If you follow my journey to IronMan Florida you know I am incapable of doing strength training; at least not on my own. I swim, bike and run like a crazy lady but getting to a gym and lifting up a dumb bell is a different story.
In addition to just helping you look better, strength training helps prevent injuries as strong muscles are better able to support your joints. It also helps with your form; for example when you run, a stronger core helps you run taller leading to a greater endurance and even faster speed. In other words, you really are not doing yourself any favors by skipping out on the gym.
So you can imagine how grateful I am to have Fitness Together Miami as my newest sponsor, and I have trained there twice a week for the last three weeks.
Great, so we all know strength training does the body good. What makes Fitness Together special?
Fitness Together is not a gym, it’s more like a studio and there is only one client and one trainer at a time. Yes, you read it right: it’s you, your trainer, and no one else. For someone like me who feels very self-conscious at an LA Fitness type of place, just having the gym to myself is a blessing. My trainer doesn’t talk to other people, I don’t wait for a machine, I don’t look at anyone else, and no one else looks at me. I have forty-five minutes of unrelenting focus.
Individualization is the nature of personal training. In a group setting no one corrects your form, adjusts, or modifies an exercise to make sure you work precisely the right muscles. I used to go to boot camp and I loved it. It was outdoors, and when the workout was over I was spent. I felt I had worked every muscle and was sore for days. Yet my priority was training for triathlons or running, and I found boot camp was too hard. If I did boot camp and ran the next day, my legs were too sore to be useful. They needed rest and I lost a training day.
On more than one occasion I pulled muscles on my back and neck at boot camp. This was not the instructor’s fault; I was using bad form. Since I got so tired, my form would go down the drain, and by the end I was compensating. For example, I would put pressure on my back because my abs were nowhere to be found. Puff. Pulled muscle.
At Fitness Together a very focused trainer corrects and observes my every move. I don’t always work with the same person, and at first this concerned me because I thought I wouldn’t have consistency. I saw a nice file on me with my goals and what I’ve been doing to reach them. Therefore regardless of who I train with, as soon as I walk through the door I am told: “IronMan right? Let’s do upper body and core.”
Yet each trainer takes you towards that goal in their own way, with their own variations and adaptations to traditional exercises. This makes the whole workout more interesting because there is variety. One trainer has me do everything while standing on a stability ball, while another uses the TRX to work on my core and upper body simultaneously. Same goals, different strategies, varied workouts, happy me.
I like the diversity. I’ve worked with both male and female trainers and I’ve trained at both Fitness Together in Coconut Grove and South Miami. The variety keeps things interesting.
My goal is not to bulk up but to build endurance so I use less weight and higher repetitions. I tend to be able to finish the set or at least come close to it. It’s difficult but not so impossible that everything is burning. Afterwards it’s not: “oh my gosh I can’t move I’m so sore.” I can definitely feel my muscles worked but it feels like they worked intelligently.
I remember once I rode my bike after boot camp, I had the hardest time reaching into my back pocket because my arms hurt so much. Now when I ride, I feel my arms have worked, but they feel stronger not abused. The same goes for the run. Last weekend I had the best fourteen-miles to date. I felt like I could hold myself up even at the end, and that made a tremendous difference on my form, on how I felt, and ultimately on my speed.
I still have six weeks of strength training before getting to the start line of IronMan Florida so I know I have enough time to capitalize on my partnership with Fitness Together. But you don’t have to take my word for it. After all, I am sponsored by them and you might think they pay me to say these things. FYI – they don’t.
If you want to try it out for yourself, Fitness Together is giving TriathlonMami readers one free trial session. No risk, no obligation. Just try it out for yourself, and if you decide to purchase a package, these are also being offered at a discounted rate for TriathlonMami readers.
To coordinate your trial session email: email@example.com or call (305) 965-2255 but don’t forget to mention you are a TriathlonMami reader!
If you go, please drop me a line and let me know what you thought.
In the meantime, I am committed to making the most of my own sessions and to show-up November 2 as strong as I possibly can. Strength training has finally made an appearance in my life and it’s here to stay.