Ladies Who Lift

I know there are a lot of ladies out there who are afraid to lift – not only heavy, but at all.  I’ve spoken on the topic before, but I do always like to remind. . .

I know many strong women – athletic, workhorse types, who aren’t afraid to get on the mat, crush, and sweat it out.  It isn’t for everyone at all, nor does it have to be.  Some of them are tough chicks, make no mistake…  But there are a lot of us women.  We love being active, but we also LOVE being women.  

While we aren’t necessarily “girly girl” or frilly, there is never ANY question that we are feminine – in look, attitude, or anything else.  We aren’t lumbering oafs, and we do dress up nicely! 😉

I took this photo the other day while working on my “guns” (biceps! 🙂 ) I love feeling physically strong, and pushing myself to the limit… But I ALSO love that I can sport my sparkles – to the gym, the dojo, and on the mats and BJJ.  

IMG_4151

So the point is…

Strong IS beautiful. . .

You don’t have to sacrifice your femininity by any stretch, or worry that others perceive you that way.

And. . .it is TOTALLY okay to don pastel pink nails and kill it on the leg press!

For more of my Fit Jazz

 

Leg Day Changes

I LOVE leg day(s) – they are definitely the most exhausting workouts of the week, but…I love them.  

I know perfectly well that “no pain, no gain” doesn’t completely hold water but…I’m “one of those”! I like to feel the soreness because it indicates I’ve actually done something worthwhile.  (Zero soreness?  Sorry, I didn’t put the effort in!)

IMG_2638

I generally do HIIT sprints on the treadmill the same mornings I have leg workouts – it is a lot, but I balance it out with days of active rest, or Martial Arts training and less stressful lifting.

My routine can vary but I do have a few favorite “staples” like squats, deadlifts, and leg press – I mix it up so I have both “heavy hitter” exercises, with less heavy-duty supplemental ones.  I also generally add abs in there at the end…

IMG_2641

The other day, though, our Smith Machine broke… It’s funny because I know a lot of fitness gurus who might well have gone to pieces! Can’t do a staple you are used to doing, and suddenly the world ends!  (Do you know the type?!)

Well…it SHOULDN’T.  Changing things up, even if we are forced while the equipment is down, isn’t a bad thing…  (I don’t do free bar squats because I have one reconstructed knee, and one missing an ACL – the Smith offers a security my physiology does well with!)

So my regular squats were out, as were my single leg lunges on the Smith.  End all be all?  

NOPE!

IMG_2640

I supplemented the workout with Goblet Squats (using a kettlebell), extra dumbbell curtsey lunges, and weighted walking lunges (love these!)

IMG_2637

It was a nice change because sometimes by the time I’m done with cardio, I just want to plow through my “regulars.”  The forced change offered me the opportunity to jump to a few other exercises, equally as effective, that kept my body guessing.  

So if change indeed DOES occur, especially the unexpected kind…just embrace it and do something you haven’t done in a while.  Your body will actually appreciate the alteration and give you some lovely gains in return! 🙂 

 

 

Leg Day Splits

I try to split up my leg workouts these days, not because I can’t finish a workout focusing on quads and hams together…but more so because I am FAR too sore when I do both in the same day!  The ramifications of that are not only discomfort on a higher scale, but the inability to train as well in the Dojo / Dojang / on the mats.

Glute recruitment happens either way, but some of the heftiest quadricep dominant and hamstring dominant are relegated to two separate days...meaning I split up the squats and leg press from the deadlifts and single leg deadlifts.

IMG_1501

Now obviously, I’m using those muscles in all of the lower body exercises, but I have found that doing all of them in one day can be too much of a good thing, and I get better results when I am not totally decimated…

LEG DAY 1

  1. Deadlifts – 4 to 5 sets of 10 to 16 (depends on weight)
  2. Single Led Deadlifts – 3 sets of 12 with 45 lb dumbbell
  3. Hip Thrusts – 3 sets of 16 with 80 or 90 lbs (varied foot placement)
  4. Leg Curl – 3 to 5 sets (weight depends on machine)
  5. Straight Leg Cable Kickbacks – 3 drop sets using heavier weight, 3 sets lighter weight
  6. Abs

LEG DAY 2

  1. Smith Machine Squats – 5 sets (varied weight and foot placement. I don’t go heavy here.)
  2. Walking Lunges or Step-Back Lunges – 6 sets, or equal to about 120 lunges, including both sides
  3. Leg Press – MAJOR Drop sets (3 sets with 10 45 plates, 3 sets with 8 45s, 3 sets with 6 45s, 3 sets with 4 45s, 3 sets of single leg presses with 2 45s.)  Nasty.  *LOL*
  4. Sumo Squats – 3 sets of 12 with 65 lb dumbbell
  5. Bent Knee Cable Kickbacks – 3 sets only if I’m not too sore!
  6. Leg Extension – 3 sets at 90 lbs, not too heavy
  7. Abs

IMG_1503

Basically at the end of the week it’s hard to walk! 😉  I LOVE lifting heavy, but I’ve also learned that sometimes I have to go easier, especially these days – because I do Martial Arts, flexibility is MASSIVELY important.  

I need to be mindful and stretch, as well as foam roll (I need to be better about that) – heavy lifting WILL impede your flexibility, like it or not.  Can you have both?  Absolutely!  But the reality is that you will be more limber when you don’t destroy your legs, so either going a little easier…or really making that time to stretch out…will make a difference – your goals will determine what works best!

IMG_1502

 

Leg Day

I love leg day…  It takes it out of me, but…I love it.  I was going into it tired today, but I wasn’t about to forgo the routine – I knew I needed it, and I’d be happier if I pushed through.

Leg day is actually the only workout day(s) during which I feel sick. My gym rat buddies would say that’s a good thing…it means I’m “working.”  *LOL*  How very old school.  (And how funny that I’m saying the same thing in my mind! *LOL*)

IMG_7791

I’ve actually split up quads and hammies these days, in part because of time constraints (I can be at the gym for HOURS if left to my own devices!), but also because I need to maintain some level of flexibility and I want to recover better.  

When I would do everything on one day, I was sore for daaaays.  I’m still sore after splitting it up, but recovery is more manageable, so for right now I’m sticking with it.  I do glutes both days, but vary the exercises (except cable kickbacks – I bring my own ankle strap and tend to do those regardless – yay for perkiness! 😉 ) 

The tougher quad exercises I do first – everyone is different, but this works for me physically AND mentally (the latter is important!) So leg press, squats, and weighted walking lunges go first in the group!  It gives me both a sense of accomplishment, as well as a “phew, that’s done!” feeling…and I have more energy to push hard, having not exhausted myself prior.

IMG_7789

I can’t say it was my most stellar day, but I maintained my form and got it done.  

Some days we are stronger than others, and there is nothing wrong with that.  So even if it is leg day…and that happens to be your toughest too…just hang in.  

You don’t have to be a superhero every time you step foot in the gym – safety and health are first!  You will feel great even if you manage some of it because…well…endorphins!  🙂  They come to the rescue the second you start jamming, so don’t give up!  

Catwoman for a Cat Woman

As I established early on…I LOVE my Converse All Star Chuck Taylors.  I can’t be bothered with regular sneakers unless I am on a treadmill doing HIIT sprints (then, preference be damned, I will wear “appropriately supportive” footwear.)  I *should* wear them when I lift but Chucks really are my default.

I recently got a pair of limited edition Batman Catwoman Chucks…and of course, they are TOTALLY rad.  I’ve seen a ton of versions out there and those got harder to find also, but I wasn’t as into the prints.  This print is new and I absolutely adore it.  I don’t wear a lot of blues, but I dig the royal cobalt on these.

Leg pressin'!

Leg pressin’!

The logo patch is clear with white stitching – ode to the elusive kitty? I like to think so! 😉

On the inside (and actually, she could be partially introvert, but I mean the shoe!)…she’s glammed out in her cherry red lipstick, sporting the red-lensed Catwoman goggles (naturally!), and she’s flanked by a bunch of halftone city buildings, #butofcourse.

IMG_5625

The outside features the feline in her nearly-painted-on black suit, tangled in her thievery cords, and jovially elating over her newest heist – a massive (once again, naturally!) red ruby by the looks of it.  I wouldn’t mind if she brought that over here…so I could have it fixed onto a setting for my hand! ❤

IMG_5626

These actually came with some extra hot pink laces but…I’m not as much a pink lady, so I’m sticking with white (which goes with the side wall and toe caps.)  The tongue does have pink but I think it works.  Red would have been ideal but they’ll still work for sneaking about and stealing jewels…

Oh wait…did I say that?!

😉