Let’s talk strength training.
I have a very love/hate (read: mostly hate) relationship with strength training in any capacity. I don’t like feeling weak. I don’t like the burn. I don’t like that I can work hard, but only barely break a sweat. It generally doesn’t give me the satisfaction that cardio does (sweaty, out of breath, just poured my all into that last mile type feeling). And lastly, if I’m being honest, it has always intimidated me a little bit.
Unfortunately, the plain and simple fact is that strength training provides the quickest and most effective results. Period.
And for this reason I have started weight lifting programs time and time again, with the thought in mind to give them enough time to see results before I give up on it and go back to running.
I have failed miserably at this for years.
Typically I will always incorporate at least 10-20 minutes of cardio before I do whatever strength training workout I have planned. As the weeks go on I find myself increasing my cardio and decreasing my weights, till finally I’m back to just doing cardio and some abs here and there.
This is where I typically decide that I will just try to get the results I want by changing my diet. A few weeks of following weight watchers, or eating apples when I really want cheese and crackers, and that fails as well.
I’m not necessarily a yo-yo dieter or exerciser. I eat pretty healthy 90% of the time. I also work out consistently. It was for this reason that I knew weights are the one thing I needed, because they are the one thing I wasn’t doing, and nothing was changing for me.
Enter the Live Fit program by Jamie Eason.
I am one of those people who can be an unstoppable force once they set their minds to something, and finally a few months ago I set my mind to starting and completing a strength training program, and I decided that program was going to be this 12 week trainer.
I started when we were still in Asheville, got three weeks into it before we moved, took two weeks off from the gym while we made the road trip and got settled, starting the program over from week one, got two weeks into it and then had the third week interrupted by our trip to vegas where I only got in two workouts, so I repeated week three, then missed one workout in week four, so I repeated it as well.
And as of today I’m in week 5 and just started Phase 2. For any of you not so good at math (or just majorly confused by the garble above), I’m actually 10 weeks in, but only five weeks of full workouts.
The program is divided into three phases. Throughout Phase 1 I felt pretty good. Jamie doesn’t include cardio for this part of the program, which I thought was a little odd, so I added in 15 minutes for almost every workout, as well as a few additional ab workouts. She also keeps the number of workouts a week to four-five. All in all the exercises were relatively familiar to me, and I was able to steadily increase my weight.
In Phase 2 she brings cardio back with a vengeance adding 30 minutes four times a week, AND she increases the workout days from five to six. I’m only in week one of Phase 2 and I’m just going to say…it’s freaking hard. I’m so sore I can barely walk, the workouts are long and intense, and it’s all I can do to not lay down for a nap when I get home from them.
With that being said, I’m seeing results.
I haven’t lost any weight, but I can see a change in the definition of my arms and shoulders, my legs and butt, although still jiggly, are absolutely firmer. I’m much stronger than when I started. I increase my weights every week to two weeks. And I have a lot more “skinny” days than “fat” days, which makes me feel a lot better about myself.
I haven’t been following her meal plan, partly because I typically don’t care for meal plans, but mostly because I eat 95% vegetarian and her plan doesn’t come close to accommodating that lifestyle. The one tip I have taken from the Phase 2 meal plan is trying to avoid carbs too late in the evening.
So how about some pictures?
I didn’t take before pictures, but this is me starting Phase 2, week 5. Please excuse the poor quality and sweaty boob line. I decided a post-gym photo sesh was a good idea, and attempted to balance my camera on a miscellaneous collection of items to take photos with the timer since Husband wasn’t home.
I’ve read numerous articles debunking the myth that heavy weights will cause you to bulk up (in regards to women that is), all saying that women do not have the testosterone to bulk up, and heavy weights are the best way to see faster results. I think what they left out here, was qualifying those statements by acknowledging that some people are naturally inclined to be bigger/bulkier in some areas. For me specifically I bulk up really quickly in my shoulders/lats, and in my arms. This has been a little challenging for me during this program because as I see definition happening in my arms and shoulders, their overall size has increased as well. I’m trying to just be patient in hopes that it will eventually lean out, and I’m working on accepting that that is just the way my body is and it’s ok.
This was after a chest day so my arms weren’t all “swole” 🙂
Progress you can’t see, but I can:
1. Love handles have gone down a bit
2. Triceps horseshoe in progress
3. Stomach flatter, more consistently
4. Booty firmer, and possibly a bit perkier
Perhaps next time I throw a few flexed poses in there 🙂
This photo posted solely because Jeannie was looking at the camera.
My thoughts on the program so far are a mix.
PROS: I do think the program is effective, and relatively easy to follow. For the most part she works each part of your body sufficiently and allows a good amount of rest between days when you focus on the same area. The videos and explanations make it possible for even beginners to follow and learn. You do get stronger.
CONS: You absolutely HAVE to have access to a gym (unless you have a kick butt home gym with all the latest equipment) so it’s not user friendly to everyone. Some of the moves are a little ridiculous, and I would be surprised to see someone actually do them (i.e. donkey calf raises). Many of the workouts can take up to 90 minutes, which Husband is convinced is just way too long. And the six days of workouts a week starting in Phase 2 is a little unfeasible even to me.
Would I recommend? Definitely.
I’ll do another post in a few weeks to let you know how Phase 2 is working out.