It took me some time to learn enough about weight training to make intelligent decisions about how to train myself. Here’s my history with weight training:
- Learning to lift and building basic strength/developing “normal” strength in my arm and wrist. Used machines + some free weights. Cardio consisted of treadmill running and/or walking. This phase lasted until around April, 2007.
- The body building phase – using mostly free weights, doing a 5-day body part split, using both compound and isolation exercises. Cardio was kick boxing classes or treadmill. Later I learned about high intensity interval training. This phase ended in September, 2008.
- New Rules of Lifting for Women – Following the 7 stages exactly as presented in the book by Schuler, Forsythe and Cosgrove. I completed this program in March, 2009. I am very proud of this achievement, as I learned so much about lifting, and I saw so much improvement in myself with this program. For the first time in my life, I was able to do a chin up after following the progression outlined in the book. All that WITH a shabby wrist! My cardio training was high intensity interval training performed after weight training 3x per week. On off days, I walked on the treadmill using a significant incline or used the Stairmill.
While I was following the program in New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROL4W) I became interested in kettlebell training, and made the decision to begin training with kettlebells after completing the New Rules program. Kettlebell training began in March, 2009.
Growing up I was always the last one picked for teams. I never played sports because of the potential embarrassment I would suffer being relatively slow, weak and uncoordinated. As time went on, I figured out ways to avoid PE classes. I was never overweight, but I was the furthest thing from an athlete.
After the accident and the physical therapy that followed I started doing something I’d never done before – strength training. I had never lifted weights, but a weakish and painful wrist gave me a reason to consider it. I was so intimidated by the weight room at first. Hesitantly, I began as a “medical referral” and worked with a trainer.
To my surprise, I felt a passion for lifting almost immediately. I loved the feeling of moving iron, and even better than that, I loved moving more iron the next week. I became addicted to seeing strength gains. I craved lifting a heavy barbell off the ground and pushing a heavy weight overhead. Whatever I had written off in the past as something I could never do — became my goal. Whatever label (“last picked”) or limitation that had been put on me as a result of my injury became fuel to the fire I now felt for building strength. I was becoming something I never dreamed I could be – an athlete.