When Cardio Isn’t Enough

Sometimes I feel like my workouts are not enough. When I first signed up for the gym before the new year, I was making a marked effort to not only focus on my cardio, but also to mix in the weight machines. I could feel my strength building up and even remember thinking to myself, “Wow, weights feel great! Why haven’t I spent more time focusing on these muscle groups in the past?”

The honest truth is that I don’t make the time for them. When I get to the gym, I want the workout that feels like it is the highest impact and will kick my ass butt the most. Hence all the running. I feel like if I can run at least 30 minutes, (sometimes 40, sometimes 50) that I am really giving myself the workout my body craves. But is that really true? Can my body really feel like it’s been run through the ringer after only 30 minutes of moderate-to-high cardio?

While I do notice some of the nice benefits running the last 3 months has had on my body, I still don’t feel like it’s made as much of an impact as it could have if I were varying up the workouts and mixing in some upper body strength builders. A good friend of mine, who is currently in school to become a personal trainer and is just generally a fitness and nutrition guru, recently came up with the idea for a “Train Like a Mofo” site to help connect people in Austin, Texas to Personal Trainers who match their workout style. In a recent post showcasing one of Austin’s finest, she posted one of the trainers who she recently work with’s (awkward apostrophe-s usage?) philosophy on upper body strength,

Apparently, men have about  40% more upper body muscle mass than women on average, but pound for pound in lower body, men and women are basically the same. So when training women, the real game changers come from building upper body strength—it balances out the body, and gives women both the shape and metabolic effects their looking for. (You can read more at Mel Runs.)

So basically, I am thinking I need to start finding a way to vary up my workouts, or at least to incorporate different types of workouts to the running I’m already doing. It might give my recurring, (and incredibly painful,) blisters a break from being continuously tortured. And who knows, it might even make working out fun!

See, fun!

The trickiest part, of course, if figuring out what that next stage in fitness should be. Do I sign up for a Zumba class? Do I hire a personal trainer to show me the ropes? Do I participate in the Dance Aerobic class at the gym? Or maybe even the Dancing in High Heels class they offer? I’d love to hear from readers what classes have gotten you motivated, or what you think works best when trying to get in shape?

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2 responses to “When Cardio Isn’t Enough

  1. Joining a class is definitely a great way to work on strength. I also have a upper body strength training plan put together by a professional trainer.

  2. My favorite classes at my gym are Dance Aerobics and Turbo Kick which is a dance based kickboxing class. Kickboxing, moreso than regular dance aerobics, focuses on more moves where you target your arms – like different kinds of punches and arm flailing. Even without holding any kind of weights during class, I woke up today feeling the remains of a great workout in my arms (not to mention my shoulders, traps, sides, stomach…) Definitely an interesting fact about our upper bodies not being equal where our lower halves are. I never would have guessed!

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