about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



The Weight Room.

When I first started thinking about getting healthy, my natural inclination was to start by running.  I spent the first year of my new found health pounding the pavement along side of my best friend.  And just a little over a year after I began to run, we crossed the finish line of our very first marathon.

When I crossed that finish line, I felt amazing – totally on top of the world.  I realize now looking back though, that despite being able to run for 26.2 miles, I wasn’t actually in very good shape.  I was in running shape, but not athletic shape – I found out a year later that there is definitely a difference.

Between my first and second marathon, Casey dragged me reluctantly to the gym because he told me we needed to start weight training.  I had a horrible attitude about going to the gym – I felt dumpy, out of place, and like everyone was staring at me.  I had no idea what to do with any of the machines or weights, and I was intimidated by all of the muscular athletes surrounding me on the gym floor.

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Casey gave me a little dose of tough love in the form of “suck it up and do it anyways.”  For the first month, I complained every time we went.  And on more than one occasion, I actually got so down on myself that I cried.  But I kept going back three times a week because I knew there was a reason all these other people were there.  Plus, I was paying for it, and there is nothing I hate more than wasting money.

And then as if it all happened overnight, I looked in the mirror after 6 weeks, and realized I looked different.  My muscles were bigger, I had definition, my clothes hung differently.  I was immediately hooked.

Over the course of the next year, I fell in love with the gym.  My body slowly transformed from a sort-of-in-shape running figure, to a toned and muscular athletic build.

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And for all the hours that I put into the gym, it was never about being skinny or wearing a certain size.  For me, it was about looking and feeling STRONG.

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Coincidentally, it also made me a better runner.  The increase in muscle that I gained helped my metabolism go way up, and without doing anything different – I watched my weight drop almost ten more pounds.  With less weight to carry, and stronger core muscles to help me through those tough final miles, I shaved 45 minutes off my marathon PR and clocked my fastest time ever – 3 hours, 50 minutes.  The only thing I did differently that year was weight train.

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But being muscular and strong did something much bigger for me than simply helping me run faster.  It gave me CONFIDENCE.  For the first time in my entire life, I loved the way I looked.  I had legs that were toned and muscular, and arms that would make Jillian Michaels proud.

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And they key to all of it was the strength training.  I am not a personal trainer, and I am not certified in anything fitness related.  But I feel very assured in giving this one piece of advice: in order to be in great shape and have muscle definition, you have to do more than just cardio – strength training is essential. 

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So often people (women in particular) are willing to go out and run for miles and miles without complaint, and I watch girls at the gym do the elliptical night after night.  And while cardio is still an important part of a healthy and active lifestyle, it does not complete the whole package. 

For some reason most magazines and fitness plans geared towards women seem incredibly wimpy and often-times insulting if you ask me.  I cringe when I see “workout plans” that involve swinging around soup cans and 3 pound weights.  In order to build real muscle, and see visual results, it needs to be difficult.

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Trust me, the first time Casey suggested that I do squats and cleans with a giant plated barbell, I practically ran screaming.  And of course, when lifting heavy weights, it’s important to know the correct things to do and form to use so that you don’t get injured.  Every gym I have ever visited does a free intro day with a personal trainer or staff member – don’t be afraid to ask for some help or direction on the gym floor.  They are there to help you.

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In the past year, we’ve moved across the country twice, I attended and graduated from a full-time school program, and life has just simply gotten a lot busier for us.  There were no gyms near our house in Charlotte, and we did our best to make do with our home gym, but I missed the excitement of the weight room floor, and the rush I used to get from achieving new strength goals.  Somewhere along the way, I started making too many excuses and stopped doing quite as many crunches. 

I used to be driven to the gym each week knowing that a new goal or milestone was waiting there for me.  I loved the surge of pride I would get from completing a set of 30 pushups, or the first time I was able to finally do chin-ups on my own.  When we made the decision to move, I was determined to get that old feeling back, because more than the lost muscle tone, the thing I was missing the most was my confidence.

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As soon as we moved to Virginia, one of the first things we did was seek out and join a gym.  It felt so good to finally be back on the gym floor working towards a better me.  Just a few short weeks later, my car accident forced me back into a totally sedentary lifestyle, and my confidence sunk even lower.  But those weeks on the couch gave me time to reflect and it helped me make better sense of my priorities once I could finally be active again.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been back in the gym now for two weeks, and I feel amazing.  I’m not buff yet, but I’m back on track, and that’s what matters.  And when I am consistently giving my all in the weight room, I find that it motivates me to give my all in every aspect of my life – my writing, my goals, my relationships with others, and my relationship with myself.

So don’t be afraid to step off the elliptical and walk over to the dumbbells.  I promise you – no one is watching.  And if you want to be a better runner, try doing other things in addition to running.  Even the elites put in several hours a day focusing on strength training and core work. 

I love running, and I’ve gone through some pretty important self-discovery out there on the sidewalks and pavement.  But there was another part of me still waiting to be discovered – a stronger, more confident person buried deep within.  And I never would have found her if I hadn’t braved the weight room.

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117 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Honey B. Nutrition     at 3:40 pm

Awesome attitude makes for awesome results!! Love this post, so great to see the progress! I get so many benefits from running and like you said they are physical AND mental (i.e. confidence). I wouldn’t think of running without doing weights or I’d get injured and not be able to run anymore and where would I be then!? So happy for you!! You look great! xx

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Evan Thomas     at 3:41 pm

This is an excellent story from a runner’s perspective.
For the last 2 months I’ve been strength training twice a week. I’ve felt mostly the same about it as you did. I haven’t loved it as much as running, but seeing progress, being able to lift heavier weights each week makes it all feel worth it. I have yet to see drastic benefits in running or anything like that, but one of my new year’s resolutions is to keep it up so I’m sure eventually I’ll get there.

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AllieNic @ Frisky Lemon     at 3:41 pm

YAY for lifting heavy things! I totally know what you mean about weight training being a confidence builder! I’ve strength trained for year, but it wasn’t until last May that I started doing squats, cleans and other olympic lifts– I love the feeling of accomplishment you get when you lift heavy things! Not to mention the metabolism boost ;)

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Tami     at 3:43 pm

i love weight lifting! i can’t do a pull up but it’s one of my goals, last year it was to do lots and lots of “regular” push ups-bring on the 25lb weights!

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Amber from Girl with the Red Hair     at 3:43 pm

I love this post! I used to be REALLY into strength training but I totally fell off the wagon when I started running and training for half-marathons and a full marathon. Now I do a lot of hot yoga – like 3-4 times a week, and I kind of consider that my “strength” but I should probably lift 1-2 times a week as well.

I used to be REALLY into lifting before I started running and I remember feeling really great about my body then! That was about 2 years ago now.

Would love to hear what your weight routine is? Do you just wing it or have a specific routine you follow each time you go?

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Melissa Daams     at 3:43 pm

that picture of you doing push-ups with the weights on your back reminds me of Linda Hamilton from the T2 movie… she rocked in that b/c her body looked amazing… someday i hope i look and feel that strong, too.

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Kelly     at 3:46 pm

I finally started weight training again too, and I’m loving how I feel already after only two weeks. I just hope I can stick with it! You do have some amazing arms, haha.

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Theresa     at 3:47 pm

I have been wondering if you still did weight training because you used to do the Wednesday weight training posts with Kath, but since you both moved I haven’t seen much about that.

I just got a personal trainer and have noticed a huge difference with weight training. I am still working on getting in the routine and staying committed. But in just 5 weeks I lost about 4 inches over my body and incorporating weight training was the only change I made. This post is encouraging for me to stick with it because really all I want is to be more confident and comfortable with myself.

Could you do a post with an example of a weight routine that you do?

~Theresa

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Christin@purplebirdblog     at 3:49 pm

I used to weight train pretty heavily, but I really got burnt out on it and have found so much comfort and hard work in yoga! I hope to someday reincorporate it though! :)

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Marci     at 3:50 pm

Super important post. I also am a huge advocate of weight training. Major weight movements scaled down that men do are really great fitness practices. I really think strong legs make for a better runner. And I also believe that strong is fit and healthy and just as important as speed or distance. I also think weights make you strong in the mind too. It’s intense!
And setting a weight movement PR feels great too!
Today, I did a 75 lb Power Clean + Jerk for the first time. Good for me!
13 months ago, I had no idea what that meant, and I definitely wasn’t doing 75 lbs or 145 lb deadlifts!
It also is a concrete way of showing improvement to watch your strength go up.

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Kath     at 3:50 pm

I have a feeling just like I used to hate yoga and now love it that I am going to wind up the same way about weights. I’ve been going to Body Pump and it’s been the push I need to WANT to lift more and my gosh, it’s already paying off!

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Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun     at 3:54 pm

Yes yes yes!!!! Strength training is fabulous and will give great definition – NOT bulk! I love weight training and its where my heart lies. I cannot wait to get back into it (as well as running, spin, kick, plyos, and everything else) in another month or so after birth. The whole not being allowed to workout with the end of my pregnancy thing has gotten old. I miss weight training most of all.

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Mina     at 3:56 pm

I started weight training last April, about 6 weeks before my first half marathon. I’ve been running for about 15 years but never did anything else. I really didn’t want to start strength training but saw that it was part of the hlaf training plan. Reluctantly, I signed up for 4 sessions with a personal trainer. I didn’t need to loose weight but within 6 weeks none of my pants fit (and I had just bought a few new pair). But most importanly I feel really strong for the first time in my life. I’m hooked! I love the lean, athletic look I’ve acheived. And most days, I’m the only girl in the wieght room a the gym. Not too long ago that would have really intimidated me. Starting with a personal trainer so I could learn how to lift correctly made all the difference in the world. And my confidence? Through the roof! And my running has really improved as well. This is such a great post, thanks! And another great benefit to weight training is increased bone density – never too early to start working on that….

Mina

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Katie @ Shared Bites     at 3:56 pm

Get down with your bad chin-up self, girl. I’m currently working on a personal “2 chin-up challenge.” ;) Wish me luck.

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Tiffany @ Conor & Bella     at 3:56 pm

I started doing yoga a few months ago, and while I know it’s not the same thing as weight training, it’s definitely toned my muscles more than anything else I’ve done. More energy, too!

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Sarah W.     at 3:57 pm

LOVE this post and agree wholeheartedly!

maybe you could post some of your weight routine? If you follow one?

I personally like to follow month to month strength training plans, doing the same things generally through the month so i can see how much weight i increase, and then switching it up the next month.

just spent a few weeks sick after having gotten back into a gym reouting and you have motivated me to go to bed early and set the alarm early so i can get back into the gym ASAP.

I’m gonna start loosely following a body for life lifting plan since I desperately need a “lifting” routine change! argh

I really love New Rules of Lifting for Women, but I got bored with it.

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Lee Reply:

I was going to ask if you’d share your lifting routine as well.

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Lauren     at 3:58 pm

I love lifting so much!

I really wish more girls weren’t scared of the weight room. It’s definitely intimidating at first, but the majority of the people in there are more obsessed with themselves than you, so I can promise no one is watching.

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Brittney     at 4:00 pm

Ok, this was inspiring and it might be the kick in the pants I need to get more serious about doing more weights and strength training! Thanks Emily!

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Jen     at 4:00 pm

YES to weight lifting for women. Strength training has transformed my body more than anything else I have done and also allowed me to become a faster, less injury-prone runner.

I know you will be back to your normal buff self in no time!

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Janna     at 4:00 pm

I completely and totally agree 100%.

I was definitely “fit” when I was a runner but it wasn’t till I started strength training that I noticed my body really change. I hate the stigma surrounding lifting. You will NOT bulk up and I have a picture to prove it – http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/dd487/jannayael/buff.jpg

It’s a silly picture but it shows what my arms looked like after weight training for several months – lots of tone but no bulk!

I really need to start weight training again.

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Larissa Reply:

i think it really depends on your body though. Recently i was going to spinning, cardio kick, and boot camp prob once a week each. I defiantly looked good/ was tone, but my leg muscles were getting big- my jeans were tiiiight! i hated that feeling esp since it seems sort of counter active when you go the gym. Since i log my workouts, i was able to go back and take a look and realized since i had been doing those, i had basically stopped cardio/ elliptical ( i cant run). I think its all about balance. I love the way i look when i have toned muscles, but at the same time my body personally, i have to watch to make sure i dont get to big.

great post emily, thanks !

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Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep     at 4:01 pm

Great post! You look amazing!

I love weight training, and I know I should do more of it. I’m not one of those girls intimidated by the big, muscle dudes at the gym, but they take up the entire space. I’m sure they’d let me squeeze in, but I feel awkward. I need to find a time to go when it’s less crowded.

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Carly     at 4:02 pm

I love this post, Emily! I am just starting to get into cross training after 6 months of running. I’ve started to do spin class (which I know is still cardio but heavy resistance is still quite a different feel than running) and yoga. And I’m terrified of weights for the same reasons you mention. I’m really happy to see how well it went for you! It gives me hope that when I get going with the weight training it will go well! :)

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Sarah (Going on Goals)     at 4:02 pm

Great Post! I hate weights, but I know they are important! I go through phases where I am diligent about lifting and phases where I am just “to busy” (but not to busy to run) or too preoccupied by running goals.

Thank you for posting this. Hopefully it will motivate me to pick up a dumbbell. Or, maybe as Kath said, I will start going to Body Pump.

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Jess@atasteofconfidence     at 4:04 pm

I’m trying to incorporate strength training, but I’m still scared of the weights at the gym! I have been doing things like no more trouble zones, etc with 5 lb weights. It’s hard! I would really like to do more at the gym though. Could you give me some of your beginning gym workouts? :)

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sassy molassy     at 4:11 pm

Emily, this was such a positive and encouraging post. I weight train a few days a week and have done so for several years. But I also know women who are scared to walk into the weight room because of all the men or the fact that they don’t know what the heck they’re doing. Thanks for posting the realities of walking into a weight room and showing that while it can be scary, it’s worth it.

As a runner, I often get down on myself if I’m not doing high mileage or miss a few runs here and there. But it is important to remember that you can’t be really strong without some cross training and hard core muscles that come from some time lifting weights.

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Chrissy (The New Me)     at 4:11 pm

This post came at just the right time. I used to strength train twice a week and I loved the way I look and felt when I did it regularly. But I’m in the middle of marathon training right now, and it’s hard to find the time/energy to fit it in! Once the race is over (January 30th!) I plan to get back into cross training, and weight lifting will be at the top of my list.

PS – You look amazing in all those photos! So healthy, fit and toned!

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Maria     at 4:12 pm

That’s so curious because I’ve always loved weight training and am terrible about getting my cardio in! Next year I need to strike a balance between the two, for sure!

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Jules     at 4:12 pm

You’re gorgeous!! Love your attitude, love your writing, love your blog :)

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Katie Daley     at 4:12 pm

Emily would you be willing to do a post about your workouts in the gym? I always feel so overwhelmed and confused. I am a runner as well but I’m a runner trying to loose some weight. No matter how many miles I run, I can’t seem to get the last of it off (I’ve lost 40 already). I know I need to add in core and weight training but I’d love some guidance. My husband could use it too:)

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Rachel @ FitFunandFabulous     at 4:14 pm

Awesome post! It helps to have a motivated significant other.

Between me and my fiance lately, we’ve been mayor and governor of Lazyville.

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Erin     at 4:16 pm

Will you PLEASE share your routine with weights at the gym? I have my own routine that my boyfriend tought me but i’d like to know what a fellow female does. ;)

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Sara (Running with Teaspoons)     at 4:19 pm

Great post! I keep telling myself I need to get into strength training, and finally went for the first time this week. This was an inspiring post that reminded me how important it is to stick with the weight room visits!

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Carin     at 4:23 pm

Great post, and I couldn’t agree more. I spent years doing nothing but running — and then when I couldn’t run all the time, I’d switch to other cardio work-outs. Only when I started getting injured a lot — about a year ago — did I read that strength training can prevent injuries and help you recuperate from them a lot faster. And guess what? It’s all true. I now do strength training twice a week. I love it, and it works!

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Alina @ Duty Free Foodie     at 4:28 pm

This is so true! Hours on the elliptical do nothing for your actual shape, but strong muscles look great and do useful things. I think bodyweight training or power yoga can have this effect as well, but it’s so important not to neglect strength!

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Victoria (District Chocoholic)     at 4:30 pm

Very cool post – so glad you found your deep-down love of the weight room. Doesn’t it feel awesome to be able to lift more and more?

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Chase     at 4:36 pm

So true. So super true. Cardio for heart strength, weights for muscle strength. Increased bone density too! And it also helps reduce risk of injury! So many women are afraid of “getting big” but it’s just not like that. (unless you’re taking supplements and reeeeally training for hypertrophy.)

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You are my witness « A Taste of Confidence     at 4:46 pm

[...] 15, 2010 by Jess I don’t have much time (study study study!), but after reading Emily’s post about strength training, I’ve decided I need more pumpin’ in my [...]

Whitney     at 4:48 pm

You hit the nail on the head. Lifting weights goes hand and hand with being a strong runner! I love seeing a fellow female with definition. Kelly Ripa is my role model :)

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shann     at 4:49 pm

Yes, yes, a THOUSAND times yes!! Weight training is soooo important for fitness. Cardio will help you shed inches, but weight training changes your shape. At least, that’s how it worked for me.

I’m glad you mentioned how important it is for runners. I got injured during my last 2 attempts to run a marathon – both IT band related injuries. This time, I have continued to weight train through my training. Not only have I made it through (so far KNOCK ON WOOD) without injury, but I’ve shaved 1:40 off of my average min/mile pace. It’s amazing!

Lift weights. Heavy ones. :)

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Lauren @ laurenINlawrence     at 3:57 pm

You’re such a great, inspiring writer. Just got home from the gym where I did the gym’s hour-long “Lift” class where we work all of the major muscle groups. I think that going to a weights class like this or Body Pump is great for people that might be “scared” of getting into strength training.

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Angela     at 5:16 pm

Love this post, thank you! It wasn’t until I got serious about a real strength program (thanks to P90X and Jari Love DVDs) that I saw major gains in my running results (and less fatigue after half marathons). But, more important than new PRs was the confidence of being strong! Amazing what a little muscle in the body will do for the muscle that resides in the head.

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Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen)     at 5:19 pm

I love my cardio, but muscle toning is a passion for me. It really makes all the difference in the world. I am so glad that you are getting to the point where you can do the things you love to do.

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Holly     at 5:21 pm

Thanks for this Emily! I am currently at that tough love stage and my boyfriend has to drag me off the cardio machines onto the weight room floor. I whine about it and pout and I get really frustrated by how hard it is for me right now. Next time I want to throw in the towel I will remember this post!

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Katy (The Singing Runner)     at 5:22 pm

I used to lift a lot of weights in high school because I did shotput and discus in track. However, once I hit college I stopped. (I’m now a junior)

I started running again in late June and I am now less than a month away from my first half- marathon. All I have been doing is cardio, but once my race is over, I WILL be hitting the weight room again. It can be scary, but I will do it! :)

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Chicago Cuisine Critique     at 5:24 pm

Awesome post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

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Liz @ Blog is the New Black     at 5:26 pm

Enjoyed reading this, EMily!

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Lauren     at 5:36 pm

For those of you looking to get started on a weight lifting routine, I strongly recommend “the New Rules of Lifting for Women.” Awesome, awesome, awesome. It’s great for beginners or those who already have some experience weight training.

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Namaste Gurl     at 5:50 pm

Good post, girl– I most certainly agree. Love your openness and honesty! :)

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stephanie     at 5:54 pm

My husband and I used to go to the gym and lift weights together ALL the time. We stopped going as frequently once we started training for longer races because it was hard to fit both training runs and strength training days into our schedule, but it is definitely something I want to get back into… I’ve gotten a little soft over the last few months!

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Lori Lynn     at 5:55 pm

I seem to focus a lot of cardio as well, so it is good to remember to include the weights. I do lunges and squats, but I don’t include weights. I’ll have to try that.

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Sarah     at 6:12 pm

Yay! Loved this. Weights are my favourite part of excercising, and I’ve never been able to understand why people are so afraid of them. Whenever I carry on about my love of weights with friends, they always look at me like “But I don’t want to get bulky or masculine. I want to look toned.” Then do weights! I always look at them and say, “Do I look bulky or masculine?” And they always say “Not at all! You look so feminine.” I’ve been able to motivate people to try weight lifting, yet still I’ve never been able to motivate people to stick with it. I think you’re lucky that Casey was there supporting you because I really do think you have to stick with it long enough and consistently enough to see what it can do for your body and your running (or whatever your preferred sport is). Great post!

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Hilary     at 6:13 pm

Can’t wait for your post on the weight exercises you do! I’ve tried to get into strength training before and it usually only lasts a few weeks until I start making excuses. Your post just motivated me to try again and stick with it!

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Jodi     at 6:23 pm

Emily, this is a great post. I have ventured into the gym the last couple weeks to mix up my routines and start Body Pump classes to get my strength training in b/c i was just wasn’t getting in more than a day of training in when i did it at home and instinctively I knew it wasn’t enough. I think it’s really important in every way to balance your routines with all kinds of activity but weight training is really really important. it’s great that you put that out there! with the cold winter months I’m using the cold as an “excuse” to add more weight training to my routine to give me new goals to work for and prepare for the spring running season! New is always fun! and that’s the whole point, right?

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A Better Me     at 6:35 pm

Awesome post! I actually just finished looking up some strength moves myself. I usually avoid the weight room too but I know it’s time to start doing it. I’ve pretty much reached my immediate running goals so it’s time to step it up! I’m ready to see what else this body is capable of (I’ve been amazed since I took up running, what I’ve been able to push it to do). Can’t wait to see what you’ve done weight raining wise :)

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Shannon     at 6:43 pm

I just ADORE your blog! The recipes, your exercise routine, and your life sprinkled in. It’s great.

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susan fine     at 6:55 pm

loved this post! i also had run a marathon (two in fact) with just running — no weight training and hardly any stretching. oy vey, i say now! i started weight training 14 weeks ago, and i have never felt better in my life. and, i should add, i am 45 years old. it is never too late. i would also recommend a book called YOUNGER NEXT YEAR FOR WOMEN, esp for women who are 40 and over. the book, written by a man in his early 70s and his doctor, explain very clearly and accessibly why strength training is so important and what happens exactly to your muscles, bones, body, etc when you do so. it’s very compellingly and inspiring. they recommend two days of strength/week and four days/aerobic exercise (at least 45 minutes). thanks, emily!

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vegantickles     at 7:20 pm

Kudo’s to you for strength training! I feel so power knowing that I can squat heavy weights and lift heavy boxes all by myself. My mother-in-law is always tell me that I should’t lift weights because it will make me shorted when I get old???? But then again she’s old school.

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grocery goddess jen     at 8:00 pm

I am so happy to read this post! I just got a book that is all about strength training for women that outlines a plan for lifting three days a week along with a day or two of high intensity interval training, and the point has really been hammered home to me that I need to lift real weight and get off the treadmill to truly change my body! I am taking this very seriously and hope to see some real results. It’s always nice to know that other people have done it and noticed a change themselves.

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Laura (starloz)     at 8:01 pm

im a gym lover!

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Lauren     at 8:10 pm

Enjoyed this post-totally motivated me to get down and do 30 pushups, which I haven’t done in SO long! Number 29 and 30 were so incredibly hard and shaky, but it’s definitely a motivation to me to keep up with it. I love feeling strong too!

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KaraHadley     at 8:11 pm

YESYESYES! I used to be a cardio queen. This past summer I took a chance and started taking a weight training class a couple of times a week. The definition I saw was amazing. And the confidence…through the roof.
Since moving away from my beloved trained I’ve lost a bit of that tone, but I’m trying. And I love it.

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Emily     at 8:13 pm

Funny thing: weight training is the ONLY type of exercise (and yoga) that I enjoy. I ran track in high school, and was a sprinter. Sprinters had the second heftiest weight plan on the track team (after the disc/shot put throwers) and we were buff! My coach was also a football coach and he pushed us hard–no soup cans! I loved it and SO need to join a gym (I need the monetary motivation:) I agree that having muscle definition makes me feel more confident.

Thanks for the nudge to get lifting again!

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Sarah @ See Sarah Graduate     at 8:16 pm

I love this. I was one of those girls who for the first two years I started running, I NEVER picked up a weight. And then last year I joined a fitness style boot camp and became immediately hooked. My arms have more definition than ever, my core is strong, and I just overall feel more confident than ever. Not to mention it’s done wonders for my running times. Great post!

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Amy     at 8:16 pm

Thank you for sharing this post. I do weight training at home because gyms make me uncomfortable. My routine is pretty basic and I know I need to change it up a bit. I am looking forward to learning about the exercises you enjoy! Also, Where did you find your chin-up bar? I have been wanting one for quite some time. Thanks!

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Susan     at 8:20 pm

Excellent post! I get both worlds – I work in as a personal trainer where I’m constantly pushing women towards the weight room. Then at a running store, where I get women coming in saying their only exercise is running 5 days a week.

I love that you repeatedly mentioned how much confidence weight training gave you. I thought confidence would come when I lost thirty pounds, but when I looked in the mirror, I saw the same body shape, just a smaller silhouette of it. It wasn’t until I started weight lifting that I was really able to sculpt and define my body. And as someone who is inherently weak, building strength made me feel really good about myself. Who knew I’d love throwing dumbbells around so much ;)

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Sabina     at 8:20 pm

Great post, Emily! Wow! You’ve very eloquently expressed what I discovered through weight training. Thanks for the post!

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Clare     at 8:49 pm

AWESOME entry! It seem like all the healthy living blogs focus on running when there’s so much more to fitness! I train for powerlifting and I’m always trying to convert people to weight training. The book The New Rules of Lifting for Women is an excellent resource for beginners, and it’s not “dumbed down” for women at all.

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Clare Reply:

Just wanted to add that I did a 100 pullup-burpee challenge yesterday — wrote about it on my blog too. It took me a long time because I really need to do more conditioning work, but I know I would never have made it through the challenge without all the weight training I do!

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Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga)     at 9:01 pm

Emily I Love this post!!! I used to think (10 yrs ago) that running was the only way. Then, I found yoga. Fell in love, became a teacher 10 yrs ago. And that was the only way.

Fast forward to about a year ago, I decided that I was going to do a bikini/fitness show and for the 1st time ever, I went to the gym and started lifting. I was already lean and in shape from my yoga from the past decade and i never gave up running entirely in that time, but lifting was new to me.

I did my fitness show, got 2nd, and will always always always lift.

And I have a not quite 4 yr old and work FT and work out in my garage lots of the time.

I have all kinds of at home workouts Ive posted about and have streamlined my cardio, yoga, and lifting into a nice happy little package..that i can do from home, too! :) Oh and I have also posted about the virtues of lifting HEAVY. Dont be afraid of the weights.

Omg I love this post…it says everything all in one!!!!!

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Kaitlin With Honey     at 9:04 pm

I couldn’t agree more. I think you have the best attitude toward these things. It’s so realistic and helpful.

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Lauren     at 9:13 pm

I’ve only ever noticed myself improve with my running when I started weight training. The two go side by side but so many people overlook the weights.

PS- You look sensational!!!

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Felicia (a taste of health with balance)     at 9:40 pm

GREAT post!! You hit so many key points. I am a HUGE fan of weight lifting and love how it transforms my body. I started lifting yearsss ago and love what it has done for me. I feel the same confidence when I’m strong and toned- I stand up taller, and feel like I can take on anything. Pull ups/chin ups have always been my weakness and finally I can do 3 sets of 15-20 in a workout, which took me FOREVER to get to. I think a lot of girls think they will bulk up if they lift but its so not true! Again, everything in this post was on point, love it!!

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Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life     at 9:50 pm

As a personal trainer, I can’t tell you how many people only focus on cardio and don’t do weights. I like to tell people this to put the two (both cardio and weights into perspective). If you want to keep your current body shape and just shrink down a bit, do cardio. If you want to reshape your body and get more tone, you need to do weights! This is an awsome post! Everyone should start lifting weights is health permits!

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Heather     at 10:08 pm

love this post, I totally agree! I am not very good at it, i wish i was. I am like you were, afraid to use the machines and weights, I think i am atotal dork and my husband is all big and strong in the weight room. I def, plan to get back on track with this after my marathon in January!

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Pure2Raw Twins     at 10:34 pm

Just like everyone else said, wonderful post Emily!!! Seriously one of the best I have read regarding the importance of weights!! So thank you!! I agree about confidence, I am slowly gaining my back.

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Dynamics     at 10:46 pm

That 3 lb weight bothers me so much. I have upper extremity injuries and I now can lift a 10 pound weight in each hand. I continue to get stronger and will continue adding more weight. Using an injury as an excuse is also a pet peeve of mine. A good trainer or physical therapist can guide you. The best book around for home use is “The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises.” It has pictures of each exercise. Also, various workout programs. You can use this for the gym also. Check it out.

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La.     at 12:06 am

Funny, my husband and I were just talking about this today! Sometimes home workouts just aren’t enough! I have to say it, your body looks amazing! I can’t believe you shed 45 minutes off your marathon time! That is ridiculous!!! Thanks for having an encouraging blog!

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Alana     at 12:19 am

Hey Emily–I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and it’s been really inspirational for me. So inspirational in fact that I’ve started regularly running and hope to have a marathon under my belt by next year! I was just wondering how often you weight train? How many days per week? Thanks!

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Natalie     at 12:50 am

AWESOME post! As a personal trainer and group fitness instructor I have witnessed so many people change their bodies simply by adding resistance training. The importance of training with weights goes far beyond aesthetics…the confidence boost, gain in athleticism, and sense of accomplishment are all huge too!

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Katie     at 1:05 am

I love that I am finally starting to see more and more of these posts show up on Healthy Living Blogs!! I have been a self-described weight lifting rat for many many years now, and like you, the confidence is what initially attracted me to it. There is just something about lifting a weight you didn’t think you could for building confidence. It is such a sense of accomplishment!

I also lost weight without even trying and have gone from the cardio queen to the weight room…um…something. Badass? Not really, but it is so much fun. You get to play with the big boys too. And those huge intimidating guys are usually big teddy bears who will help you with whatever you ask!

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Amber K     at 1:10 am

This is definitely something I need to be doing! There is just something so exciting about watching the calories burned click higher and higher on my heart rate monitor during cardio. I wish I could get those same happy feelings from strength training, because then I would totally do it more often.

But you just can’t argue with your results! Wow!

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colleen     at 1:11 am

Hi Emily

I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I love it. I make your (or versions of at least) recipes often. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been doing some reading on weight training because I’ve been a cardio queen for years and I would like to become more all around athletically fit. I’ve been going to Body Pump (total body weights set to music as a group glass) for a couple of weeks and I’m already seeing results. I am starting to see a defined bicep, which I haven’t had since my days of high school tennis. I was at first worried about bulking up too much, but that hasn’t been a problem at least so far.

Usually the weight room in my gym is super intimidating and full of huge guys, but Body Pump makes it much easier. Maybe eventually I’ll brave the weight room on my own. This post came at a great time for me, just beginning weight training and starting to see results. Thanks!

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Bliss     at 1:34 am

Love this post! I had the same “revelation” when I had to stop running due to knee problems and find other ways to stay active – and now I”m in much better overall shape! Thanks for supporting weight lifting – I think more women need to be encouraged to get into the weight room and use “real” weights.

For anyone looking for resources, Cara from Cara’s Cravings (another blog) recommended New Rules of Lifting for Women that I have really enjoyed. Its a great book with lifting sessions, tips, and even discusses nutrition (mainly reminds you that you need to eat more on days you lift – and I’m always cool with eating more!).

P.S. I made your fancy pumpkin fig pomegranate cake for a party last weekend and it was AMAZING!! Mine wasn’t quite as pretty – the topping smooshed to the sides when I poured the pumpkin batter over – but it tasted amazing and was perfect for the holidays! I can’t wait for another excuse to make it again!

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Shelly     at 7:31 am

I’m trying to build up the courage to go into the weight area alone. I don’t see any women in the free weight area at my gym..pretty intimidating to me. I don’t want to be *looked* at either!!!

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Katie Reply:

This took me so long to get over! I actually like going by the mirrors and while I feel vain staring at myself it is good for form and helps avoid any awkward eye contact. Just focus on you!!

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Erin     at 8:49 am

Thank you for posting this at the time that you did. My husband and I are planning to run 1111 miles in 2011 (to beat off the procrastinating habit we both have with respect to training for races – he because he’s a natural runner, me because procrastination is my natural tendency). I KNOW that strength training is necessary for runners but hearing it again has got me pumped to put together my training schedule for the coming year. Many thanks!

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Back At It | The Wannabe Athlete     at 10:56 am

[...] decided to just do some strength training there in my living room. I think Emily’s post yesterday inspired me. I want arms like [...]

Katie     at 10:58 am

Thanks for sharing and I completely agree. I started to more seriously weight train this summer/fall after I got a little burned out on running. You will NOT get huge!! I actually like the tear-out workouts from Men’s Health a lot, women’s magazines are usually too boring. This will leave you shaking- took me a few tries before I could get through all 3 sets with good form- http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/high-intensity-circuit-routine/index.php .

I’m seeing some major changes in my shoulders and arms and I’m so excited that I can use 15-20 lb dumbells now. My roommates and the guy I am seeing have noticed too, which is always a fun perk :).

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Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul     at 11:09 am

It’s inspiring to see your weight training journey. I still really struggle with incorporating that aspect into my routine. I find myself doing it for a week or two and then reverting to cardio or yoga. It just hurts! But I realize that it will make me stronger and a better runner/yogi/etc.

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katie     at 11:14 am

great post, and i totally agree. just ran my first marathon back in november, but now feel like i need to get back into shape. joined the gym again, and between that and some jillian michaels, hopefully i’ll be back to where i before i started really only running.

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Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life)     at 11:55 am

SO motivational. I really need to get back to weights… by trying to become I runner, I’ve let strength fall by the wayside…
2011 goals, here I come!

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Jillian@ Reshape Your Life     at 12:05 pm

Oh Emily!! This is exactly what I needed! I’m really struggling with my running and I know I need to add in strength training but I HATE it. This is exactly the push I need. I just have to repeat to myself that “it is worth it”. :) Thank you thank you thank you!

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Lizzie     at 12:09 pm

I started doing some weight lifting about 6 weeks ago. I forced myself to do it and after about 3 weeks I loved it! I am on a bit of a running hiatus so it makes it easier to fit it in time wise. I hope once I start running again that I keep it up!

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Caroline     at 12:46 pm

I love this post! I’m trying to get into strength training myself, and while I dread it all day, I know it will be worth it if I can last 6 weeks and make a habit of it! How I will work it in this spring while working full time and taking two difficult lab classes, I’m not really sure, but I hope I can make it a big enough part of my life to keep it there! (Posts like this definitely help with motivation, hint hint :D)

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Alicia     at 1:30 pm

I think that this is the first time I’ve commented on your blog, but after reading your post I had to! I LOVED it, I always find it so fascinating how much of our self esteem and self worth is tied to our physical bodies and well being. Thanks for the reminder for how important it is to take care of ourselves.

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rachel     at 4:29 pm

this was a GREAT post! i am a personal trainer and i know so many women who are afraid of the weight room because “it’s a guy’s place”. i admit i was very skeptical once i began getting certified and was terrified of bulking up. however once i started working out with my boyfriend using big boy weights and barbells and him not letting me do whimy weights, i was no longer skeptical after i lost inches everywhere and 5 lbs. i love lifting weights now and i try to spread the message to my friends that they don’t need 5lb dumbbells, they can probably use 15. it’s still difficult for many women so thank you so much for spreading the message :) btw your arms look amazing

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Canadian     at 5:13 pm

I know that you are right and that strength training is important (I am thinking of a health point of view — I don’t really care whether it makes me look better). I have read the Strong Women books by Miriam Nelson and I know it’s important for women, and especially as we get older.

The thing is though, I don’t LIKE it. I enjoy running, I enjoy various types of cardio, it feels good to be moving fast. Strength training, on the other hand, feels so blood BORING. I have a really hard time motivating myself to do even a wimpy little routine every so often. (And I am NOT going to the gym — whatever I do has to be possible in a tiny apartment.) Whenever I start with good intentions, I always end up not following through. :(

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Regan     at 5:59 pm

Hi Emily! I have actually started to spend more time incorporating strength training into my exercise routine and I can already begin to see changes. I was wondering how many miles were you running on average while doing the strength training. I guess my question could also be the ratio of cardio to strength exercise that you did. Thanks!

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gas     at 6:03 pm

If you like cardio then do circuit training while weight lifting. It will be the most agressive cardio you ever do. New rules of lifting can be done at home if you aquire a set of power block dumbbells, a set of TRX straps, and a swiss ball and maybe a chin up bar. I recommend this program to my patients because its safe if you maintain good form and very effective. It is not boring because it is always changing as you progress through the program. Diet is also important. A weight trainer needs more fat and protein in their diet. NROL includes diet advice

My wife is 52 We built our gym home gym when she was 34. I lovingly (and teasingly) call her Arnoldene Not because she is muscle bound, because she is beautiful. This is how you get to be 52 and beautiful. She does running (put 4500 miles on my treadmill) and she does floor ex but the weights make her look

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Jaclyn     at 1:36 am

I love this post! I’m a cardio junkie and I know I SHOULD do more strength training, but I just find it more fun to run… or bike… or do yoga… or hike, dance, clean or pretty much do anything else. I really want to like strength training though! I’m going to use this as motivation to kick some strength training booty.

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MommyB Knows Best     at 5:15 am

I know this may sound odd but Plank is one of my favorite moves, maybe because I can just think but I love that you’ve used a board and weights to spice it up a little, great idea, perhaps I can have one of my girls sit on my back *LOL* I love feeling feminine and muscular at the same time, I sure do miss it and need someone to kick my butt into being healthy again, it’s hard being the mom of two little girls but I know I need to do it for me and them too!

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Kelly     at 12:22 pm

Hi Emily! I love your blog and think it looks great with the new changes! I was like you when my boyfriend told me I should be squatting and deadlifting with the big barbell…I wanted to run in the other direction! I was doing that for awhile and do find I get into it when I am going on a regular basis. I’m wondering what types of strength training workouts you do on a regular basis? I am getting tired of doing the same things over and over especially since they are what my boyfriend has recommended. I would love to hear what another girl does who seems to be into similar stuff! Thanks so much!

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Racing Forward. | Daily Garnish     at 11:13 am

[...] The Weight Room. Pages [...]

Megan     at 7:19 pm

Thank you so much for this post! It really came at the perfect time for me. I’m nursing a foot injury after running my second half marathon, and I’ve been really depressed about not being able to run. I’ve been trying to do as much strength training as I can (something I used to loathe), and it’s so good to know that it can have such an impact and even help my running when I resume.

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Tori @ FIToriBLOG.com     at 12:58 pm

GREAT post!!! I’m always trying to get women into the gym to lift!!!! It’s SOOOO incredibly good for us!!

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katie     at 12:49 pm

Emily, I’m just wondering if you follow a specific regimen for your weight training (i.e. arms & back one day, legs the next) or if there are specific exercises/reps that you follow. I know weight training is important, but all the equipment is overwhelming, and I don’t really know where to begin!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Hi Katie! I know how you feel. I’m planning to do a follow up post about specific exercise and what we do each week – hopefully soon!

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katie Reply:

Terrific! Thanks Emily, looking forward to it. Hope you are having a happy new year!

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Stacey     at 9:51 pm

This is a great post. I, too, have started incorporating strength into my workout routine. I can’t tell you how happy and strong I felt after completing my first set of 30 pushups! My muscles feel amazing and it has helped my running too :D

I also enjoy doing yoga..it sculpts muscles and is great for stretching out those legs after a long run! I continue to love your blog!!!

[Reply]

So, you want to run a marathon? | Brit Chick Runs     at 7:06 pm

[...] strength train – I didn’t, and I think it hindered how well my marathon went….Emily has a super post about the importance of strength training! [...]

Listening To My Body | Being Pregnant     at 7:06 am

[...] running alone wasn’t enough anymore, and I decided to start incorporate heavy strength training, I asked my body to go further.  I worked until my body shook, and I pushed myself to new [...]

Postpartum Workouts: Round Two | Babys First Year Blog     at 4:24 pm

[...] but still didn’t feel like I could run for more than a few minutes in between.  And how did the strength training [...]

I'll Have Fish Another Time     at 12:55 pm

[...] working so far! I’m also trying to be better about incorporating strength training! Both Emily (of the new Daily Garnish!) & Katie have posted recently about the importance of weight [...]

men's health ultimate chest workout     at 11:24 pm

Hurrah, that’s what I was seeking for, what a material! present here at this weblog, thanks admin of this web page.

[Reply]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » A Week of Workouts.     at 8:11 pm

[...] thought they would be more like yoga with some ballet elements, but it’s actually much more like strength training.  As our conversation continued, we got to wondering what actual ballet dancers do for [...]

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