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Upper Body Strength Essentials

If your workout program is cardio-heavy like mine, a couple days a week  of upper body weights will help from burning muscle in your sweat sessions! When you’re body runs out of stored energy to burn, it eventually moves to your muscles. Upper body strength workouts will also help with your posture; abs and core are important for posture, but so is working your back and chest! If your core is stronger than your back, then you will start sporting a shoulder hunch. Not saying you should stop working your core, but definitely include some back and chest basics into your daily core routine to prevent any forward leaning.

I was afraid that when I started lifting, I would suddenly become bulky and muscular like the guys in the gym. I didn’t want massive arms! BUT THAT CAN’T HAPPEN! Girls are not ‘programmed’ the same way as guys, so unless you are curling 75lb dumbbells, you will not have to worry about turning into a body builder ;)

the essentials strength workout (stronglikemycoffee.com)Some of these require a set of weights, others are body-weight only. And these are definitely just a few exercises for each muscle category. I picked out the most basic and familiar, however if anything looks unfamiliar, they are all demonstrated on tons of fitness websites! *Abs/core can be exercised every day, whereas arms, back and chest should include at least 1 rest day in between workout days.

I don’t do a lot of strength work on my legs because I get a lot of muscle from running. Hills work the calves/glutes. Speed works the hamstrings and just about everything works the quads! I usually just add some squats, calf raises and hip bridges into a few easy days’ workouts.

I’ve been lifting weights at the gym for three years now; my first day I was absolutely shaking trying to lift a 10lb dumbbell over my head. I’m stronger now, for sure, but I still can’t do a pull-up! So this year one of my goals is to be able to do at least 1 pull-up on my own. (We have a snazzy assisted pull-up machine at the gym that takes as much of your weight off as you want, so I will slowly work down to nothing!) :)

Pre-Weekend Workout

The Gilmore Girls will be reunited in T-3 hours! No, not the originals…my mom and I! She is driving up for the weekend as we speak, so I got myself to the gym bright and early.

I like to “pre-burn” calories before I eat them, and knowing that we would be out and about the next three days, I had a lot of pre-burning to do! Again, I was treated to an empty gym. I say it every time like I’m surprised, which I shouldn’t be because it is always this way. I just can’t wrap my brain around how 20,000 students can pass up this brand new two-story exercise center!

Anyways, this morning was a repeat of last Friday’s Rise and Grind Workout, with some minor adjustments because I had to get through it FAST.

Instead of doing the bicep, tricep and back exercises with free weights, I opted for machines.

As always, the lunges and squats kicked my butt (while BUILDING my butt…oh the irony). Some one told me that if you smile while you work out, you can trick your brain into thinking you are actually having fun:

(Smile like this in the gym and people will think you are absolutely crazy.) I didn’t understand – isn’t working out already fun?! ;) Okay some days it takes more work than others. But I left the gym satisfied that I would be guilt-free eating out tonight! Time to have a monumental mother-daughter weekend. Happy Friday!

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