Stealing ideas from the gym

Wow the heavens have opened up in a big way in the South Coast of England. It’s absolutely tipping it down this morning!

I might have mentioned a few times I’ve been going to the gym a lot rather than running these days. I’m really enjoying it. I don’t tend to slog out numerous minutes on the cardio machines though as I just find this soul destroying. Plus my aim at the gym is not to just focus on cardio but rather strengthen my entire body (arms I’m looking at you) to hopefully reduce any injury chances later on when I get back into running and also to make my body strong and healthy. My body has just been running a lot for so long now and it’s not a great way to get an overall level of strength. Oh sure I could easily run 10 miles or a half marathon no problem but when it came to anything else, it was weak. Since going to the gym I’ve had muscles aching that I never knew I had!

IMG_8958Instead of doing cardio machines I do lots of classes. For example, this is my week:

Monday: Body Blast (a crazy session of HIIT and then a round of several weight moves, like overhead presses and weighted squats, etc., repeated) and Power Core (focusing on strengthening the entire core).

Tuesday: Pump (weights class) and Step (I worked up a sweat but honestly this is not for me. It was laughable how uncoordinated I was and how I was about 5 steps behind everyone else).

Wednesday: yoga

Thursday: an hour session in the gym doing my own thing (more on that below).

Friday: either Spin or the same as Thursday followed by a Tone class (using weights to ‘tone’ your muscles…I loathe the word tone but it is a good class).

Saturday: Spin

Sunday: Spin and Legs, Bums and Tums

Classes are great as you never know what to expect (so can’t dread them). It’s always very varied and you get motivated by the instructor and others around you. However it’s annoying that the only classes in the week I can make are in the evening. This means going to the gym straight from work and not getting back until late, meaning my evening’s are so much shorter.

And because it’s January, the evenings at the gym are PACKED.

IMG_8963The gym I go to is massive so it’s not really a problem but it means that the classes are full of lots of newbies who need lots of demonstrations and explaining. Totally fair enough but this does eat into the class time. I like to get to the gym, do my thing and get the hell out. No time is wasted. I hate to stand around…and not to mention hearing some of the people bitch and moan like they’re at school is just irritating. You’re PAYING for this so get on with it!

So I’ve been stealing ideas from the classes to make my own routines so I can do them whenever I want (which in the week means getting to the gym for 5.30am and getting out by 6.30am – perfect). OK I don’t get the motivational aspect but I’m quite a focused person and if I’ve gone to the gym I damn well will work hard to make it worthwhile. I’m not a social gym goer: I’m not there to make friends.

I always wear my Polar heart rate monitor at the gym as, like with running, I’m a stats geek and like to see numbers. I like to see how hard I’m working and if I’m pushing myself too much or too little.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few of my routines:

Routine A:

Repeat 3 times: Make it harder:
2mins cardio at 100% effort  
40 mountain climbers Use stability ball
30 squats Add weights
20 bridge lifts (per leg) Raise one leg
10 press ups Full press up
5 burpees  

This routine took about 25 minutes which was perfect. I tried not to stop between exercises. It kept me motivated and entertained because nothing went on for too long to make me bored.

Routine B:

Repeat 3 times: Make it harder:
2mins cardio at 100% effort  
1 minute wall sit 2 minutes
30 Russian twists Add heavier weight
20 bent over rows Add heavier weight
10 cleans Add heavier weight
5 burpees  

Basically I’ve been stealing moves from the classes and then trying to create routines that are varied and hard enough to get my muscles aching and my heart racing. You get a good blast of cardio from the HIIT cardio and a good blast on the muscles with the strength moves.

I then add 30 minutes of focused running strength work:

Single leg deadlifts 12 x4 (per leg)
Single leg squats 12 x4 (per leg)
Decline single leg squats 12 x4 (per leg)
Hot salsa 3-4 minutes
Side plank on bosu ball with high knee leg raise 12 x3 (per leg)

**A lot of these moves can be found as videos on the Kinetic Revolution website HERE (anything Mo Farah or Galen Rupp do I am fully on board with!!).**

IMG_8969I did Routine A and the running strength routine this morning (though I missed out the single leg deadlifts) and it took around 50 minutes and I was shocked to find I burnt more calories than a 45 minute spin session! Calories aren’t everything I know but it was an interesting comparison nonetheless. I really enjoyed the workout (unlike Spin) and it zoomed by. I got to work on all the areas of my body I wanted to and got my HR up. And no moaning people or hanging about!

This is probably old hat to lots of you experienced gym goers but to me this is like seeing the light. I’ll still continue with going to the classes (especially at the weekend – there’s no way in hell I could do my routines when it’s absolutely heaving) but certain evening classes I’ll drop in favour of doing my own thing super early. I love that I can switch and change the moves, make it harder, shorter, longer, whatever! And focus on the areas I want to work on rather than what the instructor wants to do.

Basically, I’m a happy annoying gym bunny!

What classes do you enjoy at the gym?

What are some of your favourite strength-focused moves?

Why do you mainly focus on at the gym: strength or cardio, or a balance of both?

25 Replies to “Stealing ideas from the gym”

  1. I haven’t been back to the gym at all this year, I’m waiting for the January madness to die down to be honest. My gym has also changed it’s opening hours so I can’t go before work like I used to. I mainly use the weights and do some strength training when I go, I might use the bike very occasionally but I mainly stick to running as my cardio and use the gym for strength training.
    Helen recently posted…Marathon training – week 3My Profile

  2. Wow that’s a lot of working out! Good for you! I love the gym:-) been incorporating weights into my sessions for the first time in a long time – cue muscley shoulders

  3. Well, where do I start with gym classes? Basically the only ones I won’t do at my gym are pilates and yoga (the styles of the teachers really don’t gel with me), Boxacise (you have to work with a partner and I can’t cope with that) and Zumba (does this really need an explanation?) So Body Pump, Attack, Combat and occasionally balance, plus spin/RPM and Metafit are all loves of mine for different reasons. I suppose it’s mostly cardio with a bit of strength, but I go to Pump most frequently so it balances out. We don’t get anyone moaning really…sometimes people talking even while the coaches are instructing, which is rude and annoying. I think the great thing about Les Mills classes is that they require little to no preamble and explanation: you pick up the choreography as you go along and demos are included in the total class time, so we never lose out when there are new people.

    Single leg work is invaluable to me. I have so many muscle imbalances to work out it’s not even funny, so I make sure to isolate each side of my body in the gym as well as working both sides during classes.
    Jess recently posted…Does Running Wreck Your Hamstrings?My Profile

    1. You’re like a gym guru! 🙂
      Scarily my friend at work is trying to get me to join her with Zumba but after my Step experience I’m not sure that’s wise. I’m pretty sure it’s so she can laugh at me (in a non-nasty way). I’ll be at the back with absolutely no rhythm going the wrong way!
      I think that’s one of the great things about Les Mills is that once you’ve been shown that routine you just get on and do it. Whereas all my classes there’s the preamble and demonstrations…
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Being ill sucks and {giveaway winners}My Profile

  4. I went to pump last night and it was jam packed – they ran out of steps (people who are members are meant to book on, but as the classes are free a lot of them just turn up)- the class is meant to finish at 8.10 but it finished at 8.30 as it takes so long for the instructor to explain the moves, and for more people to get in and out of the storage cupboard. Luckily there is no class after us!
    I love the Kinetic revolution stuff, although I didn’t quite make it to the end (Ofsted came and then I got ill)- but I wasn’t liking the last week so much. I think I need to repeat the first two weeks on rotation on my non-workout days as I know they are really good, I am just so bad at working out at home as there is always something I see that needs doing.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…teapigs matcha challenge week 1My Profile

  5. Sounds like you are really enjoying it. I haven’t been a member of a gym for about 18 months now, and although I miss some things like access to a squat rack, stationary bike, I don’t miss it that much. I have a decent amount of gear for at home workouts, and the program I follow The fat burn revolution is designed to be done at home. I currently do one circuits workout a week, along with 3 weights sessions (2 upper body and 1 lower body and some core stuff) and I get a ridiculous sweat on and don’t find it hard to motivate myself at home at all. How do you manage 3 spinning sessions on consecutive days? I think the most I could do is 2, my legs just feel battered after that and the next workout is usually a poor one!
    Lauren (@poweredbypb) recently posted…Advent Running, Marcothon and Run StreakingMy Profile

    1. I have stuff at home but there’s something about being in a gym, having the big mirror there as well to watch my form and just get into the zone. At home I really struggle to get it done without procrastinating.
      Usually the second Spin class is very tough and I let myself go a bit easier. Strangely the best on of the three is usually the last one as I always think to myself “ages until the next session”.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Rants and Raves #6My Profile

    1. Haha Crossfit isn’t lazy! Usually I would rather go running too but I’m actually really enjoying it. I’m probably spending the same amount of time I would be if I was running but I feel like I’m really working on everything rather than just how specific running works my body.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Rants and Raves #6My Profile

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