel like something is straining, I will speak up and tell my trainer and it is usually just as easy as  fixing my form, something I dont realize I am doing wrong (like subconsciously favoring one leg because I’m worried about a bar hitting me)

And again, this is tied into my next lesson….

6 – Food is fuel
Duh. I mean I have always known this, but never really actually paid attention or planned for it. I am a foodie, so I love food for a million different reasons and “food is fuel” is just another lovely reason for me to eat delicious food.

But, with that being said, I have recently learned and actually been able to feel how it affects me during my workouts. I have it down to a T now with my snacking/meals and I pretty much know how my body will react with what I eat as a snack an hour or 2 before my training. It took some experimenting, but I have definitely figured it out and the days that I do go to training, I eat differently.

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  • Tell me something fitness related that you have learned about yourself somewhat recently (or even a while ago when you maybe started exercising more seriously).
  • What is a [fitness related] bad habit that you are or have been guilty of?
    Mine was definitely bad form, lack of hydration, or not eating the right things before workouts!
  • Do you feel like you have enough variety in your workouts? Is there anything new (new workouts, moves, equipment, sports, etc) that you have been wanting to try?
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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. what a great post! fitness is a journey that you never stop learning from in my opinion :)

    i’ve had to learn to back off when it comes to injury..i’ve been working so hard for so long that it can be hard to step back and actually take care of myself! its something i’ve always struggled with but i think i’m getting better.

    i would say all the fitness habits you are guilty of, i’m guilty of as well! especially hydrating…i feel like im always struggling with that.

    i think I could definitely use more serious strength training in my regimen…i’ve been so into running and biking but I know i could benefit from it!

    May 1, 2012
  2. One thing I learned about your workouts from this post: You look like Superwoman taking off in flight in the first picture!!

    One bad habit I get into is not enough strength training. Unless I’m doing it with someone, or in a class, I get awfully bored… I’m trying to mix it up lately with water resistance classes and meeting with our team trainer. Hopefully that kicks me back into shape!

    May 1, 2012
    • Ooo water resistance classes is a cool one!!! I def understand with the lack of strength training, like i said it used to be the part I dreaded and id speed through it!

      May 1, 2012
  3. Form is SO key!!! I need to go to a trainer for a while. For now, I compulsively watch YouTube videos and refuse to try an exercise till I have it down! I force Kevin to watch and practice with me. Lol. I love variety, and I kinda naturally freakishly love to push myself. Haha. I was definitely mostly only running lasty year, so I’ve mixed it up a LOT!

    May 1, 2012
    • you know! I have used a trainer before this training (like 2 years ago) and they never really said anything about my form!! I was shocked. And i know it was bad (if not worse) at that time!! haha you def push yourself! you crazy girl and your damn handstand pushups!! haha

      May 1, 2012
  4. These are great insights!! I’ve been struggling at the variety thing too. I have been focused on running b/c I really want to become a better runner, but I feel like its taking me forever. Introducing yoga has been great and I want to get into other types of things too, but I think I feel the same, kind of intimidated. So this is good inspiration to just go and do it and push myself!

    May 1, 2012
  5. ittybitsofbalance #

    I love this reflection post! And I feel ya on the not pushing yourself before you’re exposed to someone who knows what they’re doing. When I first began going to school at UCF, I would ALWAYS just sit on the elliptical for hours on end. After almost a year of that, I finally decided to switch it up and take some strength classes where they whooped my booty and REALLY perked my interest in fitness.

    Look how far you’ve come! Congratulations, Andrea!

    May 1, 2012
  6. Molly #

    All those things you learned are so important! Sometimes what we think are doing right, needs to be changed. Good for your for realizing it!

    May 1, 2012
  7. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes #

    Congratulations, it looks like your training has been a really beneficial investment for you. I worked with a trainer years ago and am glad I learned about proper form, safety, etc. I’m currently doing an online training program on my own and am just having a blast gaining strength again. I haven’t been so pumped about anything in a long time. And you’re right on about variety being important…both for the mind and body! :)

    May 1, 2012
  8. Michelle #

    Variety is the spice of life! I’ve recently been doing way more interval sets w/my cardio and it is amazing how much harder I will actually push myself. I love all of your tips; it’s pretty amazing what we can learn from our bodies in such a short period of time!

    May 1, 2012
  9. I love this post! I can relate to nearly all of your points. Pushing myself harder and adding variety are the biggest things I learned through a more serious approach to fitness. Thanks for sharing!!!

    May 2, 2012

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