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Sweat from the Heart: The REAL reason you should lift weights

Sweat from the Heart: The REAL reason you should lift weights

Why lift weights? Honestly, because it’s good for you.   20140101_124328

Lifting weights improves overall strength and stability; decreases the risk of muscular imbalances; develops speed, power and durability in training and races (if you’re a runner or triathlete); boosts metabolism and helps with weight management; and the list goes on! Strength training is for everyone regardless of gender, age, or ability! That’s the beautiful thing about it.

If you are thinking, “I don’t need to lift weights, I’m a runner”, or, “ I already swim, bike and run, why do I need to add strength training?”, then keep reading. Let me share my experience of strength training. Sometimes you need to see it and hear about it in order to believe it.

I began strength training 16 years ago, as a freshman in high school, on a competitive swim team. We lifted weights three times a week, and I hated everything about it – the sweaty, dirty smell of the gym; the dirty machines and free weights; the time it took out of my day; the muscle burn during the workout, and the soreness the next day; the boredom of going through each repetition; waiting on people to finish on the machine you needed; etc. I wanted to swim, not lift weights.

In my mind, I was a swimmer. I couldn’t understand why I needed to strength train. To me, competition was about how fast you could swim, not how much weight you could push or pull. Regardless, I walked into the gym three times per week with my teammates and we lifted weights (and only because my coach made me. If I didn’t, I was off the team).

In my sophomore year, I also joined the track and cross-country team. I was swimming, running, and lifting weights. I had a fantastic season of swimming and running. I felt strong, fast and invincible. I had my suspicions that strength training played a role but I wasn’t completely convinced.

My junior year, I quit the swim team to focus solely on running. I made this decision as I stood a better chance to get a running scholarship over a swimming scholarship. Quitting the swim team meant I didn’t have to weight train anymore! I never thought that day would come! What a relief.

In my senior year, I ran fast enough to land a running scholarship to a university – yay! And guess what? My coach wanted us to lift weights twice per week – no! I still hated weights and didn’t completely understand why I needed it.

For the first semester, I went to every strength workout in the afternoon. By the second semester, I purposely registered for a class at the same time as the strength workout.

And after that semester here’s what I noticed: my power was lacking. I didn’t have it in me to make quick surges or have a strong, final kick to the finish. I also began to notice I wasn’t getting any faster. I would put in more miles, but wouldn’t see the gains. The most noticeable- my teammates were becoming faster and I was not.

By my junior year in college, I transferred to Incarnate Word Univ, and the same routine continued. No weight training and lots of running.

I had no muscle definition or power. Slowly I began to see a connection between weight training and athletic performance.  It was finally making sense.

With the cross-county team at Incarnate Word Univ.  I am fit, but don't have definition. (and look at Cecilia Iniguez to my left. Isn't she adorable!?)

With the cross-county team at Incarnate Word Univ.
I am second to the right, #174: I am fit, but don’t have definition. (and look at Cecilia Iniguez to my left. Isn’t she adorable!?)

A little over 8 years ago, I began lifting weights because my triathlon coach at the time told me I needed to build strength. He was right. I needed to become stronger. After a few months I noticed huge gains in speed and power. And, I felt stronger on long bike rides and runs. My climbing abilities on the bike dramatically improved. I was now passing people on hills! Without having to put in heavy miles each week, I was getting stronger and faster.

And 2 years ago, I began following a strength program my husband, Jeff, created. The program is what we offer at our training studio – the premium class, IRON. It’s low intense, a maximum of 9 exercises, 3 of which are abdominal exercises, and in less than an hour, you are finished! This program taught me to love lifting weights. I can deadlift and squat heavy weights! I can do pull-ups! I can do push-ups! It has transformed how I look, train, and race. But most importantly, he taught me the reason I needed to lift weights – to prevent injuries, reduce muscular imbalances, build stability, and improve athletic performance.

I cannot believe it took me that long to figure it out! But better now than never. So if you don’t think you need to lift weights just because you are a runner or triathlete, think again. The nagging IT band injuries, the lower back pain, the fatigue the last few miles of a training run or race, and the lack of power when you want to sprint to the finish are all because you lack the strength and stability.

You can weight train anywhere, but if we must suggest, we recommend Alamo 180 😉  We have “been there, done that”. We are experts. We know what we are doing and we know what you want.

The first class is on us! So when you’re ready, take us up on our offer.

Jeff and I together cheering. Here you can see I have a lot more muscular definition. It's  amazing how lifting weights transforms your body!

Jeff and I together cheering. Here you can see I have a lot more muscular definition. It’s amazing how lifting weights transforms your body!

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