Are you afraid that other people are judging you? Do you try to hide your food choices or the fact that you haven’t been working out as much as you’d like?
I totally get you. I’ve been there! I want people to look up to me but to be honest I’m human. I make choices that I’m not always proud of. I skip workouts and I eat junk food. But you know what, that just makes me real instead of the fake people you see on social.
It’s a common myth that people in the fitness world are judging every one else’s choices. And I get you may have experienced that with other fitness professionals. I have also struggled with fitness professionals making negative comments about my choices too. Never a fun thing because “they always know what’s best for you”. But they don’t know what’s going on. They don’t know your day to day life. So I want you to know once and for all, I’m not judging you.
I had a brief encounter the other day when I was passing someone in the hall. He was holding what some would say was an off limits item if you want to be fit. And his gut reaction was to tell me “Don’t judge me” with a guilty grin while going back to his desk. I immediately responded, “No judgement. At all”. I don’t know what he is going through and I don’t know what you are going through. We are all on our different journeys just trying to do better than yesterday or just trying to get through a hard season. I get it. I consume things that aren’t the healthiest for me and don’t fuel my body the most efficient way.
I have my vices and so do you.
So let’s put down the ruler and stop measuring ourselves to others expectations of us. We don’t know how we got the ruler in the first place but we can put it down and choose not to use it. Let’s just focus on ourselves. That’s all we have control over anyways!!! And our mamas told us when we were growing up to mind our OWN business. Let’s take that heart, shall we?
So the next time you see someone and start thinking, they shouldn’t do that, or you catch yourself thinking you’re better than another person, here’s your and my reminder:
We have no idea what they are going through.
We have no idea what is going on.
We are not perfect and neither are they. And that in itself is wonderful!
So give people grace today and everyday. Encourage those around you and refuse to look down on them. Our world will be such a better place if we did this. So start with yourself!
Alright, does anyone
out there have something they avoid?
Oh is it just
me? Oh well, in that case I’ll just be
honest right now and say upper body strength training isn’t something I
gravitate towards. Some upper body
exercises come easier than others, but for the most part my muscles (or brain)
tend to tire out quickly. Sure, I could
concentrate more on those since I need more work, but it’s just not something
I’m naturally good at and with that, I tend to not focus on it. On the flip side, where you most struggle and
avoid is an area of most potential and growth.
How crazy is that? I wouldn’t
have to put too much effort into it, just a little more than I currently
am. It’s just that first hurdle to get
past – STARTING!!!!
Okay let’s dive in.
So what are so
positives to working out the upper body?
We have to start with motivation, otherwise, WHAT’S THE POINT????
Positives to upper
body strength training:
Lift heavier things (like growing kiddos or pets)
Carry all the groceries in one trip
More defined upper body (say arms, back, shoulders, chest or All Of Them!)
Sit up straighter (partly from upper body and partly from core)
Challenging partner in a push-up contest and win!! (okay I’m not here yet, but one day)
Help move a friend and lift the heavy things 😉
Burn more fuel/calories while resting because of the extra muscle (heck yes!!) **
**Side note: It takes more fuel/calories to keep muscles strong than to keep fat around. So if you have more muscle on your body, it is burning more fuel/calories even at rest = higher metabolism. This right here is something that keeps me coming back to strength training. The fact that if I have more muscle, my body will need more fuel to keep going than if I didn’t have as much muscle. And who doesn’t like to eat?
Okay back to the
topic at hand! So now that we’ve listed
some pros to training our upper body, let’s discuss how to go about it in a
When wanting to
workout any muscles, we want to do so in a way that keeps us balanced and
doesn’t introduce more imbalance than what we might already have. So what does that mean? We want to work muscles in opposition so one
muscle group doesn’t get too strong and the opposing muscle weaker. This could cause discomfort, pain or injury
and personally I’d like to avoid all of that.
To get to the meat
of it, here are the major areas of the upper body:
Arms & Shoulders
Back & Chest
When planning a
workout, I think about how can I incorporate some, if not all of the major
areas. Let’s start with arms. Everyone knows about the biceps and that
fateful bicep or hammer curl, but did you know that the triceps need
strengthened too? The triceps can be
worked by doing an overhead extension or bench dip. These two oppose each other and help keep the
upper arm balanced. Next let’s take the chest or the pectoralis/pecs as some
people refer to them. These muscles get worked from doing pushups or bench
presses. To balance that out we would
need to focus on the upper back or more specifically the trapezius/traps and
rhomboids with a reverse fly or horizontal row.
Now let’s move on to the shoulders or deltoids/delts which are the
movers for the front or side raises. To
balance out, we can incorporate movements from the mid-back or the latissimus
dorsi/lats with bent over rows or lat pull-downs.
For those of you who
enjoy bullet points (my kind of peeps!), here’s a sample list of exercises one
could incorporate in a workout and hit the major upper body muscle groups:
Bicep & Hammer Curl (Biceps)
Overhead Extension & Bench Dip (Triceps)
Pushup & Bench Press (Pecs)
Reverse Fly & Horizontal Row (Traps & Rhomboids)
Front & Side Raise (Delts)
Bent-over Row & Lat Pull-down (Lats)
To muddy the waters
just a bit, some of the exercises I mentioned don’t just work one major muscle,
they incorporate multiple ones in one movement. But I wanted to simplify it to make it
manageable, so I listed each exercise with one major muscle. Sometimes it’s good to simplify things or we
wind up in a worm hole and never get out.
Speaking of worm
holes, for my fellow nerds who want to know more, see below on some moves that
have more than one major muscle. For
those who don’t care as much, you may skip this next part.