so I had my first new “alpha phase” gym session yesterday at it was absolutely amazing. I started off with a 5minute warm up on the cycle, but instead of leisurely moving my legs at level 1 without breaking a sweat, I decided to push myself and went for level 6 cycling between 70-80 rpm. By 3minutes I was wanting to stop, and starting to pespire, but I knew I had to keep going up to 5minutes.
With my muscles nicely lubricated, I hit the mats for a thorough stretching routine. Working on my arms and legs I took time to stretch the muscles to get the ready for what was next. A very fine man (my husband) came and did a Louis Spence star jumps stretch down to the floor right in front of me, which made me laugh so hard that I’m pretty sure a lot of gymmers were looking at us slightly weird…
on to the Machines. I’ve always looked at the gun metal grey machines with terror, as if at night when everyone is snuggled up in bed, these machines are released like Transformers onto the streets, terrorising dreams. They look so mechanic and cold, and most of my limited fitness life has been spent trying to avoid these things – believing they are just for try hard guys and authentic bodybuilders.
i was surprised to see quite a few of the machines outlined in my alpha phase are available in the ladies only section, and not just that, I had to wait to use them as ladies were already on it! i started off with the leg press, which essentially is a “squat” sideways. I started with 50kg, which seemed like complete madness, but I listened to my OH and went for it anyway. Considering a normal human squat takes on your whole body weight (and I weigh much more then 50kg) I thought I should at least try. It was hard but surprisingly enjoyable, as your mind forgets about everything and everyone around you and you focus on getting a good form, a good range of movement and not “letting the weight drop”.
I then went on to the seated leg curls and leg extension machines. This was by far the hardest of all the lower body workouts, as the lactic acid builds quickly in the legs begging for you to stop. I chose 20kg on leg extensions, and 22.5kg for the leg curls – with 3 sets of 10 reps.
Please bear in mind that the weights used will differ for each individual depending on their weight, height, level of fitness and ability. A general rule of thumb I was taught is that if you can reach 12 reps without even sweating it, then you are using a weight that is too light, and if you are struggling to lift 3 let alone 12 reps – then it is too heavy. Start low and go slow, is another good mantra to keep in mind.
The last set of leg exercises I did were on the leg adductor and abductor machines. I find these machines hilarious, because it always feels slightly odd opening your legs wide and closing them in a room full of people. These workouts work your inner thighs, as well as your butt and thighs so a great firmer and toner. I used 25kg weight on the adductor (pushing your legs in) and 30kg on the abductor (pushing your legs out)
Following this I seemed to be bursting with energy and found myself without blinking onto the treadmill for a quick Cardio fix before my upper body work out. When I was training for my 5k I could barely do 5.5mph walking at gradient 1% . I found myself doing gradient level 5% (YES 5%!!!) walking at 6mph !!! i felt so alive power walking up a steep hill – I realised my OH was right that doing the leg exercises really gives you extra power and strength in comparison to running cold.
My upper body work out was harder the I anticipated. I thought just holding some dumb bells in my hands would be simple, but it wasn’t. I did the whole work out sitting on a swiss ball which was great because I engaged my core. i used 4kg weights to do tricep dips, and shoulder presses. I had to go down to 3kg weights to do the lateral (side) raises. I ended the upper body workout with the seated bench chest press. The reason i moved from the ball is that I felt my neck/head was not well supported on the ball, and I must have been doing it wrong – thus went for the bench which was a lot more comfortable. For my arm workouts I did 3 sets of 12 reps, but because it was pretty tired and I had to leave soon (can you believe our 2hour parking limit was running out!!!) i did only 2sets each.
I finished off my work out just squatting and sitting on the power plate machine, which is this severely vibrating plate that goes through your whole body, and really relaxes all the muscles in 30seconds. Celebs swear by it that it does what you can do in a hours workout in 10minutes – for me I like to just relax on it for fun.
i thoroughly enjoyed it and I can’t wait to go again to the gym – and I’m still in awe that I managed to spend two hours in a gym when usually after 20minutes I’m completely bored. Today I’m aching but in a good way and I’m looking forward to my aqua/swimming tonight. It has made me realise that what i was doing before when I was “working out” wasn’t correct – and no wonder I became dissatisfied because either I wasn’t doing the right things or i was doing the right things in the wrong way. Either way I feel better about my fitness now then I have for a very long time, and I aim to keep going with it – mixing it up with Cardio (learning to run 5k and Zumba classes)