Every Monday, my best friend Jill and I attend a 7pm Body Pump class at the gym. Once in a while she misses it and I go it alone, and once in a while I’m so caught up in reading The Hunger Games trilogy I lose all track of time and miss it and end up doing my cross-training boring and alone on the elliptical at like 9pm still racing with arena-like adrenaline.

Ahem.

Point is, mainly we go together. Jill is big into spin, while my drug of choice is of course running. But both of us like to tone up and strength train, and it’s become our weekly habit to go to the gym together on Mondays and Fridays.

We’ve been in this habit for a few months now, and it’s something I look forward to all week round. It makes Mondays actually bearable. More than the workout or class itself is the ability to commiserate with each other when a certain track (usually squats or push-ups, oh lawdy) is killing us. Or to giggle to each other over our favorite quirks about different instructors.

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Adding weights on Monday

Last Thursday I also went to Body Pump, because it was too icy to run so I switched around my cross-training day. I didn’t feel like I really pushed my body enough. When I first started taking this class, the bar alone felt like a workout. When I added weight, I felt like the Walking Dead for the next week. It took a month of going regularly to finally stop feeling sore after two or three days instead of most of the week. Now, at the weight level I’ve been at for a couple of months, it feels like a cop-out.

So this past Monday, I inched it up a little.

Squats were killer, in a good way. I’m still working on making sure all my weight is in my heels and remembering to always engage my core and glutes, but I could feel the muscles in my legs working hard and I feel it today, two days later. The awesome kind of sore. I was a little ambitious on bicep curls – I had to go back down a little to get through the track after halfway through noticing I was using my back to hoist the bar up – not good. But my shoulders, back, chest, triceps – all felt properly ass-kicked without any injury-type pain.

I’ve noticed a little bit of difference in the toning of my body since starting Body Pump – but only a little. Mainly in my shoulders and biceps I see less extra fat and the beginning of curves of muscle. If I really wanted to get super toned, I’d have to go more than once a week and do other kinds of weight training too – heavier weights with fewer reps for example.

But I WILL say that since beginning strength-training through this class, I am hardly ever terribly sore after a run. A little sore, sure. In need of a good foot massage, sure. But I’ve never had to tape anything, never pulled a muscle, never felt tweaky (except for the time I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk during a run and my ankle wasn’t too happy). Knock on wood, of course, but before strength-training my whole body would be achy after a run. And I’m not a fast runner. I just had zero muscle built up to support my joints.

For me Monday Body Pump is less about getting shredded and ripped, and more about taking care of my runner’s body and sharing a high energy endorphin-crazy workout with a best friend. I highly recommend finding a similar way to boost your Monday’s.

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