My strength training journey

Why strength training?

So, one of my goals this year is to improve my strength.  I have always wondered what kind of body changes I might have if I focused more on strength training than cardio, but my motivations for doing strength training are more than just curiosity this year. Here’s what motivates me to jump out of bed at 6am and hit the gym early in the morning:
– to improve my cardio (stronger arms, stronger swimmer etc.)
– to minimise injury (I have scoliosis and knee surgeries in both knees – keeping my body strong will help protect these areas)
– to see what kind of body changes strength training will bring about, and
– being perfectly honest (!) I would also love to sport a nice 6 pack : )

So, goals are all about taking action so in January I did my research – I considered doing up my own program (I do have a degree in Exercise Science!) but felt with my busy lifestyle that I would need some support.  I found a few online programs that looked interesting but with my challenges (scoliosis and knees), I felt a 1-1 personal trainer would be best.  I made a few enquiries but wasn’t finding the type of trainer I wanted (someone who was particular about correct form and who lived by what they were teaching). By chance I happened upon a recommendation online for someone in Tralee and immediately felt he would be the right person. I made an appointment to meet him and we started training the next week.  What I liked about my trainer (David) was that he was fine with me continuing my cardio, also with my vegan diet (some trainers just don’t get it – the protein=meat thing(!) and he didn’t mind doing sessions at 7am : )

So, I committed to twice a week with David – legs one day and arms another and then I do my own session at the weekend.  I will be posting my monthly progress (blogs, pics and measures here) so stay tuned for updates!


So I started on 11th Feb: here are my starting measures:

Weight: 54kg (normally 51/52 but off season now so bit higher)

Body Fat %: 22% (Tanita body comp scales) (normally 18/19 but again off season : )

Skinfolds: Biceps 3mm;  Tricep 9mm; Abdom 9mm; Suprailiac 4mm; Thigh 26mm; Subscap 8mm

Girth Measures: Taken 01/03/19

Arm (straight at side): 23.4cm

Flexed to 9:24.1cm

Waist: 69.3cm (around bellybutton 74.1cm)

Hips: 90.3cm

Thigh: 47.8cm

Sessions this month have been focused on finding out what I can do without aggravating my back/knees and ensuring my form is correct with each exercise.  Luckily as this isn’t new to me, my form is good so we are able to progress quickly. I would have been in the gym on and off over the years but mostly focused on doing the standard 3 sets and 8-12 reps of each exercise. With David I am learning all about supersets, dropsets and lots of other things that push (and hurt!) my body like I haven’t pushed it before! Really enjoying the sessions though, so far so good!
Nutrition is a bit different too for strength training compared to cardio so having to tweak things a bit, I am used to doing cardio from fasted in the mornings but not need to eat before strength sessions and also need to up my protein intake too.  I am aware that strength gains may be a bit slower for me as I am only strength training three times a week and still doing cardio but I am in this for the long haul (I hope!) so ok with that.  Just setting expectations here too as don’t think there will be massive changes in pics for a while : )