Friday, October 1, 2010

Healthy Living Weekly Post: My Strength Training Routine

Today completes five weeks since my re-focusing on living a healthy lifestyle. These past five weeks I have been focusing on getting back into the habit of regular exercise, and I am happy to report that I spent at least 30 minutes exercising 24 of the last 30 days!

Part of my exercise is the 30 minute strength training routine that I want to complete three times a week. As I mentioned in my last Healthy Living Post, today I'll share with you what I do for this routine. I put this routine together using the basic exercises from the book Strong Women Stay Slim by Miriam E. Nelson Ph.D. and added in some flexibility and stability exercises from The Good Life by Ruth McGinnis, both books that I highly recommend. I originally tried the Strong Women Stay Slim routine back in 2007 and I had that routine in my Healthy Living Notebook (which I'll share with you next week), so I started again with that and added in other exercises between sets (and sometimes before and after) until it has evolved into this routine.

1. Reverse Chair Stand (2 sets of 8 reps)
*Before 1st set - 8 deep breaths lifting hands overhead
*In between sets - Bicep Stretch (20 seconds each arm) & Triceps Stretch (20 seconds each arm)

2. Pelvic Tilt (2 sets of 8 reps)
*In between sets - Abdominal Crunches (15)
*After last set - Abdominal Crunches (15), Cross Crunch (15 each side), Back Extensions (10), Low Back Release (20 seconds), Hamstring Stretch (20 seconds)

3. Overhead Press (2 sets of 8 reps)
*In between sets - Head Rolls (8), Shoulder Shrugs (8)

4. Bent-Over Row (2 sets of 8 reps)
*In between sets - Lower Back & Hamstring Stretch (20 seconds each leg)

5. Calf Raise (2 sets of 8 reps)
*In between sets - Calf Stretch (20 seconds each leg)

6. Seated Fly (2 sets of 8 reps)
*In between sets - Lower Back & Hamstring Stretch (20 seconds each leg)

7. Arm Curl (2 sets of 8 reps)
*In between sets - Toe Touches (10)

Typing it all out, the routine sounds kind of convoluted, but it actually flows very well. Many of the exercises use my own body weight for resistance, while I use dumbbells (currently 12 pounds) for four of the arm exercises. For the next four weeks, I am planning to reverse the order of these exercises, except for the first one since that serves as a good warmup for me. [Please note that I am not an expert on exercise and have no certifications of any kind regarding exercise, I am simply sharing with you here what I'm doing!]

I decided to try something new this month and pulled a quick exercise out of the September 2010 addition of Health magazine to add on to the end of my routine. I completed this extra exercise 8 times over the last few weeks. I am planning to pull a new exercise each week in October and add it to the end of my routine. (I won't continue to do them all, but will just do the ONE extra exercise each week.) If I think the exercise works well for me and I can perform it correctly, I'll add it to my Healthy Living Notebook so that I'll have a list of exercises to choose from when I am ready to create a new strength training routine.

For the month of October, I will continue with my regular exercise but will be shifting my primary focus to my eating habits. I want to log what I eat and drink each day and continue to add more fruits and vegetables to my daily meals while decreasing fatty and sweet foods and drinks! As I begin to track how I'm eating, I will make my eating goals more specific and measurable. For now, here are my goals for October.

My exercise goals for October are:
30 minute strength training routine 3 times a week (Mon,Wed,Fri)
30 minute stationary bike ride 5 times a week (Mon,Tues,Wed,Thurs,Fri)
30 minute walk 1 time a week (Sat)

My nutrition goals for October:
Drink at least 3 bottles (48 ounces) of water each day
Log everything I eat
Healthy breakfast, lunch & dinner
More fruits & vegetables
Less fatty & sweet foods

Hope your October is off to a healthy start. Next week I'll share about the Healthy Living Notebook I have to store exercise how-tos, ideas, inspiration, and motivation.


  1. Melissa - these are great goals! And i'm setting up something similar, although what I am able to do right now is being somewhat sidelined by physical limitations. I just discovered "My Fitness Pal" which has a great online logging system for both tracking food (calories, carbs, protein, fat, etc.) and for tracking your exercise routine. So far I like it. Have you tried this or anything similar?

  2. You go, girl! I admire your dedication. Please keep posting about this topic, I need the inspiration.


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