Saturday, July 23, 2011

Biceps challenge...

The other day I went for a walk with my mother, and was telling her about my adventures in strength training.  I fully admit to taking the slow route here, folks.  I started by building up strength in my shoulders, and as that has now become a normal part of the routine, I've begun to add other exercises.
Like the standard bicep curl. 
I was so proud of myself too.  I'd built up to a whole 5 lbs. per side!  Yes, this was big news for me, considering I started out with my 3 lbs. weights.
My mom, proud of my progress, had a suggestion that I'm going to share with you (along with the usual caveat that I'm not a trainer, I have no training in sports medicine, or the like.  I'm not a doctor).  My mom IS a personal trainer, and is always great to go to for suggestions on simple tweaks that I can do at home. 
You'll need two hand weights in varying sizes (ex. 3 and 5 lbs., or 5 and 8 lbs.).  The lower weight should be something you could curl 8-10 times without having to stop for a break.  The heavier weight should be heavy enough that your muscle is exhausted within 3-4 repetitions.
So here it is, a small modification that can make a world of difference.   Start with the lesser of the two weights.  Starting with your right arm, do your standard bicep curl 5-6 times.  Then immediately switch to the heavier weight for 2-3 curls.
Switch to your left arm, and repeat the routine starting with the lighter weight.
You'll go though the whole routine 2 times to start with.  According to my mother, this will actually help you build up your strength a faster than doing 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of a lighter weight.  The key is to fatigue the muscle. 
At first I wasn't so sure, but I gave her suggestion a try, and was amazed at the result.  After going through this routine only a few times, I can already lift the heavier weight 4 or 5 times, instead of just 2 or 3. 
I've even tried it with a tricep press.  I'll have to let you know how that one goes after I give it a few more times. 
So, what have you done recently to challenge yourself and go a little further? 


Thursday, July 14, 2011

We've all heard it...

But how many of us do it?  Take a break that is.  I've read several articles recently reminding people to get up from the computer at least once an hour for several minutes.  Get up.  Move around.  Look at something other than a computer screen. 
Now, if you're anything like me, you get up and you may not sit back down for another hour as you become engrossed in various other timewasters (ie. housework).  For a long time I felt badly about this.  I thought I was being unproductive.  Recently however, I began to realize that those aren't the timewasters I thought they were.  In fact, what they are is the mental, physical, and visual break my poor body needs.
Challenge time!  I challenge you to take a 5 min. mini-break every hour.  You can walk around, you can read a magazine (stay away from the books, or your break will likely become two hours of wasted time), dance to some music, load the dishwasher, make some tea...anything!  Just remember to sit back down when you're done.

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Did everyone have fun?

I'm back from RWA's National Conference, and finally caught up on all mail, cleaning, and email.  It's amazing how much that piles up when you're not looking. 
I hope you all had a good time, and that those who couldn't go this year got together with other writer friends and still had a good time.  It's so important to have that time with like-minded individuals.  It's easy, in the days of email and internet to forget how important actual face-time is.  This is true in any industry, but especially in the writing world.  We are a solitary industry.  We sit in front of our computers and we type away.  We might call up a friend to moan or complain.  We might get online and vent our frustration at how long this process can take sometimes.  But face-time is so very important.  
I have a group of ladies I meet with at least once a month, without fail.  If one of us has a conflict we do everything we can to reschedule.  If rescheduling is impossible, we'll sometimes make a second meeting just so we can get together.  At Conference I met up with a girlfriend who I haven't seen in almost 6 years (seriously, Karina, that's too long).  It was like no time had passed us by.  
These face to face meetings recharge me.  They energize and feed my soul in a way that email and facebook simply can't.  
So what about you?  How do you get your face-time in?