So you want to lift weights

Lately I’ve been hearing quite a few women (and some men) tell me how they get intimidated when they go to the gym, and not by the treadmills or ellipticals. It’s the weight area that is filled with those extra-beefy men lifting those extra-heavy weights. While the view is nice, most beginners are worried they will…

So you want to lift weights was originally published on Self Evolve

Lately I’ve been hearing quite a few women (and some men) tell me how they get intimidated when they go to the gym, and not by the treadmills or ellipticals. It’s the weight area that is filled with those extra-beefy men lifting those extra-heavy weights. While the view is nice, most beginners are worried they will look like fools while trying to lift weights. Also, if you’re anything like me, you don’t want those beef-heads talking to you, trying to tell you how good you look lifting. (which is why I wear headphones to the gym all the time, works about 90% of the time)

I’m here to tell you there’s nothing to fear! Free weights and even those bars are nothing to worry about. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind next time you’re in the gym:

  1. Warm up before lifting weights! A simple 5 to 10 minutes on the treadmill will do, be sure to get the heart rate to at least 100 to 110 BPM!
  2. For the beginner, start super light! Don’t feel bad grabbing only 5 pound weights, or starting with just the bare bar. Start low and you can always add weight if it’s too easy! It’s better to go up than to go too heavy and injure yourself.
  3. Start with a simple 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Give yourself 30 to 60 seconds between each set for rest.
  4. Exhale while contracting your muscles, i.e. exhale while curling up on bicep curls and inhale while going back down.
  5. Maintain control throughout every movement. It isn’t a race, and you get the most out of the exercises if you do them with control. Focus on the movements and don’t let gravity or momentum take over.
  6. Proper form is key. Overall, the general rule is to keep your core engaged, your knees should never be fully locked, and you want to watch yourself in the mirror if available to make sure you’re not hunched over or letting your form slip.

If you’re not even sure what proper form looks or feels like for you, I can help you find your proper form through a few personal training sessions. Even if you’re not local to Oak Park, it is beneficial to find a personal trainer to help you learn proper form while lifting weights. Many people in the gym may be willing to help you as well, but take advice with a grain of salt. Unless they are fitness professionals, they may not know the proper form for you. Everyone is a little different and your form might not look exactly like that beef-cake who weighs 300 pounds. Just saying. 🙂

Also, another myth busted: lifting weights doesn’t make you super huge. You will gain muscle and tone up, but in order to get huge like a bodybuilder you’d have to do way more lifting than any normal person at the gym does. So unless you really try, you will only get stronger muscles and look sexier of course.

Do you lift weights? If so, how did you start? Are you intimidated by the weight section of the gym? If so, why? What’s your biggest fear? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

So you want to lift weights was originally published on Self Evolve

Downward Facing Goat

I’ve taken quite a few yoga classes before, but never with so many farm animals until this past weekend. On Sunday, I went to Kamins farm up in Grayslake, IL for an hour long session of yoga, with the additional bonus of farm animals. Not only goats were involved, there were also some potbellied pigs,…

Downward Facing Goat was originally published on Self Evolve

I’ve taken quite a few yoga classes before, but never with so many farm animals until this past weekend. On Sunday, I went to Kamins farm up in Grayslake, IL for an hour long session of yoga, with the additional bonus of farm animals. Not only goats were involved, there were also some potbellied pigs,…

Downward Facing Goat was originally published on Self Evolve

SPENGA what?

SPENGA: Spin, Strength, Yoga. Last week I tried my first SPENGA class, kinda. It was on a rooftop and not in the studio, so unfortunately there were no bikes and therefore only strength and yoga (50/50). Despite missing the spin, I had a great time! It was a gorgeous, breezy night in Oak Park, and I…

SPENGA what? was originally published on Self Evolve

SPENGA: Spin, Strength, Yoga. Last week I tried my first SPENGA class, kinda. It was on a rooftop and not in the studio, so unfortunately there were no bikes and therefore only strength and yoga (50/50). Despite missing the spin, I had a great time! It was a gorgeous, breezy night in Oak Park, and I…

SPENGA what? was originally published on Self Evolve

Embracing nature

To organic or to not organic? That is the question. What do you do? Do you go out of your way to buy organic, or do you just grab whichever is more convenient? This can go multiple ways, but today we’re going to try to focus on two product types: deodorant and sunscreen. Two essentials…

Embracing nature was originally published on Self Evolve

To organic or to not organic? That is the question. What do you do? Do you go out of your way to buy organic, or do you just grab whichever is more convenient? This can go multiple ways, but today we’re going to try to focus on two product types: deodorant and sunscreen. Two essentials while working out, especially while working out outside (i.e. running or attending my weekly strength and conditioning class).

For natural deodorant, what does that look like? Ideally, at the very least, deodorant without aluminum. Why not aluminum? While aluminum is used for things like cans of soda, it is not ideal on our skin. First of all, you may have an allergy to aluminum. A good amount of people break out in a rash when using antiperspirants. Also, aluminum may cause other issues outside of just a rash, i.e. it can interfere with your hormones. Aluminum isn’t the only thing to avoid, triclosan could be a stronger endocrine disruptor than propylene glycol, so try to avoid it as well.

The tricky part about going natural is finding a deodorant that stands up to sweat sessions, i.e. that super humid run or when you’re doing planks at the gym. The deodorant that I use and find effective is Arrow Protect Natural Deodorant by Birchbox. It smells good and stands up to my tough workouts. Which one do you use?

As for sunscreen, it’s important to read the ingredients on the bottle as well. Many sunscreens claim to be natural, but are they? Ingredients to avoid for SPF include chemicals such as oxybenzone, octinoxate  and homosalate. There are other chemicals to watch out for. Ideally, you want to reach for the organic option that uses mineral filters rather than chemical filters.

Mineral sunscreens are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, usually in the form of nanoparticles. There is good evidence that little if any zinc or titanium particles penetrate the skin to reach living tissues. Thus, mineral sunscreens tend to rate better than chemical sunscreens. What sunscreen do you use? Do you read the ingredients before buying sunscreen or just grab the most convenient sunscreen at the store? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

Embracing nature was originally published on Self Evolve

Avoiding Raccoon Eyes

Do you ever get to the gym and forget that you have on a full face of makeup? Or did you purposefully do your makeup to look good for that cute guy at the gym only to leave the gym with raccoon eyes? I’m here today to talk about the options you have in the…

Avoiding Raccoon Eyes was originally published on Self Evolve

Do you ever get to the gym and forget that you have on a full face of makeup? Or did you purposefully do your makeup to look good for that cute guy at the gym only to leave the gym with raccoon eyes? I’m here today to talk about the options you have in the ever-expanding makeup world that will help you avoid running out of the gym looking hideous.

While we’re aware of waterproof mascara, there are mascaras that are meant to be worn while working out. For example, the Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara holds up pretty well. If you’re looking for something more affordable, L’oreal and Maybelline make a sport mascara as well.

Outside of mascara, there’s a relatively new brand called Sweat Cosmetics that is meant for use while working out and sweating. It’s available through Sephora. I use the Illuminator when I work out and I like it since it also has SPF 25 which is handy when working out, especially during the summer months. I keep the makeup in my workout bag since it’s super easy to apply with the twist brush that’s included.

Even if you don’t use these brands, be sure to avoid oil-based makeup as that is the type that will trap in sweat and clog your pores as you’re working out. No matter what you use, be sure to wash all your makeup off every night to prevent breakouts and to keep good hygiene.

What do you do for makeup while working out? Do you wash your face before working out? Or after? Is the cute guy at the gym noticing your makeup or raccoon eyes? Comment below with what has or hasn’t worked for you.

Avoiding Raccoon Eyes was originally published on Self Evolve

How to breathe while running

Many beginner runners struggle with the proper way to breathe while running. Or they don’t even think about it. With the proper breathing technique, you can ideally be running on air, avoiding injury and running more efficiently. What is the proper breathing technique while running? Ideally, you want to breathe rhythmically. You want to relate your breathing…

How to breathe while running was originally published on Self Evolve

Many beginner runners struggle with the proper way to breathe while running. Or they don’t even think about it. With the proper breathing technique, you can ideally be running on air, avoiding injury and running more efficiently. What is the proper breathing technique while running? Ideally, you want to breathe rhythmically. You want to relate your breathing…

How to breathe while running was originally published on Self Evolve

Exercising Sick

Should you workout when sick with a cold? What if it’s the flu? It really depends on how you feel. It also depends on when you got sick. Day 1 versus day 3 are two different times and should be approached differently. The best way to prevent illness in the first place is to stay…

Exercising Sick was originally published on Self Evolve

Should you workout when sick with a cold? What if it’s the flu? It really depends on how you feel. It also depends on when you got sick. Day 1 versus day 3 are two different times and should be approached differently. The best way to prevent illness in the first place is to stay…

Exercising Sick was originally published on Self Evolve