But I came across article after article, like this one, touting the benefits of strength training for people with RA and my doctor continued to emphasize that strength training would strengthen my joints which would protect them from further damage from this disease. When your decision about whether or not to strength train becomes a question of your long term health, it became pretty obvious that I needed to find a way to incorporate it on a regular basis.
In early April of 2014, the nagging joint pain in my elbow, wrists and fingers began to subside so I started off by going to classes at the YMCA, such as Body Pump, which is one of my all-time favorite strength training classes. After moving to Minneapolis in May, I decided I couldn't justify the cost of a gym membership since my condo building has a great gym so I decided to try Bobbi McCormick's summer shred program. I loved her program so much that I ended up doing 3 different shred programs. I now have a lot of different workouts to choose from each week. One of my organizational projects for the year involved printing off all of the workouts and arranging them by the area of the body that they work out (full body, lower body, upper body) and I have a special section for Tabata workouts. I've also wrote down or printed out a lot of workouts from Peanut Butter Runner's blog and included them in this binder. She has a page full of great workouts.
In the last year, I've learned that I need to go into the gym with a plan. I need to know exactly what I am going to do and the sequence of the moves I will do. I've also learned that I prefer workouts that combine strength training with short bursts of cardio. I like workouts that are broken up by 30-60 second high intensity cardio, like mountain climbers, burpees, or high knees, for example. Lastly, I've learned that I need an accountability partner. My accountability partner, Amber, lives over 1,500 miles away but we keep each other motivated by texting/instant messaging about what we are planning to do and if I am planning to get up before work to workout, I usually tell her as then I am less apt to change my mind when the alarm goes off.
A year later, the results in my muscle tone are probably subtle to others...
|April 6, 2014|
|April 6, 2015|
but they're noticeable to me. I feel more fit, my clothes fit better, I run faster, and most importantly, I can say that I'm managing my RA - it's not managing me.
Do you consistently strength train? If you do, where do you get most of your workouts?