From Cardio Queen to Strength-Training Machine

Well look who it is!!!

Mah Date!

This afternoon Ryan met me downtown for a lunch date at Jimmy John’s, followed by dessert at Mochi.

I love lunch dates! They help break up the monotony of the work day and I get to enjoy lunch away from my desk which is a treat.

As usual, I ordered a turkey unwich for my meal while Ryan stuck to his beloved bootlegger club.


Bootlegger Club

Though I adore Jimmy John’s, this is the second visit in a row where they’ve messed up my order. :/ Last time they added peppers to my unwich (too spicy for me!) and this time they forgot to include the turkey! Luckily they remade my sandwich both times, but I’m beginning to feel like I should write my order down for them!

After inhaling our main meals, it was time for some frozen yogurt.

Mochi, here we come!!!

We knew we’d be making a stop for the cold ‘n’ creamy dessert when I heard that Mochi had red velvet soft serve (*my favorite*) on tap.

The Best

Red Velvet + Sprinkles + Chocolate Caramels

I’m convinced I could eat my body weight in this stuff.

Though we stuck to the red velvet flavor, we both really enjoyed our free samples of the Lovers flavor, a new combination of strawberry + mango.


Of course we had to take a picture with my lover in front of the lovers sign. (This was actually Ryan’s idea. He’s becoming a blog genius. πŸ˜‰ )

Krema & Crazy Richards Peanut Butter Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to the following winners of the Krema & Crazy Richards peanut butter giveaway:

  • coffeeismycarrot: “My favorite use for PB is a good ole PB&J. Classic! Or smeared on a banana…or on oatmeal. I can’t choose!”
  • Angela: Peanut butter blondies! Everyone goes for the pb and chocolate combo, but pb and vanilla is where its at. Just use half peanut butter in the recipe and add some peanut butter chips. So so good. But peanut butter is good every way.”
  • Wheeda: “I love peanut butter! Any way is good for me …but usually it’s on celery or on a piece of whole wheat toast with a little honey drizzled on top. Yum!”

Please email me at with your mailing address so you can receive your two jars of pb ASAP! πŸ™‚


Now, onto some fun fitness talk!

From Cardio Queen to Strength-Training Machine

I used to be a cardio queen.

During my first two years of college, my weekly workouts looked like this:

  • M: 50 min. elliptical
  • Tu: Spinning class
  • W: 20 min. run, 20 min. swim
  • Th: Kickboxing class
  • F: 50 min. elliptical
  • Sa: Spinning class
  • Su: Off

Do you see something missing? Um, yes. How ’bout some weights? Maybe a little strength training?

My former-self thought “strength training is for boys.” Taking a peek into the weight room at my university’s gym only reaffirmed that prejudice.

Big, beefy guys dominated the squat racks. The five pound weights on the free-weight rack seemed to be collecting dust since the manly men who were busy flexing in front of the mirror wouldn’t dare touch such “girly weights.”

As my interest in health and fitness grew, I began to read more and more about the importance of strength training. I knew in my heart I was missing something by only incorporating cardio into my workout regimen, but I’m a creature of habit and felt apprehensive about changing my routine.

Eventually I decided to suck it up and add some weights to my workouts. I am now a firm believer that weight training (coupled with healthy eating!) is what can truly form and shape your body into the toned and athletic look many women strive to achieve.

  • Will someone mistake me for the Hulk?

If you are a cardio queen and have not included weights in your workout because you think you’ll begin to look manly and overly buff, please abandon that thought immediately. Cross my fingers, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye, you won’t look like the Hulk by incorporating weight training into your routine. I strength-train three times a week and I feel strong, but I don’t think anyone would mistake me for Arnold (Lord, I hope not).

  • How do I begin to incorporate strength training into my routine?

I’m no expert (at all!!!), but here’s what worked for me:

  • Take a group exercise class that focuses on strength training to learn basic moves and proper form. (You know I love BodyPump!)
  • Start out slow! Select a body part or two to focus on (like back and biceps) and complete three sets of 15 repetitions at a weight that feels challenging.
  • Do the strength training workout that’s right for you. I love total-body strength training (training all of my muscles during one workout), but many people prefer splitting up strength training into multiple workouts.
  • Don’t be afraid of heavy weights. Once you begin to progress in your strength-training routine, don’t be afraid to reach for heavier weights to continue to challenge your muscles.
  • Print out sample workouts to bring with you to the gym so you don’t feel lost or intimidated.

For examples of some of my total-body strength training workouts, click here and here. You may also enjoy this article about strength training for beginners from Fitness magazine.

Questions of the Afternoon

  • Do you incorporate strength training into your workout routine?
  • How many times do you strength train during the week?

35 Responses

  1. Haha you would think the main part of a turkey sandwich would be easy to remember. I don’t really like strength training with weights, I build muscle very quickly so I prefer things that just use my own body weight.

  2. While I looove cardio (huge stress reliever for me) I am a huge lifting freak! Started when I was 16 and have done so ever since. Right now I do an upper/lower split and lift pretty heavy. I am not really a fan of body pump, but I think that is because I have been lifting for awhile – it doesn’t give me a great workout! But I am a Les Mills instructor so I do see the benefit of it. πŸ™‚

  3. Red velvet ice cream? OMG!!

    I love cardio but also lift HEAVY 5 x’s a week and 1 day is ab only training.

  4. I had the same holdups as you when it came to strength training…I was afraid of getting to “beefy”! But I am totally loving BodyPump classes now, as well as some extra training with free weights. I’d say I probably strength train 2-3 days a week in some form or another.
    The Lover’s flavor sounds SO GOOD! Perfect for a hot summer day πŸ™‚

  5. I’m a cardio lover! I use to weight train a lot two years ago and definitely agree with you that it should be incorporated into your daily excerise routine. I however, became lazy and thought that I didn’t need to do as much weight training. After reading your blog daily I’ve decided to incorporate weight training back into my life! woohoo! Definitely see a difference in my body. (for the better that is πŸ˜‰

    PS. I tried clicking your two circut training workout links and can’t seem to open them….

  6. I used to only do cardio, too. But now I love strength training more than cardio. If I could only do that then I would…because I feel like I’m getting a cardio workout at the same time. I’d love to see a sample of your workout routine! I’m always looking for new ideas.

  7. I’m absolutely dying to find a self-serve froyo place SOMEWHERE in my area!! It looks so good 😦

    I also do BodyPump and it’s my favourite class! I only go once a week now since I just started a few weeks ago and I always feel sore for a few days after the class.

  8. Thanks for tips! I definitely don’t do strength training nearly enough as what I should, partly because I’m still holding onto the idea that I’ll bulk up more than what I want.

  9. Awesome post & no, you look NOTHING even like Arnold πŸ˜‰
    I do love strength training now, I had the same realization earlier this year- the KEY is to incorporate weights into workouts. I have noticed HUGE differences since I started strength training.- more toned, losing inches & I just feel stronger in general. I try to strength train 3 times a week, sometimes 4. Of course I still have to get my cardio in too πŸ˜€
    YAY red velvet flavor!! YUMMM-O!

  10. I much prefer strength training to cardio. I do it every time I go to the gym, though I force myself to get some cardio in there too. I love the way my arms look when they get muscles.

  11. You are going to really be surprised how your body to responds to strength training, it’s great! I get workouts in two or three times a week if I can.

    It’s always good to move your routine around.

    Women won’t bulk up, we can’t, thankfully we don’t have the gene. …”women typically don’t have the amount of hormones (namely, testosterone) necessary to build huge muscles. In fact, even men struggle to gain muscle which is one reason steroids are such a popular drug with men who want to build big muscles.”

  12. Great tips for not being an “expert” (although I think you are!) πŸ™‚

    I do strength train and I love it — it makes me feel so strong and accomplished!

    I do full body workouts as of late, so anywhere from 1-3x a week.

  13. I love your Friday lunch dates- so cute!! Red velvet froyo sounds delicious, especially with sprinkles πŸ™‚

    I’m definitely a cardio queen too, but since I discovered the blogging community I’ve realized just how important strength training is. I don’t love it, but I try to incorporate a few strength sessions a week just to keep my bones and muscles healthy!

  14. YAYAYAYAYAYYAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Can you tell I’m excited about the PB win?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks, Julie!

    I did Body Pump 2 or 3 times a week in college and through my early 20s. Then I went on a cardio binge for a few years when I left the gym that offered Pump. Now I am trying to incorporate weights again on my own at least twice a week.

  15. I am really bad about strength training…but I have gotten better and I usually try to get it in twice a week!

  16. I try to strength train every muscle group twice a week, and it usually works out well! Its usually one total-body day and then one tricep/chest day and one bicep/shoulder day. And I work abs twice a week by themselves. I just fill in the gaps with cardio and I’m good to go!

  17. red velvet soft serve holyyyyyyy crap. so jealous. i do strength training, and have been for a few months and all it did was SCULPT SCULPT SCULPT ! NO BULK! i love it so much. i look so much better with muscle than just skinny! boring!

  18. I wish I could NOT do cardio and just lift. I love feeling strong and love the look of muscles.

    I lift 3-4 times a week and have been doing a body part split but am now going to a full body.

  19. That’s so me – I can pound out cardio like it ain’t no thang but when it comes to strength training, I’m completely lost! I know I really need to start doing it, but for some reason, it’s so hard for me to stick to!

  20. Ahh, another red velvet fan! We are planning to do our wedding cake — and probably some of the wedding cupcakes — in red velvet, too!

    I am only recently starting to get into strength training and I can already feel it making a difference. I think for cardio queens like us, classes lik Body Pump (only got to take it once as a trial at my gym but I loved it) and DVDs are key — they mix it up. If I don’t have someone telling me what to lift and how many times to lift it, I just won’t!

  21. LOVE strength training! And how on earth could they forget your turkey?!? That makes no sense. Haha. Love froyo πŸ™‚

  22. soo glad you are more into strength now! I LOVE LIFTING WEIGHTS!!!!! its to BOMB. makes me feel stronger! mm that froyo sounds AWESOME too!

  23. we always become wiser as we age…I’m the same way, I used to be a cardio freak, like deadly (try three four hours a day! landed me with a broken hip!). But I’m in way better shape when I trade the treadmill for yoga, not even weights! I got guns ever since I became a yoga instructor, not a single weight lifted!

  24. You are so dang cute! I love your blog. I’m excited to read more about your adventures. P.S I am a peanut butter lover too! yummm

  25. I use to ONLY do cardio too and realized how much stronger I can be and how much better I perform with strength training. Especially for running, strength is essential! πŸ™‚

    What a wonderful Friday. Love lunch dates as well. πŸ™‚

  26. Hey girl – absolutely love your blog, just stumbled on it! I am the same way – only recently I began doing a lot more strength training. I’ve ditched the number of runs I do and replaced it with weights and body weight training. I already feel SO much stronger and it’s so much more fun than going on the elliptical or running daily!

  27. I’m actually a total cardio queen right now. I feel this constant kick in the butt to get into strength training, and I know at some point I just have to jump in and DO IT instead of continuing to wait until I’m “ready.”

  28. I’ve noticed such a (good) change in my body since I started strength training seriously. My muscles are so much more toned and I think it’s helped keep my weight consistent. I can’t imagine only doing cardio now. Weights are great : )

  29. Love, love, love Mochi! I love that they switch-up their flavors – great way to keep people coming back.

  30. […] by a special package. It was myΒ package from PeanutButterFingers! I still can’t believe I won a giveaway, I have never won […]

  31. […] It felt good to push my muscles and feel the burrrn. After spending several years in the gym as a cardio queen, it’s funny that I now definitely prefer strength training to […]

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