House milestones and the question of the day

by Kim on October 8, 2013

Check this out, people…

20131008_105030

Don’t focus on what you’re seeing, but what you’re NOT seeing.

Our house has officially gone GATELESS! Mason’s been going up and down stairs for awhile, but he’s finally proven that he can be completely trusted around open staircases. Hallelujah!

I know this sounds like an incredibly trivial thing to blog about, but trust me, it’s a big deal. Our house suddenly feels so open and clean without those clunky, ugly gates, and the staircases feel SO WIDE.

In other house-related milestones, it’s been 18 months since we first introduced The King of Spit-Up into our home, and I’ve finally figured out how to clean the stains out of our poor couch.

20131008_114746

It’s microfiber, and we used to scrub it with carpet cleaner like crazy after Mason would spit up…

Turns out: microfiber and water do NOT get along.

I contacted a few upholstery cleaning companies, and they were all super noncommittal about being able to get the resulting water stains out, so I’d thought it was a lost cause. I was so embarrassed anytime anyone would come over and sit on the couch, to the point where I was seriously on the verge of trashing it. Then, on a whim, I hopped on Google (which I should have done LONG ago)—and low and behold, there’s a simple, genius fix.

What you do: saturate the area with baby wipes, then use a blow drier to quick-dry the area while simultaneously scrubbing it with a dry cloth.

BOOM! It’s a miracle! Our couch looks brand new(ish). And my husband can now stop sweating about the idea of buying a new couch.

Ok, now that I’ve gotten those thrilling updates off my chest, I have a question to throw out there. Let’s call it the…

question

(Any excuse to play around on PicMonkey…)

Here’s the question:

What kind of strength training makes you look the best?

I know that sounds silly, but let me explain where I’m coming from on this.

I’m studying to become an NASM-certified personal trainer, and NASM—unsurprisingly—is big on working out for sports-related reasons. (It is the National Academy of SPORTS Medicine, after all.)

So their program is designed around goals like strength, endurance, and power. All great goals, but what do I do when someone inevitably says (as I would say): “I just want to look and feel better.” They don’t necessarily care how much they can lift, how long they can hold it up, or how quickly they can react to a ball being thrown at them—the just want to lose fat, build muscle, and have the energy and ability to get through their typical day-to-day tasks.

Generally speaking, I know how to do that. But NASM’s templates require you to pick from their sports-focused goal set. The resulting workouts look very different depending on which route you choose. Hmm…

Training for strength usually involves lower reps and higher weights, while training for endurance involves higher reps and lower weights. Our muscles will react and learn from exactly what they’re exposed to, and that’s pretty much it. So if you focus on training for strength, you will gain strength, but not much endurance. If you focus on endurance, you will gain endurance, but not much strength.

I guess I should add that I’m specifically thinking about women here. My husband, Brent, lifts for strength, but doesn’t really care much about endurance. He could probably bench press my body, while I’m holding Mason and a couple gallons of paint, but he’d be toast on that tree pose arm series I showed you yesterday. I feel like that’s pretty typical for a lot of men. (Case in point.) Meanwhile, I’m pretty into endurance training, but haven’t tried to actually max out on a bench press since high school (and don’t have any plans to).

(PS: It’s not that I shy away from heavy weights—I know they won’t make me bulky and manish. I just enjoy body weight training.)

So I guess my slightly expanded question is: If strength and endurance training are so different, and lead to different muscles, which look better on women? If all you care about is looking good (I mean, let’s just be real for a second) and being effective in your day-to-day activities (like carrying groceries and kids), which gets you the best results?

Does anyone have any insight on this?

My Googlings thus far have not been very helpful.

Hope you’re having a great Tuesday!

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

char eats greens October 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I gotta try that couch thing out because ours is microfibre too. Your room is much more nicely decorated than mine, but I’m over the fact that our house looks like we JUST moved in haha. Aaaand, as you exit the gate stage, we will just be entering it. We have it sitting in our garage, to be nailed to the stairs any time now!
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Kim October 9, 2013 at 9:51 pm

I hope the couch trick works for you!! I think it’s magic.

Sighhh…I’m truly sorry about the gate stage. We all have to endure it. :) Hopefully Nia will fly through it! I recommend lots of practicing going down stairs…I didn’t really make a point of teaching Mase that until pretty recently, and wish I’d done it sooner! I just thought he’d somehow magically learn it on his own when he was ready? Um no. :)

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brooke lyn October 9, 2013 at 1:42 pm

currently training for my NASM cert as well and totally know what you’re getting about when it comes to how to set up workouts in a non-sports setting. for me i have found what works best is a lot of stability / body weight exercises (lunges, burpees, push-ups, etc)
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Kim October 9, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Yes! It’s weird, right? I think the solution is probably just to switch between strength and endurance regularly. But I feel like they’re not very clear about that.

To be honest, I feel like the book is generally lacking in real-world-application info. I’m going to have to write a review of NASM when I’m done–I have lots of thoughts. :) :)

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Jenny October 9, 2013 at 1:23 pm

PS – ROCK ON, Mase! You’re a walkin’ rock star! ;)

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Kim October 9, 2013 at 9:56 pm

“Thanks Jenny!” – Mase

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Jenny October 9, 2013 at 1:22 pm

In my years of research and personal experience with weight training, I’ve found a mix of both to yield the best results. This is primarily because you need to switch up your training to keep encouraging muscle growth (some call this “muscle confusion”). Otherwise, if you keep doing the same weights with the same reps, or even different weights with the same reps, your muscles become so used to the repetition that they stop changing (you can only tear the same tiny fibers for so long).

Different people and methods have their own ways of muscle confusion (CrossFit, as a popular example, switches up the workout and muscles nearly every day), but the point is that after roughtly 4-6 weeks, you should change what you’re doing to encourage the best results. For example, I like to do high rep/light full-body weight workouts for a month or two (like BodyPump), and then switch to low rep/high weight workouts that alternate body parts on different days (like P90X) for the next few months. This keeps my muscles guessing so that I stayed toned (and feminine) without going overboard on the strength or endurance side.

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Kim October 9, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Great points!! Makes perfect sense. That’s why I love live classes, because they do the mixing-up for me. :) I really need to get a membership somewhere again…thinking about Dragonfly!

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Julie October 9, 2013 at 10:21 am

I have no idea what the answer is, but will you blog about it when you find out? I’d love to know!

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Kim October 9, 2013 at 11:36 am

I seriously cannot find the answer to this! Maybe I’ll have to do some trials. :) But yes, if I ever figure it out, I’ll definitely share!

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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries October 8, 2013 at 5:53 pm

I want to give you a huge hug for finding that on Google… I’m going to try that soon because I can’t even tell you how much spit up, breastmilk, and pee have gone on our microfiber couch. I try to scrub it, but then it looks terrible.

HIIT and moderately heavy weights with 12-15 reps (2-3 sets) are best for looks (in my opinion and research)!
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Kim October 9, 2013 at 11:41 am

YES! The couch trick will change your life! If the baby wipes aren’t good enough, you can douse the area with a little alcohol instead. I had to do that with some of the more stubborn spots. You’ll have to let me know how it works!

Thanks for your help on my question!!! Would you say you’d still lift to muscle failure then, just with moderate weights and slightly more reps?

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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries October 9, 2013 at 5:54 pm

I would choose a weight that results in muscle failure after doing 12-15 reps. :)
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Kim October 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Hooray to not needing a gate anymore!!!
I have changed a lot the way I strength train. I used to be one of those people (women) who always went light with the weights. Now, even though I often do pretty high reps, I try to really push myself to lift heavier – it has worked for me.
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Kim October 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm

For some reason, I like that achy feeling you get from doing high reps of little tiny movements with light weights. And I feel like I’m able to target more random little muscles that way, vs. focusing on the big power muscles. But I agree that heavy lifting should be in the mix! I think part of my problem, too, is that I don’t have a membership to a gym right now…

I’m sure the answer to my question is probably “some of everything.” :) A nice, moderate mix of things seems to be the best solution in almost all scenarios, isn’t it?

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Katie @ running4cupcakes October 8, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Woo hoo!! Congrats on getting rid of the gate. I totally understand how exciting that it! And I am looking forward to doing the same thing too. . . In terms of your question of the day, I think bodypump is the best thing for looking good as well as giving me the energy and strength I need to do daily things. Which is why I love it so much!!
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Kim October 9, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I’ve seriously been dreaming of the day we’d go gateless for a LONG time. It’s so awesome, not having to step over those dang things or explain to visitors how to work them! :) I think we could have done it sooner, actually, but it took me awhile to convince Brent that it was safe. :)

Would you consider BodyPump more strength or endurance? I haven’t taken a class for awhile, but I remember a LOOOT of reps (way more than the average 10-15), which would suggest endurance, but then you DO use moderately heavy weights…

Maybe it’s the perfect mix! And very close to what Ashley suggested in her comment.

Thanks for your input! I feel like I’m getting somewhere on this… :)

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Katie @ running4cupcakes October 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I think BODYPUMP is so awesome because it is a mix of strength and endurance with so many reps with weights!!

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Marissa @ Where I Need to Be October 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Ohhhh, I actually think about this a lot. I’m the same as you. I want to be strong but I also want definition. In my opinion and experience (I’m not a PT), it’s important to do both along with HIIT to burn fat. I really respect all the Cross Fitters out there, but I think too much of that kind of training looks a little bulky. I found that barre-like workouts give me the definition I like so I like to mix my workouts up. Sometimes lift heavy and other times do more endurance type training. Seems to work!

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Kim October 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Yes! I LOVE barre. And I’d love to say that’s the best road to nice definition (endurance training, that is), but I can’t find any evidence to back it up. I’m sure you’re right that a mix is the best way to go!

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Marissa @ Where I Need to Be October 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I think it always depends on the person and of course in my opinion diet plays a huge role too!

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Kim October 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Definitely, great points! Maybe I’ll have to do a trial someday–a month of each method–and compare my “after” pics. :)

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